June 18, 2013
June 16, 2013
An excellent letter that appeared in the Gazette by Cote Saint-Luc Senior Men’s Club President Sidney Margles:
The Gazette. June 10, 2013
Re: “PQ minister firm on election date” (Gazette, June 8)
There is nothing wrong with a fixed Quebec election date, but when it infringes on a particular segment of society, the law must have flexibility. Other jurisdictions have taken this into account.
It is true that Jews can vote in advance polls if the election were to take place on Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest Jewish holidays.
However Jews who work in election campaigns, either for candidates or for the Directeur Général des Elections, would automatically have to decline to participate, as it would be a violation of their faith.
Also to be considered are Jewish candidates who would be unable to fully participate in election day activities.
Jewish citizens have been full participants in the democratic process, dating back several hundred years in Quebec. Why change now?
While Minister Drainville may not see his position as being out of place, he should look at himself in the mirror and ask himself why rigidity rather than flexibility and common sense must prevail.
- Quebec official: Rosh Hashanah election date not discriminatory (timesofisrael.com)
- Fixed elections: PQ refuses to ‘accommodate’ Jewish community (globalnews.ca)
- PQ accused of intolerance over fixed election date (cbc.ca)
June 16, 2013
By: Allan Woods Quebec Bureau, Published on Sat Jun 15 2013
Remarks by police suggest “competition” between kosher restaurants in Hampstead neighbourhood may be the motive behind attacks
MONTREAL—Around closing time last weekend two men walked into Montreal’s Chops Resto-Bar, tossed a flaming Molotov cocktail toward the bar and escaped on foot, though not before a security camera picked them up.
The damage was limited to a scorched section of the restaurant’s wall and shock among the 20-odd diners wrapping up their meal shortly after midnight Saturday. But there was clearly something nefarious at play. This was the third time since 2011 that Chops, a kosher establishment that serves Asian fusion cuisine, had been targeted with a flaming bottle.
Then emerged news of two other firebombings in the previous 48 hours — one at another kosher restaurant a few doors down and another at the home of a Jewish businessman a short drive away — and people immediately assumed anti-Semitism was the spur. But police dashed that theory almost as quickly as the flames.
Instead another troubling motive has risen from the ashes, which has the city’s Jewish community facing the possibility that there’s a kosher restaurant war in the predominantly Jewish west-end neighbourhood of Hampstead.
The few remarks police have made over the past week suggest they are looking at “competition” as the driving factor. Chops co-owner Ouri Ohayon, who says his high-end restaurant does a brisk business, offers “jealousy” as the likely cause.
“We’re not Mafia-related. We’re not gangsters. We don’t owe nothing to anybody. It’s somebody who wants us to be closed,” he said in one of several interviews last week. “We’re a high-end restaurant … We’re busy every night, thank God.”
Ohayon won’t say who he thinks might be targeting his restaurant. He has offered a $20,000 reward to anyone who can help solve the crime.
Of that reward, $5,000 is for information identifying each of the two men on the surveillance footage, he said, noting a security camera also captured two men launching a Molotov cocktail into the restaurant last fall in the second of the three attacks he has endured.
The remaining $10,000 “is for the person that hired them,” Ohayon said.
Ohayon says his own criminal past has no connection to the firebombing campaign. In February 2005, he pleaded guilty and received a suspended sentence for intimidating the former wife of a friend in 2004 and 2005 in order to collect on a $150,000 debt.
The transcript of a preliminary inquiry obtained by the Star includes testimony that Ohayon badgered a Montreal school teacher — a newly divorced mother of two — to have her repay her ex-husband’s debt. In a 2004 phone call to the woman, Ohayon said he was simply a “messenger” but explained he stood to make a 5-per-cent commission on the repaid loan.
When the money didn’t appear, Ohayon became insistent and increasingly aggressive, the woman testified. In a recorded conversation, Ohayon warned her not to go to the police for help and told her “two very large men” would be visiting her if she didn’t soon comply.
When she resisted further, her home and that of her elderly parents were pelted with bottles, juice cans and other objects late at night.
