D’Arcy McGee medals awarded

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From left, Sarah Buzaglo, Lina Fortin, David Birnbaum, Glenn Nashen, and Lynn and Jeff Weinstein.
Joel Goldenberg Photo

The annual D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medals, conceived by area MNA David Birnbaum, were awarded at a ceremony recently to École des amis-du-monde principal Lina Fortin, former Côte St. Luc councillor Glenn Nashen and, posthumously, community activist Gerry Weinstein.

As well, Maimonide secondary IV student Sarah Buzaglo won the third annual Victor C. Goldbloom Vivre ensemble essay contest.

The ceremony was held outside the Bernard Lang Civic Centre in Côte St. Luc. The jury was made up of former D’Arcy McGee MNAs Herbert Marx, Robert Libman and Lawrence Bergman. The latter two attended the ceremony, but Marx could not due to illness. Also on hand were CSL Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and members of his council, and Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg and Councillor Michael Goldwax.

Of Fortin, Birnbaum said: “During her tenure, Lina has made it her mission to create a positive and inclusive school for her students — a school open to the world and ready to accompany every student on a positive journey as they strive to master French, and every other subject.”

Of Nashen, Birnbaum said he has “matched an exemplary professional career with an equally impressive record of volunteer community service. Glenn conceived, organized and initiated ‘Volunteer Citizens on Patrol’ (vCOPs) 11 years ago. They help individuals with safety and security matters and assist in crowd control at local events and in emergencies. Glenn was also actively involved in Emergency Medical Services for over 30 years. One of the highlights as CSL City Councillor was his initiation and introduction of Canada’s first municipal legislation requiring bike helmets in 1992.”

Birnbaum praised Weinstein as a “true and selfless community activist who would leave no stone unturned in order to do good for those more vulnerable. Gerry was instrumental in the development of B’nai Brith House, a 95-unit residence of affordable housing in Côte St. Luc. The residence that now bears his name along with that of Ted Greenfield is a model for fulfilling seniors’ housing needs in a dignified and fulfilling manner.”

Weinstein’s son Jeff, on hand with his mother Lynn, accepted the medal.

In her winning essay, Buzaglo wrote: “In order to ‘live together’, the world must unite and live as a whole. In other words, we must work together to better ourselves and evolve. We must take into account all the external conflicts that set barriers in order to achieve this.”

Premier Philippe Couillard also offered congratulations to the winners in a video shot with Birnbaum, praising each of the medal winners for their accomplishments.

The late Gerry Weinstein among citizenship medal recipients

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D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum, third from left, presents National Assembly Citizenship Medals to, from right, Jeff Weinstein, accepting on behalf of his late father Gerry Weinstein, with his wife, Marjorie, Glenn Nashen and Lina Fortin. At left is Sarah Buzaglo, winner of the essay contest, in Côte-St-Luc, Que., on June 19. (Photo CJN)


Gerry Weinstein, a man who devoted his life to helping those in need, was posthumously honoured by the national assembly with a Citizenship Medal bestowed by the D’Arcy McGee riding.

Weinstein, who died two years ago, was “a true and selfless community activist who would leave no stone unturned, in order to do good for those more vulnerable,” said MNA David Birnbaum, while presenting the award in a ceremony held on June 19.

A stalwart of B’nai Brith Canada, Weinstein was instrumental in realizing its affordable seniors’ housing projects in Montreal, both of which are located in the Côte-St-Luc, Que., riding. B’nai Brith House opened 12 years ago and Chateau B’nai Brith will be inaugurated soon.

Despite having chronic health issues for much of his adult life, Weinstein persevered until the second project was finally given the go-ahead, with Quebec government support. Sadly, he passed away before the groundbreaking ceremony.

He had also served as a leader of the Knights of Pythias, president of the Foundation for Children’s Diseases and chair of Telethon of Stars.

This was the fourth consecutive year that the Citizenship Medal has been awarded to residents of D’Arcy McGee who have made outstanding contributions to the community, or non-residents who have contributed to the riding.

The other 2018 recipients are Lina Fortin, principal of Ecole des Amis-du-Monde, and former Côte-St-Luc councillor Glenn Nashen.

Fortin was described as an inspiration and mentor to the diverse students, parents and teachers at the public French elementary school in Côte-St-Luc, where she has been the principal since 2012.

“During her tenure, Lina has made it her mission to create a positive and inclusive school for her students, a school open to the world and ready to accompany every student on a positive journey, as they strive to master French and every other subject,” said Birnbaum.

Nashen was cited for both his exemplary professional career and record of volunteer service. He initiated Côte-St-Luc’s Volunteer Citizens on Patrol program 11 years ago, has been involved with its emergency medical services for over 30 years and introduced Canada’s first municipal legislation requiring bicycle helmets in 1992.

Nominations for the medals were accepted from any resident of the riding. The winners were selected by a jury composed of past D’Arcy McGee MNAs Herbert Marx, Robert Libman and Lawrence Bergman.

Also honoured at the ceremony was Ecole Maïmonide Grade 10 student Sarah Buzaglo, who won the Victor C. Goldbloom Vivre student essay contest. Named in honour of the late D’Arcy McGee MNA, the contest encourages young people to build bridges between different groups of people, as he did throughout his life.

The D’Arcy McGee Medal of Citizenship of the National Assembly goes to…


Receiving the D’Arcy McGee Medal of Citizenship of the Quebec National Assembly by (L-R) Former MNAs Robert Libman and Lawrence Bergman, current MNA David Birnbaum and Mayor Mitchell Brownstein

What a great honour in receiving the D’Arcy McGee Medal of Citizenship of the Quebec National Assembly by MNA David Birnbaum surrounded by family and friends. This annual event awards three people for their outstanding contribution to the residents and communities of the D’Arcy McGee riding.



