Watch this special report as CTV’s Annie Demelt ventures into a subterranean world seen by few Montrealers.
December 9, 2013
December 8, 2013
The Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC) has officially launched its outreach and education program at local schools. Alexandra Cohen and Renee Karp visited Hampstead Elementary School and facilitated two very well received sessions about the Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) and Adopt Program.
Alexandra began by showing a new video that she filmed, produced and edited herself about the program. It features interviews with Shelley Schecter of Educhat and the CSLCC, Alanna Devine of the SPCA, and Dr. Marlene Kalin from the Côte St. Luc Hospital for Animals.
The Grade 5 and 6 students, many of whom have cats as pets, were attentive and asked a lot of questions. Alexandra and Renee talked about the plight of homeless cats and went on to talk not only about the CSLCC, but also about what it means to be responsible pet owners.
Alexandra and Renee intend on visiting other schools in the community to continue to spread their important message.
The CSLCC’s team of volunteers set out to trap as many cats as possible, have them sterilized and then adopted or returned to a place where they will be fed. The committee has also rescued a number of kittens and found homes for them. The city’s first ever cat licensing bylaw was adopted last fall.
For more information call 514-485-6806, ext. 2200 or log on towww.cotesaintluc.org/cats.
December 5, 2013
Thanks, once again, to our friendly neighbourhood Citizens on Patrol volunteers who are out on patrol on the streets of Cote Saint Luc doing their best to help out our Public Security Department and our residents and visitors.
vCOP patrollers Barry Levine and Bert Rabinovitch were out on patrol earlier this week when they happened upon a stranded motorist on Cavendish Blvd. near Kildare Road. They followed their protocols by ensuring the motorist was alright and called in for a tow truck and awaiting its arrival to ensure the motorist and passing vehicles were safe and secure.
As well, their presence meant that CSL Public Security was not needed to be pulled off of their patrol. In this was, PS was able to continue their patrols, on the lookout for more serious situations and able to continue to enforce municipal bylaws, while Barry and Bert waited for a tow truck to arrive.
On Monday, December 1, there was a Chanukah parade through the streets of Cote Saint Luc, and vCOP was on hand to help out. Here we can see vCOP patrollers Mark Bessner and Issie Karpman bringing up the rear of the parade procession, ensuring an orderly and safe event. vCOP collaborates under the command of police and Public Security to add to the level of security offered to our residents and visitors.
vCOP members Joseph Wajsberg and David Guttman were also on hand as well to assist with crowd control and parade security. Nearly 700 people attended the rally last Monday which featured the Menorah lighting, Christmas tree lighting and a rally in favour of religious freedom and against the governments charter of values.
Thank you again to our dedicated vCOP volunteers as well as to our Public Security agents and local police officers for ensuring the safety of all residents and those visiting our city.
December 4, 2013
I was pleased to attend a welcome reception ushering in the new council of the Town of Hampstead this evening.
Mayor William Steinberg introduced the six councillors in order of their seat number, highlighting two new members: Karen Zajdman in Seat 1 and Warren Budning in Seat 5.
Returning to council are Jack Edery (Seat 2), Leon Elfassy (3), Michael Goldwax (4), and Harvey Shaeffer (6).
Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather along with myself and Councillors Ruth Kovac, Allan J. Levine and Dida Berku were in attendance to greet and congratulate our neighbouring municipality.
We look forward to many fruitful initiatives and good relations together with our neighbours. (Fixing the needlessly confusing no left turn signs on Fleet would be a good start. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself). We already cooperate in different areas such as recreation and snow dumping. Other possibilities lie ahead.
Meanwhile we congratulate the new council and wish you much success.
December 4, 2013
Citizens on Patrol (vCOP), EMS, Events, Fire, Police, Public Security, Safety Citizens on Patrol (vCOP), J.P. Theoret, Marc Cournoyer, Mayor Anthony Housefather, Montreal Fire Department, Montreal Police Department, Ruth Kovac, Volunteer recognition Leave a comment
The Cote Saint-Luc Council Chamber was the safest venue in the city last evening as over 70 members of the Citizens on Patrol group turned out for the annual year-end Chanukah-Christmas Holiday celebration. I was the lucky emcee for the evening and did my best to solicit a little laughter, poke a little fun and toss a lot of accolades to these amazing volunteers.
“We are so fortunate to live in a city with such an outpouring of volunteerism,” Mayor Anthony Housefather told the group in offering the appreciation of city council. “You folks are always there when we need you. In the afternoon, the evening, even overnight. You’re fantastic,” the mayor added.
The evening was highlighted by words of praise by Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson, Station 9 Police Commander Marc Cournoyer and his Lieutenant Jean-Pierre Theoret, City Manager Tanya Abramovitch and a special appearance by Dr. Joe Schwartz, a Cote Saint-Luc resident whose wife is a vCOP.
