#CanadaRemembers

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wewillremember

We are so fortunate to still have many veterans with us and honoured to be able to mark Remembrance Day and VE Day commemorations with them. Veterans Park in Cote Saint-Luc has been a gathering spot to remember and to honour those who served and the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live in such a wonderful country and in a free and democratic society.

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

My father, George Nashen, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was stationed at RCAF Overseas Headquarters in London, England for nearly three years during WWII. Luckily, he was not called up to the front lines but his buddies were.

My dad lost his best friend in battle. “Jay Singer was like a brother to me,” my father recounts. “Jay and I were inseparable from kindergarten through Baron Byng High School. Jay was an air force pilot from the age of 19. His plane went missing while laying mines in the Baltic Sea on June 15, 1944. Jay was just 22 year’s old when he died in service. I’ll never forget him.”

Jay Singer

Jay Singer

Le parc des Vétérans, une parcelle de terrain située juste derrière l’hôtel de ville et la bibliothèque, se prête particulièrement bien aux activités du jour de la Victoire en Europe et du jour du Souvenir. Nous sommes vraiment chanceux d’avoir encore avec nous autant d’anciens combattants et de pouvoir marquer ces occasions en leur compagnie.

Mon père, George Nashen, a servi dans l’Aviation royale canadienne et a été affecté au Quartier général à Londres, en Angleterre, pendant près de trois ans au cours de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Heureusement, il n’a pas été appelé en première ligne, mais ses copains étaient.

Mon père a perdu son meilleure amie dans la bataille. “Jay Singer était comme un frère pour moi», mon père raconte. “Jay et moi étions inséparables depuis la maternelle jusqu’à Baron Byng High School. Jay était un pilote des forces aérien à partir de l’âge de 19 ans. Son avion a disparu tout en jetant des mines dans la mer Baltique le 15 Juin 1944. Jay était juste 22 de ans lorsqu’il est mort en service. Je ne l’oublierai jamais.”

 

Each year, I ask my father to take out his medals and his beret and to teach my kids about what it meant to serve Canada as a soldier.  They listen in amazement at his stories, at what must sound like a very strange concept, as they reflect on their lives in the best country to live in, Canada.

Remembrance Day ceremony at the Jewish General Hospital (2014)

I salute my dad, today, Remembrance Day, once again.  His bravery and commitment to stand on guard, to liberating those who had their freedom taken from them so many years ago, to keeping Canada glorious and free, shines like a beacon to my kids and our entire family.  We’re proud of his accomplishments and grateful to have him, and my mother, as our bridge between our past and our future.

George Nashen in front of the Cote Saint-Luc cenotaph in Veterans Park on VE Day 2012

More:

A day of remembrance, honour and appreciation in CSL

In tribute to my father, the soldier

Councillor Mike Cohen’s blog

The JGH Remembers

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I’m tired of falling back!

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Worth Repeating:

garfield_i_hate_mornings

It’s about time!

Really, it’s about time that we ended this ridiculous 1970s-oil-crisis-game show of turning the clocks back and forth and pretending that this outdated and disruptive ritual is somehow beneficial to the economy or environment or our circadian rhythm. It’s not. I’m sick and tired of falling back!

Studies have shown that traffic accidents spike because we’re thrown off kilter, that heart attacks rates increase and that unless we’re raising chickens in our backyards that there’s not much of a benefit of having the sun come up well before 99% of us are ready to lift our weary heads off of our pillows. In fact, I don’t know anyone that is all that thrilled of having the sun set over Mount Royal at 3:30PM, a good hour before anyone’s even contemplating leaving their office (two hours for the rest of us).

I hate driving home before dinner in pitch black, yawning my way down Fleet Road, ready for my pajamas and fluffy slippers, only to remember that there are kids’ activities to drive to or volunteer work or meetings to attend.

And, I don’t know about you but why do I need the sun to rise at 6:00AM, especially in the middle of winter when the likelihood of going for an early morning jog in -30C on ice covered sidewalks is kinda low on my list of favourite pastimes.

So, this is a message to my favourite Member of Parliament. I know you’re reading this Anthony. You’re the only person I know that will be getting up super early to swim 100 laps before I hear Snap, Crackle or Pop. Please march right over to Justin’s office and deposit a draft bill to repeal the time change, just like those wise Saskatchewanians who were smart enough to realize that it’s better to stay on Daylight Savings Time, all the time!

If you’re like me, you too are sick and tired of falling back!

N

Here’s my previous rant on this annoying subject.

