Montreal councillors caught playing solitaire during citizen Q&A

Elected officials were caught playing Solitaire on their laptop during a citizen Q&A at a Montreal City Council meeting Monday, January 28, 2013.



MONTREAL - QMI Agency caught several city councillors visiting Facebook and playing solitaire in during a citizen Q&A at City Hall, but not one of them apologized after they were busted.

Asked to explain why he was playing cards while Montrealers were asking questions, Coun. Luis Miranda didn't miss a beat.

"I do what I want with my laptop," said Miranda, a member of disgraced former mayor Gerald Tremblay's Union Montreal party.

"I can still hear what's happening in the chamber," he added. "I'm still paying attention."

Colleague Frank Venneri, caught playing cards by a QMI photograher, had a similar cavalier response.

QMI also caught Coun. Francois Limoges visiting the Kijiji online classifieds website during the town hall meeting. He insisted it was strictly business.

"I was surfing on Kijiji because I'm concerned about the gentrification of my district," he said.

He said he needed to have an overview of his local rental market to understand how many poor Montrealers are being squeezed out by house-flippers.

Limoges also said that visiting Facebook or Twitter during a town hall meeting doesn't mean councillors aren't listening to citizens.

"We can walk and chew gum at the same time," said Limoges.

"We're quite aware of what's happening around us."
But Limoges refused to defend Miranda and Venneri's solitaire games.

"I wouldn't go that far," he said.

"When I'm on the web, I want to limit it to my work."

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