“I cannot express to you in words properly as a mother who’s scared for her children, for her family … how the blood dropped from my head and I began to shake, and this was only the beginning of a 5½-month ordeal of having things thrown at my windows,” said the woman.
Asked on Friday about the charge, Ohayon downplayed it, saying it was merely a situation that got out of control.
“Somebody owed me money and I lost my temper and that’s all it was,” he said.
Such activities are rarely brought to light in Montreal’s Jewish community, but the fact that Ohayon’s restaurant has been firebombed on three separate occasions has given rise to speculation about a serious conflict simmering just below Hampstead’s cosy facade.
A leader in Montreal’s Jewish community — who asked not to be named, citing the sensitivity of the situation and the police investigation — said one theory in circulation is that one kosher restaurant felt threatened by the success of either Chops or Cafe Shalom, the other eatery targeted in the early hours of June 9.
“In that specific area … there are so many kosher restaurants,” the community leader said. “But the prices of kosher restaurants are what makes them competitive. Some are less expensive than others.”
There are more than a dozen kosher restaurants in Montreal and they are generally divided into two groups: those that serve food containing dairy products and those that sell meat.
Jewish dietary laws prohibit the two food types from being eaten together at the same meal. The extra steps involved in slaughtering, inspecting and processing meat to ensure it meets the religious standard tend to drive up the price of a kosher steak.
At least one competitor casts doubt on the price-war theory. Amir Toledano, who runs Fuego, a kosher steak house a kilometre away from Chops and Cafe Shalom, noted that the first attack on Ohayon’s restaurant occurred in June 2011, several months before either Fuego or Cafe Shalom opened for business.
“When the first one happened there was no competition. So it cannot be a price war,” he said. “And competition? There’s no competition. They could open another five restaurants. There are another three restaurants opening now. There’s room for everybody.”
Toledano said police testimony about his past and possible links to gang members that was used to strip a downtown bar of its liquor licence also has no bearing on the Molotov cocktail attacks against kosher restaurants.
The written decision by Quebec’s alcohol and gaming commission said the Pub St-James was a hot spot for violence and a known hangout for members of the violent street gang Les Bleus, whose members are mostly Quebec-born Haitians and may have ties to the Hells Angels biker gang.
“Amir Toledano was seen at the establishment in the presence of individuals belonging to a criminal group and he presented himself as the owner,” the decision says.
The provincial commission also revoked the bar’s alcohol permit, citing Toledano’s unspecified past legal troubles.
“What does it have to do with my past from seven years ago,” he said of the current police investigation.
“I’m doing very well for myself. I changed my life 360 (degrees), you understand? And I have no friends like this. I work from morning to night.”
Toledano noted he has subsequently been able to obtain a licence to serve alcohol at another downtown establishment, suggesting there are no outstanding concerns about his credibility.
He also said that he has not been asked by police as a member of the kosher restaurant community about the firebombings of Cafe Shalom and Chops Resto-Bar. He said his primary concern is getting customers back into his restaurant. In the last week, they have been reluctant to dine out, he said.
- Montreal Kosher Restaurants Targeted in Overnight Firebombings (israelnationalnews.com)
- Restaurants targeted in overnight firebombings (montreal.ctvnews.ca)
June 15, 2013
Residents protest 24-hour McDonald’s plan
Note by Glenn: I have no idea why my name shows up under the McDonald’s rendering in today’s Gazette. I am not an artist nor do I have anything to do with McDonald’s.
June 8, 2013
The Monteral police arson squad is investigating after an incendiary device was thrown into a home in Côte-St-Luc early Saturday.
Six people, including 14-year-old and 7-year-old children, were inside the home on Collins Rd. near Cavendish Blvd. at 2:15 a.m. when the incident happened, said Constable Dany Richer. The device caused very light damage.
Richer said investigators have met with the owner of the home, who is collaborating with them.
Attempted firebombing in Côte-St-Luc. (Montreal Gazette)
Patrols in Jewish areas stepped up as police investigate firebomb attacks
Domenic Fazioli, Global News
June 10, 2013
MONTREAL – Investigators from the police arson squad spent Monday at three different locations in west-end Montreal.
