Swift and angry backlash against D’Arcy McGee MNA’s vote for Bonjour-Hi resolution

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By Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban Jun 12, 2019

D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum voted along with fellow Quebec Liberals, the Parti Québécois and the governing CAQ in encouraging Montreal merchants to drop the “Hi” in the now-traditional Bonjour-Hi greeting.

Be sure to read below: In my opinion

The vote, proposed by the PQ, came in advance of Grand Prix weekend, when numerous tourists, including many who do not speak French, visit Montreal.

Liberal MNAs Kathleen Weil and Gregory Kelley were not present for the symbolic vote. Weil told the media she stayed away after receiving numerous complaints from constituents after voting for the same motion in 2017.

Birnbaum provided an extensive explanation for his vote on Facebook. The MNA said the wording of the resolution was acceptable to him, and it passed unanimously in terms of all MNAs present in the Assembly.

“Here is why I chose to rise for the vote….verrrry slowly,” he wrote. “English-speaking Quebecers, whether they live in Snowdon, Sillery or Sherbrooke, have a stake in supporting the protection and promotion of the French language. We are allies, not enemies in that cause— it’s time that this be recognized by all parties, as it is by ours.”

Birnbaum also contended that the CAQ government “has failed to take the slightest concrete measure to truly strengthen the place of French in Quebec — by increasing spending, as our government did, on francisation programs for new immigrants, by supporting English school boards in their constant efforts to improve French-second language programs (the CAQ plans to abolish the board), and in calling for the inclusion of all Quebecers in the legitimate and necessary effort of French-language promotion.”

There was much reaction to Birnbaum’s vote.

Harold Staviss, who with CSL councillor Ruth Kovac has been lobbying businesses to put up bilingual signs and send out bilingual communications to consumers, was very displeased.

“Do our MNAs have nothing better to do?” he wrote on Facebook. “What a joke! Three cheers and kudos to Kathleen Weil and Gregory Kelley for standing up for those that elected them. At least two Liberals stood up for their constituents. But with all due respect to David Birnbaum and Jennifer Maccarone, you let us down big time. I urge you all to show both David and Jennifer your total disgust for what they did. E-mail them, call them, use social media.”

Kovac herself sent a note to Birnbaum, which she shared with The Suburban, announcing that she is withdrawing her Quebec Liberal Party membership as well as her seat on the D’Arcy McGee riding association.

“We have discussed this issue on more than one occasion,” she added. “As an MNA, in my opinion, you are elected by the people and responsible first to them, irrespective of parliamentary duties. The 2017 backlash should have guided your vote this time. This vote was a resolution, not legislation! It is the English and multi- ethnic population that elected you, not a small Francophone town in a rural area.”

Kovac also wrote that Bill 101 and the OQLF “have never been about promoting French, but pushing for a slow and painful death of anything English.

“Having worked in different businesses before becoming a councillor, we know that it is the language of the customer that is paramount. This was an opportunity where you could have easily risen slowly or quickly with true vigour and represented D’Arcy McGee.

“I suspect that I speak for many.”

Former Côte St. Luc councillor Glenn Nashen responded to Birnbaum on Facebook

“To be inclusive, forward looking and positive… sure,” he wrote. “To respect, promote and master the French language? Absolutely. To interfere with private conversations between private business and private citizens? Not the role of our parliamentarians. As you rightly point out, French is as healthy as ever in Montreal. No need to suppress the English language.”

CSL council regular Toby Shulman wrote: “I am calling my MNA. He has lost my vote.”

joel@thesuburban.com

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In my opinion:

While I an upset about the motion in the National Assembly, I don’t believe that David Birnbaum’s ‘reluctant’ vote in favour makes him unworthy as a representative of the English-speaking community, as expressed by some others. Now I’m no apologist for anyone, however politics isn’t a zero sum game. I believe in measuring a leader by the overall good he or she does for the community. I’m really not pleased with David’s decision to vote in favour of this resolution. I would have preferred that he cast a vote against, as difficult as that would have been for him. It would have sent a much stronger message than rising slowly, in my opinion. But, one cannot erase the many good choices David has made as our MNA. So I do think anyone who’s upset should let him know. It is only through these many contacts that any MNA can better represent us on the next resolution. Too often people are quick to criticize on single issues, disregarding a history of achievement.

