CSL recognizes long serving veterans of EMS


It was a great honour for me to be included among those recognized last night for their many years of service in building the Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Medical Services. CSL EMS turns 50 years old this year.  The recognition event and graduation of the current class of new medics took place amid pomp and ceremony Monday night at Cote Saint-Luc City Hall.medal-003s

The Governor General’s EMS Exemplary Service Medal was presented by Mayor Anthony Housefather, Public Safety Councillor Sam Goldbloom and Director (and long time volunteer himself) Jordy Reichson to eight veterans following more than 20 years of dedicated service.

The Exemplary Service Medal, which was established in 1994 as part of the Canadian Honours System, recognizes individuals with at least 20 years of service in Emergency Medical Services and a strong commitment to exceptional performance.

I started at what used to be called EMO (Emergency Measures Organization) immediately after high school back in 1979. These were the years prior to First Responders and a coordinated ambulance service in Montreal. Residents would telephone directly to EMO and we would respond in our small fire-rescue truck, known as RMF-11 (Rescue, Medical, Fire).

Cote Saint-Luc EMO launched my side-career as an Urgences-Santé ambulance technician in 1980

Cote Saint-Luc EMO launched my side-career as an Urgences-Santé ambulance technician in 1980

Glenn J. Nashen on duty with Urgences Santé and Jeff Silver (in brown coveralls) with EMO

Glenn J. Nashen on duty with Urgences Santé and Jeff Silver (in brown coveralls) with EMO

Our first responder service was launched a few years later and I spent the next 20 years in active duty as a volunteer.

Shortly after being first elected in 1990, Councillor Ruth Kovac and I set off to form the EMO Review Committee and proposed upgrading the service to a full city service with a paid director, round the clock coverage, in-house training of our volunteer medics and widespread training of our residents, staff and visitors in CPR.

My EMO involvement also led to 5 years of volunteer service on the Canadian Ski Patrol.  I rose to the level of Assistant Patrol Leader at Mont Alta in Ste-Agathe.

My EMO involvement also led to 5 years of volunteer service on the Canadian Ski Patrol. I rose to the level of Assistant Patrol Leader at Mont Alta in Ste-Agathe.

In total I have been involved in our Emergency Medical services and every aspect of Public Safety for 35 years, well over half of my life!

Receiving the Governor General's medal from Cllr. Sam Goldbloom, Mayor Anthony Housefather and Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson

Receiving the Governor General’s medal from Cllr. Sam Goldbloom, Mayor Anthony Housefather and Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson

Additionally I served 18 years as an Emergency Medical Technician with Urgences Santé, five years on the Canadian Ski Patrol, and founded and spent countless hours with the CSL volunteer Citizens on Patrol group. My involvement doesn’t stop there having overseen Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness on City Council since 1990.

I am very proud to have championed the first municipal bylaw requiring bike helmets in Canada and spending the last three decades advocating for mandatory helmet requirements for cyclists. It is with passion for caring for the injured, sick and needy that I  have promoted the legal recognition of Paramedics in pre-hospital emergency medical care in Quebec.

Proud to be among many deserving veterans of EMS including Patti-Bath Lietman, Hal Newman, Rick Liebmann

Proud to be among many deserving veterans of EMS including Patti-Bath Leitman, Hal Newman and Rick Liebmann

There are so many highlights in my years in EMS. I have performed CPR more than 125 times and successfully revived one in four patients. One of my most memorable occasions serving on Montreal ambulances was my first and only delivery of a baby boy in his mother’s house, which permitted me to proudly wear a tiny blue stork pin on my uniform.

Riding aboard Cote Saint-Luc's first Rescue Medical Fire vehicle RMF-11, 1981

Riding aboard Cote Saint-Luc’s first Rescue Medical Fire vehicle RMF-11 in 1981

I remember with pride serving CSL EMO in a historical torrential downpour in 1987 that closed our underpasses stranding thousands of residents and spending fifteen straight days overseeing emergency services and communications during the 1998 Ice Storm.