They’re trying to figure out the motives behind a series of recent firebomb attacks at two restaurants and a home. The three incidents in three days have one thing in common: the buildings are all owned by Jewish-Montrealers.
In pictures: Three attacks in three days
“We have received many calls in recent days. They are really concerned it could be a spree of hate crimes against the Jewish community,” B’Nai Brith spokesperson Anna Ahronheim told Global News.
Montreal police have confirmed that, for now, the crimes appear to be unrelated and are not motivated by hatred.
According to police spokesperson Simon Delorme: “There is no evidence, no facts, that can lead investigators to say and to confirm it is committed against one specific community.”
The first attack took place early Friday morning at Cafe Shalom on Queen Mary Road in Cote-des-Neiges.
Three Molotov cocktails were launched inside the establishment. Twenty-four hours later, a mansion on Collins Road in nearby Cote-St-Luc was also the target of arsonists.
Six people, including two children,were inside the home at the time.
The final attack took place early Sunday morning at the Chops Restaurant also on Queen Mary Road.
There were no reported injuries in all three incidents. Damage was also minimal.
Global News has learned the home that was attacked over the weekend is owned by businessman Reza Tehrani. He runs a number of companies including Aviron Technical College in Town of Mount Royal.
In 2010, Tehrani was the subject of another police operation. He was reportedly kidnapped and held for ransom by a group of thieves. Arrests were not made in that case.
“Everyone is just thinking everything right now,” B’Nai Brith’s Anna Ahromheim said.
Police say they have stepped up patrols in many Jewish neighbourhoods.
© Shaw Media, 2013
May 30, 2013
Former Pequiste Pierre Curzi, who is now with the separatist party Option Nationale, explained his views on language when he was a guest on the Tommy Schnurmacher Show on CJAD 800 Talk Radio along with Stéphane Dion, who once described Bill 101 as a great Canadian law.
Listen to the episode here:
May 29, 2013
Canada, Historical, Jewish Community, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, News clip Joe King, Lord Shaughnessy, Phyllis Lambert, Sam Bronfman, Samuel Moskovitch, Sir Mortimer B. Davis, Teddy Kolleck Leave a comment
The Gazette, April 29, 2013
Re: “Phyllis Lambert found calling in architecture” (Gazette, April 26)
Your article on architect Phyllis (Bronfman) Lambert refers to her creation of the architectural museum constructed adjacent to and encompassing the historic Shaughnessy House. Lambert saved the historic mansion from the wreckers. Quite possibly, though, she didn’t know the warm relationships between Lord Shaughnessy, a railway magnate (originally Donald Smith) and a number of Jewish personalities.
Early in the 20th century, Sir Mortimer B. Davis (the only Canadian Jew ever knighted — and that was for his enormous contribution to equipping the Canadian Army during the First World War) — had applied for membership in the exclusive Mount Royal Club and efforts were underway to blackball him by anti-Semitic members. Lord Shaughnessy made it known that if Sir Mortimer’s application for membership were rejected, he would leave the club and support another venture. Davis was admitted, and often lunched there with Lord Shaughnessy and, generally, two other rare Jewish members — Henry and Joseph Jesse. But the quartet ate alone, with other members referring to it as the “Jews’ Table.” The trio of Jewish members contributed enormously to the modernization of Montreal, introducing public transit, the first railway, etc.
Lambert’s father, Sam Bronfman, as stated, was known for his fierce temper. I was involved in the arrangements for Mr. Bronfman’s 80th (and last) birthday and arranged for two presentations to him. One was a caricature, drawn by artist Steve Yurani, of “Mr. Sam” with leaders of Israel, and the second, prepared by artist Pearl Wilensky (yes, related to the famed Wilensky café) of a large binder with tributes, in the style of a medieval manuscript.
In the excitement of the evening, when the failing Mr. Sam actually danced for the last time with Saidye, the family forgot the presentations, so the following evening, I drove up the mountain to the red brick Bronfman mansion to deliver the items. (They are now deposited in the Canadian Jewish Congress National Archives, located in Bronfman House.) Sam himself answered the door! He escorted me to his ground-floor office where the man once known for his acidic tongue proudly showed me his 80th birthday gifts — for his grandchildren!
