P.T. Barnum, the legendary circus master, is credited with saying “I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.”

Maybe so, but I’m not sure Montreal would consider this a particularly stellar week for publicity.

For a winter city, what happened downtown on Monday morning was an embarrassment. We are better than this.

A little baby snowfall and we have a demolition derby that has been seen and laughed at millions of time around the world. Montreal of the north, the butt of jokes.

But it was serious business. The driver hit by a bus got the fright of his life.

But for the mayor, on CJAD this week, it was seemingly not a big deal.

"Not a day goes by when there isn't a sort of weird story. The whole world saw the bus sliding down the other day. Shit happens," said Denis Coderre.

It could have been a lot worse. It was a clear case of negligence because the city had neglected to clear the road.

The salt trucks were out early but somehow they missed half of Beaver Hall Hill.

So to dismiss it in such a cavalier manner, well, you be the judge.

O Christmas Tree

Now to the size matters debate.

The idea was to have the tallest Christmas tree in North America, but Montreal fell somewhat short. New York still holds the title with a proper tree.

Montreal’s tree is crooked, scrawny and frankly not particularly worthy. And it’s speckled with ads from Canadian Tire.

Here it is, our $2,500 Christmas tree.

Some may say we should celebrate the tree because it’s different, but really, we could do better.

It has become a big draw for the wrong reasons.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree... very sad indeed.

Then someone from Montreal decided it would be a brilliant idea to rent an airplane to fly over Toronto with a large banner that read “Sorry Toronto,” in a reference to our expensive and overblown 375th anniversary next year.

The message was sorry neighbour we will make so much noise all year with our big party.

Not clever, not even cute, and it seems no one could figure it out.

Some thought it was Toronto transit apologizing for delays.

Talk about missing the mark.

So all in all, it’s been a tough week at the office for our reputation. A city that can’t plow its streets, a Christmas tree that was better left in the forest and an ad campaign that nobody really got.

P.T. Barnum was also famous for another saying “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

This week it kind of felt that way.

Overpriced traffic lights

It’s hard to believe, but our petulant Montreal police officers are getting rewarded in spite of their refusal to dress like proper officers.

When you see them out directing traffic they are doing it on overtime, 60 bucks an hour to stand in their silly clown pants with sometimes questionable results.

We found out this week than taxpayers will be paying $14 million extra in traffic duty this year alone.

Not surprising with the entire city under construction.

But really, 60 bucks an hour?

How about making it a requirement that riding on the overtime gravy train requires a dress code?

But the real solution is something the powerful police union obviously is fighting tooth and nail: Let’s give the job to civilians.

It would be cheaper, uniforms would be de rigueur and I bet they would all look a little less grumpy doing it.