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

BY HENRY AUBIN, MONTREAL GAZETTE DECEMBER 7, 2012

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.

Read more:http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Henry+Aubin+imperils+English+suburbs/7669480/story.html#ixzz2EUfHTkUV

 

City of Montreal pulls the plug on Cavendish again

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Côte Saint-Luc, September 14, 2012 – Only six months after announcing the Blue Bonnets agreement, which included the funding for Cavendish Blvd. road extension project, the City of Montreal has reneged on its undertaking and put the project on the back burner.
In March 2012, the City of Montreal and the Quebec government signed an agreement to transfer the Blue Bonnets race track land to the City of Montreal. One of the conditions of the transfer was an undertaking by the City of Montreal to set aside $44 million for phase 1 of the Cavendish Blvd. road extension project in its three-year Capital Works Budget. This agreement was ratified by the unanimous vote of the Montreal City Council on March 26, 2012.
Notwithstanding this undertaking in the agreement to set aside $44 million for this project and notwithstanding the unanimous resolution of Montreal City Council ratifying the agreement, the Tremblay administration has withdrawn the Cavendish Blvd. road extension project from the proposed three-year Capital Works Budget for 2013-2015, even though it was included in the last year’s three year budget (2012-2014). The proposed budget—without the funds for the Cavendish Blvd. road extension project—will be presented to Montreal City Council for adoption on September 20, 2012.
“The City of Côte Saint-Luc has worked very hard with our neighbouring cities and boroughs to convince the Tremblay administration that the Cavendish extension be made a priority,” said Anthony Housefather, Mayor of Côte Saint-Luc. “We worked with the local Liberal MNAs to find means of funding the project and over the last six months the announcements related to the Blue Bonnets site had pushed the project forward. The proposal by the City of Montreal to remove these amounts from the PTI is a complete reversal of commitments made only months ago and is completely unacceptable to those living and working in the west end and West Island of Montreal.  We will use all means at our disposal to oppose this reversal.”
As well, the new Capital Works Budget does not provide for the completion of the feasibility studies that the City of Montreal also undertook to do. Since 2005, it has spent $2.5 million on these studies but so far has refused to make them public and now is refusing to complete them.
“This omission is in total violation of the Blue Bonnets agreement and the unanimous vote of Montreal City Council,” said Côte Saint-Luc Councillor Dida Berku. “This flies in the face of the will of all the councils of the boroughs of St. Laurent, CDN-NDG and cities of Côte Saint-Luc, Town of Mount Royal, Hampstead, and Dollard des Ormeaux, which have systematically called for the extension of Cavendish to be included in the Agglomeration of Montreal Transport Plan and in the Capital Works Budget of the City of Montreal. As well it flies in the face of the conditions in the Blue Bonnets agreement with the Quebec government and is a reversal of the public commitments and pronouncements of the Tremblay administration, made six months ago.”
When the Blue Bonnets agreement was announced, Minister Raymond Bachand said that one of the conditions of the transfer was that the proceeds would be used to finance the Cavendish Blvd. road extension project and that the City of Montreal would commit to proceeding with the feasibility studies in order to advance this project.
“We encourage residents to attend the meeting at Montreal City Hall on Thursday, September 20 and voice their concerns during question period,” said Councillor Berku.
Copies of the Blue Bonnets agreement, the 2012-2014 Capital Works Budget, and a press release from the City of Montreal announcing the commitment to build the Cavendish Blvd. road extension project are available at www.CoteSaintLuc.org/CavendishExtension.

CSL gives new push to extend Cavendish

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The City of Cote Saint-Luc has adopted a resolution requesting the Quebec government and the City of Montreal to push forward with the Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish extension project.

Cote Saint-Luc has produced several excellent presentations on the Cavendish extension such as this simulation:

Cote Saint-Luc Council has unanimously supported the proposed extension since 1998.  Here is the resolution adopted at this week’s public council meeting:

RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE QUEBEC GOVERNMENT AND THE CITY OF MONTREAL TO INCLUDE THE CAVENDISH-ROYALMOUNT-CAVENDISH EXTENSION PROJECT AS A HIGH PRIORITY PROJECT IN THE NEXT AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE MTQ (QUEBEC MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT) AND THE CITY OF MONTREAL

WHEREAS the project to link Cavendish Boulevard in the City of Côte Saint-Luc to Cavendish Boulevard in the Borough of Saint Laurent through Royalmount Avenue in the Town of Mount Royal, has been discussed amongst all the stakeholders for over a generation and has been an active project for the past 15 years;

