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Morning Brew: February 26, 2008

Posted by Sisi / February 26, 2008

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Photo: "Imitation is...," by Midnight Poutine Flickr pooler sashamd.

Your morning news roundup for Tuesday, February 26th, 2008:

Surprise surprise, more health woes. Quebec dentists have issued a 30-day ultimatum to the provincial government: jack up medicare fees or face service cutbacks. As many as 70 percent of the Quebec Association of Dental Surgeons are ready to ditch the system because "coverage is so low," according to the QADS president. That means free service to children under 10 and those on social aid would cease completely. Under the current fee structure, dentists are treating people for $11 an hour. The association is demanding a 35 percent raise to cover rising operational costs (a.k.a. $14.85 an hour). The province said it's ready to offer a 24 percent increase, the equivalent of $13.64 an hour.

The new Habs training center currently under construction in the South Shore collapsed yesterday afternoon, lightly injuring four people. The workers were installing steel sheets on the roof when the whole thing went Humpty-Dumpty. They suffered some back injuries, but luckily were wearing their security harnesses. One worker, Jean-Louis Tellier, said he heard a noise before part of the building collapsed. He remained stuck on top. A crane was dispatched to "rescue" him, but since it couldn't reach him he scrambled down "the old-school way." (Whatever that means.) Axor, the company behind the project, estimates that 10-15 percent of the structure fell down while the rest is considered unstable. The construction site will be closed while a group of engineers and investigators from the CSST check out the problem. Visit this site for some pics.

In all but a few boroughs, it's illegal to idle your car for more than three minutes in Montreal. However, it's a rarely enforced bylaw. Technically, the bylaw has been around since the '70s but it was only in 2005 that the city announced it would roll up its sleeves in earnest. Promises, promises: in 2007, only 106 out of 1.3 million tickets for "non-moving violations" on the island were for idling cars. At 0.008 percent, that proportion is less than brilliant. (In normal person talk, "non-moving violations" mean stationary infractions like bad parking and expired license plates.) Here are some suggestions to prevent idling. 30 seconds is all it really takes to warm up the car; the previous generation took 5 to 10 minutes, but not so for modern vehicles. Then, drive slowly for 30 seconds to get the oil flowing. Won't leave the driveway till the car's toasty? Suck it up and slap on more clothes instead. Idling too long can actually cause damage. Studies show that if you idle for more than 10 seconds (except in traffic), you save money and fuel by actually stopping and restarting the car. Automatic car starters also create idling, so do it the old-fashioned way.

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