And this is a clipping from the Suburban Newspaper back in 2012:

Suburban Newspaper, Jan. 4, 2012

Suburban Newspaper, Jan. 4, 2012

 

 

Chabad fills Trudeau Park for Simchat Beit HaShoeivah

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Chabad Cote Saint-Luc held its annual celebration of Simchat Beit HaShoeivah last night in Trudeau Park. Many hundreds, perhaps a thousand people or more were in attendance to hear internationally renowned chanteur Avraham David. There were games and food for the children, videos and lots of live performances.

Councillors Allan J. Levine, Sidney Benizri, Steven Erdelyi, Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac along with Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Anthony Housefather, MP, at the Chabad CSL celebration in Trudeau Park

 

Rabbi David Cohen invited the Mayor and Council along with the Member of Parliament up on stage and thanked us all for our work in building an extraordinary community and in welcoming Chabad to put on their events.

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein stressed that CSL is a unique and special community in which we strive to be tolerant, respectful and neighbourly, one to another. “People are moving here, not only from other areas of Montreal and Laval, but from France and other countries in order to live in peace and security and in order to be comfortable in living Jewish lives without fear.”

Anthony Housefather, an eloquent orator in several languages, said that Canada is known worldwide for its multicultural policies of encouraging and supporting cultural communities, such as ours in CSL.

Rabbi Cohen passed the mic to each councillor to bring greetings for a Happy New Year to which I added by good wishes in Yiddish and Hebrew.

Chag Sameach one and all. A gut yontif un a ziseh yor!

Quite the crowd in Trudeau Park for Simchat Beit Hashoueva celebrations

 

N

Chabad Cote Saint-Luc a tenu sa célébration annuelle de Simchat Beit HaShoeivah hier soir dans le parc Trudeau. Plusieurs centaines, peut-être mille personnes ou plus étaient présents pour entendre chanteur international, Avraham David. Il y avait des jeux et de la nourriture pour les enfants, des vidéos et beaucoup de spectacles.

Les conseillers Allan J. Levine, Sidney Benizri, Steven Erdelyi, Glenn J. Nashen et Ruth Kovac, ainsi que le maire Mitchell Brownstein et Anthony Housefather, député était la pour les célébrations.

Le rabbin David Cohen a invité le maire et le conseil avec le député sur la scène et nous a remercié tous pour notre travail dans la communauté et en accueillant Chabad pour faire valoir leurs événements.

Le maire Mitchell Brownstein a souligné que CSL est une communauté unique et spéciale dans laquelle nous nous efforçons d’être tolérants, et respectueux, les uns aux autres. «Les gens se déplacent ici, non seulement dans d’autres régions de Montréal et de Laval, mais de la France et d’autres pays pour vivre en paix et en sécurité et pour être à l’aise dans la vie juive, sans peur».

Anthony Housefather, un orateur éloquent dans plusieurs langues, a déclaré que le Canada est connu dans le monde entier pour ses politiques multiculturelles visant à encourager et à soutenir les communautés culturelles, comme la nôtre à CSL.

Le rabbin Cohen a passé le micro à chaque conseiller pour faire une salutation pour une bonne et heureuse année à laquelle j’ai ajouté par ses vœux en yiddish et en hébreu.

Chag Sameach lecoulam!

 

Housefather establishes riding youth council

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Housefather establishes riding youth council
Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather

A non-partisan youth council has been established for the federal Mount Royal riding by MP Anthony Housefather.

“As someone who was first elected at a young age, I strongly believe that the concerns of people of all ages must be part of the political process,” Housefather stated. “The views of young Canadians need to be heard, which is why I am launching a new initiative to bring youth together from across Mount Royal to give me their feedback on issues facing our country.”

The council will include 10 to 15 young Canadians, between the ages of 14 and 24, “and will meet on a regular basis to discuss national issues,” says the announcement. “This is a non-partisan activity and young Canadians from all political perspectives are encouraged to apply.”

For those who want to apply to be part of the council, an application form can be found at ahousefather.liberal.ca/youth-council/.

Applications must be received by midnight on Saturday, Sept. 30.

CSL inaugurates Shalom Bloom Sculpture garden

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On hand for all of the events celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday were Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and the entire Côte St. Luc council, Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather and D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum. The chairs of the Canada Day event were councillors Glenn Nashen and Ruth Kovac, and the MC for the events were CJAD personalities Dan Laxer and Laurie Betito.

