The electoral fraud conviction against Charles Lugassy made major headlines in La Presse again on Wednesday, December 12.  The Montreal daily gave a one-sided accounting of the verdict handed down by the Quebec Court against the 2009 candidate in the municipal elections in Cote Saint-Luc.  The paper only interviewed Lugassy, who went on another absolutely disgusting diatribe against the Mayor and Council and City Clerk of the City of Cote Saint-Luc, let alone the entire Ashkenazi community.  

La Presse did not interview anyone attacked by Lugassy in the article, and took for fact his allegations, many of which are blatantly false.

Lugassy’s divisive and destructive attitude is contrary to a generation of bridge building by the organized Jewish Community of Montreal.  

Lugassy continues to play the role of victim rather than showing an ounce of remorse for his crime.  He was pursued by the Director General of Elections of Quebec and convicted by the Quebec Court, not by an administrative process at the City level. He cheated, lied and violated the law.  The Chief Electoral Officer prosecuted the case based on complaints by Sonia Cohen, another candidate for election in 2009. Cohen testified that Lugassy offered to pay her expenses to drop out of the campaign and the judge said she found Cohen to be believable rather than Lugassy, who was deemed not credible.

And he is certainly not the first Sepahrdi to run in Cote Saint-Luc.  Sonia Cohen is also Sephardi, as is Aline Malca who ran in the previous election (who was cited in the court transcript as saying Sephardim will not vote for a woman!) as well as Charles Barchechat, another candidate from an earlier election.

Furthermore, on a personal level, it is important to clarify that I am married to a Sephardic woman which means my children are both Sephardi and Ashkenazi.  I learned four languages in Jewish day school and I speak French to any (constituent) who wish to carry on a conversation in their preferred language. My friends and neighbours are also blended Sephardi and Ashkenazi, our kids all play together, study together and attend Jewish community celebrations together.  I represent my District 6 constituents and all Cote Saint-Lucers equally, regardless of their language or religion or country of origin.  

I will not allow Lugassy’s disgusting comments go unchallenged, somehow suggesting that my Jewish heritage doesn’t meet his standards and that my family’s Sephardic roots (just like his) should be disqualified or discounted.  Rubbish!  

Most importantly, contrary to Lugassy’s backward thinking, the Ashkenaz and Sephardi communities are well integrated and live quite harmoniously, as neighbours, and as one family within the Jewish community.  Lugassy speaks for no one other than himself.  His comments are totally unacceptable and should be widely denounced.  

 

Here is the content of the La Presse article published on December 19, 2012 as reported by Karim Benessiah:

Fraude électorale: privé de droit de vote pendant cinq ans

Charles Chalom Lugassy, candidat battu aux élections dans Côte-Saint-Luc en 2009, a-t-il été victime d’une cabale menée par des juifs ashkénazes parce qu’il est lui-même sépharade? Ou a-t-il réellement tenté d’acheter sa rivale, Sonia Cohen-Peillon, en lui offrant de payer ses dépenses électorales?

Cette histoire peu banale est la toile de fond d’une décision rendue publique hier par le Directeur général des élections du Québec, qui a condamné M. Lugassy à une amende de 1000$ pour manoeuvre électorale frauduleuse, en vertu de la Loi sur les élections et les référendums dans les municipalités. Fait rare, il se voit privé de son droit de vote et ne peut se présenter à une élection à tous les paliers électifs, et ce, pour les cinq prochaines années.

«C’est la victime qui a été condamnée, soutient Charles Lugassy en entrevue. J’ai reçu des menaces et de l’intimidation. On se serait cru au goulag, en Sibérie. Les oeufs sur la brique devant chez moi, ils ne partent pas, ils sont encore là.»

Élection perdue

M. Lugassy, expert en immigration de 61 ans originaire du Maroc et ancien journaliste, a été reconnu coupable le 16 octobre dernier en Cour du Québec. La juge Johanne White a essentiellement accordé plus de crédibilité au témoignage de Mme Cohen-Peillon. Elle a affirmé qu’en octobre 2009, elle a rencontré M. Lugassy, qui était «très gentil» et lui aurait dit: «Il va falloir que tu te désistes […]. On a une organisation, on va te payer tes frais.»

