It is a quiet time in Montreal right now news wise at least and for the fist time in a long time nothing of grand import is happening her politically, in fact the active volcano which is usually Quebec, or the burning out of control oil well seems to have been put out by the tragedy of Lac Megantic, like dropping an explosive charge into the well or the volcano’s mouth. That is not the only thing that is quiet in Montreal and in Quebec these days; tourism is down and the streets look so vacant; so different from the old days when everyone, every language and every race was welcome in Quebec, especially Montreal; what was that called again, “Multiculturalism”?
I was fascinated to find out that the police in Montreal have decided to take advantage of a bylaw that should have been taken off the books when the city all went under the one civic government and could possibly turn a quiet walk in the park into an unpleasant experience for unknowing and unsuspecting tourists and residents of Montreal alike. The ticket is not a little one it is $100.00 for the 1st offense and up to $1000.00 for every additional offense. There are no warning signs in either official language and the law does not apply to all parks or even all boroughs of the city, adding to the confusion and I think the unfairness of the ticketing.
In some parks in certain boroughs of Montreal it is forbidden to walk on the grass. One muss stay on the pathways especially when exiting the parks. These I might add are small parks managed by the boroughs themselves usually located behind metro stations and are usually no more that squares of grass with perhaps a few benches and a pathway used as a thoroughfare, or short cut for pedestrians and a gathering place or sleeping spot for the homeless people.
Police and city officials claim that they must enforce the bylaw, because the grass in these paces is already badly worn and that they will continue to do so wherever they see the problem of worn grass in such areas. the problem for me is that there is no signage and it is not common knowledge which boroughs the law is being applied in, or which parks and so unsuspecting people have been getting tickets. This reminds me of the traffic cop who sits across the street from a stop sign that can not be seen by the driver of a vehicle, because of an obstruction not taken care of by the city and hands out tickets all day. The city enjoying the increase in revenues does not fix the sign and continues to profit of the giving of unfair tickets.
Reported in the Montreal Gazette,”After the 2002 municipal merger, local parks came under the authority of Montreal’s boroughs. In 2010, the central city changed the bylaws governing large parks, including Mount Royal and Lafontaine, so that walking on the grass was no longer banned. Many boroughs followed suit, but some didn’t, including Ville-Marie, Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Côte-des-Neiges — Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and the Sud-Ouest.”
There is another problem with this by-law to me and it is the idea that it was intended to stop the homeless from congregating in these areas and force them to keep moving from spot to spot. The civic leaders of the greater island of Montreal treat and think of the homeless as just another eyesore, like an abandoned property, a dilapidated building that is considered a blemish to the reputation of what is supposed to be a modern, successful thriving city. This shuffling of people in an attempt by governments to lessen the obviousness that we do not take care of our homeless and to try and make them invisible by never letting them gather in amounts that become noticeable to strangers to the city, rather than do something meaningful to end or reduce homelessness by correcting the flaws in our culture that encourage it in the first place, I find offensive and hypocritical.
In a city such as Montreal I find it almost silly that it would try to make a buck off of its citizens for walking on the grass in what are supposed to be public areas that our tax dollars pay the up keep for. My question is why are these parks in such disrepair in the first place? Why is the city putting grass in areas where it can not afford to maintain them? Why is there no signage asking , or warning people to stay off of the grass? Do the police truly have nothing better to do than ticket people for walking on the grass? Is the city, or borough that desperate to raise monies that they need to resort to this type of money grab?
If this is not enough well take what happened recently when a woman who had been in the Montreal Children’s Hospital‘s emergency room with her son all day tried to get onto a bus without exact change, offering to just give the $5 bill so she could get her and her son home. The bus driver refused to take the money and ordered her off the bus (compassionate fellow; woman child 10pm at night). The woman is warned she could get a ticket if the inspectors get on the bus and ask for proof of payment. Sure enough out of the blue the STM would have us believe inspectors get on that particular bus without the driver having called for help, go directly to the woman and her child and remove them from the bus at 10pm at night not for trying to get a free ride, but for not having exact change and on top of stranding a woman and child in the dark on a street, to give the mom a ticket for $216 never checking anyone else on the bus for proof of payment. The bus driver, the STM and city officials with their stupid laws of convenience endangered the lives of a mother in child, because they refused to accept her payment, because it was not in the right change, because of a stupid rule.
When children can not run free in fields of dandelions because of fear of parents being fined by the city and our rapid transit workers will strand a woman and her child on the street after dark endangering their lives I must say that this makes me ashamed to live in Montreal. I am so glad that nothing happened to the mom and child, but what if something had, because of an exact change rule. Come to Montreal and have a great vacation if you do not have exact change for rapid transit and are stuck we do not care, if you try to pay we will ticket you and deposit you in the street and stay the hell off our grass, or else! With the language stresses of Quebec and these stupid rule ands by laws.