The Shalom Bloom Sculpture Garden is in an area of the park with stunning, lifelike sculptures of various wildlife animals, including white-tailed deer, cougar, bighorned sheep and others. The sculptures were a donation by Bloom, who left his successful business in 1980 to devote himself full time to sculpting.

“This city is a wonderful place and the two mayors (Brownstein and his predecessor Housefather) really worked hard to bring this about,” Bloom said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the garden. “This is Phase 1, and hopefully, eventually, we’ll have another phase with a lot more sculptures in this magnificent park.”

Marco Pendenza of Super Excavation did the stonework, and Ron Williams was the consulting landscape architect.

“I was involved with the overall concept and design,” Williams said. “The early ideas were a natural environment where the animals would feel at home. It turned out great, I’m really pleased.”

Snowdon Councillor Marvin Rotrand also praised Bloom during the unveiling ceremony.

Later on, Birnbaum showed the winning videos of his riding-wide student competition, Canada 150: Your Story, My Story; and Lt-Gen. (Ret’d) Roméo Dallaire was inducted onto Côte St. Luc’s Human Rights Walkway for his work in preventing mass atrocities in Rwanda, his advocacy against the use of child soldiers and his general work for human rights. Dallaire’s son Willem was on hand for the dedication.

While most activities took place on July 2 because of weather concerns, the traditional citizenship ceremony, took place July 1 at the city’s Aquatic and Community Centre, and was presided over by former Canadian citizenship judge Barbara Seal. She, Brownstein, Housefather and Birnbaum welcomed the 39 new citizens from 18 countries. A “welcome home to Canada” video from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also played.

The July 2 event also included entertainment by indigenous performers and the retro band Replay, who alternated between Beatles and ‘60s hits sets. Brownstein himself sang John Lennon’s Imagine, which he linked to Côte St. Luc’s own advocacy for tolerance and respect.

The evening ended with a fireworks and laser show display, with musical accompaniment.

What I won at the Maccabiah

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The Times of Israel
JULY 23, 2017

Walking into Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem as part of the Maccabiah Games opening ceremony is very special for any athlete. Following your national flag, hearing the roar of the crowd, feeling the excitement of your fellow athletes who are sharing the moment with you, all combine to create a sense of exhilaration. Having experienced this before, in 2017 this feeling was not new to me. What was new, was that when I walked into the stadium this time, our Prime Minister’s video was playing on the big screen in the stadium and when he saluted the Canadian team, he mentioned me by name and wished me luck as his friend and colleague. As the stadium announcer said as we walked by, “that’s some pressure on Anthony with the Prime Minister singling him out.” As far as anyone seemed to know, I was the first Member of Parliament to seriously compete at the Maccabiah Games and I knew that not only were my friends and family and teammates paying attention to how I performed, but so were many others.

While the pressure was on, my enhanced visibility also gave me an incredible opportunity. Maccabiah always allows you to make many friends and have incredible conversations with people from around the world who are competing. But this time, lots more people approached me. Ordinary Israelis who saw me on the street in Tel Aviv, expatriate Canadians living in Israel, athletes and their families from many countries who wanted to better understand Canadian politics and policies. Many of their questions involved Canada’s position with respect to Israel.

I was pleased to let them know that I am one of a record 7 Jewish Liberal Members of the Canadian Parliament. All of us were elected for the first time in October 2015, when our leader Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister.

Prior to 2015 many Israelis had become aware that Canada under our former Prime Minister Stephen Harper had become perhaps Israel’s closest international ally. While I had a number of disagreements with our former Prime Minister on domestic policy, I strongly favoured his support for the Jewish state. So did many other Liberals. And as we had promised in the 2015 election campaign, we have shown uncompromising support for the State of Israel since our election.

Our government has maintained Canada’s votes at the United Nations. We join Israel, the United States, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands as the only countries to consistently oppose the unfair and systematic anti-Israel resolutions brought before the General Assembly each year. We have led the opposition to the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian State at international forums. We have adopted a Parliamentary resolution condemning the BDS movement and those groups in Canada supporting BDS. We have worked to enhance the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement. Prime Minister Trudeau has visited Auschwitz and I was privileged to be part of the audience at the Montreal island’s largest synagogue last Yom Kippur as he spoke to over 2000 people about that experience and his visit to Israel for Shimon Peres’s funeral, on Kol Nidre night. In Canada, like the United States, support for Israel has become a bipartisan consensus supported by both Liberals and Conservatives. I strongly believe Israel should not be an election issue in our country. Jewish Canadians should be able to vote on other issues, with the firm knowledge that whichever of our country’s major parties wins the election, Canada will be firmly in Israel’s corner. Having had the privilege of meeting a number of members of Israel’s foreign service during this trip and others, I know that the Israeli Government is very pleased with its relationship with Canada. I will work hard, as will many of my colleagues, to continue to enhance this vital link.

