SQ French-only tweets ‘ludicrous’: CSL councillor

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The Suburban Newspaper, August 6th, 2014

The Sûreté du Québec’s policy of issuing messages on Twitter to the general public in French only is “ludicrous,” says Côte St. Luc Councillor Glenn Nashen.

Nashen, who has also complained about the lack of English on the Montreal fire department’s website, displayed a Twitter conversation he had with the SQ on his blog.

In response to a French SQ general Twitter message about safety during the vacation period, Nashen asked if the SQ shouldn’t also be wishing English-speaking Quebecers a safe vacation as well.

The SQ responded, in English, that it wishes everyone a safe vacation.

“The account is in French only, but we respond in English to English tweets,” the SQ message adds, in English.
Nashen then asked if the SQ has an English-language Twitter account.

The SQ responded in English that the SQ only has a French-language Twitter account for now, “but thank you for the suggestion!”
Nashen was not satisfied.

“How ludicrous it is that the provincial police will not communicate with hundreds of thousands of English-speaking Quebecers plus hundreds of thousands more tourists and visitors unless they are asked a question in English?” the councillor wrote on his blog. “This nonsense has gone unchecked for far too long and it’s high time that the Liberal government correct the overzealous policies of its departments that are nothing short of mean-spirited, disrespectful and counter-productive in the dispensing of public safety and public service messages.

“The Sûreté du Québec / Quebec Police Force have a mandate to serve all who live in or visit Quebec,” he added. “They have an obligation to communicate with the people they serve, through various means, including social media. Yet, their policy on use of English on Twitter, as indicated above, shows a blatant disregard for all English-speaking Quebecers and English-speaking visitors. Public safety messages are broadcast in French only. To hell with English, they’ll only reply to specific questions in that other language.”

Nashen also wrote that Premier Philippe Couillard “made it clear in the election campaign, barely four months ago, that English is not a disease and English-speaking Quebecers are not the enemy here. Our language does not diminish the French language at all. He said not a single Quebec parent doesn’t want their children to be bilingual. It’s time to prove he meant what he said and to loosen the stranglehold that Bill 101 has on every public agency, department and service under the Quebec government. Then, even the SQ could wish us all a happy and safe vacation.”

The Suburban contacted the SQ. An official told us that the Quebec government determines that the SQ’s Twitter messages are in French, “because French is the official language of Quebec.”

The official added that English will be tweeted in case of emergencies, in case of a life in danger and if an anglophone is involved.
“We will then do it in English, exceptionally,” the official said.

We tweet in French, Quebec Police Force

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Conversation with the Quebec Police Force on Twitter, July 30, 2014

Conversation with the Quebec Police Force on Twitter, July 30, 2014

 

How ludicrous it is that the provincial police will not communicate with hundreds of thousands of English-speaking Quebecers plus hundreds of thousands more tourists and visitors unless they are asked a question in English?
This nonsense has gone unchecked for far too long and it’s high time that the Liberal government correct the overzealous policies of its departments that are nothing short of mean-spirited, disrespectful and counter-productive in the dispensing of public safety and public service messages.
The Surete du Quebec / Quebec Police Force has a mandate to serve all who live in or visit Quebec. They have an obligation to communicate with the people they serve, through various means including social media. Yet, their policy on use of English on Twitter, as indicated above, shows a blatant disregard for all English-speaking Quebecers and English-speaking visitors. Public safety messages are broadcast in French only. To hell with English, they’ll only reply to specific questions in that other language. And forget seeking out a job with the QPF, errr SQ, in English, as that section is in French only on their website.
Premier Couillard made it clear in the election campaign, barely four months ago, that English is not a disease and English-speaking Quebecers are not the enemy here. Our language does not diminish the French language at all. He said not a single Quebec parent doesn’t want their children to be bilingual. It’s time to prove he meant what he said and to loosen the stranglehold that Bill 101 has on every public agency, department and service under the Quebec Government. Then, even the SQ could wish us all a happy and safe vacation.

