24 June 2012


chor. Marius Petipa (1898), Aleksander Gorsky (1900)
recension Yuri Grigorovich (2003)

Bolshoi Ballet
simulcast from Moscow on 24 June 2012
with Maria Aleksandrova (Raymonda), Ruslan Skvortsov (Jean de Brienne), and Pavel Dmitrichenko (Abderahman)

The production was lavish and impressive, with peerless principals and excellent support of virtuoso soloists and corps de ballet.

16 June 2012

War of 1812

On 18 June 1812 the U.S. declared war on Great Britain. The future of Canada was at stake!

Commemorations have been minor and sporadic, with little interest anywhere. Yet it is a fundamental event in the founding of this country.

14 June 2012

Quebec students and the law

Arrests of student and other demonstrators in Quebec this spring have been been about 4000, mostly for minor offences against municipal by-laws or highway regulations. These have incurred fines for the most part, typically about $600 or $700, and do not leave a criminal record.

Pending are a number of criminal charges that are more serious, under many headings: mischief over $5000, inciting fear of a terrorist attack, possession of a prohibited weapon, obstruction of justice, assault of a police officer, conspiracy to commit a criminal act, participation in a riot, and participation in an unlawful assembly, to name most.

Four students, currently on bail, face charges relating to the smoke bombing of the Montreal subway system.

Student organizations have raised thousands of dollars to pay for legal costs and to reimburse fines.

In the residence of Amir Khadar, member of the legislature (Québec Solidaire), himself arrested and fined, is an allegorical black flag poster showing himself triumphant with rifle over the dead or dying body of the Premier of the province! The poster originated with anarchist performing group Mise en demeure who, to the tune of Ah! vous-dirais-je maman, sing about clubbing the Minister of Education on the head. It is actually the cover of their 2010 album, based on the iconic Eugène Delacroix painting of Liberty in the 1830 rebellion in France. Many, if not most of their songs involve some violence.
14 June 2012

Eugène Lacroix, La liberté guidant le peuple (1830)

This week:
About 100 demonstrators delayed their evening march to get a $10 red patch tattoo on their bodies.
Pauline Marois, leader of Parti Québécois, has been wearing the red patch.
Montreal is asking the province for $10 m to cover municipal costs related to nightly demonstrations.
An assembly of assorted pots, pans, and casseroles makes a tempting battery for a percussionist. La Presse published video of an enthusiast at work.
16 June 2012

Citizen resentment of entitled students will help the government if an election is called soon.
20 June 2012

Although Pauline Maurois was incongruously beating a casserole at Argenteuil recently, she no longer sports the red square. The PQ in power would reduce the increase in students fees, she said, but not abolish them. Opportunist that she is, she is aware of the unpopularity of the students' fizzled spring.
30 June 2012

A web site is now calling on students to prevent resumption of the interrupted semester at the 14 CEGEP's and 11 universities designated by the exceptional law. Meanwhile CLASSE has called for a return to the streets on 22 July.
[Montreal Gazette, 12 July 2012]

As delayed term resumed numerous student protesters and hangers-on, many of them masked, disrupted classes at the Université de Montréal and UQAM. Police intervened at UQAM, and 20 were arrested, all but one charged under Law 12 of 18 May 2012. Most students have voted for an end of the six-month strike. [28 August 2012]

09 June 2012

naked and ugly in Quebec

Jacques Villeneuve commented about the students this week that they must have grown up with parents who never said "no". They were tiresome, threatening to disrupt Grand Prix Formula 1 in Montreal and, he thought, "it's time to go back to school."

Villeneuve, 41, was Formula 1 world champion in 1997. The response to his comment was a ton of abusive e-mail, including death threats.
[Montreal Gazette, 8 June 2012]

The 48th nightly demonstration, illegal but tolerated, turned vicious with the smashing of bank windows. The crowd was dispersed by riot police with numerous arrests.
[La Presse, 10 June 2012]

In Quebec Superior Court Chief Justice François Rolland to-day heard first arguments on behalf of a student association (CLASSE, Coalition large de l'association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante) against the special law of 18 May 2012 [L.Q. 2012, c. 12].
[La Presse, 12 June 2012]

Chief Justice rejected actions against parts of the law. Validity of the entire law will be considered in the autumn at the earliest, or perhaps not until January. The Court of Appeal declined to consider the case after presentation of arguments.

The Human Rights Commission*  meanwhile found the law of 18 May 2012  [L.Q. 2012, c. 12] incompatible with the Quebec Charter of Human Rights & Freedoms, citing articles 12-31. 
[Montreal Gazette, 20 July 2012]
                         * Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse
                           The Commission's report is a mere opinion of no juridical consequence.

A provincial election has been called in Quebec for 4 September 2012. “In the last few months we’ve heard a lot from a number of student leaders," said Premier Jean Charest. "We’ve heard from people in the street. We’ve heard from those who have been hitting away at pots and pans. Now is the time for the silent majority.”
 [in Quebec City, 1 August 2012, after the electoral writ was signed by the Lieutenant-Governor]

Parti Québécois immediately announced, if elected, it would cancel increases in student tuition and scrap the exceptional law of 18 May 2012. Léo Bureau-Blouin is running as candidate in Laval des Rapides; he is past president of Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ).

07 June 2012

showcase my photography

Parliament Hill, Ottawa (2006)

I am starting to create a portfolio of my photography, adding a few items each day, and inviting comments and critique. It is at a site for serious photographers, amateur and professional:

garden show (2012)

01 June 2012

Ça casse!

Bonjour, Québec: Well, more fun in the street, red and black flags, lots of bling blang cacerolada — semester is suspended anyways. And, hey, Grand Prix Formula 1 is a few days off!

Who is actually on strike? It appears to be primarily students at 11 universities and 14 CEGEPs (community colleges) — that is where the semester has been suspended until August. The number of students registered in 161 protesting associations was 154,163 on 23 May 2012 — about a third of students in the province.

The strike, now into 16th week, kicked off in a small way on 23 February 2012, picking up steam along the way.