March 13, 2017
News clip, Quebec, Urban Planning
Cavendish Extension, Mitchell Brownstein
Mayor Mitchell Brownstein.
Numerous meetings have been held in recent weeks regarding the long-awaited Cavendish Blvd. link between Côte St. Luc and St. Laurent, Côte St. Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein told council regular Bernard Tonchin.
Tonchin and fellow council regular Irving Itman regularly ask for updates on the link.
Brownstein responded at the February council meeting that separate talks were held with St. Laurent Mayor Alan DeSousa, Quebec Transport Minister Laurent Lessard, representatives of Canadian Pacific and Canadian National railways, all area mayors and MNAs, and Montreal Executive Committee Chairman Pierre Desrochers.
“Everyone’s on board,” the mayor said. “All the MNAs representing the area, the Transport Minister and all of the mayors. It is moving forward — $222,000 at the last agglomeration council meeting I was at was passed to be spent on a feasibility study for the overpass [that would be part of the link].
“It’s not just talk anymore.”
February 22, 2017
Language, News clip, Quebec
Bill 101, Charter of the French Language, David Birnbaum, Harold Staviss, highway safety, Quebec Ministry of Transport, Ruth Kovac
Free Press, Letters, Feb. 14, 2017
As we all know, all traffic signs on Quebec highways are solely in French. When driving, do you know what «Respectez les feux de voies», «Risque d’aquaplanage», «Dégel», «Ralentir», «Allumez vos phares», «Voie cahoteuse» and «Incident voie droite bloquée» mean?
Are you aware that according to the Charter of the French Language, the French inscription on traffic signs may be complemented or replaced by symbols or pictographs, and another language may be used where no symbol or pictograph exists? Seeing that the aforementioned phrases have to deal with one’s safety, why are they not in English as well, as the charter clearly provides?
It absolutely makes no sense whatsoever that the protection of the French language is more important than one’s safety. Shouldn’t the safety of everyone, whether French speaking or English speaking, be of prime importance? That is precisely why Ruth Kovac and I presented a petition to the provincial legislature through our legislator David Birnbaum.
Time is running out. The deadline of March 2 to sign the petition is fast approaching.
If you have already signed the petition, we thank you. If you have not signed, please do so. However, in all instances, please make sure that you share this with your family, friends, acquaintances, neighbours and your neighbours’ friends. Share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The petition can be found at: www.assnat.qc.ca/en/exprimez-votre-opinion/petition/Petition-6407/index.html.
Numbers do speak volumes and volumes can bring about change. The petition has nothing to do with language; it has everything to do with safety.
Ruth Kovac, Côte St. Luc
Harold Staviss, Hampstead
February 17, 2017
Language, News clip, Quebec, Resolution / Bylaw
Charter of the French Language, Harold Staviss, Petition, Quebec Ministry of Transport, Ruth Kovac
The following is an excellent opinion piece by my friends Ruth and Harold. The petition to allow for bilingual sfaety signs on Quebec highways is on the National Assembly website, which has over 5,000 signatures. The petition can be seen and signed at www.assnat.qc.ca/en/exprimez-votre-opinion/petition/Petition-6407/index.html
Opinion: Safety should trump language for Quebec highway signs | Montreal Gazette
February 10, 2017
Canada, Everything Else, Quebec
The 2016 census figures are in and Cote Saint-Luc registered a mini population growth spurt of just 127 residents more than in 2011.
CSL now has 32,448 residents, a growth of just 0.4%.
It’s interesting to note that the census metropolitan area of Vancouver has the highest population density in Canada, with 5,492.6 people per square kilometre, followed by the Montreal suburbs of Westmount and… you guessed it, Cote Saint-Luc with 4,662.5 people per square kilometre. Toronto ranks 8th on the list at 4,334.4 people per square kilometre.
While our population remains relatively unchanged in CSL, Quebec’s overall growth has slowed significantly to 3.3% since 2011. This places us in 8th position out of the 13 provinces and territories. Wonder why?
Previous census figures show our average age is decreasing in CSL. When more data is released later this year we’ll see if this trend is continuing.
These numbers also help our city in planning for services to meet the needs of our demographics. Also worth noting, is that several new buildings are either in construction (such as on The Avenue and on Parkhaven) or pre-construction (on Marc-Chagall) that will bring in several hundred new residents in the next year or two. This will add to our density as well as our demand on infrastructure (roads, sewers, utility) and services (recreation, library, EMS, etc…).
See more information on the Census Canada web page for CSL as well as at CTV News.
For more info on how CSL fared in the 2011 census use the search window on the top right of this page (search: Census 2011).
What do you think about these numbers? Are we better or worse off by our growing population?