Finalement, les deux candidats ont été balayés par le conseiller sortant Glenn Nashen, qui a obtenu 65,8% des voix. M. Lugassy a obtenu 343 votes (30%), tandis que Mme Cohen-Peillon n’en a récolté que 49 (4,3%).

Une «chasse gardée»

Selon M. Lugassy, le véritable enjeu était «la domination des juifs anglophones ashkénazes» sur la politique municipale dans Côte-Saint-Luc. Plus de 68% des 32 000 résidants sont de religion juive, mais peu de données existent sur la répartition entre les ashkénazes, d’origine européenne, et les sépharades francophones, qui proviennent surtout d’Afrique du Nord. Ces derniers représenteraient 40% de la communauté juive, avance M. Lugassy, et seraient en forte croissance démographique.

Le conseil municipal, composé d’un maire et de huit conseillers, ne compte pourtant aucun sépharade.

«Pour la première fois en 30 ans, la communauté sépharade francophone m’a demandé de me présenter, mais mal m’en prit, raconte Charles Lugassy. 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. «Cinq enquêtes contre un candidat battu, c’est du jamais vu. 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.»

Il n’a pas été possible de joindre un responsable à l’hôtel de ville de Côte-Saint-Luc.

 

 

The following is an English language Google Translate of the article:

La Presse

Charles Shalom Lugassy, ​​defeated candidate for election in Côte-Saint-Luc in 2009, says he was the victim of a conspiracy led by Ashkenazi Jews because he is Sephardic. Or did he actually try to buy off his rival, Sonia Cohen-Peillon by offering to pay her election expenses?

This story is rather unusual backdrop of a decision made public yesterday by the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec, which sentenced Mr. Lugassy and fined him $ 1,000 for corrupt electoral practice under the Elections Act in municipalities. He was deprived of his right to vote and can not stand for election at all levels for the next five years.

“I am a victim who has been condemned”, says Charles Lugassy in an interview. “I received threats and intimidation. It felt like the gulag in Siberia. Eggs on the brick in front of my house,  they are still there”.

Lost election

Mr. Lugassy, ​​immigration expert of 61 years from Morocco and former journalist, was convicted Oct. 16 in Quebec Court. Justice Johanne White has essentially given more credibility to the testimony of Ms. Cohen-Peillon. She stated that in October 2009, she met Mr. Lugassy, ​​who was “very nice” and told her: “You will have to withdraw […]. We have an organization, we’ll pay your expenses. ”

Finally, the two candidates were swept aside by the incumbent councillor Glenn Nashen, who won 65.8% of the vote. Mr. Lugassy received 343 votes (30%), while Ms. Cohen-Peillon garnered only 49 (4.3%).

A “turf”

Lugassy says, the real challenge was “the Jewish domination of the English-speaking Ashkenazi” in municipal politics in Côte-Saint-Luc. More than 68% of the 32,000 residents are Jewish, but few data exist on the distribution among the Ashkenazi European origin and Sephardic French, derived mainly from North Africa. These represent 40% of the Jewish community, Mr. Lugassy says and show strong demographic growth.

The council is composed of a mayor and eight councilors, yet none are Sephardic.

“For the first time in 30 years, the Sephardic community asked me to present myself, but I did so wrong, says Charles Lugassy. They all conspired against me, the mayor up to the City Clerk. “He accuses them of having pestered him, including  as president of elections, five investigations about his candidacy after 2009 campaign. “Five investigations against a defeated candidate, this is unheard of. They want to send a message to the next Sephardic will want to come in 2013: politics is the preserve of the English-speaking Ashkenazi Côte-Saint-Luc. ”

It has not been possible to reach an official at the city hall of Côte-Saint-Luc.

 

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