Housefather seeks nomination

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Housefather seeks Mount Royal Liberal nomination, Canadian Jewish News (March 20, 2014)

Click here: Housefather_CJN_liberal_nomination_20140323

If Quebec separates, we keep Montreal

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Jonathan Kay: If Quebec separates, we keep Montreal

National Post | March 5, 2014 

Having sown the political fields with an ugly campaign against ethnic garb and the English language, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois is now hoping to reap a bounty of votes in an April 7 provincial election. If she wins a majority, the province likely will hold a third sovereignty referendum. It’s been almost two decades since the last one, and separatist foot-dragging on the question of when they’ll get their “winning conditions” is beginning to take on a farcical Waiting-for-Godot aspect. If not now, when?

During the 1995 referendum campaign, the federalist forces held a downtown Montreal rally that drew an estimated 100,000 participants. But as Michael Den Tandt reported in Wednesday’s edition of the National Post, such scenes are unlikely to be repeated this time around. Quebec’s bloated welfare state and dysfunctional infrastructure programs suck in $16.3-billion more in federal money than the province gives back. Increasingly, Alberta is becoming Canada’s economic engine, as Quebec dawdles about developing its own energy resources and repels investors with its absurd language laws. To many Canadians, Quebec’s government looks less like a partner in confederation, and more like a bailout case.

Meanwhile, the Quebec government’s completely gratuitous attack on religious freedoms in the province finally has convinced many Canadians that the province’s society truly is distinct, albeit in the worst possible way. It goes without saying that not all Quebecers are xenophobes. But if they are willing to re-elect, in majority form, a government that builds its popularity at the expense of turbaned nine-year-old soccer players, hijabbed nurses, and yarmulke-wearing doctors, well that says something doesn’t it? We’re all federalists here, but the behaviour of Quebec’s government truly does strain the conceit that “Canadian values” hold interrupted sway from coast to coast.

So how should our federal government respond if a referendum is called by a re-elected Parti Québécois? Here are four suggestions:

First, don’t act as if Quebec separation would be some kind of apocalypse. Acting as if Quebec’s departure from Canada is unthinkable destroys our bargaining position on a hundred different issues once the referendum fails. Indeed, such hysteria is a major reason Quebec has built up that annual $16.3-billion bribe.

Second, notwithstanding the paragraph above, let’s not waste our breath lecturing Quebec about the economic fallout of separation. Like all sentimental nationalists, Quebec separatists see independence as a sort of magical elixir. Warning them about dollars and cents is like warning teenage poker players that all those cigars might eventually give them gum cancer.

Third, make NDP leader Thomas Mulcair — and every other soft federalist — tell us clearly whether he or she respects Canadian law. Specifically, the Clarity Act, which defines a valid referendum result as one based on “a clear expression of the will of the population,” expressed through “a clear majority” of voters — as opposed to the bare-bones majority standard of 50%-plus-one, which the NDP has supported since the Jack Layton era.

Fourth, and this is the big one: Have the courage to tell Quebec, flat out, that if Canada is divisible, so is Quebec. And whatever clear voting standard is used to adjudicate the overall result of the province’s referendum will be the same result used to adjudicate the status of the province’s northern Cree regions, the Eastern Townships, and, most importantly, Montreal.

There are several million people living in Quebec who oppose their provincial government’s separatist agenda

Which is to say: If 60% of Quebcers somehow can be convinced to vote for separation, while 60% of Montrealers vote to retain the status quo, then Ottawa should partition Montreal as part of sovereign Canada, free of Quebec’s parochial language laws, ethnic demagoguery and dead-end economic policies.

Partition wouldn’t be about Canada making any sort of land grab, even if that is how separatists would describe it. Partition would be about fulfilling our historical and constitutional obligations to Canadians — especially Anglophones and immigrants — who have grown up in this country expecting their government to respect basic rights (especially those pertaining to language and religion). Since Quebec’s separatists have shown that they have no intention of respecting these rights — indeed, that are willing to ostentatiously flout these rights as a means to appeal to the worst instincts of Québécois voters — the federal government must signal that it will act decisively when the votes are counted.

It is fine for jaded Canadians in Toronto and Calgary to say they’re tired of Quebec’s complaints, and that the province can just “go its own way” if it likes. But there are several million people living in Quebec who oppose their provincial government’s separatist agenda, and they may soon be looking to Ottawa for vindication of their rights. In the unlikely event that the separatists win a referendum, the voices of these Canadians must not be ignored.

National Post

Association of Suburban Mayors releases Bill 60 brief

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The Association of Suburban Mayors representing the 15 demerged municipalities on the Island of Montreal today made public their brief opposing the Charter of Quebec Values proposed by the Marois government.