January 30, 2017
Gun control, immigration, terrorism
An unspeakable tragedy has fallen upon our province, our country. Shocking and horrific.
We like to believe that we live in a place of tolerance and respect. Where neighbours live in harmony with neighbours. These are our core values as Canadians.
These acts of senseless violence are, thankfully, so incredibly rare in our country. And they would be even fewer if we were to ban weapons in Canada, as the vast majority of peace-loving, law-abiding citizens do not have any need to possess firearms.
A horrific and senseless act of cowardliness that has no place in Canada and should not be acceptable anywhere in the world.
May peace be upon our Muslim neighbours and all Quebecers and Canadians, regardless of religion, language or background. Assalamu ‘Alaikum. Shalom Aleichem.
January 25, 2017
Language, News clip, Quebec
Charter of the French Language, Petition, Roads and Highways, Transports Quebec
This is the type of bilingual safety signage— such as this one from an Ontario highway— that the petition by Harold Staviss and Ruth Kovac is seeking in Quebec. Of course, in this province, the French wording would be on the left of the sign.
Côte St. Luc and Hampstead councils passed resolutions recently supporting a petition calling on the Quebec government to install bilingual traffic signs dealing with safety and health.
The petition on the National Assembly website, which had 4,317 signatures as of Jan. 5, was initiated by Hampstead lawyer Harold Staviss and Côte St. Luc councillor Ruth Kovac, and sponsored by D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum. The petition can be seen at www.assnat.qc.ca/en/exprimez-votre-opinion/petition/Petition-6407/index.html. The deadline to sign is March 2.
Kovac, who moved Côte St. Luc’s resolution, has been working with Staviss to, within the language law, lobby companies and government agencies to increase bilingualism on signage and in communications with consumers.
Councillor Glenn Nashen, who himself has been lobbying for increased bilingualism on government websites, seconded Côte St. Luc’s resolution.
The two municipal resolutions point out the facts of the petition, that “the second paragraph of section 22 of the Charter states that the French language may be accompanied by another language when indicated by reason of health or public safety and where no symbol or pictograph exists,” and that the province has not, for the most part, installed such signs.
The two resolutions ask the Quebec Transport and Culture and Communications ministries to “take the necessary steps in order that all traffic signs and electronic alerts/messages dealing with public safety or health be in both French and English, when no symbol or pictograph exists.”
Quebec not budging on English for public safety signs
Pushing for bilingual highway safety signs
Letter to the Editor, The Gazette, English safety signage allowed on Quebec highways
Language control sends a dangerous message
December 22, 2016
Canada, Events, Jewish Community, Quebec
Anthony Housefather, Hanukkah, Happy Chanukah, Sainte-Agathe
As the holiday of lights and freedom approaches I take great pride and satisfaction in hearing encouraging words, during these troubling times, from leaders near and far.
Our illustrious MP, Anthony Housefather, has worked tirelessly to bring an open, pluralistic approach to ‘Hanukkah on the Hill’. In every speech, at every opportunity, the dynamic legislator innately rallies Canadians to think generously of those around them with his ever so optimistic perspective that we are all Canadians no matter how background. I salute him for spreading a message of hope and inclusion in a true Canadian spirit.
I am also grateful that our Prime Minister has shown, within a very short time in office, a genuine interest in forging a close relationship with the Jewish community. To be sure, there are a number of key players in the Canadian Jewish community that within the PM’s sphere of influence, including Housefather. But I do believe that Trudeau has the right convictions within him.
President Barak Obama delivered a meaningful speech at the White House in celebration of Chanukah, invoking the memory of Elie Wiesel by inviting the wife, children and grandchildren of the late beacon of memory of the Six Million. What’s more, the President kindled the handmade menorah of Wiesel’s granddaughter.
What struck me significantly this month was a leading article in the Ste-Agathe newspaper questioning whether a Chanukah Menorah ought to be permitted in a public place. So many responses were negative, seeking to extinguish the lights of the candelabra, all the while approving the public display of the Christmas Tree, the Cross and the Nativity Scene.
I found this to be a sad statement given the overt anti-semitism in this Laurentian paradise just a generation ago. Rather than barking angrily at my fellow Quebecers I decided this should be a moment to teach, to learn and to reach out in the spirit of the holidays in hopes that more people would be influenced and perhaps become more tolerant. You can see my comments and the full discussion here. Maybe you’d also like to reach out as I’ve tried to do.
And so, I hope that we all can learn to become a little more tolerant during these troubling times, a little kinder to one another, a little more respectful. This is the universal message that I draw from the bright light of the Chanukah Menorah. And in this spirit, and in borrowing Anthony’s words, I hope that no matter your background, your language or your religion, that you too draw inspiration from this little light of mine and that it shines bright upon you and those you hold close, and upon all people.