Celebrate a decade since Blue Ribbon Demerger Campaign

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Bowser June 15 2014

 

 

Newspaper ad from June 2005 commemorating the 1st anniversary of the demerger referendum by the Cote Saint-Luc Demerger Committee Co-Chairs

Newspaper ad from June 2005 commemorating the 1st anniversary of the demerger referendum by the Cote Saint-Luc Demerger Committee Co-Chairs

 

 

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Outstanding Cote Saint-Lucer wins prestigious award

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Congratulations to Dr. Marc Afilalo, winner of the Jewish General Hospital 2013 Award for Excellence in Physician Management. Dr. Afilalo is Chief of Emergency Medicine at the JGH and one of the leading emergentologists in Quebec and has served as advisor to several Ministers of Health and Social Services.

Dr. Afilalo is also an outstanding Cote Saint-Lucer and has been a strong supporter of CSL’s campaign to recognize Paramedics in Quebec since the 1980′s. During the municipal merger era (2002-2005) faced with the prospect of losing the CSL Emergency Medical Services Dr. Afilalo organized a letter of support signed by nearly every emergency medicine physician at the JGH. This crucial support, coupled with D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman’s push in the National Assembly and strong community support from Anthony Housefather, Ruth Kovac and myself, ensured the continuation of EMS on CSL territory.

Dr. Marc Afilalo

Dr. Marc Afilalo

Dr. Afilalo was also the recipient, earlier this year of the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal which was presented to him at a public ceremony at City Hall.

Congratulations, yet again, to a truly remarkable Cote Saint-Lucer and an extraordinary leader on this well deserved honour.

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Outstanding CSLer awarded Queen’s Jubilee Medal

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Félicitations au Dr Marc Afilalo , recipiendaire du Prix d’excellence en gestion médicale de l’Hôpital général juif. Le Dr Afilalo est le chef de la médecine d’urgence à l’HGJ et l’un des principaux urgentologues du Québec et a siégé comme conseiller de plusieurs ministres de la Santé et des Services sociaux .

Le Dr Afilalo est également un remarquable Côte Saint- Lucois et a été un fervent partisan de la campagne de CSL à reconnaître les paramédics au Québec depuis les années 1980. Pendant l’ère de la fusion municipale (2002-2005) face à la perspective de perdre les Services médicaux d’urgence CSL le Dr Afilalo a organisé une lettre de soutien signée par presque tous les médecins de la médecine d’urgence à l’HGJ. Ce soutien crucial , couplé avec le support du député Lawrence Bergman à l’Assemblée nationale et un appui solide de la communauté par Anthony Housefather, Ruth Kovac et moi-même , a assuré la poursuite de SMU sur le territoire de CSL.

Le Dr Afilalo a également reçu, plus tôt cette année, le Médaille du jubilé de la reine Elizabeth II qui lui a été remis lors d’une cérémonie publique à la mairie.

Félicitations , encore une fois , à un remarquable Cote Saint- Lucois et un leader extraordinaire pour cet honneur bien mérité.

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Outstanding CSLer awarded Queen’s Jubilee Medal

Mayor Housefather receives Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award

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City Council congratulates Mayor Anthony Housefather on receiving the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award

City Council congratulates Mayor Anthony Housefather on receiving the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award

Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his service to the community.

“Although there are thousands who have received this award across Canada in the past year, our mayor merits this award more than most,” said Councillor Dida Berku, who presented the award on June 5 during a reception for Côte Saint-Luc volunteers at the Aquatic and Community Centre. “He is multi-talented individual who has proven himself from young age.”

Councillor Berku highlighted his career including being the youngest councillor elected on the island in 1994, helping lead the demerger campaign (with Councillors Ruth Kovac, Mitchell Brownstein and Glenn J. Nashen) in 2005, and serving two terms are mayor of Côte Saint-Luc.

“In particular I must mention the leadership he showed in the construction of this great Aquatic and Community Centre, which was built on time and within budget and which now offers first class facility for our residents,” said Councillor Berku, who also received a Diamond Jubilee Medal last year in recognition of her community service and her initiatives in helping preserve the natural environment. “For as well as being a very accomplished athlete and champion swimmer, Anthony is recognized as a top lawyer in his field.”

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.

Added Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, “I have worked side by side with Anthony for more than 15 years and I marvel at his energy, intelligence and ingenuity.  He is an extraordinary leader and we are very lucky to have him at the helm of our city.”

Housefather and Roy defend English-speaking cities

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Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather and Town of Mount Royal Mayor Philippe Roy appeared before the Quebec National Assembly hearings into Bill 14 this morning.  They did a stellar job at defending the acquired rights of the English-speaking communities residing in 86 bilingual municipalities and boroughs throughout the province.

The snarky language minister Diane de Courcy pressed the mayors on why they hadn’t consulted their residents (in a referendum) as to whether or not they wished to have bilingual status, suggesting the mayors spoke emotionally and not based in fact.  Such chutzpah and warped logic, to poll the majority on the rights of the minority, is to be expected from the narrow-minded PQ.  A testy liberal MNA Geoff Kelley shot back that the PQ themselves hadn’t consulted the population before they wiped out these two cities through forced mergers.  His microphone was abruptly shut off for being too smart.  Way to go Geoff!

