May 12, 2013
May 10, 2013
Canada, Elections, Events, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec Anthony Housefather, Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee, CJPAC, Dida Berku, Howard Liebman, Isabelle Morin, Justin Trudeau, Mitchell Brownstein, Mount Royal, Neil Drabkin, Saulie Zajdel 1 Comment
Last night Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather, Councillors Dida Berku (and masterful mingler husband Jacob Kincler), Mitchell Brownstein (and elegant party wife Elaine) , Steven Erdelyi and I attended the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) Action Party at the Starlink Aircraft hangar at the Dorval Airport.
CJPAC is a unique national, grassroots, independent organization whose mandate is to engage the community in the political process. CJPAC mobilizes the grassroots across the country, builds relationships with elected officials – of all political parties – and works for Jewish community interests, on a multi-partisan basis, during and between elections.
We met with several elected officials and their staff from all levels of government along with many young people interested in engaging with politicians. You’d think that Mount Royal riding, encompassing Cote Saint-Luc, Hampstead, Town of Mount Royal and a slice of Snowdon was up for grabs as former conservative candidate Saulie Zajdel made the rounds while the current liberal MP’s (Irwin Cotler) Chief of Staff, Howard Liebman, worked the other side of the room. Meanwhile, former Mount Royal Tory candidate Neil Drabkin was also in attendance easily working his way across the floor connecting with younger voters.
The keynote speaker at the dinner earlier in the evening was former PM Brian Mulroney. Former Senator Leo Kolber warmly maneuvered among the younger crowd as did several community stalwarts including Herbert Paperman and his son Joseph, Elliot Lifson and Jon Wener.
D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman is always a crowd pleaser shaking hands with the younger set, this time with his new chief (and future Premier), Philippe Couillard. Mount Royal MNA Pierre Arcand was also among friends from TMR.
Liberal MP and Montreal Mayoral hopeful Denis Coderre was out shaking hands and making many new contacts within the Montreal community.
CDN-NDG Borough Mayor Lionel Perez is a superb local leader who has rapidly risen in power in the West End and is a name to watch. Also in attendance was NDG-Lachine MP Isabelle Morin, with whom I have had a few opportunities to meet. Isabelle is a delightful young woman who has given all of her energy to learn the role of MP and dutifully represent her constituents with passion and devotion. Having worked as a school teacher certainly helped to build her character a a compassionate young leader.
Another former teacher who made a significant impact at the party, and across the country, was none other than Justin Trudeau. Partygoers had their smartphones snapping for shots with Justin.
DDO Councillor Herbert Brownstein, Hampstead Councillor and mayoral candidate Bonnie Feigenbaum, Veteran St-Laurent Councillor Maurice Cohen (31 years on council!!), Hampstead Councillor Michael Goldwax, Snowdon Councillor Marvin Rotrand and Loyola Councillor Peter McQueen were all in attendance representing their cities and districts.
The Action Party is a terrific opportunity to turn young voters on to voting and becoming involved at all levels of government. The organizers did a stellar job at setting up a superb venue. The outdoor terrace area was essentially the runway with flights taking off just over yonder while the jets in the airport hangar were parked like sports cars spit polished for show. Amazing venue, creative decor and superb opportunity to mingle with the next generation of young leaders, influencers, policy makers and shakers.
Kudos to the sponsors and committee for a job well done and greatly appreciated.
May 2, 2013
Meadowbrook preservation highlighted in Jane’s Walk 2012
May 1, 2013
Last week the City of Cote Saint-Luc launched its urban agriculture initiative. Un aperçu général de l’agriculture urbaine dans la ville de Côte Saint-Luc. Presented by Mayor Anthony Housefather, Councillor Dida Berku and City Manager Tanya Abramovich.
- Côte Saint-Luc launches first-in-Quebec urban agriculture initiative (gjnashen.wordpress.com)
April 23, 2013
This afternoon I attended a press conference outlining a vision for Meadowbrook along with Councillor Dida Berku. Les Amis de Meadowbrook, along with the Conseil regional de l’environnement de Montréal (CRE-Montréal) and landscape architecture firm Catalyse Urbaine, shared their vision of an urban nature heritage park, accessible to all.
These three organizations believe this vision will provide a solid basis for transforming this green space into a public park, and hope that city officials will study the report in this light.
“Meadowbrook is the last intact large green space in the heart of the island of Montreal that could be developed into a park for all Montrealers,” says Les Amis de Meadowbrook spokesman Patrick Asch. “It is now time for the City of Montreal to follow up on the recommendations of the 2009 Montreal Agglomeration Council commission on large installations and agglomeration activities and add Meadowbrook to the city’s network of parks.”
Currently a public golf course, Meadowbrook is a 57-hectare green space bordered by railway tracks and rail yards on the south and west, and has only one entrance, located on the north side. It is, however, close to existing bicycle paths, the Lachine Canal and the AMT commuter line. New pedestrian entrances and cycle paths could easily open up access to Meadowbrook and integrate it with existing green corridors.
