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  1. Stewart Museum shuts for $4.5-million refit To reopen in 2010; military drills continue The Gazette Published: 9 hours ago The Stewart Museum in the Old Fort on Île Ste. Hélène has closed for 18 months for a $4.5-million renovation program. The museum, which attracts about 60,000 visitors a year, is housed in a 188-year-old building that needs to be upgraded to meet 21st-century standards. "It means bringing the building up to scratch," said Bruce Bolton, executive director of the Macdonald Stewart Foundation, which rents the facility from the city. The work will include the installation of elevators, new windows and a sprinkler system. Another $500,000 will be spent to refurbish the permanent collection of artifacts, which hasn't been touched since 1992. The city has leased the property to the Macdonald Stewart Foundation since 1963 for use as a military and maritime museum. In 1985 it became the Macdonald Stewart Museum, and in the '90s became simply the Stewart Museum in the Old Fort. The museum is expected to re-open in May 2010. When it does, it will offer a revised educational program of activities. "In the past we offered quite a few group activities, perhaps too many, so we plan to clean up the act," said Sylvia Neider Deschênes, the museum's communications chief. The museum will be closed, but the military drills in the parade square will continue. "We will not touch the two ceremonial military regiments, the Compagnie franche de la Marine and the 78th Fraser Highlanders," Neider Deschênes said. "That's one program that sets us apart from other museums. We're adamant about keeping them. All the military animation programs will run next summer."
  2. ANALYSIS Corruption probes, broken bridges, the sad decline of Montreal A great place to lunch, but the city's problems are more than sinkhole deep By Neil Macdonald, CBC News Posted: Mar 22, 2016 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 22, 2016 5:00 AM ET The Turcot Interchange, in Montreal’s southwest borough near the McGill University Health Centre superhospital, is the meeting place for highways 15, 20 and 720, plus the onramp for the Champlain Bridge. Work on it has been caught up in the Charbonneau Commission corruption probe. (FOTOimages/MTQ) About The Author Neil Macdonald Senior Correspondent Neil Macdonald is a Senior Correspondent for CBC News, currently based in Ottawa. Prior to that he was the CBC's Washington correspondent for 12 years, and before that he spent five years reporting from the Middle East. He also had a previous career in newspapers, and speaks English and French fluently, and some Arabic. More by Neil Macdonald Video by Neil Macdonald Driving into Montreal last week, plunging down the concrete ditch of the Decarie Expressway from that weird left-lane exit off the Trans-Canada Highway, was, sorry, a bit like arriving in Beirut. Apologies to Beirut. That was a slur. Montreal's soaring overlay of traffic corridors weeps corrosion down their flaked and crumbling concrete exteriors. Lattices of rusted rebar pop everywhere. Bridges are wrapped in un-reassuring bandages of reinforcing material. A week or so earlier, on assignment, my CBC documentary crew navigated a similarly complex system of ramps, spirals, bridges, loops and cloverleafs in Houston. It practically sparkled. Smooth, brightly polished towers supported flawless pavement. Yes, Texas has a milder climate, but still Houston's system looked properly built and well maintained. Think about this: Texans pay just about the lowest tax rates between the Rio Grande and the Arctic Circle. Quebecers pay just about the highest. Nathalie Normandeau, ex-deputy premier, arrested by UPAC Quebec budget: Couillard tries to turn a page Fed up Montrealer fills pothole himself Mythologized Now, these observations won't be welcomed by readers in Quebec's metropolis. The ferocious devotion of Montrealers to Montreal (which I think runs even deeper among the city's Anglo residents) beggars the sometimes arrogant, self-proclaimed cosmopolitanism of Torontonians and smug contentment of Vancouverites. Montrealers believe that their city has a cultural richness equalled in North America only by cities like New Orleans or New York, and having lived there, I would agree. Aside from the international riot of its cuisine and its remarkable nightlife, Montreal is still gloriously louche. Eat lunch at a Montreal restaurant and you'll see wine on neighbouring tables. Imagine ordering alcohol at a business lunch in Toronto? No other Canadian city has been mythologized by the likes of Mordecai Richler or Leonard Cohen (or Robert