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West Enders react to CSL Road pothole case

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Many west end residents have been reacting angrily to the recent Suburban report that Quebec Small Claims Court found Montreal at “gross fault” for not dealing with a large pothole on bumpy Côte St. Luc Road near Grand Boulevard in 2017.

CSL resident Eric Choueke was recently awarded $697 plus additional costs for damage to the car he was driving when he hit the pothole. The court found that Montreal was negligent in not dealing with the pothole or warning drivers about it.

Former CSL councillor Glenn Nashen weighed in on his Facebook page, and his posting received numerous responses.

“The sustained negligence of the City of Montreal on this horrible stretch of roadway is a glaring example of incompetence and indifference at every level,” Nashen wrote.

Others were of like mind.

“Every time I’m forced to drive on this miserable stretch of Côte St Luc Road, I really fear for my life and the stability of my car,” wrote Ronnie Roter. “When will we take charge of fixing this?”

Nashen responded that the “we” is the City of Montreal.

“Despite outcries from suburban mayors and residents, not much has been done,” he added. “Residents who continue to point fingers at suburban councils should get down to Montreal City Hall Council meetings and raise the issue there.”

Alisa Clamen wrote that her daughter “blew a tire and a rim on the same stretch. I had to pay to replace both — it was not pleasant.”

Harvey Levine wrote that his office is on Côte St. Luc Road “and since 2017 I have blown two tires and bent two rims. There is absolutely no reasonable excuse for this main road to be in such horrid condition. I pray that there will not be a horrible accident due to drivers constantly swerving to avoid the craters rather than paying attention to other cars, bikes, etc.”

Ruby Deen called the situation “absolutely disgraceful.

“It’s been like this for a very long time! Wake up … City of Montreal and take responsibility!”

Louise Ferland wrote that she “busted a tire and lost a hub cap on the Decarie south underpass between Jean Talon and Vézina on Super Bowl Sunday evening. I filed a complaint and claim with the CDN-NDG borough, and received a letter back that they are not responsible for my damages.

“The road there was just like Côte St. Luc Road.”

Nashen responded that Ferland should take her case to Small Claims Court and cite negligence, as Choueke did in his own case.

CSL council regular Sidney Margles suggested that CSL, CDN-NDG, Hampstead and Montreal West residents get together to demand a solution.

“Let’s invite [CDN-NDG Mayor] Sue Montgomery and [Montreal Mayor] Valerie Plante for a drive.”

Nashen pointed out that CSL Road is to be resurfaced this year, but Margles responded that this is a “stop-gap measure.

“That road needs reconstruction.”

joel@thesuburban.com

Toronto cop weighs in on “armed police for hire” debate

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Toronto cop weighs in on armed police for hire debate
Toronto police sergeant Lawrence Sager, Facebook

Toronto police sergeant Lawrence Sager weighed in regarding a Suburban report that Hampstead is pressing for local Montreal Torah Centre congregants to be able to hire armed off-duty SPVM police officers to provide security.

“Police Paid Duties have always been an extremely effective way to provide security to an event,” Sgt. Sager wrote on Facebook this past weekend. “Few would try and cause trouble with highly visible uniformed police officers present. The only pitfall is the cost.”

As we reported, Hampstead councillor Harvey Shaffer was told by the SPVM that the MTC congregants would not be allowed to hire officers. The SPVM declined to comment to The Suburban, when asked the reason for the refusal. Mayor William Steinberg is working on the matter as well, in light of recent shootings in synagogues in the U.S. and religious institutions around the world.

Sgt. Sager posted as part of a Facebook discussion on our article initiated by former Côte St. Luc councillor Glenn Nashen.

“Toronto Police have done paid duties at synagogues for many decades, as well as funerals and many other large private events,” the sergeant, who attended Wagar High School in Côte St. Luc, explained. “The paid duty office determines the number of officers required, depending on the venue and can also provide cruisers for funeral escorts.

“The drawback is that paid duty officers are quite expensive,” he added. “You get what you pay for. A police officer is armed, well trained, has other use of force options and is equipped with a police radio, in touch with the police dispatcher, capable of calling for immediate police backup without delay. We actually have difficulty filling all the paid duty requests due to manpower shortages.”

Nashen responded to Sager by saying that paid armed off-duty officers “would be a viable option in Montreal for those that can afford it. Unfortunately, the cost couldn’t be sustained by community organizations already struggling.”

Sgt. Sager further wrote that he does not know why Montreal police have not provided the service, “but I suspect it has to do with the Quebec Police Act.