This plan reveals a conscious denial of the multicultural reality of Montreal and will only lead to division and exclusion, the ASM said. The plan threatens the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

The Association of Suburban Municipalities (ASM) suggests that the Marois government focus instead on pressing problems such as Quebec’s spiralling debt, crumbling infrastructure, and stagnating economy.

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather has played a key role in the ASM’s opposition to the charter along with his counterpart Mayor Philippe Roy of TMR. With an expected election call this week hearings on the charter would be suspended and the ASM brief not presented, in person, at this time. Nonetheless, it is important for the position of the demerged cities to be made available to the public prior to an election which will hinge upon the PQ government’s dreadful draft law.

The ASM represents 15 municipalities on the Island of Montreal, with an approximate population of 242,600 citizens. These municipalities are Dollard-Des-Ormeaux, Côte-Saint-Luc, Pointe-Claire, Kirkland, Westmount, Beaconsfield, Town of Mount Royal, Dorval, Hampstead, Montreal West, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Baie-D’Urfé, Montreal East, Senneville and Dorval Island.

Read the full brief.

Duo performance at CSL Men’ Club

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Mark Cotler, Dr. Judy Hagshi, Glenn J. Nashen, Sidney Margles

Mark Cotler, Dr. Judy Hagshi, Glenn J. Nashen, Sidney Margles

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with the Cote Saint-Luc Men’s Club at their weekly Thursday morning meeting.  Being a very cold January morning I figured most members would be away in Florida and I’d speak to a small group of a couple of dozen members. I should have known better than to underestimate the resolve of this group of dedicated and proud members of civic-minded and active seniors and its uber-determined president Sidney Margles. Almost 150 people showed up that morning!

I was asked to speak about the Jewish General Hospital’s position on Bill 60, the so-called Charter of Quebec Values. Being one of the key authors of this major position paper, and official spokesperson for the hospital, I was very pleased to inform the membership about the position taken by the JGH Board of Directors and its newly appointed Executive Director, Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg. After all, this is an establishment that this group supports fiercely, as volunteers, contributors, users and so on.

The energy and pride in the room was palpable as I told them that the JGH would remain true to its founding principles of being an institution providing “Care for all.” Under no circumstances would the hospital trade away its values and ethics set in place 80 years ago in being an institution that welcomes all people regardless of faith, language, religion, etc…  The JGH stands firmly opposed to the draft legislation that would erode basic freedoms as guaranteed in the Quebec, Canadian and Universal charters protecting minority rights and freedoms.

I also offered a brief photo tour of the soon to be opened, brand new state-of-the-art Emergency Department in Pavilion K at the JGH.

Then it was time for me to introduce the real keynote speaker, my better half, Dr. Judy Hagshi. Dr. Hagshi spoke about how to prepare for a doctor’s visit so that the interaction is as effective as possible.  Taking notes and sticking to just one or two issues per visit are key she emphasized.  She also highlighted the importance of having an accurate written account of your medical history and medication list to present when meeting a new doctor or in an emergency situation.  The conclusion was a reminder to everyone that the best defence against getting sick is still getting a flu shot and washing your hands.

CTV News: Mayor Anthony Housefather comments on Bill 60

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Todd van der Heyden of CTV News Channel interviews Mayor Anthony Housefather of Côte Saint-Luc about the Parti Québécois’ proposed Bill 60.

Être québécois, qu’est-ce que ça veut dire ?

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The Christian-Jewish Dialogue Group was founded in the early 1960s. The mandate of Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Montreal is to promote activities and develop projects which encourage good relations between Christians and Jews in Montreal. Dr. Victor Goldbloom has been instrumental in bridging the divide between communities, religions and language groups for decades. I salute him for this marvelous initiative to reach out and to encourage Quebecers of all faiths to remain tolerant, respectful and accommodating. Bravo Dr. Goldbloom.

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Le groupe Dialogue judéo-chrétien  a été fondée au début des années 1960. Le mandat du Dialogue judéo-chrétien de Montréal est de promouvoir les activités et développer des projets qui encouragent les bonnes relations entre chrétiens et juifs à Montréal. Le Dr Victor Goldbloom a contribué à combler le fossé entre les communautés, les religions et les groupes linguistiques pendant des décennies. Je lui salue pour cette merveilleuse initiative à atteindre et à inciter les Québécois de toutes les religions à rester tolérant et respectueux. Bravo M. Goldbloom.

More:

Global News profile on Sheila and Victor Goldbloom

Mayor Housefather’s Santa Claus poem on Bill 60 and the PQ

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Mayor Anthony Housefather of Côte Saint-Luc reads his poem entitled The PQ the Week Before Christmas.

 

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