Commander Cournoyer praised the work of the volunteers indicating their thousands of hours of patrols helped the city realize a reduction in crime by over 30%. “You are all helping to keep this city safe,” the top cop said in appreciation. Cournoyer praised the close relationship developed between the city’s volunteer services and the local police.
Director Reichson also noted that vCOP has been singled out as unique among cities and boroughs throughout the region with calls coming in from across Quebec seeking to understand our winning formula.
I salute Senior Supervisor Lewis Cohen for his endless hours of dedication to the vCOP program. Lewis remains available to command the troops 24×7, nearly 365 days a year, ensuring the fleet of minivans is ready, bikes and scooters are in proper shape during warmer months, that the office is stocked with equipment and supplies and that all elements are running smoothly for our volunteers.
Standing by Lewis’ side (actually sitting beside him in the patrol vehicle) is his weekly patrol partner Susie Schwartz, also a supervisor, who handles all special events throughout the year. Susie meticulously calls and emails volunteers to ensure a good turnout when troops are needed to man events, large and small.
Mitchell Herf, the third supervisor, oversees training and logistics. Together they manage in their free time to steer another half dozen officers, all of whom work to keep the 80 volunteers well trained, outfitted, motivated and covering as many shifts as possible at all times of days and night.
The team leaders handle day to day operations and logistics including training and continuing education, member issues, new program development, smoke detector brigade, vehicle and two-wheel upkeep, uniform inventory, office supply, radio communications, online support, PR and communications, special events, scheduling and more. Many, many thanks to all these fine officers. And of course thanks a million to each and every member of vCOP for their time, effort and dedication to our city and our neighbours.
Volunteers patrol the city in marked vans, on bikes and electric scooters as well as on foot. Many offer availability at all hours in case of a significant emergency where several members are required to be deployed at a moment’s notice. Emergency Call Outs, as the procedure is known, happen several times throughout the year for weather emergencies, major fires or missing persons, to cite a few examples.
Patrollers receive ongoing training throughout the year, by other volunteers, police officers, public security agents, EMS volunteers and firefighters.
A new program in collaboration with the Montreal Fire Department saw several vCOP members get trained in order to inspect smoke detectors. These additional volunteer resources ensured that several hundred homes were inspected this year, far more than the Fire Department could possibly do on its own, and contributed substantially to the safety of our residents.
The annual holiday party is a chance to meet almost all members at the same time and to thank them immensely for their valuable services.
December 4, 2013
Mayor Bill Steinberg and the members of Hampstead Town Council have taken a principled and bold stand against the odious proposed “Charter of shame” (as coined by MP Irwin Cotler), the PQ government’s Bill 60.
Mayor Steinberg announced at Monday night’s rally outside Cote Saint-Luc City Hall that his town was poised to adopt a resolution later that night denouncing the bill as “racist and immoral”. This strong language stands in sharp contrast to that of Cote Saint-Luc’s resolution against the Charter of Quebec Values adopted in October.
The Hampstead resolution says, in part:
- We believe in the fundamental right of freedom of religion and expression;
- We believe that in a liberal democracy there is a very real place for the separation of church and state and that the state has no right to impose religious beliefs on its citizens. The separation of church and state should not, however, be confused with the persecution of religion by the state. It is the basic right of every citizen to be free to believe as he will and practice his religion free of state intervention, so long as the practicing of his religion does not interfere with the basic rights of other citizens to freely enjoy their own civil rights;
- We believe the wearing of a Kipah, Sikh turban, or Hijab, is not an impediment to carrying out ones’ duties as employees of the State. These symbols do not diminish the wearer, they do not impede the wearer and they are not prejudicial to those with whom the wearer of a religious symbol interacts;
- We reject the notion that people who believe in a deity are somehow lesser citizens. We reject the notion that wearing an identifiable religious symbol that does not physically impede a person from performing his/her duties, is a basis for discrimination;
- We believe in a Liberal Democracy the majority does not have the right to pass racist and discriminatory laws against any minority.
- The strength of a society is not evidenced by its ability to subjugate its minorities but by its ability to protect them.
- Should this Charter, or any variation which violates the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. be passed by the National Assembly, the Town of Hampstead will not recognize it as a valid law. We will not comply. We will not be complicit with hatred, racism and intolerance.
Mayor Steinberg and the council have shown solid leadership in taking this position and standing up against the Quebec government and their horrendous, discriminatory law.
Indeed, every municipality on the Island of Montreal, including the City of Montreal, has spoken out, either individually or through the Association of Suburban Municipalities against the so-called Charter of Quebec Values.
December 3, 2013
Events, Jewish Community, Language Beny Masella, Bill 14, Bill 60, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Chanukah, Charter of Quebec Values, Christmas, Hampstead, Irwin Cotler, Mayor Anthony Housefather, Mayor Bill Steinberg, Mitchell Brownstein, Montreal West, Peter Laviolette, Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz, Rabbi Reuben Poupko, St. Richard's Parish Leave a comment
“We’re not going anywhere. We’re staying!”