(Among the hundreds who attended the party was Teddy Kolleck, long-time mayor of Jerusalem, who said to me, “Mr. King, will you introduce me to the mayor of Côte St-Luc? He has a higher percentage of Jews in this city than I have in Jerusalem.” He sat down with Sam Moscovitch and they had a long chat.)
May 28, 2013
May 23, 2013
Health, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, News clip, Safety Boil-water advisory, Drinking water, English Montreal School Board, Jewish General Hospital, McGill University Health Centre Leave a comment
CBC News: May 22, 2013
Today’s widespread boil water advisory has had many Montrealers scrambling, including employees and administrators at schools and hospitals around the city.
The Jewish General Hospital’s communications director Glenn Nashen said the hospital has enough water to last at least a couple of days.
“We do have an emergency supply of drinking water on hand at any given time and we immediately put in orders for additional emergency supply,” Nashen said.
All McGill University Health Centre hospitals are distributing bottled water to patients, and have put certain procedures on hold.
Richard Fahey, the MUHC’s director of public affairs, said all non-emergency dental operations were cancelled when they received the city’s communiqué around 11 a.m. this morning.
He also said the Lachine Hospital was not affected by the advisory.
Over at the English Montreal School Board’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School in Rosemont, school principal Michelle Stein first heard of the boil water advisory from a concerned parent.
Then, she said, she got a ding on her computer alerting her to a new email from the city issuing the advisory .
“I thought, ‘Oh dear, I have 323 children at the school I have to provide for,’” Stein said.
She immediately ordered that the water supply to the school’s fountains shut down, and then sent staff members to “raid” a local depanneur for water.
She’s asking parents to send their kids to school tomorrow with a day’s worth of water.
- Water in most of Montreal unsafe to drink (montreal.ctvnews.ca)
May 20, 2013
The Montreal Gazette – By Janet Bagnall, Gazette education reporter May 20, 2013 6:06 PM
MONTREAL — The EMSB plans to open a public high school in a city that has been without one since Wagar school closed in 2005
It was standing-room-only at this month’s inaugural meeting for students, and their parents, interested in attending Wallenberg Academy — a hauntingly named Côte-St-Luc public high school that for now exists only on PowerPoint.
The future school has been named after Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews during the Second World War and who was last seen at Moscow’s notorious Lubyanka prison.
Mona Weinstock, mother of four children — 16-year-old twin boys, their 12-year-old brother and a 7-year-old daughter — was at the May 8 meeting to learn more about what kind of new high school the English Montreal School Board intends to offer families in or near Côte-St-Luc, a predominantly Jewish borough.
So far, the Weinstock children have attended school at JPPS (Jewish Peoples and Peretz School) and, in the public system, Royal West Academy, Westmount High School and Edinburgh and Elizabeth Ballantyne elementary schools.
Looking around at the crowd of about 200 people, Weinstock said, “I see a lot of parents here whose kids are in the Jewish private system.”
Weinstock would like an option that is close to home; she’d like there to be Jewish heritage content; and she wants a public school. With four children, the fees involved in a private education impose too high a financial burden, she said. She also thinks her children would be better prepared for life in Quebec with more emphasis on French and less on Yiddish or Hebrew.
“If Bill 14 passes, there’ll be more and more French proficiency exams,” she said. “You have to keep up.” Bill 14, a proposed law brought in by the Parti Québécois government to increase the presence of French in school and in the workplace, would bring in mandatory French proficiency tests for high school and CEGEP students.
In this one, small, mid-week meeting, you could see the forces buffeting Quebec’s schools, public and private, with or without religious or cultural content. Public boards like the EMSB have been struggling to retain or even add to their student population. In 2011, of the board’s 1,727 Grade 6 graduates, 235 left for the private system; in 2012, the figures were 1,684 and 261. (This is on par with an overall shift from public to private at the secondary level in the province: More than 125,000 students go to private school across Quebec, with 6.7 per cent of elementary school students attending private school, and 19.6 per cent doing so at the secondary level.