Glenn J. Nashen on duty with Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Measures Organization, 1981

Glenn J. Nashen on duty with Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Measures Organization, 1981

Of major importance was my involvement, seven years ago, alongside Mayor Housefather, Councillor Kovac and MNA Lawrence Bergman in solidifying community support for EMS and the adoption of a special law in the National Assembly to allow our city to keep EMS as the First Responder service when the Montreal Fire Department took over this mandate everywhere else on the island.

Saving EMS at the Quebec National Assembly

Saving EMS at the Quebec National Assembly in 2007

Thank you to Mayor Housefather for his confidence in appointing me to my public safety and emergency preparedness positions for the last ten years and to Jordy Reichson for his collaboration and dedication to serving our community.

Councillor Glenn J. Nashen on duty with vCOP

Councillor Glenn J. Nashen on duty with vCOP

This has been a most rewarding, inspiring and epic journey for me, and for the thousands of volunteers who have crossed through the doors at Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Medical Services. Thank you to all those who have been involved in EMS for this great honour and immense privilege to serve.


Opinion: Our opposition to Bill 14 – a question of principle

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Quebec Liberal leader Philippe Couillard and Liberal critic on language issues Marc Tanguay offer a refreshing and confident position on the language question. Their opposition to the “unnecessarily coercive and judicialized approach, and inflammatory measures,” of Bill 14 stand in stark contrast to that of the PQ government, let alone the CAQ that coward away from killing the bill outright.

Couillard and Tanguay speak of the benefits of bilingualism and multilingualism and of the great advantage that the million strong English-speaking  Quebecers – “they are not foreigners” – have in speaking at least two languages fluently.

They finally state what is plain to many but not enough in Quebec, that Francophones are placing themselves at a disadvantage by hindering themselves and their children off from greater opportunity.

I am far from a Liberal flag bearer.  Bill 22, Bill 178, these pieces of language restrictive legislation, along with hiring of more language cops came in under liberal governments.  However, the principles espoused in this opinion piece deserve praise and should be echoed by more and more Francophone leaders across Quebec.

Couillard and Tanguay close with, “Let’s choose to focus on our strengths and, above all, on our desire to live and prosper together.   Sounds good to me.

Opinion: Our opposition to Bill 14 – a question of principle (Montreal Gazette)

CSL EMS announcement anti-climactic

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CSL EMS announcement anti-climactic

By Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban


The battle to preserve the ability of Côte St. Luc’s volunteer Emergency Medical Services to answer extreme emergency calls was one of the more dramatic in the city’s history, as intensive lobbying took place and petitions were organized to prevent the Montreal fire department from taking over that function as planned after the end of 2008.

One of the more dramatic incidents was D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman’s exclusive announcement to The Suburban in early 2007 that the Montreal fire department would be held off for an extra year, even catching Côte St. Luc council members off guard.

The fire department still proceeded to institute a first responder service across the rest of the island. Côte St. Luc boasts that EMS reaches the scenes of emergencies faster than the fire department and much faster than Urgences Santé.

“EMS have shown response times averaging three minutes, which is the fastest average response time for first responder medical calls on the island,” councillor Glenn Nashen said. “Rapid response time by EMS can mean the difference between life and death,

The drama went on even when the Quebec Liberals agreed to pass Bill 22, the law to reform the Montreal agglomeration structure and ensure EMS would remain under Côte St. Luc’s control in perpetuity. The question at that time was whether its passage would be prevented in a minority government situation with the PQ and ADQ protesting.

Then came the announcement that Montreal and the demerged communities came to an agreement on agglomeration reform.

And then, nothing until last week, when Côte St. Luc put out a press statement called “Côte St. Luc saves lifesavers”, announcing that legislation had been adopted to ensure EMS would remain under that city’s control.

“We will continue to safeguard the residents of our community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” Mayor Anthony Housefather said in the statement.

The announcement seemed to come out of nowhere, and councillor Glenn Nashen admitted to The Suburban July 1 that Bill 22 had passed June 20, with little media attention.

Councillor Allan Levine approached The Suburban during Côte St. Luc’s Canada Day celebrations to welcome the passage of Bill 22.

