Posts Tagged ‘Montreal’

Lac-Mégantic: Life Loss Legacy, Apr 30

April 17, 2017

Great news. Maine’s award-winning folksinger, Ruth Hill, will join the bill on Apr. 30, 7 PM at the Atwater Library in Westmount, Quebec.

In this one-time public event poetry, photography, song, and critical policy analysis come together to explore the elements faced by the citizens of the town devastated by Canada’s worst train disaster, as they continue their struggle to get the rail line moved from their community.

The evening will include a reading from Jacques Rancourt’s book Quarante-sept stations pour une ville dévastée, translated into English as Forty-seven Stations for a Ravaged Town by three time Governor General’s award winner for translation Donald Winkler. Winkler will read sections from his translation.

Photo by Ben Welland.

Bruce Campbell, Lac-Mégantic: Public Betrayal, Corporate Negligence, Justice Denied. Campbell has studied the political failures that allowed the train disaster to occur. Awarded a fellowship in 2016 at the University of Ottawa’s faculty of law, Campbell is currently writing a book on the disaster.
The photographs of Montreal’s internationally-recognized photographer Michel Huneault will be shown. Huneault rushed to Lac-Mégantic within twenty hours after the train explosion. He continued visiting the community fourteen times over the first year, documenting the trauma of the community. Schilt Publishing has produced a book of Huneault’s work, The Long Night of Mégantic/La longue nuit de Mégantic.

The state of Maine’s acclaimed folksinger Ruth Hill will travel to Westmount to perform various songs, including Lac Megantic. Ms. Hill has been writing songs for decades and was the 2016 winner of the Maine Songwriter’s Association songwriting contest.

A special poem by Canada’s current Poet Laureate, George Elliott Clarke, will be read at this event.

Various people from Lac-Mégantic have been invited to share their stories.

The event begins at 7:00 PM, Sunday April 30, 2017, at the Atwater Library Auditorium, 1200 Atwater Avenue, Westmount. The event is free to the public and people should enter through the side door.

The event has received financial support from the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees.


Wine at School Board Meetings Leaves an Afterburn on the Nose

April 23, 2015



File photo.

When I saw four bottles of wine being rolled on a cart toward the English Montreal School Board(EMSB) meeting room, I thought I must be hallucinating.

But I was not.

The board, I would soon discover, regularly drinks wine during the dinner break of their monthly meetings. Both meals and beverages are paid by taxpayers.

“Was wine consumed during our meal? Yes sir, there’s usually a glass of wine consumed by whoever would like a glass of wine and that is part of the expenses we have,” confirmed Angela Mancini, chair of the EMSB.

I had asked her the question during the public question period at their January 28, 2015 board meeting. With not a scintilla of regret or acknowledgment of wrong she disclosed the board’s indulgence.

But not every school board is so fond of vino. The Lester B. Pearson School Board(LBPSB) does not follow their Montreal counterpart’s example during board meetings.

“It is not a social engagement, we are here to work,” explains Suanne Stein Day, chair of the LBPSB, “We wouldn’t think of having wine at meeting meals.”

Not only does the Lester B. not drink wine at meetings, but they also do not accept alcohol as a legitimate expense when board members attend conferences.

“Wine is not a legitimate expense at conferences, it’s something we won’t reimburse,” says Stein Day.

She draws the line at sober and reasonable.

“I don’t think the school board should be expected to purchase wine for me.”

Stein Day has good sense. When a school board drinks wine at work, at taxpayer expense, it yields an unpleasant afterburn upon the nose.

Ten Tears For A Flower Wilted

January 14, 2015


I shed ten tears for a flower wilted

Your petals have been dried toughened by time

After many seasons your earth tilted.

Along the St. Lawrence snow has melted

Young players sprout despite salt and grime

I shed ten tears for a flower wilted.

Instead of retiring your stick, once gilded

You raise it, shout, shake off slivers of slime

After many seasons your earth tilted.

But the old game continues unstilted

A man’s name is worth more than a dime

I shed ten tears for a flower wilted.