When talking to fellow athletes and family members from other countries, I know their experience is very different. Whether it comes to security for the local Jewish community or the relationship between their nations and Israel, they have a very different life experience from me and my country’s Jewish community. I look forward to working as part of the World Jewish Congress’s International Conference of Jewish Parliamentarians to help Jewish communities in other countries advance these causes. Relationships I developed at these Games will be very helpful in this regard.

(Courtesy Anthony Housefather)

(Courtesy Anthony Housefather)

In the end, these Games were very successful. I trained really hard and I won five medals in swimming. Going home with these medals gave me a great sense of accomplishment and national pride. But the relationships I made during these Games were equally, if not more important. I know many of them will last a lifetime.

Anthony Housefather is a Canadian Member of Parliament, representing the Mount Royal riding on the island of Montreal. He is also Chairman of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights

Côte-St-Luc to mark Canada’s 150th by planting 150 trees

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From right: Côte-St-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, councillor Dida Berku and arborist Laurence Cloutier-Boucher at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Park in Côte-St-Luc, where 150 trees will be planted in honour of Canada's 150th birthday. In the last 10 years, 1,800 out of 10,000 city trees in Côte-St-Luc were felled due to disease and the push is on by the city to replant.
From right: Côte-St-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, councillor Dida Berku and arborist Laurence Cloutier-Boucher at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Park in Côte-St-Luc, where 150 trees will be planted in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday. In the last 10 years, 1,800 out of 10,000 city trees in Côte-St-Luc were felled due to disease and the push is on by the city to replant. JOHN MAHONEY / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Côte-St-Luc is planting 150 citizen-sponsored trees in its newly renovated Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park to mark Canada’s 150th birthday.

Resident Rhoda Albert caught wind of this initiative during a recent city council meeting and was the first one down at city hall, sponsoring a tree for $150 in honour of her late mother, Masza Safran.

In return, Safran’s name will go on a plaque that will be displayed in the park. Corporate donors, for $500, can also get a name on the plaque.

“I think it’s a great idea and, you know, whoever I mention it to is very interested,” Albert said. “The reason I did it is because my mother loved plants. She loved trees. She loved parks and I thought it would be a great thing to do for my mother.”

Councillor Dida Berku, who spearheaded the project, said this isn’t about collecting donations for trees that only cost about $300 each to plant. Instead, it’s about citizen engagement in a time when trees are needed in the city and the nation’s milestone birthday is being celebrated.

There will be a kiosk set up during the city’s Canada Day celebrations in the park Sunday (postponed by Saturday’s rain forecast), encouraging people to participate in the reforestation of a city that has been hit hard in recent years by the emerald ash borer beetle and Dutch elm disease. Arborist Laurence Cloutier-Boucher was hired by the city two years ago to boost the battle against diseased and dying trees. In the last 10 years, 1,800 out of 10,000 city trees were felled due to disease.

A variety of indigenous trees are to be planted, including maple, birch, willow, evergreens and fruit trees. The trees will be of varying levels of maturity, Berku said. As they grow, citizens will be reminded of the larger reforestation effort that is costing the city about $60,000 a year to run. Over the last couple of years, the city has planted about 200 trees annually, but these 150 are in addition to that yearly average.

“We’ve planted over 400 trees in the last three years and the plan is to plant at least 200 trees a year as well as educate the public as to the importance of a tree canopy and why we have to replenish it,” Berku said. Trees provide a habitat for wildlife, she added, and “it’s what makes our city beautiful. They’re a natural air filter.”

Public works director Beatrice Newman said a shady tree in front of a home can cut air conditioning costs by 20 per cent. Protecting public trees is a priority, she said, to the point that, as city hall renovations continue, contractors were brought in with special equipment to scoop up and relocate mature trees.

“If you don’t have trees, you don’t have a proper city that meets the needs of the community,” said Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, noting that the 150 trees will be growing in a fully revamped Trudeau Park. Renovated at a cost of $2.6 million, the park officially reopens Sunday and will boast several new features, including 10 wildlife sculptures by Canadian artist Shalom Bloom, play areas, water games, pathways and lighting.

Looking forward 50 years, Brownstein added: “For Canada’s 200th, imagine how big the trees will be.”

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