Charlebois and Michel Tremblay or all the other playwrights and bards who have poured their love of the city into words and song). Montreal provokes a lifelong sentimentality in anyone who's lived there. But the city's pathologies, rather than its pleasures, are now what distinguishes it. Such is the state of the city's physical and social infrastructure that all the new spending in today's federal budget would only make a dent. <button class="play-button" style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 0px; margin: 0px; cursor: pointer; width: 151.797px; height: 258.75px; border: none; outline: none; background-image: url("data:image/png;base64,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"); background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: 50% 50%; background-repeat: no-repeat;">Play Media</button> Montreal sinkhole swallows 2 cars2:53 Its tangle of decaying roads leads, among other places, to the second-busiest single-span bridge in Canada, the Champlain, which has for years been choked by chronic closures. It is literally in danger of collapse. That not only inflicts misery on the entire South Shore, with all its commuters, it distorts real estate prices, artificially inflating property values downtown. Who wouldn't pay a premium to avoid crossing Montreal's overcrowded bridges or sitting in standstill traffic on lanes to the West Island that seem eternally filled with construction detours? Don't get sick Something else you really don't want to do in Montreal: get sick. Quebec has been more permissive than any other province in allowing people to pay for their own medical care, for good reason: the public system isn't able to meet demand on its own. In fact, the province has had to deliberately limit its cohort of physicians. To boomers entering the age when you need care the most, that must be frightening. As you turn east into downtown at the bottom of the Decarie Expressway, the new McGill super-hospital perches on a hillside to your left. It was supposed to be a fresh alternative to over-crowded institutions like the Royal Victoria Hospital, which English-speaking Montrealers have endured for decades. Instead, it's emerged as a millennial version of the Olympic Stadium, the rotting monstrosity that sucked up $1.5 billion, and now sits, largely underused, in the city's East End. The super-hospital arrived vastly over budget, with thousands of defects, from defective wiring to lack of office space for physicians, to backups of stinking sewage, as the Montreal media have dutifully chronicled. Feast of corruption Like the "Big O," its construction was a feast for corrupt contractors and administrators. Several now face criminal charges. Just last week, the province's former deputy premier (and former minister of municipal affairs) was arrested for corruption, along with a slew of other public officials. Nathalie Normandeau: the rise and fall of a political star Nathalie Normandeau had actually testified at the 2014 hearings of the Charbonneau Commission, which was established to look into corruption in the construction industry and government contracts. Former Liberal deputy premier Nathalie Normandeau is one of seven people arrested last week on corruption charges in the wake of the Charbonneau Commission inquiry, which was established, reluctantly, by her former boss, Jean Charest. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press) You have to wonder whether the Cliche Commission, which was established in the early 1970s to look into, yes, corruption in Quebec's construction industry, anticipated the need for another official inquiry just a few decades after one of its lawyers, a young Brian Mulroney, penned a savage indictment of blackmail, violence and payoffs. A Montreal businessman I've known for years, a fellow who has prospered in real estate management and who is now planning a move to Toronto, shrugs at all this. He's been paying kickbacks for years, and has a hard time believing it required a commission of inquiry to establish that corruption continues. Anyway, pity Montreal. My former colleagues and current friends there sneered amicably when I decided to return to the national capital rather than Montreal after nearly two decades abroad; there were all the usual japes about sleepy, dull, unbearably sterile little Ottawa. But in Ottawa, you actually get services for the taxes you pay, which are a lot lower than the levies Montrealers suffer, and you can find a doctor, and Mike Duffy's Senate expenses constitute a big scandal. Plus, as Pierre Trudeau's old friend Jean Marchand liked to say, if you get really bored there's always the train to Montreal.