One must let honour flow unbolted

Here, even today, I hear your heart chime

After many seasons your earth tilted.

The law allows a bed to be quilted

From humiliation a blossom shall climb

I shed ten tears for a flower wilted

After many seasons your earth tilted.

The Testimony of Tony (a screwy Villainelle)

September 2, 2014

by Jack Locke


The testimony of Tony the terror

Is a Montreal mistake—oui, un error

He seems charming,  tycoon tough as nails

And, well, his yacht—Madame Charbonneau—it sails.

They make it sound like it’s wrong to deal

Have you not heard of the pork barreal?

In all his years of doing business

He’s never received such inquisiness.

The headlines will scream “nefarious rat”

But after he talks, that’ll be that

You just have to look at him that is for sure

With his suit and his tie: blue blue et demure.

Let us hear what trash he has to say

Then let him get back to biz, okay?


Bain Deserves a Fair Trial

December 8, 2012

by Jack Locke

Canada is gaining a reputation for being the land of peculiar fishing lodge owners.

First there was Red Green, in the TV comedy series of the same name. Now Richard Henry Bain has taken over the unflattering mantel as Canada’s most well-known lodge owner.

Bain, who is currently under arrest for allegedly murdering two persons outside the hall where Premier Pauline Marois was giving her victory speech, has a very serious problem. Numerous serious problems.

Why he went on a hunting trip in the middle of Montreal is a mystery? Perhaps the court’s psychiatric examination that has only now been ordered will explain his action. I do not know how he could have mistaken the two persons for moose? If his intentions were to rid Quebec of evil separatists, he chose a misguided plan.

According to news reports, the murders were not the actions of one man alone. If Bain’s recent court outbursts are correct, Jesus was the mastermind behind the tragic event.

Now, it is well-known that in Quebec the English are treated like les chiens. Of course, in Quebec, dogs at puppy mills are often treated like the English.

It could make a sane man go mad, no doubt. I myself have considered…moving.

The insanity bred from living in remote areas witnessed weekly on television with Red Green, the fictional character played by Steve Smith, at his Possum Lodge is not so far from reality. The characters on this show were fit to be tied—with duct tape, of course.

Now, the Sûreté du Quebec, Quebec’s national/provincial police, use extra heavy-duty duct tape to bind Bain’s wrists together. Now that Bain’s weapons have been removed from his possession, I do not think such measures are necessary. I could be wrong.

Whether lodge owner Bain was politically motivated or psycho-pathologically motivated is a tough question. The nightgown he was wearing on the night of the fracas is perfectly in keeping with Anglophone tradition. I have seen many a neighbour walking the streets of Westmount at night in their nightgowns.

Of course, most neighbours do not carry their loaded handguns on the streets, thank goodness.

It is very presumptuous for Premier Marois to suggest publicly that Bain was out to get her, to assassinate the leader of the National Assembly. Why would any right-minded fishing lodge owner want to prevent further linguistic bullying in Canada?

With Marois’ inappropriate pronouncements, Bain’s opportunity for a fair trial have all been thrust upon the outhouse floor. It will be interesting to see whether his lawyer asks for a change of venue to, let’s say, Toronto.

His legal council, Elfriede Duclervil, was denied access to her client upon his initial confinement, then surprised when her client spoke to a radio station for half-an-hour while under confinement. Obviously, women are not given equal opportunity at the Possum Lodge, nor at La Belle Province jail.

A fair trial will not be possible for Monsieur Bain. Imagine a jury of 12 Parti Quebecois supporters. If the issues were not so serious, they would be serious.

Now, it seems the Gouvernement du Quebec is going full steam ahead to wipe out any remaining rights or opportunities Anglophones may possess. Bill 101 is not the Charter of the French Language, it is the Charter to defecate on the English. C’est ça.

And Bain has become their bane, a scapegoat, a reason to clamp down on legal dissent.

I cannot imagine what kind of treatment Bain would receive if he were declared unable to stand trial due to mental illness. Oh, the separatists at the mental hospital would have a heyday.

He is a man, but we can change that, if we have to, hehehe.