“It concerns me that you haven’t consulted your residents,” de Courcy asked of Housefather.  “And, you haven’t consulted other areas, such as Cote des Neiges-NDG, that would probably vote to acquire bilingual status,” a very wise Housefather retorted.

Housefather went on to press his point.  “In some countries, bilingual status is obligatory in municipalities where 5% of the city’s population is a minority community. Nowhere, other than Quebec, is it prohibited to have bilingual status unless the minority forms the majority,” the mayor quipped, in reference to Bill 14’s provision that a city would lose its bilingual status if its minority language population fell below 50%.

When asked what he would propose as a way to make Bill 14 acceptable to municipalities, Housefather responded he was not prepared to negotiate away fundamental rights.  Roy stated that the autonomy of city councils must be respected as they are closest to the people, best placed to represent its residents.

While PQ MNA Daniel Breton spoke in exclusionary and divisive language the mayors described their towns as inclusive, where respect and equality prevail, as should be the case with all Quebecers.  “What do you propose we do for immigrants to make Bill 14 better?” the MNA asked.  Housefather replied, “If my parents moved to Quebec with me in the 20s, if I’ve used English as my preferred language for 90 years, and if I’m now excluded from your calculation as to who is an English-speaking Quebecer, you’re draft law is unfair!”

Housefather explained that there are three ways of classifying language in the census: mother tongue, language used at home and preferred language.  Bill 14 chooses the most restrictive classification: mother tongue.  A Quebecer is branded by the language of his or her mother, effectively reducing the English-speaking community in Quebec by nearly 300,000 individuals.

D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman was next to speak.  He said that is all of his years in elected office he had never received so many calls from constituents as he did for this bill, except against the forced mergers.  He read a letter from a local English-speaking resident of Italian origin who wrote that his family chose to live in Cote Saint-Luc because of its welcoming, bilingual environment.  None of his family are considered as English-speaking in this legislation.

Housefather too said he had not seen such fierce opposition to a draft bill, save for the mergers, in his 17 years in city hall.  Bill 14 scares English-speaking people, he said.  The message of the bill, Housefather said, is that English-speaking people are not respected.  “You’re a problem,” the bill tells us.  “We’ve evolved.  We’re bilingual.  We built our city, and we’ve been a majority in it for years!” the mayor told the commission.

The CAQ member, Nathalie Roy was only partially opposed to the bill, unfortunately.  “The CAQ doesn’t want bilingual status to be touched.  Cities need to be able to decide for themselves.  This is an acquired right of the minority community,” the MNA said.  She then asked Housefather what would happen if the bill passed?

“There would be chaos,” Housefather asserted.  “Either the city would refuse to obey the law and would fight it in court or you’d have citizens in the streets,’ the mayor concluded. “It would change daily life, the way we live.”

Thankfully the English-speaking community was represented by such fine individuals such as Housefather and Roy.  They spoke with passion and conviction and although I’m confident that bilingual status provisions of the french language charter will remain unchanged it remains to be seen if Bill 14 will be scrapped in it entirety and deposited in the trash bin of of oppressive Quebec legislative history where it rightfully belongs.

Council speaks out against Bill 14, supports bilingual status quo

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Cote Saint-Luc City Council lead the charge last night against Quebec’s draft Bill 14 which would severely punish more than 65 remaining bilingual cities and towns.  The much criticized draft legislation threatens much of Quebec’s anglophone communities with losing its bilingual status permitting communication with residents in their preferred  “official” language.

Mayor Anthony Housefather, a former president of the once powerful and influential English-language rights lobby group, Alliance Quebec, took a leadership role in drafting the following resolution.  The Council felt so strongly about supporting the resolution that they took the unprecedented procedure of all seconding the motion simultaneously.

 

RESOLUTION ON SECTION 29.1 “BILINGUAL” STATUS

 

Whereas the Charter of the French Language (“Charter”) was adopted by the Quebec National Assembly in 1977, and over 80 municipalities throughout the Province of Quebec were recognized as having “bilingual status” pursuant to the provisions of Section 29.1 of the Charter; and

Whereas the original provisions of the Charter allowed those municipalities that had a majority of residents who spoke a language other than French to be officially recognized under Section 29.1; and

Whereas the City of Côte Saint-Luc has been recognized as having bilingual status under Section 29.1 of the Charter since 1977 and wishes to retain such “bilingual status”; and

Whereas currently the Charter does not allow the recognition of “bilingual status” under Section 29.1 to be removed from a municipality or borough except at the request of such municipality or borough; and

Whereas the Quebec National Assembly adopted Bill 170 imposing forced municipal mergers on municipalities in 2000 and simultaneously adopted companion legislation Bill 171 which drastically changed the criteria to obtain recognition under Section 29.1 of the Charter, from a majority of residents of a municipality or borough who spoke a language other than French to a majority of residents whose mother tongue was English; and