Letter: No one should blame police for the unfortunate death of man at centre of standoff

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THE GAZETTE AUGUST 20, 2013

Re: “Côte-St-Luc man, 71, arrested in standoff dies” (Gazette, Aug. 20)

It is very unfortunate that Isidore Havis, the man at the centre of the Côte-St-Luc standoff, has passed away, but the police should not be chastised or held accountable for the unfortunate ending.

The authorities did everything in their power and under the circumstances to try get the man to surrender peacefully and without harm, all to no avail. Such a standoff should have taken no more than a few hours to be resolved, yet they waited patiently for nearly 20 hours.

The police may not be perfect, yet every day they put themselves in harm’s way to protect honest, law-abiding citizens and suffer casualties to themselves and their property. They, too, are human and should be given more credit than condemnation. They tried their best to resolve the standoff in order to avert loss of life.

Daniel Evans

Pierrefonds

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

In my opinion:

As I wrote on my blog a few weeks ago I believe the police did a superb job in this case, acting with calm, cool professionalism seeking to bring about a peaceful resolution. They were focused on public safety, on securing the neighbourhood, on ensuring the well-being of those in the immediate vicinity – police officers and residents alike – and presumably on the safety of the suspect as well.

I am well aware that our local PDQ9 Commander Bissonnette was on scene throughout the incident and his concern for the community is of primary importance.

Thank you to the Montreal and Quebec Provincial Police departments for their work and to their officers for putting themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe.

Please see my letter to the Montreal Gazette concerning the need for gun control.  I received many hateful and despicable responses to my letter from those who supposedly and erroneously proclaim a right to bear arms, presumably to defend the right to speak freely which they would seek to deny me. Fortunately, all of the feedback from Cote Saint-Lucers was most positive and supportive.

It is very unfortunate that Mr, Havis has died.  I extend my condolences to his family.

Montreal Police to get new, dark uniforms

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affiche_blue_black

 

The Montreal Police Department is fading to black.  Well, at least their shirts are.  After decades of a lighter, softer look, the force is conforming to the growing trend cross Canadian police departments by sporting dark, blue-black uniform shirts.

There was a time when most police departments across Quebec outfitted their cops in the light blue shirt (white for top brass).  Personally, I find the lighter hues to be friendlier and approachable.  I particularly despise the Quebec Police Force (Surete du Quebec) khaki uniform which looks very paramilitary and gives the wrong first impression of our dedicated and professional uniformed officers.

The new black shirts for the Montreal Police Department might make our officers, Montreal’s Finest, look like their counterparts from big American cities.  A little too scary from my perspective given that Montreal’s crime rates are lower than large American cities or Toronto.

To their credit the Police Department asserts that, “Our philosophy does not change. We remain a community police department. Our officers are mandated to be in their community and to get closer to the people and the colour of the uniform does not in any way change our approach”.  That’s the most important thing and I appreciate that they hold this philosophy at the heart of their mission.

Regardless of the colour of their shirt the Montreal Police Department  must stick by their motto, “Proud to serve you”.

 

Move Over Law now the rule of the road in Quebec

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Quebec’s new Move Over law takes effect today.  Not abiding by this very important regulation will cost you, both in dollars and demerits.  Rest assured that Police will be looking out for infractions as this law is aimed specifically at making them, and their fellow first responders, much safer on the road.

I first heard of this law a few months ago when I learned of a Montrealer who was nabbed in upstate New York and handed a hefty fine.  I thought it had great merit and began blogging about it only to find out that a young paramedic from the Eastern Townships had started an online petition.  Fast forward only a couple of months and this new law was created.

So drive carefully, especially when passing emergency vehicles.