I Have a Dream… Bill 101

December 6, 2012

by Jacques Lacque, Guest Columnist

The Parti Québecois government has released its draft improvements to Bill 101, but these changes are weak. Last night I have had a dream, a dream that one day Québec becomes a nation, a nation like once Québec was — as prosperous as it was in 1705.

It is a horrible thing to impose unequal rights on citizens, but nothing in this world is truly equal, you know? And so my dream Bill 101 would make Québec and the French language more equal, you know? More equal, yes, I like that idea.

The first thing I would suggest is that the name of The Montréal Gazette and all English media outlets be changed to reflect the real values of Québec people. For example, The Gazette could be purchased by the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal and renamed La Jazzette. It has a much more melodic sound, Jazzette. Frankly, the English letters G and J are so confusing, we must through careful legislation promote more conformity for the survival of the french language.

The second measure that ought to be implemented to ensure Québec culturelle tastes survive is the creation of a Québec navy, La Navelle. Not to become a military force, but to ensure the growth of the Beluga whale caviar industry. Yummm.

The navy would ensure that all Beluga eggs are collected for consumption by loyal Québecois and Québecoise. The St. Lawrence Seaway would be cleaned down and protected to ensure it becomes a pure shipping laine. No more polluting by English ships passing through our waters. Non!

All ships registered in English-speaking countries would be guided through our waters, taxed, and ushered away. We do not need English sailors stopping in our ports, you know?

Of course, before starting a Québec navy we would have to hold a referendum where the people would have the right to boat.

The third change to the Charter of the French Language would be to ban English Breakfast tea. What an abomination! Tea at breakfast is contrary to our values. Colonization before lunch is disgûsting, you know?

As I dreamt, the ideas just kept flowing. The myriad ways to promote unequality are unlimited. Yes, the already limited English corporations must become more limited. Walmart Limited could become, Walmart Très Limited. Second Cup must reflect la langue français and could become La Premiére Second Cup. The proprietary trade names would be respected but all trade names must exchange their anglican roots for a more all embracing, or catholic, french name.

Most important would be to impose a name change upon Bell. They should be forced to become cloched or closed, you know? Everyone knows that Alexandre Graham Cloche was forced to change his name to fit into Anglo-American society. We must fix the grave injustices of histoire.

But the best change that I dreamt up was to force the biggest corporation in the world to reflect the Québec reality. This will be a very important jobs. We must force Apple to become just another pomme on the tree, you know? Ordinateur Pomme, has a very nice ring to it. I-tele, also brings music to my ears.

But Québec must be open to compromise, and tolerant of the English scourge. Therefore Apple would be permitted to become Appel. I call upon Apple to become Appel. It is such a small, but important, change.

These are just the first changes to Bill 101 that must be adopted, you know. Tonight I shall dream of more improvements to Bill 101. Rêvé Québec Rêvé!

Why I’ve Stopped Listening To CBC Radio

February 16, 2012

(or, Why CBC drives me Batty)

First, I admit I love CBC radio, or at least I used to.

But like many a love affair, I am no longer attracted to the Mother Corp.

Call me a boor for changing channels, but I was compelled to do so.

Sitting at home with a glass of Oppoul red wine, Côtes du Roussillon Villages, 2009, in hand, I nearly spit out a mouthful having to endure another ear-injurious traffic report. Admittedly, I understand that road blockages are a serious threat to our air quality, but how many times must news of traffic jams on Montreal roadways be repeated, how many times?

What difference does it makes if 500 cars are plugging an off-ramp? If I had a heli-car, it might matter, but sitting at home in my easy chair hearing of it becomes merely audible aggravation.

I decided to clock the amount of time the local traffic reports consume. During the hour monitored, I counted more than 6 minutes of chatter by CBC’s traffic reporter Jeremy, chatter that I could not care less about. I posted my finding on Lockeblog.

There are likely hundreds of carcinogens being emitted by each car as they cut through my community, likely a few people killed by autos daily in Canada, yet the focus of CBC radio seems to be on reporting the congestion that repeats itself daily.