Whereas the revised criteria, under Bill 171, was imposed without consultation with municipalities recognized under Section 29.1 and adopted the narrowest and most inaccurate definition of the English-speaking communities within said municipalities or boroughs; and

Whereas the current Quebec Government has now proposed Bill 14, which would allow for the removal of Section 29.1 recognition from municipalities or boroughs by decree and against the will of the municipality or borough concerned, its duly elected council and its residents; and

Whereas the City of Côte Saint-Luc is firmly opposed to the proposed amendments to Section 29 of the Charter as set out in Bill 14

 

It was moved by Mayor Anthony Housefather, second by the entire city council and resolved:

 

THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc hereby declares that it wishes to retain its “bilingual status” recognition under Section 29.1 of the Charter now and in the future and wishes to do so irrespective of any fluctuations in its population shown in census numbers now or in the future.

THAT The residents and Council of the City of Côte Saint-Luc view the recognition of our municipality under Section 29.1 as fundamental to the character of the municipality and as a testament of the historical presence of both the English- and French-speaking communities in the municipality;

THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc vigorously opposes the proposed modifications to Section 29 of the Charter set out in Bill 14 and demands that the Quebec National Assembly continue to recognize the acquired rights of all municipalities and boroughs that currently possess such status and refrain from adopting any legislation that allows Section 29.1 recognition of bilingual status to be removed from a municipality or borough except at the initiative of and express request of said municipality or borough.

 

 

THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc calls upon all of the members of the Quebec National Assembly to remove the provisions of Bill 14 that propose to amend Section 29 of the Charter or to vote against and defeat such provisions since we view such provisions as an attack on the fundamental rights and intrinsic character of all municipalities and boroughs that currently possess Section 29.1 recognition.

 

 

THAT The City of Côte Saint-Luc directs its clerk to send copies of this resolution to

all of members of the Quebec National Assembly, to all other municipalities in Quebec officially recognized under Section 29.1 of the Charter and to the local federal member of Parliament and the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and the UMQ, FQM and FCM.

 

Aubin: An eye-opener on what ails the city

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Thanks to the Charbonneau inquiry, we’re waking up to long-ignored corruption. The Merger Delusion has the potential to help open society’s eyes to misplanned government structures. The longer we ignore this reality, the longer Montreal will overspend and drift.

This opinion piece by Gazette columnist Henry Aubin is an excellent overview of Mayor Peter Trent’s just-released book “The Merger Delusion: How Swallowing Its Suburbs Made an Even Bigger Mess of Montreal.” 

Aubin: An eye-opener on what ails the city.

Historic vote for Montreal Mayor

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What a week at Montreal City Hall!

Michael Applebaum has made the local history books becoming the first English-speaking mayor in 100 years. Also, Montreal has not seen a Jew in the Mayor’s chair since Joseph Shubert was appointed Acting Mayor of Montreal for a period of three months, on August 29, 1927.

Although the vote was a squeaker with Applebaum taking 31 votes to Richard Deschamps’ 29 votes, there were three spoiled ballots which could have shifted the outcome the other way. The vote for interim mayor was a secret ballot of Council members only since Mayor Gerald Tremblay stepped down less than one year prior to the next general election on November 3, 2013.

Councillors Ruth Kovac and Glenn J. Nashen with CDN-NDG Borough Mayor Michael Applebaum

The fact that a by-election was not needed saved Montreal taxpayers about $10,000,000 according to media reports.

Michael Applebaum has shown himself as an honest, hard working and dedicated Borough Mayor and Chair of the Executive Committee. I have seen him in action with regard to the expansion of the Jewish General Hospital as well as other issues in the Cote des Neiges-NDG borough. He is on top of his files and thoroughly understands the needs of his constituents.

Any criticism of his French-language skills is ridiculous. His French is excellent, regardless of his accent. Even Montreal opposition leader Louise Harel said that she wished she spoke English as well as Applebaum speaks French. In fact, he didn’t even speak a word of English during his pre-vote address to Council! (It wouldn’t have hurt).

Applebaum will now lead not only Montreal City Council and his borough, but also the Agglomeration Council responsible for regional services including the Montreal Island demerged municipalities, the Ville Marie downtown borough and the Montreal Metropolitan Community.

Councillors Ruth Kovac, Glenn J. Nashen and Sam Goldbloom discuss local issues with Cote des Neiges – NDG Borough Mayor Michael Applebaum (2nd from left)

Huge responsibilities, demands and expectations lie ahead for Applebaum. If he succeeds in cleaning up the image and reputation of Montreal and setting the course for a solid future as an independent mayor don’t be surprised to see his name on next year’s ballot (regardless of today’s intentions).

So, congratulations Mayor Applebaum. I wish you great success and courage in all the lies ahead. As a Cote Saint-Lucer I’m looking forward to your leadership and vision to benefit all those who reside on the Island of Montreal and across the region.

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