WHEREAS, the aforedescribed Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish extension project (sometimes referred to as the ‘‘Cavendish extension project’’) was identified as the most important missing link in the Montreal road network and was defined as a priority project in the Montreal Summit of 2002;

WHEREAS CP rail and CN rail are committed to maintaining their presence in Côte Saint-Luc and Montreal and their yard operations represent an obstacle causing traffic congestion in the Western part of the Island of Montreal affecting the mobility of residents in Côte Saint-Luc and neighbouring municipalities such as: the Town of Mount Royal, the Town of Hampstead, the Town of Montreal West and the City of Montreal;

WHEREAS the new road connections along the Cavendish Boulevard axis would create economic vitality and open up important employment opportunities in the sectors of the Hippodrome, “Cité Scientifique’’ and industrial zones of the Town of Mount Royal and Boroughs of Côte-des-Neiges – Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Saint Laurent;

WHEREAS in December 2004 a project bureau was formed by unanimous resolution of the Council of the City of Montreal with a budget of $5 million with a precise mandate to manage the Cavendish extension project, including the adoption of the final route proposal by 2006  and the design and completion of the work between 2007 and 2012;

WHEREAS in 2007, the City of Côte-Saint-Luc adopted resolution number 070730 and submitted a detailed brief to the Commission permanente du conseil d’Agglomération that clearly outlined the need to proceed with the Cavendish extension project (which was also supported by the Councils of:
Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Montreal West, Hampstead, Dorval, Town of Mount Royal and the Borough of  Côte-des-Neiges – Notre-Dame-de-Grâce);

WHEREAS the Cavendish extension project was included as a ‘priority item’ in the Agglomeration of Montreal’s Plan de Transport 2008, as per item 18e entitled, ‘‘Chantier, Entretenir et Compléter le Réseau Routier de L’Île’’, an extract from which reads as follows:

“A ce chapitre, Montréal entend réaliser en priorité les projets suivants:

  • Notre-Dame (Dickson to Curatteau
  • Sherbrookeest (36e avenue to Notre-Dame)
  • Sherbrooke(Pie-IX to Papineau)
  • Raccorder le boulevard Cavendish: une première phase des travaux établira le lien Royalmount/Cavendish et une seconde phase reliera les deux tronçons existants de Cavendish

WHEREAS the Agglomeration of Montreal identified the Cavendish extension project as one of its Capital Expenditure Projects in its three year capital expenditure budget of 2012-2015;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc deems the Cavendish extension project essential for the development and enhancement of the quality of life of its residents on its territory as well as those in its neighbouring communities;

WHEREAS all of the adjacent municipalities and boroughs are in favour of a Cavendish extension creating a link between its Southern and Northern portions which would create a boulevard which would integrate public and active transit;

WHEREAS the Town of Mount Royal, and the Borough of Côte-des-neiges-Notre-Dâme-de-Grâce have already publicly declared and adopted resolutions in 2007 and in 2012, that they are in favour of the Cavendish extension project;

WHEREAS the commencement of construction linking the two portions of Cavendish is dependent upon provincial financing;

IT WAS PROPOSED BY COUNCILLOR DIDA BERKU

SECONDED BY COUNCILLOR GLENN J. NASHEN

            “THAT the City ofCôte Saint-Luc reaffirms its support in favour of the Cavendish- Royalmount- Cavendish extension project;

            THAT the City of Côte Saint-Luc considers the Cavendish-Royalmount- Cavendish extension project a key element to improving traffic-flow for private, public and active transit  in the Central portion of the Island of Montreal;

            THAT the City of Côte Saint-Luc hereby requests that the Quebec Government and the City of Montreal give priority to the Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish extension project and that said project be included  and designated as a priority project in the next agreement between the MTQ (Quebec Ministry of Transport) and the City of Montreal;

            THAT a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Minister of Transport of Quebec, Pierre Moreau; MNA for D’Arcy McGee, Lawrence Bergman; the Executive Committee of the City of Montreal and all Mayors and Councils within the Agglomeration of Montreal;

THAT a copy of this resolution also be deposited at the next Montreal Agglomeration Council Meeting.

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

Westmount supports paramedics

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1988-03-10 Westmount supports paramedics

Paramedic quest will need outside support

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1988-01-24 Paramedic quest will need outside support1, Suburban

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