If I were sitting in a car on a highway that had been transformed into a parking lot, I would much rather listen to a new Canadian poem than a repetition of the repetition of the repetition of last year’s road report.

How many times do I need to know what Transport Quebec’s cameras are showing? How many times must I hear of an accident blocking traffic in the left-hand lane? How many God Damn times?

My first complaint to CBC provided no consolation. When I posted my findings online, I actually received a response by a CBC reporter. Regardless, they continue to ignore my contribution and feedback. I would say “Scrap the CBC,” but I know I would be considered a Conservative party extremist if I did.

One of the greatest thrills of my life was when I was invited to be on my favourite CBC radio program, As It Happens. I can still remember the date, September 21, 2009. My criticism of CBC radio is thus tempered by a heartfelt 3 minutes of ego massage.

However, if the federal government is considering chopping the CBC budget, please start with the traffic reports. Let listeners be given traffic report freedom—the right not to be assaulted by futile and vacillating accounts of road conditions. Maybe, just maybe, if there is a catastrophic incident, a road report might be appropriate. But reporting daily blockages that are an inevitable occurrence, why?

For motorists and wine drinkers alike, listening to a humorous, thoughtful, insightful, or tender poem would be of immeasurably more benefit than hearing about a minor fender-bender on Autoroute 15, northbound.

It has been said that the CBC possesses a Liberal bias—not so. They possess an anti-poetic bias. Six minutes per hour of traffic reports and nary a mention of poems, poets, nor poetry. No wonder poetry is dying in Canada. It is being choked out by the vacuous voices of traffic report repeaters.

The CBC will not likely mention that it has been 70 years since Earle Birney’s first book of poems was published. Why? Simply because they are too busy reporting on the slick road conditions caused by rain, snow, and Winter. Must we be reminded that Winter causes hazardous road conditions? Come on CBC!

Sadly, Canada’s Base for Culture, for me at least, has become associated with another road update in 10 minutes.

Irving The Layton The Poet Was Gay

January 25, 2012

In honour of the 100th anniversary of the birth of poet Irving Layton, (Mar 12, 2012) I have composed the following poem. In it I use some unconventional phrasing. I use the word ‘gay’ to mean ‘human.’ I hope you like it Irving, wherever you are.

Irving The Layton The Poet Was Gay

Irving the Layton the poet was gay
Some people even considered him queer
A mensch, he said what he wanted to say.

Born circumcised he didn’t need to pray
His pen and his penis caused much fear
Irving the Layton the poet was gay.

From boyhood in the hood he learned to play
His tongue his temperament both would shear
A mensch, he said what he wanted to say.

He loved the grain to roll in the hay
He loved when the right word would appear
Irving the Layton the poet was gay.

He was original not a closet cliché
He knew what loomed beneath a brassiere
A mensch, he said what he wanted to say.

There was only one law which he could obey
The voice of his heart is all he could hear
Irving the Layton the poet was gay
A mensch, he said what he wanted to say.

— — — — — — — — — — —
More about Irving Layton Centenary events can be seen at:

There is little fresh bread now to be had…

December 2, 2011

There is little time left to read my latest published Poem: There Is Little Fresh Bread Now To Be Had. Of course, fresh poetry never goes stale.

Or you can download it as a .pdf by CLICKING HERE

I Love This City With A Love Precarious

September 2, 2011

by Jack Locke

I love this city with a love precarious
There is no quadrant extant without breeze
Its potholes and knotholes are nefarious.

Mosquitoes here are non-malarious
But taxes bite more vicious than fleas
I love this city with a love precarious.

I don’t dance nor sing but enjoy vicarious
As artists perform perfect as they please
Its potholes and knotholes are nefarious.

With cultures and culprits so various
It fosters a certain vibrant unease
I love this city with a love precarious.

Here government governs hilarious
While universities bestow serious degrees
Its potholes and knotholes are nefarious.

The sidewalks of Montreal are gregarious
Grey and crumbling like me and my knees
I love this city with a love precarious
Its potholes and knotholes are nefarious.