Greenfield Park gears up for a fight

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The Montreal Gazette is reporting that Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather‘s initiative to solicit support against the PQ’s Bill 14 has picked up major steam with endorsement by the Longueuil borough of (and former City of) Greenfield Park.

About half of the 86 cities, towns and boroughs that currently enjoy bilingual status have already passed resolutions condemning the proposed law, said Côte-St-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather, who is co-ordinating municipal opposition to the bill.

They include Hampstead, Montreal West, Town of Mount Royal, Senneville, Beaconsfield, Dorval, Baie d’Urfé, Pointe-Claire, Kirkland and Westmount, along with several towns in the Eastern Townships and other regions, like Ayer’s Cliff, Shawville and Gore.

“There’s nothing good that I can say about this bill,” Housefather said.

“It’s a bill that’s not needed. It simply makes it uncomfortable for the English-speaking community in Quebec,” he added.

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New law imperils English in suburbs

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Henry Aubin: New law imperils English in suburbs

Loss of bilingual status is a devastating blow and a barrier to business


The Marois government’s proposed law to tighten the Charter of the French Language would deal a truly devastating blow to most of the 65 municipalities in Quebec that possess official bilingual status. The bill would strip this designation from a town if fewer than 50 per cent of its residents have English as their mother tongue.

Six of the 12 suburbs on Montreal Island that now offer services in French and English would lose the legal ability to continue to do so in English. They are Côte-St-Luc, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Dorval, Kirkland, Mont-Royal and Senneville. (See table.)

Four other suburbs, whose English mother-tongue residents are steadily declining and now represent less than 55 per cent of the population, are on course to falling under the threshold within a few years. They are Baie d’Urfé, Beaconsfield, Pointe-Claire and Westmount. Hampstead and Montreal West, both of which are near the 60-per-cent mark, are safer ground. (The island’s two remaining suburbs, Montréal-Est and Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, do not have bilingual status.)

Municipalities not on the island would tend to lose their status at a considerably higher rate. Many of these mostly rural towns or villages have aging anglo communities.

(The government would determine whether a city or town is above or below the 50 per cent bar on the basis of Statistic Canada’s census. However, it is unclear how the government would define people with English as their mother tongue. Most people have only one language as their mother tongue, but others list two or even more on the census form, depending the circumstances of their infancy. The table gives figures for both options.)

The proposed law, Bill 14, tabled this week by the minister responsible for language, Diane De Courcy, comes completely out of the blue. It’s been a long time since language has been a notable issue in the island’s suburbs or in the more distant places. You have to wonder what the problem is that De Courcy set out to fix.

To be sure, the presence of English has become a hot political issue, but that controversy has been confined do Montreal’s central core, especially the shopping areas. De Courcy’s measure gives the core a free pass — the bill can’t revoke Montreal’s bilingual status because the city doesn’t have one.

Removing the suburbs’ bilingual standing would also be curious because it would reduce the attractiveness of Montreal for knowledge workers from English-speaking countries. When they move here, these workers often choose to live in a bilingual suburb where — as is only normal — they feel more linguistically hospitable.

The Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Index of cities — an annual ranking to help multinational companies and organizations make decisions — came out the day before De Courcy tabled the bill. It rated Montreal well behind Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto. If the minority government succeeds in making Bill 14 law, it’s not going to help the economy.

Peter Trent, the Westmount mayor and leader of the island’s suburban mayors, is a moderate on language issues. He calls the measure “completely unacceptable” to anglo communities. As well, he notes an additional curiosity about the bill: “It wouldn’t help the cause of preserving French one jot.”

Trent notes a final curiosity about the bill: Those suburbs whose majority of English mother-tongue residents are rapidly shrinking might have no interest in attracting those newcomers who would further dilute the English mother-tongue presence. The law might thus have the perverse effect of making francophones unwelcome.

This measure might make short-term political sense: Riling the anglos is often a surefire way to boost the PQ in anglophobes’ eyes.

But as a step to advance the interests of francophones, the bill shoots itself in the foot. In the end, it would harm everybody.

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A beautiful day to celebrate public safety at the CSL Spring Fair

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The parking lot at Trudeau Park was filled with emergency services and vehicles today but there was no need for panic at the sight of all that commotion.  The annual Public Safety Day (as part of the larger CSL Spring Fair) was exciting for visitors young and old.

CSL EMS trainee shows off the First Responder Unit

In addition to local Public Security, EMS and Citizens on Patrol, residents got to kick some tires of vehicles from the RCMP, Transport Quebec, Montreal Police, Fire, Hydro Quebec, Hatzola and even the Baie d’Urfé COP unit.

From left: George Durocher, Leader of the Baie-D'Urfé Citizens on Patrol, CSL Public Safety Councillor GLenn J. Nashen, Baie-D'urfé Public Safety Councillor Wayne Belvedere

The Montreal Fire Department set up a “smoke trailer”, a miniature house on wheels for kids to learn about fire safety.  They enter a “smokey” bedroom and have to crawl to safety, all to learn a valuable lesson about staying safe.

The Montreal Auxiliary Fire Brigade was on hand explaining how they have been supporting the Fire Services for more than 65 years.


The Canadian Armed Forces were on display with a military ambulance and auxiliary nurses.  The Trauma Team of the Montreal Children’s Hospital was in full force offering up tips regarding bike helmets, car seats and much more in the way of injury prevention.

Many thanks to all those professionals and volunteers who participated in a succesful event, especially CSL Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson, CSL Public Security Chief Michel Martel and Neighbourhood Police Station 9 Commander Sylvain Bissonnette, as well as EMS Coordinator Melaine Selby and Public Security Lieutenant Anthony Tsakon, the CSL Communications team (Darryl Levine and Regine Banon), the Recreation team and Public Works Department (Bebe Newman and company). Kudos to COP Supervisors Lewis Cohen, Susie Schwartz and Mitchell Herf along with Team Leaders Mayman, Berkowitz and Schok and all COP members.  This was a great team effort. 

From left: CSL Public Safety Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, CSL Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson, Neighbourhood Police Station 9 Commander Sylvain Bissonnette and CSL Public Security Chief Michel Martel


Let paramedics save lives

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1988-03-31 TMR Post paramedics

Conference of Suburban Mayors endorses paramedics, CSL opposes flouridation

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1988-03-23 flouridation, paramedics Suburban Newspaper