The new park could be connected through a greenway to a network of parks, including the Falaise Saint-Jacques, and a pedestrian infrastructure could make it accessible to all Montrealers, including the densely populated areas of Lachine and Saint-Pierre.
During a day-long workshop in early December 2012, residents, social services and health experts, biologists, students and elected officials visited the site and brainstormed. “We didn’t worry about implementation,” says Juliette Patterson, a landscape architect with Catalyse Urbaine. “We just imagined what we would like to see, and the results were unanimous: a park where people can go to observe nature and to learn about the historical and cultural aspects of the site.”
Coralie Deny, executive-director of CRE-Montreal, says, “We are convinced that, with a document like this in hand, the elected officials of the Montreal Agglomeration will agree with the importance of carrying out this public project. It fits perfectly with the spirit of the Montreal Development Plan currently being discussed.”
A new Meadowbrook Urban Nature Heritage Park Accessible to All, would offer Montrealers:
• A 57-hectare park in the heart of the island, where over 500,000 residents of the southwest region currently lack access to nature.
• A precious preserve of biodiversity located on a major spring migration flyway. Meadowbrook’s trees and streams also provide a rich resource for ducks, geese and songbirds.
• Heritage aspects of the area include First Nations archaeological sites, a history of agricultural use and a role in Canada’s railway history.
• A 1.4-km multi-use trail for pedestrians, cyclists and cross-country skiers, a 2.8- km year-round path for pedestrians and skiers, an additional 2 km of paths, as well as gardens and an outdoor theatre.
The full report can be downloaded from Les Amis de Meadowbrook website at lesamisdemeadowbrook.org.
Les Amis de Meadowbrook is a citizen’s movement dedicated to protecting Meadowbrook from development and transforming it into an Urban Nature Heritage Park Accessible to All.
CRE-Montreal is an independent non-profit organization committed to environmental protection and the promotion of sustainable development on the island of Montreal. http://www.cremtl.qc.ca
Catalyse Urbaine is a landscape and architecture design firm that exists to fulfill the seamless integration of nature into urban design – an endeavour that combines environmental sensitivity with public well-being.
In my opinion:
March 24, 2013
There are many moments throughout the year where we are reminded to stop and reflect a moment on the significance of one of many causes, holidays and life cycle events. I salute Councillor Dida Berku for constantly reminding us of the importance to reflect upon, and to protect, the environment.
Here’s a message I received from her last night as I was dutifully dimming the lights in my home in observance of world earth Hour:
For the next hour think of the earth and how we can help heal it.
Think of the thousands of sick sea lions who are washing up on the California shore from a sick Pacific.
And think of the polar bears who are losing their natural habitat and our own birds and trees that need our attention.
Think of reducing our carbon footprint next year and think of ways we as politicians can make a difference.
Now I may be indifferent to sea horses and polar bears but I can indeed see the forests and the birds, I observe the Urban Heat Islands here in Cote Saint-Luc and I appreciate the wealth of trees along our residential streets to help reduce those hot spots. I enjoy the beauty of our parks and I am excited by the potential of Meadowbrook to remain green and unspoiled for generations to come.
Thank you Dida for helping me to remind all Cote Saint-Lucers and neighbours of the importance to reflect upon this moment in time, in addition to all of the other important moments throughout our year.
City of Côte Saint-Luc to present Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals to Dr. Marc Afilalo and Roy Salomon
February 8, 2013
Canada, EMS, Events, Jewish General Hospital, Paramedics, Press Release Anthony Housefather, Dida Berku, Dr. Marc Afilalo, Judith Seidman, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Roy Salomon 1 Comment
The City of Côte Saint-Luc has nominated and will present Dr. Marc Afilalo and Roy Salomon with Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals at the start of the council meeting on February 11, 2013 at 8 pm.
Dr. Marc Afilalo has been nominated for this award for his contribution in the field of
emergency medicine. Chief of the Emergency Department at the Jewish General Hosp
ital for the past 27 years, Dr. Afilalo has become a reference in the field of overcr
owding, use and misuse of the Emergency Department, acute asthma mana
nt, pain control, treatment of unstable angina and myocardial infarct.
He is also largely credited for the recognition and development of emergency medicine as
a specialty in Quebec.
Roy Salomon has been nominated for his long time involvement with Maccabi Canada, from player to eight-term president of the organization. Mr. Salomon has received numerous awards for his volunteer contribution to the sports community. He is this year’s Honourary Co-President of the Maccabiah Games in Israel. He has also been Vice-President and Honourary President of the YM-YWHA, received the Norah and Joe Rubin Leadership Award for 50 years of involvement with the organization, and is a 2001 recipient of the prestigious Yakir Maccabi Award. In 1995, he was inducted to the Montreal Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
“We are proud that these two deserving individuals are Côte Saint-Luc residents,” Mayor Anthony Housefather said. “They are both uncontestedly leaders in their respective fields who have realized significant contributions and achievements.”
Côte Saint-Luc will also be acknowledging Councillor Dida Berku who has received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her community service and her initiatives in helping preserve the natural environment. Councillor Berku was nominated for this medal by Senator Judith Seidman.
“I’ve known Dida since 1994 and she is a worthy recipient of this medal,” said Mayor Anthony Housefather. “It is rare to find someone who combines the precision of an attorney, the political smarts of an elected representative, and the passion of an environmentalist. She is someone whose advice and counsel I rely upon.”
The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal was created to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne. The medal is intended to honour individuals who have given selflessly in service of their communities. During the year of celebrations, 60,000 deserving Canadians will be recognized. Côte Saint-Luc was invited to nominate two recipients.
December 29, 2012
December 19, 2012
By Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban
Côte St. Luc council passed a bylaw last week restricting the use of potable -fit for human consumption- water in the city.
Mayor Anthony Housefather explained that the Quebec municipal affairs ministry suggested that all municipalities pass such a bylaw.
“We’ve reviewed this with all of our departments and we made many changes to the proposed draft bylaw,” he added.
Councillor Steven Erdelyi voted against the bylaw, saying it does not go far enough.
“It is a step in the right direction,” he said, pointing out that snowfall rates are dropping and McGill environmental professor George McCourt told a lecture in Côte St. Luc that only one percent of the Great Lakes system is accessible for residential and institutional use. “This is an opportunity for us to take a preemptive measure to further restrict the use of potable water, as many other cities have done. It’s a good start, but we could have gone further, so we won’t end up dealing with the problem further down the road.”
Councillor Glenn Nashen, who voted for the bylaw, said important steps are being taken towards water conservation.
“There are some new restrictions we didn’t have before – the watering of lawns, hedges, trees and other vegetable plants by portable sprinklers or porous hose is permitted only between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.. The notion is that a significant percentage of the water [generated] when one turns on a sprinkler during the day is evaporated and doesn’t actually serve the purpose it was intended for. Watering by in-ground automatic sprinkler systems is only permitted between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m…. during the least usage period. And most importantly, any of these systems may not exceed 45 minutes within these time frames.” Thus, a sprinkler timer would have to be used, at least overnight.
“This is quite significant, and I think this will cut down on those residents who leave at 7 or 8 a.m., turn on their sprinklers and it runs the entire day, perhaps watering half of the street. This will now be deemed in contravention of the bylaw.”
As well, water can be used to wash cars, driveways and exterior patios for no more than a 30-minute period.
Housefather added that landscape ponds will have to have a recirculation system.
“After Jan. 1, 2013, you cannot install a landscape pond that uses drinking water,” the mayor said. “There’s a number of places here where we’re really changing what we’re allowed to do in the municipality to preserve water. We try to find a reasonable balance between restrictions residents can live with without interfering with their quality of life and the important notion of preserving water as much as possible.”
Councillor Dida Berku agreed that the bylaw is a “good start,” and pointed out it can always be amended and perhaps strengthened. She added that information will be sent out to the public on the new restrictions.
December 22, 2012
La Presse is reporting that “a candidate nabbed by the Director General of Elections is irritating Côte-Saint-Luc”. I think it is not just Cote Saint-Luc that is being irritated but the overall Jewish Community as well.
Councillor Berku lashes out that claims by Charles Lugassy, a defeated candidate in the 2009 election in Côte-Saint-Luc, who was found guilty of electoral fraud by the Quebec Court, ”are an insult” and do not reflect reality.
Berku wrote to La Presse, following a story earlier this week, to protest against conspiracy theories put forward by Lugassy. Lugassy argued that he was a victim of the fury of the town hall of Côte-Saint-Luc, including the clerk, because he is Sephardic.
“All proceedings and investigations are handled by the DGEQ. None of the proceedings were handled by the City of Côte-Saint-Luc”, says Berku. “It has nothing to do with our City Clerk. “
“Mr. Lugassy is not the first Sepahrdic candidate to stand for election”, Berku said, contrary to Lugassy’s assertion. She strongly rejected his allegations that the city of 32,000 inhabitants is the “turf” of the Ashkenazi Jewish community, as Lugassy suggested. “It is not a matter of ethnic identity. We are all citizens, residents of Côte Saint-Luc, regardless of our language or religion. Mr. Lugassy only wants to represent his community”.
Councillor Berku, a lawyer, endorsed the conclusions of Judge Johanne White who found Mr. Lugassy guilty on October 16. She considered the story of Mr. Lugassy as “not credible, full of bizarre speculation and not supported by the evidence.” Lugassy lost the right to vote or stand for election for a period of five years for corrupt electoral practices. He was convicted of trying to pay off a rival candidate, Sonia Cohen-Peillon.
Concerning the electoral defeat of Mr. Lugassy, Berku remarked: “You must get involved in local democracy, come to council meetings, ask questions. We never saw Mr. Lugassy do that”.
I wholeheartedly agree with Maitre Berku, as outlined in my opinion pieces on this blog. Unlike Mr. Lugassy who never attended a single council meeting, I attended and asked questions, together with Ruth Kovac, for 10 full years before we both ran for election. Ruth and I had a better attendance record than some councillors back then! And that was after both volunteering in the Emergency Measures Organization and EMS for more than a decade, at the time.
Lugassy’s self-endorsement was, and is, pure fiction. By contrast, I have been endorsed by many community leaders in several fields, many of whom stem from the Sephardic community, not to mention my own Sephardic connections.
All that said. Luggasy’s outlandish conspiracy theories stand as an insult not only to me personally, but to all Cote Saint-Lucers and the Jewish community as a whole. As one example, his heavy handed election team were removed by police from the polling station and parking lot where they were caught pressing people to vote for the “Jewish candidate”, insinuating that I am not Jewish, nor my honourable opponent, Sonia-Cohen Peillon.
Lugassy advocates a divided community, along language lines, cultural and religious lines. He seeks to represent a single segment of the community. By contrast, I proudly represent all my constituents, indeed all Cote Saint-Lucers, in the language of their choice, regardless of religion or country of origin. I’m happy to say that my fellow councillors share the same inclusive sense of community. And judging by the number of emails and comments I received this week, not to mention the vast majority of voters that cast there ballot for me in the last election, most agree with this notion of unity and harmony as one community.
Today’s La Presse article is posted here.
Publié le 22 décembre 2012
Les accusations d’un ex-candidat battu aux élections de 2009 dans Côte-Saint-Luc, qui affirme avoir fait les frais des tensions entre les deux communautés juives, «sont une insulte» et ne reflètent pas la réalité, réplique une élue de longue date, Dida Berku.
La conseillère de Côte-Saint-Luc depuis 1990 en veut particulièrement aux thèses de complot évoquées par Charles Lugassi, qui a récemment été épinglé par le Directeur général des élections et privé de droit de vote pour cinq ans pour manoeuvre électorale frauduleuse. Il a été reconnu coupable d’avoir tenté d’acheter une candidate rivale en 2009. Cette semaine, dans La Presse, M. Lugassi a soutenu avoir été victime de l’acharnement de l’hôtel de ville de Côte-Saint-Luc, notamment du greffier, parce qu’il est sépharade.
«Toutes les procédures, les enquêtes viennent du DGE par l’entremise de la plaignante, rien n’est venu de Côte-Saint-Luc, explique Mme Berku au nom de l’administration municipale. Notre greffier n’a même pas parlé avec lui à ce sujet, il n’a rien à y voir.»
Pas une première
M. Lugassi n’est pas le premier candidat sépharade à se présenter aux élections, précise-t-elle. Elle rejette énergiquement ses allégations voulant que la ville de 32 000 habitants soit «la chasse gardée» de l’autre communauté juive importante, les ashkénazes. «Ce n’est pas une question d’identité ethnique. On est tous citoyens résidants de Côte-Saint-Luc, peu importe notre langue ou notre religion. M. Lugassi, lui, voulait représenter uniquement sa communauté.»
La conseillère fait siennes les conclusions de la juge White qui a reconnu M. Lugassi coupable le 16 octobre dernier. Elle considérait la version des faits de M. Lugassi comme «invraisemblable, truffée de conjectures farfelues et nullement supportée par la preuve».
La défaite électorale de M. Lugassi, elle l’explique autrement: «Il faut s’impliquer dans la démocratie locale, venir aux réunions du conseil, poser des questions. Jamais on n’a vu M. Lugassi faire ça.»
December 21, 2012
District 6, Elections, En français, Jewish Community, Language, News clip, Published Opinion, Quebec Ashkenazi Jew, Charles Chalom Lugassy, Dida Berku, Directeur general des elections du Quebecs, electoral fraud, La Presse, Sephardi Jews, Sonia Cohen-Peillon 3 Comments
Dida Berku writes to La Presse in response to article on electoral fraud conviction against Charles Lugassy. Berku says that La Presse covered this story is a one-sided manner, perpetuating accusations without checking the facts. Considering that the Quebec Court found Lugassy to be guilty of electoral fraud “beyond a reasonable doubt” and that his statements were “improbable conjectures, outlandish and not supported by the evidence”, Berku says that La Presse should have been more careful in how they presented this piece.
Lettre de Me Dida Berku Conseillère municipale Côte Saint-Luc
20 décembre 2012
Je m’inscris en faux contre l’article de Karim Benessaieh du 19 décembre portant le candidat Lugassy qui fut condamné pour manœuvres électorales frauduleuses commises en 2009 à Cote Saint Luc.
Cette histoire dure déjà depuis plusieurs années et à chaque étape et à chaque occasion qui lui est offerte par les média M. Lugassy profère des accusations de plus en plus malicieuses à l’égard des élus et de l’administration de sa ville. Cette fois ci les accusations vont trop loin et les faussetés sont trop grossières. Il faut les corriger.
M Benessaieh a répété ses fausses accusations à mon égard et à l’égard du Maire et des élus de Cote Saint Luc avec une insouciance telle qui m’oblige de corriger point par point les faussetés gratuites qui y sont faites. Il est inconcevable que le journaliste et votre journal peuvent répéter sans corroboration ni interrogation des parties impliquées, les accusations de la part d’une personne qui vient d’être condamné par la Cour du Québec d’avoir commis une fraude électorale. Je vous souligne que le Tribunal a trouvé M Lugassy coupable « hors de tout doute raisonnable.» d’avoir tenté d’obtenir que Mme Cohen se retire de l’élection en lui offrant un avantage soit de payer pour ses frais électoraux.
Il est clair que votre journaliste n’a même pas lu le jugement car s’il avait lu le jugement il n’aurait jamais pu reprendre les fausses déclarations qui lui ont été avancées par M Lugassy.
On ne peut que conclure que la motivation de votre journal est justement de promouvoir l’hypothèse de M.Lugassy à savoir que le véritable enjeu est «la domination des juifs anglophones ashkénazes» sur la politique municipale dans Côte-Saint-Luc. » Ceci est une fausseté grossière qui ne passe pas le test de la réalité.
M. Benessaieh écarte la condamnation on disant que « la juge Johanne White a essentiellement accordé plus de crédibilité au témoignage de Mme Cohen-Peillon qu’a celui de M. Lugassy ». Mais c’est bien plus que cela.
La Cour du Québec a entendu 6 témoins et a rendu un jugement détaillé de 26 pages dans laquelle Mme la Juge relate les faits et la preuve qui l’ont amené a trouvé l’accusé coupable d’une infraction pénale «hors de tout doute raisonnable ». Il ne s’agit pas du tout comme le prétend M. Benessaieh d’accorder plus de crédibilité à l’un qu’à l’autre, mais plutôt d’appliquer des règles strictes de preuve en matière criminelle. Mme La Juge conclue en disant que « le Tribunal considère que le Directeur général des élections s’est déchargé de son fardeau de preuve. » Elle qualifie au par. 94 de son jugement que la version des faits de M. Lugassy est « invraisemblable, truffée de conjectures farfelues et nullement supportée par la preuve. »… Elle continue au par. 95 « Le Tribunal considère que la version du défendeur ne soulève aucun doute raisonnable quant à l’infraction qui lui est reprochée. » et au par. 109 « Le Tribunal ne croit pas que le Directeur général des élections s’amuserait à entreprendre des poursuites pénales pour assouvir les désirs de vengeance d’une candidate défaite. » Il ne s’agit pas d’une infraction qui a été prise à la légère comme semble impliquée l’article du journal.
A l’appui de sa thèse que la politique est une chasse gardée des ashkénazes anglophones à Côte-Saint-Luc, M Lugassy indique « qu’il a reçu des menaces et de l’intimidation. On se serait cru au goulag, en Sibérie .» Est –ce les élus du conseil qui lui on fait ses menaces ou toute la communauté ashkénaze anglophone de Cote Saint Luc ? Ces remarques sont absolument comme dit Mme La Juge « invraisemblable, truffée de conjectures farfelus et nullement supportés par la preuve… » Il s’agit d’accusations gratuites et malicieuses à l’égard des élus de notre ville qui n’ont pas leur place dans votre journal sans corroboration ou commentaire de notre part.
M. Lugassy allègue que la communauté sépharade représenterait 40% de la communauté juive à Cote Saint Luc, Cette statistique ne tient pas la route. Encore c’est de la conjecture. Selon les dernières statistiques disponibles, en 2001, sur une population totale de 19,785 juifs à Côte Saint-Luc il y avait environ 4,285 sépharades soit 21.7 % de la population de confession juive. Mais peu importe le nombre, les élus de Côte Saint-Luc sont la pour représenter tous les citoyens pas seulement un groupe linguistique ou religieux comme semble vouloir le faire M Lugassy.
« Pour la première fois en 30 ans, la communauté sépharade francophone m’a demandé de me présenter » M Lugassy n’est pas le premier candidat sépharade à se présenter dans les élections de Côte Saint-Luc. En 2006 Mme Aline Malka qui travaillait pour le bureau du maire de Montréal pendant la fusion s’est présentée à l’élection et dans les années 90’s il y avait M Charles Barchechat qui est un homme d’affaires et journaliste. Tous les citoyens de la ville sont invités à s’impliquer dans la démocratie locale. Et tous les élus parlent le français bien que notre ville soit une ville bilingue reconnue par la loi.
« Ils se sont tous ligués contre moi, du maire jusqu’au greffier de la Ville. Il accuse ce dernier de s’être acharné contre lui, notamment en menant, à titre de président d’élections, cinq enquêtes sur sa candidature après la campagne de 2009. » Le greffier de la ville agit comme président de l’élection mais n’a absolument pas de pouvoir d’enquêtes suite aux plaintes portées selon la Loi. D’ailleurs Mme la Juge White en dit autant dans son jugement lorsqu’elle expose au par 17 ce qui suit : « Elle ( Mme Cohen ) a appelé à plusieurs reprises l’avocat de la ville pour lui faire part de la situation, mais cela ne relève pas de sa responsabilité. Elle ne se souvient pas si elle a porté plainte au Directeur général des élections durant la campagne, donc, avant le 1er novembre 2009. ». Le greffier de Côte Saint-Luc qui agissait comme président d’élections n’a pas mené des enquêtes et n’a pas porté plaintes. Toutes les accusations relèvent du Directeur Général des Élections du Québec. Faut il croire maintenant que le Directeur Général des Élections du Québec est au service des « ashkénazes anglophones »?
« Ils veulent envoyer un message au prochain sépharade qui va vouloir se présenter en 2013: la politique est une chasse gardée des ashkénazes anglophones à Côte-Saint-Luc.»
En tant que conseillère municipale depuis 1990, avocate et membre respectée de la communauté Montréalaise, je considère ces accusations non- fondées et très insultantes à notre intégrité et serment d’office. Maire et conseillers nous sommes tous élus pour représenter tous les résidants et non pas seulement les membres d’une communauté linguistique ou religieuse comme semble vouloir le faire M. Lugassy.
Nous avons une harmonie totale à Cote Saint Luc représentant nombreux groupes d’origines diverses ethniques et linguistiques, incluant les personnes d’origine italienne, russe, philippine, irlandais, iranien et israélien. Nous avons une harmonie totale, nous travaillons ensemble, nous jouons aux sports ensemble, fréquentons les mêmes écoles et célébrons les fêtes et la culture en harmonie.
Le conseil est dédié à servir toute la population et tout le monde est libre de participer aux réunions du conseil et participer à la démocratie locale. Jamais depuis que je suis élue ai-je vu M Lugassy s’intéressait aux affaires de la ville. Jamais est il venu à une réunion du conseil pour poser une question. La politique municipale est une politique locale et il faut s’impliquer pour réussir lors d’une élection.
En conclusion le ton de cet article et la façon cavalière que le journaliste a simplement repris les fausses accusations de M Lugassy sont très inquiétant. Dans le contexte actuel ou nous vivons à Côte Saint-Luc anglais, français et allophones de toutes origines et religion ensemble et en harmonie, il est inconcevable que vous faites passer un message si mesquin qui ne fait qu’alimenter les querelles du passé et les comportements d’une autre époque.
Il est d’autant plus incroyable que vous acceptez de reproduire ce contenu sans interroger ni le Directeur Général des Elections, ni la plaignante, ni le maire et les élus de la ville. Le tout uniquement dans le but de promouvoir une manchette sensationnaliste sans mérite ou fondement.
Quand allez vous arrêter d’alimenter l’animosité envers les « anglophones » et la haine envers les « ashkénazes juifs » ? Vous réveillez des querelles qui sont déjà dépassées depuis longtemps et qui ne méritent pas l’attention que vous leur portez, le tout sans vérifier les faits et sans souci pour la vérité.
- Lugassy found guilty of electoral fraud – Coupable de fraude électorale dans Côte-Saint-Luc (gjnashen.wordpress.com)
- Court fines Lugassy following conviction of electoral fraud, maybe more charges to come (gjnashen.wordpress.com)
- CSL candidate found to have violated election rule (gjnashen.wordpress.com)
December 11, 2012
After several years of disagreement on how to apply the bylaw and months of debate on reworking the regulation City Council adopted a new tree protection bylaw last evening, or more specifically an amendment to the exiting bylaw.
Given that the logo of the City of Cote Saint-Luc is a stylized leaf, it is somewhat ironic that the new bylaw actually makes it easier to chop down a tree on private property.
Now, a resident may claim that a tree is impeding sunlight or blocking one’s view in order to gain permission to cut down a tree.
Council will no longer have any power over tree replacement as the decision to fell a tree is now conferred upon the Director of Urban Development.
What’s worse, any tree that is cut down need only be replaced with a single tree regardless of the size of the tree to be felled (unless more than five trees are cut on the same lot in a given year, a rare occurrence).
Unfortunately, not one resident appeared at the special meeting convened to review the bylaw.
In supporting the proposal, Councillor Ruth Kovac exclaimed that Cote Saint-Luc will not have a net loss of trees.
Councillor Dida Berku, a passionate defender of the environment responded that the bylaw will have the opposite effect since a resident can now replace a 50 year old tree with a two inch sapling.
Whereas Council occasionally required two or more trees to replace larger ones, this will now only be triggered if a resident neglects to apply for a permit. In that case, two for one plus a fine will be required.
Berku went on to say that, “More trees will be cut and less will be planted. This dilutes the intent of the original bylaw which was based upon best practices in the region. The new bylaw permits you to cut a healthy tree, and this is plain wrong,” Berku said.
Our inventory of trees is directly linked to public health according to the Montreal Public Health Agency. Urban Heat Islands are spreading across the Island of Montreal and are evident around Cote Saint-Luc’s two shopping malls. Earlier this fall, Council had the opportunity to require the shopping centre owner to shade its parking lot with small islands of green space and trees but chose not to. Berku and I, along with Councillor Steven Erdelyi voted to require the centre’s management to plant more trees but we were outvoted.
According to Erdelyi, a June 2007 study by the Montreal Agglomeration measured tree coverage for the entire island. The study noted that while 20% of the island is currently shaded the target is set at 25%. At that time, Cote Saint-Luc had 15% shading while TMR boasted 25% shading.
In speaking against the new, watered-down bylaw I said, “My tree benefits my neighbours and their trees benefit me. It’s in the public interest to protect trees.”
There are many options for maintaining one’s property when it comes to trees. Pruning a tree will amply serve to prevent over-shading or restricted visibility without the need for chopping.
Mayor Anthony Housefather summed up the debate in stating, “Council had conflicting visions between those who believe one should have complete freedom versus some restriction. Despite our differences on this bylaw everyone is in good faith. It’s great that we can all work together, even if it’s not a perfect compromise.”
I voted against this bylaw, along with Councillors Dida Berku and Steven Erdelyi.
November 22, 2012
MONTREAL — A defeated candidate in the last Côte St. Luc municipal election who claimed to represent the Sephardi community says he is considering appealing a court decision that found him guilty of offering a financial inducement to an opponent, also Sephardi, to drop out of the race.
Quebec Court Judge Johanne White last month found Charles (Chalom) Lugassy violated municipal election law by offering to reimburse the electoral expenses of Sonia Cohen-Peillon if she withdrew from the campaign for the November 2009 election.
Such an act is fraudulent, White wrote.
Lugassy faces losing his right to vote or to seek elected office for five years. He may also be fined up to $1,000.
The charge against Lugassy, who was trying to unseat incumbent Glenn Nashen in District 6, was brought by the Quebec Director-General of Elections.
Cohen-Peillon testified that less than two weeks before the 2009 vote, Lugassy urged her to step aside, saying that, if she did, “we are going to pay you your costs.” She refused.
Her testimony was corroborated by her sister, Michèle Cohen, who told the court that Lugassy also approached her with a similar proposition to relay to her sister.
Lugassy categorically denied that he or anyone among his supporters offered Cohen-Peillon any such inducement, saying it would make no sense, because she was never a serious contender.
Nashen, a longtime councillor, was easily re-elected, with Lugassy garnering about half as many votes, and Cohen-Peillon well behind in third place.
The court heard that a meeting of about 10 leaders of the Côte St. Luc Sephardi community took place at a synagogue on Oct. 19, 2009, where Lugassy and Cohen-Peillon were invited to present their platforms.
Lugassy said there has never been francophone Sephardi representation on the city council, and the leaders of the community, which he estimates now accounts for 40 per cent of Côte St. Luc’s population, did not want to split the vote by having two Sephardi candidates in the same district.
Lugassy claims he was the choice of the Sephardi leaders. Cohen-Peillon, sensing that this was indeed true, declined to go along and continued her campaign.
She testified that on Oct. 18, 2009, she received a phone call from a prominent woman in the Sephardi community who said that Sephardim would not vote for a woman.
White wrote in her 26-page judgment that she found credible the testimonies of Cohen-Peillon and her witnesses, especially her sister, Michèle Cohen, now a member of the Montreal police department’s ethics commission.
The judge dismissed Lugassy’s version of events as “implausible, riddled with outlandish conjectures and not in the least supported by proof.”
Lugassy told The CJN that he thinks that White “completely erred in her judgment.”
His sentencing was set for Nov. 19.
He affirmed, however, that his bid for a seat was motivated by his belief that there should be francophone Sephardi representation on the eight-member city council.
Lugassy charged that anglophone Ashkenazim are jealously guarding a monopoly on power at city hall and that since the last election, there has been a campaign to discredit him for fear that he would run again in 2013 – successfully.
He noted that after the 2009 vote, the city’s director-general of elections issued five notices of infractions, against him. He admitted to one charge – overspending on his campaign by a small amount – while three others were dropped, he said.
The fifth infraction was the allegation that he tried to induce Cohen-Peillon to drop out.
Lugassy filed a written complaint in 2010 with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs that it was a conflict of interest for the city clerk to act as director-general of elections.
Jonathan Shecter was, in effect, an employee answerable to the council, Lugassy said, even though he took a leave to serve as director-general of elections.
Lugassy insists that, even before the Quebec Court ruling, he had no intention of running in the next election, set for November 2013.
Dida Berku, a councillor for 22 years, denied there is any attempt to block Sephardim or any other group from municipal power. She reiterated that “there is no conspiracy or closed shop in Côte St. Luc, nor did we push the director-general to file the complaint.
“All candidates are welcome to run and, in fact, there have been a few Sephardi candidates over the past years.”
She added that it is difficult for anyone to defeat an incumbent.
“Running for council requires a long-term commitment and involvement in civic affairs. It is not just about a short campaign.”
Mayor Anthony Housefather limited his comments on the matter to an emailed response: “I think the judgment speaks for itself. It is about a candidate who was not elected to city council and his actions that were judged to be in violation of Quebec electoral law.
“The city has nothing whatsoever to do with this, and I see nothing I would add, as I have no personal knowledge with respect to any of the issues raised in the judgment.”
October 25, 2012
by Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban
October 17, 2012
Côte St. Luc council will soon be approving a Code of Ethics and Good Conduct for city employees to follow, after having previously approved a similar code for themselves as council members. As part of the process of approving a Code of Ethics for themselves, council last year took a collective oath to abide by the code, which prohibits council members from doing anything that “improperly further his interests or the interests of another person.”
Last month, Councillor Dida Berku gave a notice of motion that the code will be approved for employees at a future meeting.
“By law, in the province of Quebec, by December of this year, we need to adopt an ethics bylaw related to the employees of the City of Côte St. Luc,” said Mayor Anthony Housefather. “Looking at private industry and minimum norms of the Quebec government, looking at all the values of Côte St. Luc that we thought we should put in this ethics bylaw for the employees, the same as we did for the members of council, we then did consultations with the different employee groups, which culminated in a full employee consultation, and now we’re ready to adopt the bylaw on time to meet the Quebec government’s requirements.”
The City of Côte St. Luc’s values, as included in their Code of Ethics, includes human rights, “being committed to the equality of the English and French languages within the city,” encouragement to be “good will ambassadors to promote the city services” and conducting oneself “with integrity, loyalty, honour and prudence in pursuit of the public interest of the city and the pursuit of equality and fairness for all our residents.”
October 1, 2012
Environment, News clip, Resolution / Bylaw, Traffic / Parking, Urban Planning Anthony Housefather, Cote St. Luc Shopping Centre, Dida Berku, Drive-through, First Capital Realty, Steven Erdelyi, Urban heat island Leave a comment
Isaac Olson, The Free Press
September 11, 2012
On August 27, the Côte St. Luc city council, in a special meeting, approved a zoning change that paves the way for what will be the only drive-through restaurant in the area.
Representatives of the Côte St. Luc Shopping Centre (located at 7073 CSL Rd. near Coronation Ave.) applied for a zoning change to allow the construction of a drive-through in the mall’s parking lot, explained Mayor Anthony Housefather in an email.
As of press time, the Free Press was unable to confirm which restaurant is eying the property as Gregory Menzies of First Capital Realty Inc., which owns the mall, was unwilling to reveal the business until the deal is finalized.
As the by-law was being drawn up, councillors Dida Berku, Glenn Nashen and Steven Erdelyi have reportedly voiced concerns, not because of the construction, but because of a desire for more area parking lots to be “greened up” rather than remaining heat islands.
On Nashen’s blog, he states he is in favour of having a restaurant open there as it would be a popular spot and conveniently located for CSL and NDG residents alike, while providing local jobs. However, he wrote, “What irks me is that this zoning amendment provides an opportunity to request, or demand, that the shopping centre provide more trees on its lot to create shade on what is one of the hottest spaces in the area.”
Studies indicate an increase in morbidity and mortality linked to higher temperatures, he stated, and, in Montreal, heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense with urban heat islands worsening the situation.
“CSL has no location or specific desire to add drive-throughs,” stated Housefather, noting no building permit has been issued. “It suited this one property … Safety on the site is the responsibility of the property owner, but the city worked with the property owner on a traffic configuration for the parking lot that made it safer than it is today.”
September 21, 2012
Environment, Jewish General Hospital, News clip, Resolution / Bylaw, Traffic / Parking Active Transport Week, brown bins, collective taxi service, Dida Berku, gardeners, Hampstead, Montreal West, Shuttle Service, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital Leave a comment
The Free Press, September 11, 2012
Many residents of Côte St. Luc work at, or need, to visit the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) or surrounding hospitals and medical clinics and offices. In coordination with the environment team from the JGH and other community partners, CSL is launching a survey during Active Transport Week, September 17 to 22, of workers and residents who travel this route. The survey will target the hundreds of medical staff and employees who live in CSL and work in the hospital district, as well as the thousands of users who go there regularly.
We want the feedback of residents as to when and under what conditions they would use a shuttle or collective taxi service. We already have a Golden Shuttle #262 sponsored by the STM, which services seniors for trips to Angrignon shopping centre and does the circuit of all our public institutions (library, ACC) and private senior residences. The idea is to explore alternative options that could work for our local populations presently using the highly congested Fleet Rd. corridor and are saddled with the problems of traffic and costly parking.
We welcome all residents who have ideas and an interest in this project to attend our presentation September 20 in the CSL library at 7 pm, and to participate in the survey, which will be available through the city halls of CSL, Hampstead and Montreal West, and on our websites. We will use this survey to lobby the STM transit authority for a shuttle service between Côte St. Luc and the hospital district, and to set a route that accommodates the maximum number of workers and residents of our communities.
Last May, Côte St. Luc adopted By-law 2390, which requires gardeners and snow removal contractors to obtain a $125 annual licence from the city. The goal is to keep track of licensed contractors so we can ensure that the gardeners who bring garden waste to our Public Works yard are really working for people in Côte St. Luc and not bringing waste from other cities.
This new by-law is in conformity with by-laws of our neighbouring municipalities and was introduced to ensure that the gardeners and contractors in our city respect our rules and keep our city clean.
New brown bins coming soon
Côte St. Luc will receive replacements for the 240-litre brown bins (the large one), which were defective and broke too easily. All homeowners will receive new improved bins in the fall. Schedule to be announced.
Dida Berku can be reached at email@example.com. She is the councillor responsible for environmental issues, finance, CLD Centre West and the Cavendish extension. She represents Côte St. Luc District 3.