“We have to pay for EMS, so we gave up a lot of governance for a few dollars in terms of the agglomeration, but we got governance over EMS,” he said. “I’m so proud we got it, I think it’s worth the money. When somebody is lying on the ground with a broken arm, it’s not Priority 1, so nobody’s coming so fast. But EMS will be there — there’s no price for that. We’re paying good money for this service because it’s worth good money. I just wish Montreal West and Hampstead could avail themselves of that service, too.”

Pas de premiers répondants à Côte-Saint-Luc, Journal de Montreal

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Monday, June 30, 2008.

Pas de premiers répondants à Côte-Saint-Luc

Par Noée Murchison, Le Journal de Montréal

Les résidants de Côte-Saint-Luc continueront d’être les seuls citoyens de
l’île de Montréal à ne pas être servis par des premiers répondants

Tandis que toute l’île de Montréal profitera du service de premier
répondant offert par les pompiers d’ici la fin 2009, le projet de loi 22,
adopté le 20 juin dernier à l’Assemblée nationale, prévoit une exception
permanente pour la ville défusionnée de Côte-Saint-Luc.

«C’est complètement aberrant de la part du gouvernement Charest de
permettre à des bénévoles de remplacer des premiers répondants
professionnels», s’exclame Michel Crevier, président de l’Association des
pompiers de Montréal.


Des bénévoles vont continuer d’agir à titre de premiers répondants sur ce
territoire, même si toutes les caser nes de pompiers de l’île seront
formées pour donner le service.

«Notre équipe de bénévoles a plus d’heures d’entraînement que les
pompiers», clame le maire de Côte-Saint-Luc, Anthony Housefather, qui tient
à maintenir le service communautaire en place depuis 1980.

Le porte-parole de la ministre des Affaires municipales, Nathalie
Normandeau, indique que le maire a convaincu les parlementaires que le
service de bénévoles est suffisamment performant.


Mais l’exception permanente accordée à Côte-Saint-Luc fait bondir le
porte-parole du Parti québécois en matière de métropole.

«C’est la sécurité des gens qui est en jeu. En tout respect pour les
bénévoles, ça ne se compare pas à des pompiers professionnels», s’insurge
Martin Lemay, député de Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques.

Le Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal préfère attendre d’avoir
analysé toutes les implications de la loi avant d’émettre des commentaires.

EMS saved in Cote Saint-Luc, Montreal Express

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Monday, June 30, 2008

EMS saved in Cote Saint-Luc

Montreal Express

After several years of painstaking lobbying, letter writing, conference calls, visits to Minister’s offices and petitions signed by thousands in support of CSL EMS legislation was finally adopted by the Quebec National Assembly (Bill 22) securing the future for CSL EMS as the sole First Response authority in the City of Cote Saint-Luc.
“This is an amazing and pivotal moment in the history of CSL EMS”, said Glenn J. Nashen, City Councillor responsible for Public Safety, and himself a nearly 30 year member of EMS. “This also comes with great responsibility, as we continue to safeguard the residents of our community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Nashen said that the City will continue to invest in upgrading its fleet, equipment, uniforms and facilities. “Our newest emergency vehicle will be arriving in a few weeks – perfect timing to allow us to show the community that we are modernizing to continue to serve them proudly and professionally,” he said.

Nashen also thanked MNA Lawrence Bergman for his support of CSL EMS in steering this issue through the decision making corridors of the National Assembly.

CSL 911 (Nov. 22, 2007)

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CSL 911
The Monitor

by Glenn J. Nashen
November 22, 2007

Mayor Housefather, and councillors Nashen and Berku spoke at National Assembly hearings on November 15 to support Bill 22, which contains provisions to save Côte St. Luc EMS. They were joined by EMS volunteers and staff.

CSL EMS volunteer medics were busier than ever as availability of Urgences Sante ambulances continues to decrease resulting in longer delays. Often EMS will respond to two or three simultaneous calls for medical emergencies.
A recent drowning at a Cavendish Blvd. condo pool is a stark reminder that one must never swim alone. Building security and the superintendent found a man lying face down in the water and pulled him out. Quick action in dialing 911 may very well have saved the man’s life. But prevention is the best means of avoiding an emergency in the first place. Never swim alone!

Thanks to our EMS, Public Security and vCOP (volunteer Citizens on Patrol) members for excellent mobilization this Halloween. CSL was patrolled by three EMS crews and 15 vCOPs in vehicles, on foot and acting as crossing guards at the Haunted House at the Samuel Moscovitch Arena.