“In Ontario, it’s called the Ontario Police Service Act and every province has its own laws governing what their police can do,” he wrote. “Toronto Police do paid duties in order to bolster our numbers rather than using on-duty officers and it’s allowed in Ontario.

Sgt. Sager also pointed out that the Toronto police’s 32 Division “has the largest Jewish community in Toronto with many synagogues.

“During the High Holidays, there were so many paid duties that they filled its own binder. Once no more could be given out because we ran out of officers to do them, they were offered to the rest of the service outside our division. …. Despite the high cost, there’s no shortage of requests and in many cases insurance companies require that paid duty officers be hired.

joel@thesuburban.com

National Assembly again urges merchants to drop use of “Bonjour-Hi” | Montreal Gazette

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Montreal Gazette, June 7, 2019 – I have great respect for my MNA, David Birnbaum, and I believe he is doing an excellent job in representing our riding. However, we differ in approach on this thorny subject.

In responding to Birnbaum’s explanation for his cautious support of the non-binding resolution in the National Assembly today, posted to Facebook, I wrote:  

To be Inclusive, forward-looking and positive? Sure. To respect promote and master the French language? Absolutely. To interfere with private conversation between private business and private citizens? Not the role of our parliamentarians. As you rightly point out, French is as healthy as ever in Montreal. No need to suppress the English language.

Cavendish extension, back in the spotlight, garners mixed reviews from Côte Saint-Luc residents – Global News

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By Billy Shields Photojournalist  Global News  May 29, 2019

WATCH: There is renewed optimism that the long-awaited Cavendish Boulevard extension will finally move forward. As Global’s Billy Shields reports, the new hope is due to the controversial Royalmount development.

A recent report published by a committee studying the Royalmount development has recommended the extension of Cavendish Boulevard as well as the construction of a dedicated bus lane.

An extension to Cavendish Boulevard that would connect Côte Saint-Luc to the Montreal borough of Saint-Laurent has been discussed for more than 50 years. Côte Saint-Luc residents are divided over the idea, which some point out may never happen.

“It’s just a lot of talk,” Phyllis Orloff, a woman who lives along Cavendish Boulevard, said on Wednesday. “It’s never really happened.”

Others, however, point out that the road would be a welcome artery through a city with few ways in and out. Others worry about the influx of traffic an extension might bring.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Officials have studied the extension formally on half a dozen occasions — in 1981, 1988, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 2000 — but it has never materialized.

Two freight railways — Canadian Pacific and Canadian National — own tracks that the extension would have to cross, and for a long time, neighbouring jurisdictions weren’t on board, according to Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein.

With the massive Royalmount project on the horizon, other jurisdictions are calling for the extension.

“They’re doing it not because of Côte Saint-Luc, they’re doing it because the cars need to go somewhere, and they can’t use Decarie (Boulevard),” Brownstein said.

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View image on Twitter

Negotiations with the railroads are slated to continue for another year and a half. Brownstein said the road could be finished by 2027.

READ MORE: Cavendish Boulevard extension faces deadline

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

CSL arsonists sets house, and himself, on fire, strips and flees in underwear

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Man sought in CôteStLuc arson –
Montreal Gazette
Man sought in CôteStLuc arson … Police are on the lookout for an arsonist after a man set fire to a house in CôteStLuc Wednesday afternoon.

Arsonist strikes in Cote StLuc home – CTV News

Arsonist leaves behind a pile of clues – CJAD

Suburban exclusive: Montreal found at ‘gross fault’ in CSL Road pothole case

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The condition of Côte St. Luc Road was especially bad in 2017.
Joel Goldenberg Photo

The sustained negligence of the City of Montreal on this horrible stretch of roadway is a glaring example of incompetence and indifference at every level. Despite outcries from suburban mayors and residents not much has been done. Residents who continue to point fingers at suburban councils should get down to Montreal City Hall Council meetings and raise the issue there.

http://www.thesuburban.com/news/city_news/suburban-exclusive-montreal-found-at-gross-fault-in-csl-road/article_3913dbb2-db0a-5b26-b0b7-b866b15d15cc.html#utm_campaign=blox&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

Update: Mayor Mitchell Brownstein advises that the City of Montreal went out to tender to resurface CSL Road. Work is supposed to begin soon. Evidently our mayor did indeed push hard and with the assistance of CDN-NDG Borough Mayor Sue Montgomery they succeeded in pressuring the central city to advance this work. Smoother roads are just ahead!

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