Monday, December 19, 2011

On the power of words

"All important events in the world - whether admirable or monstrous - are always spearheaded in the realm of words" Vaclav Havel
Vaclav Havel passed away last week. He was a playwright, essayist, poet, dissent who ended up as  the president of the Czech republic (see Wikipedia for further information). He is a strong believer in the power of words. His writings are quite interesting and relevant with all the changes we are seeing around the world. Here are some excerpts from his “The Power of the Powerless” and his acceptance speech after receiving a literature prize in 1990.

There is a documentary on "The Power of the Powerless" narrated by one of my favorite actors Jeremy Irons.  Time to look it up...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Until when Montreal? qu'est ce que nous attendons?

Are we lucky or what? Perceptive and proactive window cleaners notice issues with the facade of the building and call the emergency services.
Concrete blocks come loose on University St. building - CTV News
Nous sommes chanceux à Montréal... un désastre potentiel a été évité (encore une fois) grâce à des laveurs de vitres avertis...

Immeuble sur la rue University à Montréal - Des morceaux de ciment menacent de tomber - TVA Nouvelles

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Make this a movement Montreal!

The October 1st, 2011 edition of the Gazette of Montreal focused on the infrastructure issues in Montreal by putting  back in the limelight the July 2009 Peel street tragedy in which Lea Guilbeault (33) lost her life and Hani Beitinjaneh (34) was terribly injured by a large cement block while having dinner at Mikassa Sushi under the Mariott Residences building.

The Gazette did an excellent job of putting together an interview with Hani (his first since the tragedy) and several related commentaries to move this topic of infrastructures forward. Some key statements from the interview: 

"How do we make this into a movement? I do not understand why everybody is arguing. We all have the same point. We all want to work. We all want to be happy. We want to be safe"
It's not one person, it's the whole system that needs to be changed. We need to fight for concrete laws that will improve our society. The word is concrete."

The interview by Peggy Curran

Two years after his wife Léa Guilbeault was killed by a falling piece of concrete, this reluctant activist is frustrated by how little has been done

The Gazette’s View: End the foot-dragging on high-rise inspections

An independent infrastructure unit: it's a good idea

From the archives - the Peel Street Tragedy timeline (as of July 15, 2010)
We have created a Facebook page if you would like to discuss further or to be part of a movement to change things. 

Join us at

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More infrastructure failures in Montreal?

Reading the news today, I could not determine if a piece of cement fell from the Papineau overpass (see 1 hurt as Montreal overpass sheds concrete - CBC) or was dropped (see Morceau de béton lancé sur une voiture à Montréal : la police enquêtera - Radio Canada).

Let's see what happens with the investigation... in all cases, our infrastructures in Montreal are not getting any better!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Facebook : Montréal : Qu'est ce qu'on fait? Nous nous Souvenons ♥ Lea Guilbeault ♥

Nous avons commencé sur Facebook :
Montréal : Qu'est ce qu'on fait? Nous nous Souvenons ♥ Lea Guilbeault ♥

Nos buts:
- de s'assurer que la tragédie de Léa Guilbeault ne se reproduira pas ici au Québec
- de célebrer la vie de Léa et le bonheur qu'elle nous a donné

Our Objectives:
- to ensure that no other Montrealers go through what we went through.
- to celebrate Lea's life

Please forward as appropriate.

Partagez le site.

Death from Above + Fallen slab is concrete proof Montreal’s crumbling

Two articles stories on Montreal's crumbling infrastructures. Now it is Ville Marie's Tunnel turn. A 15 meter slab fell.

An important statement from the article:
No one was injured in the collapse in the Ville-Marie tunnel, but the incident could have had disastrous consequences if it had occurred on Monday at the same time, during rush hour traffic, police said.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Have we become a pass the buck society?

On July 7th, 2011, the Montreal Gazette published two excellent articles that every Montrealer / Quebecer should be reflecting on.

Make your own conclusions...

Action is needed.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Building Inspections: Quebec needs to pick up pace

Time is always of essence when it comes to averting disasters. Montrealers are still not safe from infrastructure problems more than 18 months after the tragedy that started with the crushing death of Lea Guilbeault on 2045 Peel Street under the Residence Inn by Mariott Hotel.

How long are Montrealers to wait? 

From the Gazette 5 February 2011

The provincial government is taking its sweet time drafting new regulations for Quebec's building code. Until the new rules are established, the city of Montreal can't get on with a much-needed program to identify buildings "at risk" of endangering the public and force their owners to file regular inspection reports.
Montreal was made horrifyingly aware of the problem of decaying buildings when in July 2009 a concrete slab fell from a Peel St. building, crushing Lea Guilbeault. Quebec City should realize this is a serious public-safety issue and act accordingly.

This is from an editorial with title
And another thing...
Concise comments on the issues of the day

To send a letter of support to the Gazette for reporting on this delay or to make your opinion on the tragedy know, please go to

Read more:

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Bylaws to force building inspections stalled

Reading through the Montreal Gazette today, this article related to Lea Guilbeault's tragic death caught my attention "Bylaws to force building inspections stalled". It has been more than two months since the minister of Labour, Mme. Lise Thériault announced that bylaws will be drafted.

Why would these bylaws be stalled? The author (James Mennie) quotes the Mayor of Montreal (Mr. Gerald Tremblay) saying that Montreal's bylaws would be more focused (than those of in New York city local law 11) and that:

A coalition of building owners in the province has already complained the proposed amendments are simply more government red tape

Besides complaining about having to maintain their own buildings, I would be interested to hear what these building owners propose to stop having blocks of cement or glass raining on top of the heads of people.

We, the citizens of Montreal, should not have to live through a similar nightmare.

If you have any comments, please send them to the editor of the Gazette ( ) or contact me.