Recently CSL Public Security officers responded to a fire call on Trinity Ave. Arriving before the firefighters, PS officers noticed smoke coming from the upper duplex and forced their way into the residence, rescuing an elderly man. While the cause of the fire is under investigation, we applaud the courageous efforts of officers Stavrakis and Blanchet who went above and beyond the call of duty to assist a resident in need. These two are examples of the superb men and women who serve us day and night as members of the police, fire, ambulance, EMS first responders and other emergency services. We salute them all.

Meanwhile, just last week, CSL Mayor Anthony Housefather testified before parliamentary hearings in Quebec city on municipal reorganization. In an impassioned speech and subsequent exchange with MNAs, the Mayor superbly defended the interests of the City in keeping CSL EMS in place as our first responder service of choice. I accompanied the Mayor, along with Councillor Dida Berku, DG Ken Lerner and EMS volunteers. We made every effort to speak with MNAs to urge them to adopt the proposed legislation keeping CSL EMS in place. We salute our MNA Lawrence Bergman for his pivotal role in this crucial issue.

Glenn J. Nashen is the Côte Saint-Luc city councillor responsible for public safety.

Ensure CSL EMS continues, Suburban

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‘Ensure CSL EMS continues’
By Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban
November 21, 2007

Côte St. Luc’s political representatives travelled to Quebec City last Thursday, to ensure new provincial legislation will allow the city’s 27-year-old volunteer Emergency Medical Services department to continue in perpetuity.

Montreal is enabling its firefighters to become first responders throughout the island. For Côte St. Luc, this would have meant firefighters answering Priority 1, extreme emergency, calls in Côte St. Luc instead of EMS. The changeover was to take place Jan, 1, 2009, and D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman announced last year that there would be a further extension to 2010.

However, the new Bill 22, which mostly concerns the agglomeration councils of various Quebec cities, also ensures EMS will operate to its full capacity under Côte St. Luc’s control. EMS gets to the scenes of local emergencies before Urgences Santé, and helps stabilize patients until they can be transported to hospital.

Côte St. Luc submitted a brief to the National Assembly, urging that Bill 22 be passed with the EMS provision intact.

“Without immediate legislative action, our EMS service would soon cease to exist as we know it, due to the collective agreement signed by the City of Montreal with the firefighters union in 2003,” the brief says. “If [the provision] is not adopted, the Montreal fire department will have the right to supplant EMS against the will of our council and residents.”

The Côte St. Luc representatives, which included Mayor Anthony Housefather and councillors Glenn Nashen and Dida Berku as well as EMS personnel, presented letters of support from directors of emergency medicine at the Jewish General, Montreal General and Royal Victoria hospitals; petitions from residents and editorials of support from newspapers.

“The council of Côte St. Luc has no more important job in this mandate than to protect EMS, which the city has spent approximately $20 million over the last 27 years to build,” the brief says.

The brief also laid out Côte St. Luc’s case for maintaining EMS.

• EMS personnel are better trained and will respond to more calls than the fire department, which has not started its first responder service yet. The brief adds that the fire department will provide an “invaluable” service to the rest of the island.

• EMS concentrates on first response, while the fire department also responds to fire calls. Those calls could make firefighters unavailable for local Priority 1 calls.

• Labour unrest and the movement of equipment from one fire station to another could undermine the firefighters’ first responder service.

• EMS has better response time — three minutes and 30 seconds compared to the fire department’s goal of eight minutes.

“We plead with the legislature to adopt [the EMS provision] and assure you the residents will always appreciate and remember the decision made by the legislature in this matter,” the brief concludes.

But the firefighters union claims Housefather is trying to “hoodwink” the government regarding response times and availability of firefighters.

“The mayor of Côte St. Luc should know that volunteers are not and will never be able to offer a service for first responders as good as that offered by the firefighters of Montreal,” said Montreal Firefighters Association president Michel Crevier.

Crevier added, in a prepared statement, that his association will provide Quebec Municipal Affairs Minister Nathalie Normandeau with the “real portrait” of the firefighters’ response times.