These ominous words uttered by Mayor Anthony Housefather echoed off the walls of Cote Saint-Luc city hall in an impassioned speech that delighted the crowd.
Major personalities to take the microphone included Rabbis Chaim Steinmetz and Reuben Poupko, Father Peter Laviolette and Mayors Bill Steinberg of Hampstead and Beny Masella of Montreal West.
Housefather gave an electrically charged plea to about 700 enthusiastic residents who cheered him on in great support before he even uttered his first word.
“This is an odious bill that sends a message that some Quebecers are more equal than others,” Housefather said. “This is not the charter of most Canadians, most Quebecers or most Cote Saint-Lucers,” the mayor added saying that the government can remain secular. with equality between men and women without needing such legislation.
“We can light the Christmas tree and the menorah in front of city hall, we can employ staff wearing hijabs, kippas, turbans or crosses, and none of this interferes with offering excellent services at fair rates to our taxpayers,” said Housefather. The mayor added that the city will never fire anyone for displaying their religious convictions and that we will go to court to fight this bill should it ever become law.
“Some people have asked why as a city we are speaking out against the Charter,” said Mayor Anthony Housefather. “City government has an absolute right to speak out against the charter. Our council is unanimous in opposing it and, in fact, each and every city on the Montreal island has adopted positions against the charter. We are against the charter because it is a violation of both the Canadian and Quebec Charters of Rights and international treaties Canada has signed. It would reduce religious and linguistic freedoms in Quebec as the primacy of French is also bundled into the charter. In the same way CSL led the fight in opposing Bill 14 which would have reduced our residents linguistic rights we will also lead the fight against this charter. Indeed the charter is a municipal issue as it impacts our employees and how the municipality operates including forcing elected officials to adopt policies against their conscience.”
Housefather ended with a poignant reminder citing former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s famous quote that the ‘State has no business in the bedrooms of Canadians’. “Well, I say that the state has no business in the wardrobe of Canadians,” the mayor emphasized, to wild applaud.
Mayor Bill Steinberg announced his council was set to adopt a resolution after the rally vowing to ignore and to fight Bill 60 if it were ever to be adopted into law.
Rabbi Steinmetz, the spiritual leader of Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation, worried aloud that a year ago he would never have thought twice about wearing his kippah elsewhere in Quebec. Today, he would be worried for his children’s safety to wear a kippah outside of Montreal. He referred to Bill 60 as the “Charter of darkness”. “It is destructive and divisive,” he said. “This is cheap demagoguery. A ploy to get better results at the ballot box.”
Citing the civil disobedience movement of Martin Luther King, the rabbi added, “We are here not just to oppose it Bill 60, but to deny its legitimacy. We will never respect this law. If it is ever passed, we will deny it and undermine it. We will act with civil disobedience and follow the lead of the Jewish General Hospital.”
After Father Laviolette’s remarks and illumination of the Christmas tree, the St. Richard’s choir sang Christmas songs in English and Italian and ended off on a unique and hugely appreciated rendition of: “We wish you a happy Chanukah.”
Rabbi Poupko of Congregation Beth Israel Beth Aaron added in, “I am glad they did not sing Silent Night. History has taught us that when rights are being trampled we must never remain silent.”
Mount Royal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler was unable to attend the rally, but he sent a message calling Bill 60 ‘the Charter of shame’.
Mayor Masella acknowledged that while our communities have not elected PQ MNAs, “we need to tell the CAQ and the Liberals that there is no common ground here.”
After the rally, the large crowd moved over to the giant menorah where Chabad Rabbi Mendel Raskin, just back from his native Casablanca, Morocco, and Rabbi David Cohen led them in song and celebration.
I was privileged, as the Deputy Mayor, to climb into the ‘cherry picker’ to be hoisted up to the top of the menorah to light the six ‘candles’ (for night six of Chanukah) and sing the traditional blessings. The view was amazing from 30 or 40 feet in the air and I stated over the loudspeakers, “I hope Mme. Marois can see us lighting this menorah in Quebec City! These lights of freedom and celebration should shine bright across our province.”
In Chabad tradition, jelly-filled donuts were passed around along with dreydles and Chanukah-gelt (Chocolate coins) and several youngsters were chosen to ride in limousines – with illuminated Chanukah menorahs atop their roofs – through the streets of Côte Saint-Luc, holiday melodies blaring for all too hear.
Watch Global News from CSL
Watch CBC News from CSL (advance to 5 minute mark)
Watch CTV News from CSL (first news item)
Hampstead council votes unanimously to condemn Bill 60 values charter (Montreal Gazette)
Cllr. Mitchell Brownstein on Global Montreal