The Last Updates were made at 04/12/98 at 1:00 am.

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Welcome to the Montreal Ice Storm '98 Reporting Site!

Ice Storm '98 was the worst storm that Canada faced during this century. Take a tour of this site to find out more about it, leave comments and find out how you can help. 

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Today's Headline News

Wednesday, February 11, 1998 8:00 pm

  • Quebec and Ottawa have come no closer to an agreement about the additional compensation that will be contributed by the Federal Government. Quebec still wants Ottawa to anty up 90% of the funds, including a sizeable amount directly to Hydro Quebec. Ottawa says 50% and no compensation to Hydro Quebec.
  • In spite of these negotiating problems, Quebec will start to allocate funds from its own $130+ million compensation program to small and medium sized businesses. Among the items covered are those not covered by normal insurance or other assistance. For example, the cost of generators, de-icing, repairs to damaged buildings and lost inventory. The program covers small business with up to 100 emloyees which were without power on January 12th. In some cases, companies with up to 150 employees will be covered if damages would otherwise force the company into bankruptcy. The deadline for claims for generator compensation is April 30 and for other claims it is June 30.
  • My own read on this is that all of these programs are fine and dandy, but they will never come close to covering the true costs associated with the storm for many businesses and many individuals. For example, what about businesses that are not eligible under those items laid out above who incurred severe loss of sales that are non-recoverable? What about individuals who were not paid because their employer was closed or they were otherwise unable to work?  The government is already talking about further extensions of the compensation program to take into account rent and other overhead expenses. But it's simply not a fair system. The compensation is all geared to those that suffered physical damages or power outages. Yet it doesn't take into account the hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses that were not affected in these ways, yet saw drastically reduced sales. For example, businesses in downtown Montreal were literally forced to close for a week. It doesn't take into account those individuals who were not eligible for compensation for being without power, yet whose income was affected due to the power outages and work restrictions.  I am never one to gripe without a solution: Offer companies who still paid their employees in spite of verifiable sales losses compensation. Offer those employees who were not paid due to storm-related problems with their employer compensation. Offer those self-employed individuals who were suffered income loss compensation.  In essense, compensate on what would have been if it were not for the consequences of this storm. I  don't agree that any level of government - be it Ottawa or Quebec - should be compensating Hydro. Hydro can't control the weather, but they were incredibly ill-prepared for this. In any event, compensation is simply a redistribution of funds. In the long-run, we'll all end of paying for it. The governments don't simply print money for the heck of it. It comes from taxpayers pockets.

 

Thursday, February 6, 1998 5:00 PM

  • Federal Treasury Board President, Marcel Massť, has said that the Federal Government will not be giving Quebec the $1 billion in aid that was expected. At his conference, Massť said that the federal government has done its share, having already provided close to $600 million to Quebec's relief efforts. Part of the dilemma is the money Quebec is asking for would be used in part to help with Hydro Quebec's repairs, while the Federal Disaster Relief Program does not cover Crown or large corporations. One-third of the one billion was expected to go to Hydro Quebec.
  • Hydro Quebec's expected 1997 profits = 630$ million.
  • Unemployment figures showed an increase to11.3% for January, up from December's 10.4% for the province of Quebec.

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