Read more:

Quebec drivers will have to move over for emergency vehicles on the highway

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Quebec+drivers+will+have+move+over+emergency+vehicles+highway/7013722/story.html#ixzz22CprXi4I

https://gjnashen.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/ever-hear-of-a-move-over-law-this-tip-can-save-you-time-and-money/

Quebec to bring in lane-change law to shield emergency crews

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Quebec to bring in lane-change law to shield emergency crews. (Montreal Gazette)

MONTREAL – This summer, Quebec will join the vast majority of North American jurisdictions, compelling motorists to slow down and change lanes when they come upon emergency vehicles.

That includes police cars, fire trucks, ambulances and tow trucks with flashing lights, as well as Transport Quebec trucks carrying illuminated directional arrows. The penalty for violators: a fine of $200 to $300, plus four demerit points.

Since 2008, four Sûrété de Québec officers have been killed by passing motorists and 214 SQ cars stopped on highways have been rammed by other vehicles, according to Quebec Transport Minister Pierre Moreau.

The change in the law, adopted by the National Assembly Thursday and expected to take effect in late July or August, was welcome news to Urgences Santé paramedic Patrick Dufresne, who has campaigned for a so-called “move- over” law here.

He started researching such laws in 2005 after treating a Sûreté du Québec officer hit by a passing vehicle while standing on a highway shoulder. The officer survived.

Dufresne learned most jurisdictions had or were about to introduce laws compelling drivers to change lanes when emergency vehicles or tow trucks were stopped on highways.

Today, eight Canadian provinces have such laws, according to the Canadian Automobile Association. Forty-nine U.S. states also have move-over laws, says Move Over, America, a coalition promoting such laws.

In the U.S., since 1999, more than 150 law-enforcement officers have died after being struck by passing vehicles while standing on highway shoulders, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

When SQ officer Vincent Roy was hit and killed by a passing truck while giving a ticket to a motorist on a highway in Bromont in December, Dufresne was haunted by memories of the SQ officer he had treated years earlier.

“I didn’t understand why Quebec still didn’t have a move-over law,” Dufresne said in an interview.

“I’ve seen it myself on highways – people have driven too close to me. They’re curious and want to see what’s happening and don’t realize that when you’re looking somewhere you can veer in that direction” inadvertently.

Dufresne decided to do something about it, starting a campaign to alert the public to the dangers of driving near emergency vehicles.

He also launched a petition – by this week, it had 8,700 names on it – to convince Quebec to adopt a move-over law.

The new section of Quebec’s Highway Safety Code explains what motorists must do when approaching emergency vehicles that are on or are by the side of the road.

A motorist must:

Slow down in a safe manner.

Change lanes if one is available in the same direction to ensure a lane remains clear between his or her vehicle and the emergency vehicle, but only if the driver is able to switch lanes safely. If a lane change is not possible, a motorist must move as far as possible from emergency vehicles while in the lane.

In Ontario, penalties are stiffer for violators of that province’s move-over law.

For a first offence, the fine is $400 to $2,000, plus three demerit points.

For a second offence, fines can reach $4,000, with the possibility of jail time of up to six months and a driver’s licence suspension of up to two years.

In addition to adding move-over provisions, Quebec is also changing the wording of a section of the Highway Safety Code related to emergency vehicles that are travelling with their lights or sirens in operation.

The code now says motorists must “make way” for such vehicles.

It will be changed to make clear that a motorist must yield to such vehicles. The penalty for those who break the rule: a fine of $200 to $300, plus four demerit points.

ariga@montrealgazette.com

Twitter: @andyriga

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Quebec+bring+lane+change+shield+emergency+crews/6711183/story.html#ixzz1wsYVMziY

In my opinion:  This is good news for public safety professionals and volunteers who are often in harms way when they are stopped at the side of the road to provide assistance or enforcement.  I blogged about the need for this just last month having learned about this law in Vermont and New York.  Days later I learned that there was a movement to bring in such legislation in Quebec.  Bravo to the Quebec Minister of Transport and especially to Paramedic Patrick Dufresne for bringing this to light in Quebec.