With the proposed creation of Wallenberg Academy, the EMSB is taking steps to get some of those students back. But the question is whether there are enough families like the Weinstocks to bring the Wallenberg Academy to life in 2014. EMSB officials told the May 8 meeting that a minimum of 60 students must sign up for Grade 7 to get the school underway, and they’d prefer 100.
Demographic change enters into the equation. According to Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies, Montreal’s Jewish population decreased by about 5,500 between 2001 and 2011, from 88,765 to 83,200. There was a drop of about 1,000 in the 14-and-under age group, down to 16,055. Within that age group, 3,585 youngsters claimed Yiddish as their mother tongue, suggesting, said Jedwab, that this is a group likely to be interested only in Orthodox Jewish schooling, not schools in the public school system.
Côte-St-Luc, home to a sizable English-speaking Jewish population, is also becoming more francophone, said Mordechai Antal, president of the Federation of Teachers of Jewish Schools.
“The Jewish system is no different from the English system overall,” he said. “The population of kids who are eligible for English education has declined and within the Jewish school system, because of immigration, the population has also shifted from English to French with French Jewish day schools seeing increases in enrolment.”
There has not been a public high school in Côte-St-Luc since 2005 when Wagar High School closed, a victim of declining enrolment. But at the May 8 meeting, board officials, including former Wagar principal and current EMSB school commissioner Syd Wise, told parents they believe the support is there for a new public school. The new school would condense the regular province-wide curriculum to allow most of the afternoon free to pursue sports, heritage or music concentrations. Which sports and what heritage would be determined by the students who sign up for Grade 7.
The May 8 meeting was just the latest in a series of temperature-takings since 2005 in which the EMSB has held out the prospect of restarting Wagar High School. EMSB’s gamble may rely, to some extent, on the troubles of Bialik High School, the board’s closest competitor for Côte St-Luc students. Bialik, a nearby private school, has been experiencing a decline in enrolment, was in merger talks two years ago with United Talmud Torahs/Herzliah High School. The talks led nowhere.
Glenn Nashen, a municipal councillor with Côte-St-Luc whose three children attend private Jewish schools, defended Bialik’s viability.
“JPPS-Bialik is a community Jewish school,” he said. As for a decline in enrolment, Nashen said, “It’s cyclical. In (Bialik’s) heyday, there were four streams (classes per grade level), now there are two and in a couple of years when my son reaches Grade 1, there may be just one, but that was the same as when I started.”
Nashen added, “They’re doing their best to make it economically accessible and they’re offering an advanced French program.”
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette
Watch more on Global News: Côte Saint-Luc School | Global News Video.
May 18, 2013
Language, News clip, Published Opinion, Quebec, Resolution / Bylaw, Traffic / Parking Bernard Drainville, Christmas, French language, National Post, parking tolerance, Parti Québécois, Reasonable accomodation Leave a comment
How lucky we are that the PQ isn’t in charge of parking.
That didn’t stop PQ Democratic Institutions Minister Bernard Drainville from coming up with the latest moronic notion of what parking rules would look like in an independent Quebec where the PQ would control everything from pasta on menus to the language kids may use while playing in the schoolyard.
PQ parking rules would never accommodate any Jew whose religion prohibits him or her from driving on a holiday. But G-d forbid that Quebec would ever remove the display of Christmas trees, or close roads for a Santa Claus parade or remove the crucifix from the National Assembly. Not to mention other tolerances such as road closures for the St. Patrick parade or Italian festival or any number of multi-cultural or religious festivities enjoyed by hundreds of thousands across Montreal. Secularism in the PQ’s Quebec is one way, against “les autres”.
The PQ doesn’t miss a chance to insult or denigrate one minority or another in its pursuit of linguistic purity and uni-culturalism. Whether it’s parking, playgrounds or pasta this mean-spirited and ill-advised government has shone a light on itself for the world to see.
Does parking tolerance here or there threaten the French language any more than a christmas tree threatens Judaism?
