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Morning Brew: January 17, 2008

Posted by Sisi / January 17, 2008

Photo: "St. James United Church concert I," by Midnight Poutine Flickr pooler fermata.daily.

Your morning news roundup for Thursday, January 17th, 2008:

Transit strike update: A public strike is "on the horizon" as talks broke down this week between the city of Montreal and the drivers' union, according to a report. The Montreal Transit Corporation (MTC) said both sides are still talking, but the president of the drivers' union told the Canadian Press that "negotiations are dead." The MTC and the union are expected to meet today to work out a schedule of essential services in case of a strike. Both parties will also meet again with the provincial conciliator tomorrow. Strike action will build up gradually, the union president said, with drivers walking out one day a week starting in March.

Francophone activist groups are targeting the minister responsible for protecting the status of the French language, Christine St-Pierre, after a series of Journal de Montréal articles revealed that unilingual anglophones are able to get jobs downtown. One group called Les Jeunes Patriotes du Québec (JPQ) posted a "Missing" flyer on its website depicting St-Pierre with a reward of $101,000. The group announced plans to picket St-Pierre's Montreal office on Sunday. Gilles Rhéaume, who represents La ligue québécoise contre la francophobie canadienne has written a letter to Premier Jean Charest calling for St-Pierre's resignation. ADQ leader Mario Dumont refused to get involved beyond "deploring" English-only sign, while PQ leader Pauline Marois called for a tightening of language rules.

The MTC and Communauto have partnered to offer customers a transport service that blends cars and public transit. From now on, monthly CAM users can become members of Communauto for $5 extra per month. They will then have access to a fleet of over 700 cars, with 540 on the island of Montreal alone. Communauto is a private Quebec company whose vehicles are spread out in 150 parking lots across the island. Members can reserve cars by telephone or Internet. The car keys are on site, in a safe box to which members have the key. While gas is included, customers are charged both by time ($1,55 an hour) and distance (29¢/km).

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