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Morning Brew: January 10, 2008

Posted by Sisi / January 10, 2008

Photo: "Foggy Day," by Midnight Poutine Flickr pooler kimberley blue.

Your morning news roundup for Thursday, January 10th, 2008:

Over 100,000 Hydro-Québec clients were "plunged into darkness" yesterday as strong winds knocked out electrical lines in several Quebec regions. About 10,700 homes were affected in Montreal alone. According to a spokesperson, winds of up to 90 km/h blew off tree branches that become entangled with electrical wires in a few sections of the grid. The wind was expected to move east yesterday evening, and workers have been sent out to replace the power lines.

A considerable number of doctors are planning to cut back their hours or stop working completely within the next 2 years, according to a new survey of 20,000 Canadian physicians. 4,000 (or 20 percent) plan to stop practicing, backing claims of a worsening doctor shortage. An additional 35 percent said they would cut back their hours. Although the 2007 National Physician Survey shows that most doctors are happy with their professional lives, they are also frustrated by system funding, paperwork, and not having relevant patient information when needed.

The city of Montreal's contract costs are "soaring" above what they used to be before Mayor Gérald Tremblay took office in 2002. The amount spent on professional consulting fees (such as on architects and lawyers) is to increase by 29.4 percent this year compared to last year, which translates to an increase of $16.1 million. Also, the outsourcing of physical work (snow clearing, water network repairs, recycling and garbage collection) will rise to $251.4 million from $220.5 million. The Tremblay administration says the increase is due to their record investment in improving the city's infrastructure, but critics say spending is out of control.

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