The vast majority of Quebecers know that accommodation is reasonable, that tolerance is welcoming. The PQ should figure it out too. Live and let live. Park and let park.
May 15, 2013
Less frustration for motorists. Less pollution in our neighbourhoods. Still safe for pedestrians. Good idea or madness?
Beaconsfield will soon be replacing stop signs with yield signs, improving the flow of traffic on their side streets. This somewhat off-beat sounding method is the norm in many jurisdictions outside of Quebec.
When I first saw this kind of setup 25 years ago in Winnipeg I thought it was kukoo. But lately we’re seeing roundabouts make an appearance in Quebec and so this yield sign craze might just take off too.
Can it work in Cote Saint-Luc? It’s worth watching Beaconsfield and studying the situation here at home. I’ll be bringing this idea to our Transportation committee to ask our experts what they think.
Meanwhile, what do you think? Please offer your input by clicking comment.
Read the Gazette article here: Yield signs will replace stop signs in Beaconsfield | West Island Gazette.
May 12, 2013
May 11, 2013
National Post | 13/05/07 |
One of the most offensive words in the Québécois lexicon is “colonisé.”
Also abbreviated as “colon” (not the organ, it’s a soft N), it is an adjective hurled at those who have been metaphorically “colonized” by their embrace of the English language.
It’s a word that is used among Francophones casually, in private. In public, it typically is used only by fringe ultra-nationalists, a few rabid radio talk-show hosts, and, last week, an elected member of Quebec’s National Assembly.
In a debate about Bill 14, a language law that might be described as the ugly stepchild of Bill 101, Parti Québécois MNA Daniel Breton objected to Liberals speaking English in the legislature — even though the practice is perfectly permissible, and is done on occasion when legislators are dealing with matters pertaining to Anglo Quebecers.
“I would like to highlight that elected members of the official opposition in the National Assembly expressed themselves in English on the subject of Bill 14, a law on the French language,” Breton said in the legislature (speaking in French, of course). “You might have the right, but it shows to what point you are ‘colonisés.’”
The statement is offensive for a number of reasons. And it shows that Breton knows less about Canadian history than the average high school student.
Francophones were, of course, the colonizers. The true “colonisés” were Aboriginals. Despite the popular myths of ultra-nationalists such as Breton, and their claims to victimhood, Francophones in Canada are not an indigenous people.
Breton’s comments also are consistent with retrograde PQ policies (including Bill 14 itself) that cast multilingualism as a threat to Quebec’s identity, and unilingualism as a mark of true Québécois patriotism.
This is hardly the first time that Breton has attracted controversy. He had a brief stint as Quebec’s environment minister, which ended when it was revealed that he called up the head of Quebec’s public consultation bureau to make it clear that the agency would hear from him if he wasn’t satisfied with their decisions.
To describe a fellow Quebecer as “colonisé” is more than just a cheap insult. It’s a Québécois species of McCarthyism
Breton also was found guilty of three counts of fraud for making false EI declarations in 1988. The co-founder of Quebec’s Green Party, he once was caught speeding in a Porsche at 275km/h. This is the man whom the PQ has chosen to defend one of the most controversial bills in the party’s history.
If the PQ were a normal political party, his behaviour in the National Assembly alone would be enough to have him removed from caucus. He is not fit to represent Quebecers, sovereignists or otherwise.
If the PQ wants to repair its credibility, Premier Pauline Marois must rid her party of those who contribute to hateful, regressive rhetoric. To describe a fellow Quebecer as “colonisé” is more than just a cheap insult. It’s a Québécois species of McCarthyism, and a sad example of how fringe separatist elements are impeding tolerance between Quebec’s two main language communities.
Dan Delmar is the co-founder of Provocateur Communications and the co-host of Delmar & Dwivedi on CJAD 800 Montreal.
Digital-savvy pair launches bid to save 42-year-old Canadian Jewish News from sinking | National Post
May 8, 2013
A professional duo of 29 year olds from Toronto are seeking to save the CJN. With some 2000 signing a petition to save the paper new hope has appeared. Read about Rachel Singer and Alana Kayfetz in today’s National Post: