Congratulations to our MNA, Lawrence Bergman, on his nomination as the Liberal candidate for D’Arcy McGee in the next provincial election. A five term incumbant, there is little surprise in this nomination, yet it is significant just the same.
Lawrence is a hard-working, dedicated and honest man who never forgets his roots. He is ferociously committed to his riding and to the issues facing us as Cote Saint-Lucers. He is very approachable, interested in helping local folks with their issues and can be credited with many achievements in our community.
In a word, he’s a real Mentch.
Most important on my agenda, Lawrence was very much involved in saving the CSL Emergency Medical Services during the merger with Montreal when the new island-wide fire department gobbled up all of the suburban brigades and took over emergency medical first response, except in CSL.
He was also integrally involved in securing funding for the new CSL Aquatic and Community Centre. His involvement with the Jewish General Hospital is becoming legendary. And ask any member of the CSL Senior Men’s Club and they’ll speak of Lawrence in endearing terms, as they would of a close family member.
I often joke with Lawrence how he put me out of work back in 1994 when I was serving as Robert Libman’s chief of staff. Libman was the former MNA for the riding. Bergman won the general election that year evicting me (and Libman) from the office. (I harbour no ill feelings toward Lawrence. He helped advance my career by tossing me out of work).
Although I would like to see Lawrence and his fellow English-speaking MNAs speak out more forcefully on language issues and the erosion of our rights, which are constantly under attack, I must give him high marks on other aspects of local representation. Having spent two years in his office before his arrival, and working as a City Councillor for a significant portion of his constituency, I know personally how difficult it is for him to be responsive to the many requests that he receives and to balance these demands with his obligations in the National Assembly, his responsibilities to the government and to his political party.
This is not an easy job to be sure. But Lawrence does an impressive job and makes it look easy.
Read more in this week’s Canadian Jewish News: Bergman, 71, set to run for sixth time | The Canadian Jewish News.
Bergman, 71, set to run for sixth time
Janice Arnold, Staff Reporter, Tuesday, April 10, 2012
MONTREAL — At 71, Lawrence Bergman is going to seek a sixth term as the member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy McGee.
Bergman, who was first elected in 1994, was unopposed in his bid to once again run for the Quebec Liberal Party in the next provincial election.
A standing-room-only audience of about 300 turned out at Hampstead’s Congregation Adath Israel, of which Bergman is a past president, for the April 2 nomination meeting.
Two cabinet members, Health and Social Services Minister Yves Bolduc and Kathleen Weil, minister of immigration and cultural communities, were present to praise Bergman, who chairs the government caucus.
Bergman and Bolduc talked at length about the major expansion the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) is undergoing.
Bergman was credited with tenaciously working to persuade the Charest government to approve the construction of Pavilion K. The first phase, to which the government contributed $95 million, is expected to be finished at the end of this year. The government is committed to contributing more than $300 million toward the next three phases, planned through to 2016.
“This will change the face of health care in Montreal for generations to come,” Bergman said.
“If Lawrence was not your MNA, the work of Pavilion K would not even be started now,” Bolduc added.
Bolduc lauded Bergman’s personal qualities of likeability and gentlemanliness, and his effectiveness in representing the interests of the anglophone and Jewish communities.
“He’s good for you. He knows how to speak to a French guy like me, from Lac St. Jean,” said Bolduc.
Bergman noted that every Tuesday morning, he meets for 1-1/2 hours with Premier Jean Charest.
Weil reassured that she and Bergman, as well as Families Minister Yolande James and MNA Geoff Kelley, are representing the concerns of anglophones within the government.
She also said speaking English is OK. “Yes, we promote French as the language of work and the common language, but to speak a second or third language is not a threat to the creation of an overall French society.”
Bergman said, “Quebec values are that everybody, whether they were born here or chose to live here, whatever their colour, religion or language, has equal rights.”
D’Arcy McGee is the only Quebec riding with a majority Jewish population, and Bergman has garnered more than 90 per cent of the vote in some elections.
Bergman, a notary by profession, singled out for gratitude one of his most prominent supporters from the start, Steven Cummings, “the de facto president of the Quebec Jewish community.”
Another person he is counting on for support once again in the next election campaign is his mother, Nettie Bergman, who was also present.
Bergman recalled that his proudest achievement in the National Assembly was the unanimous adoption of his bill officially recognizing Yom Hashoah in December 1999, when the Parti Québécois was in power.
Looking to the future, he said his government’s priority is the economy. Charest’s Plan nord, an ambitious project to develop the province’s territory north of the 49th parallel, will benefit all of Quebec, Bergman said.
“When Robert Bourassa launched the James Bay hydroelectric project, there was opposition at first, too,” he said.
Bergman echoed Charest’s resistance to the demands of students to not go ahead with increasing university tuition.
“It’s important that students pay their fair share. We will maintain the increase over five years, notwithstanding the protests,” Bergman said.
For area residents, Bergman held out hope that the long-awaited linking of the two sections of Cavendish Boulevard will be realized with the purchase by the City of Montreal of the former Hippodrome site for residential development.
The Free Press, April 10, 2012:
Read more in Mike Cohen’s blog