David Birnbaum, député de D’Arcy-McGee MNA honoured three people for outstanding community service last evening at Ashkelon Gardens: Lina Fortin, me, and the late Gerry Weinstein. The winners were selected by a blue-ribbon jury of three former D’Arcy-McGee MNAs and Ministers, retired Justice Herbert Marx, Robert Libman and 20-year MNA Lawrence S. Bergman. The Victor Goldbloom Essay winner was Sarah Buzaglo, a grade 10 student at École Maïmonide.

Most of you will know that I have served in public office nearly all of my adult life. Allow me sum up this incredible journey in the form of my shift-on-duty.

Glenn J. Nashen riding aboard Cote Saint-Luc’s first Rescue Medical Fire vehicle RMF-11, 1981


Glenn J. Nashen, on duty, in Cote Saint-Luc’s second ever First Response vehicle

My shift begins. Fall of 1979. I’m a young First Responder in the Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Measures Organization. Dressed in a smart looking brown uniform, yellow stripe down the side of my pants, the alert tone rings and we spring into action, lights and siren blaring from our small red rescue-fire truck. An elderly person tumbles down the stairs at home. A car crashes into a light pole on Cavendish. Suddenly, a call for a cardiac arrest across the street. We respond to hundreds of emergencies, on every street in CSL. And that’s just the early morning.


I rise through the ranks of EMO and EMS, promoting citizen CPR training and pushing for Automated Defibrillators in public buildings and public vehicles, relentlessly championing for recognition of paramedics across Quebec, and advocating for air ambulance helicopters for the outlying regions.

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

It’s a busy shift and we are only in the mid-80s. My uniform changes colour, and so does the vehicle, as I find myself riding aboard yellow ambulances and doctors cars with Urgences Santé. Racing to life and death situations, performing CPR 125 times, bringing some people back to life and even delivering a baby. What a privilege. What responsibility at a pretty young age, to be in a position to make a profound difference in someone’s life during their moment of highest anxiety.

Councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac enrolled at the Emergency Preparedness College of Canada 1991

My shift continues, it’s 1990, and I’m elected as the youngest member on city council. My first priority is to make cycling safer and CSL adopts the first bicycle helmet bylaw in the country! I play a leading role during major floods, the infamous Ice Storm, preparing for doomsday during Y2K, you remember year 2000!

Newspaper ad from June 2005 commemorating the 1st anniversary of the demerger referendum by the Cote Saint-Luc Demerger Committee Co-Chairs

No rest on this patrol. It’s the early 2000s and Anthony, Ruth, Mitch and I are up for the biggest challenge, to get our City back… and saving our EMS and keeping our police and our fire stations from closure.

The men and women of Cote Saint-Luc volunteer Citizens on Patrol

It’s time for a lunch break when a great idea strikes me… It’s 2005, CSL is about to be back in our own hands again, and I decide that we need to harness the energy of more volunteers to ensure CSL’s place as the safest community on the Island of Montreal. We need to enlist more volunteers, retirees, a group of neighbours watching out for neighbours. After lunch I set out on founding the volunteer Citizens on Patrol organization. We launch on Canada Day 2006. Now suited up in a bright orange polo top and in marked vans, scooters and bikes, we continue our patrol through the streets and parks and municipal facilities.

Fmr. Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen and Supervisor Mitchell Herf inaugurate the newest vCOP electric scooters

We stop to alert a resident that they forgot to close their garage door, a possible theft averted. We remind another to keep the emergency lane clear at the mall, we get the finger on that one, but that’s OK. All in a day’s volunteer work. An elderly couple thanks us for changing the battery in their smoke detector. We block a street from traffic and hold onlookers back as the fire department douses a house fire. Over to check on the home of vacationers. Then, we assist the police in looking for a missing child and we reunite the frightened youngster with their relieved parents. We feel pride and satisfaction knowing we’ve helped. We’ve made a difference. We’ve given our time but we’ve gained so much in return.

My first public council meeting as Mayor of Cote Saint-Luc, November 9, 2015

My shift isn’t quite done and yet another quick uniform change. This time for a two-month stint as mayor of CSL in 2015. What was once just a dream actually became a reality.


And as we head back to the station to wrap up this shift for today, in 2018, I can see how my my parents gave me the keys to these patrol vehicles, for this mission to Repair the World.

Receiving the D’Arcy McGee Medal of Citizenship with my parents, George and Phyllis Nashen (June 19, 2018)

So thank you mom, who just celebrated her 90th birthday and thank you dad, who is three days shy of his 95th. Thank you for these important life lessons in public service and looking out for one’s neighbour.


These lessons were also fueled by my wife, Judy, who’s always ready to give her utmost to her patients and to the community and together we are handing over these keys to our children, Nicole, Nathalie and Jeremy.

Glenn J. Nashen, Judy Hagshi with Nicole, Nathalie and Jeremy Nashen (*June 19, 2018)

So I close by again thanking my wife and children, because when my proverbial uniform went on, they knew that it meant I’d be away from the house again and again and again. Public service, and long shifts, do come at a very high cost!


My wife says this about me: My heart is in Cote Saint-Luc and Cote Saint-Luc is in my heart. I feel that way too about our beautiful province and our amazing country. And I hope that one day my tour of duty will continue and my unquenchable need to Repair the World (Tikun Olam) will take off in some new direction to make this place the very best for all of us.


Thank you as well to our incredible life-saving volunteers at CSL EMS and to our dedicated and unstoppable volunteers in vCOP.

Thank you David and our former MNAs Herbert, Robert and Lawrence for this great honour. And thank you for reading this and for “joining” me on today’s shift. I appreciate all the good wishes and support I receive from family, friends and members of the community.


Congratulations to my fellow laureates, Lina Fortin and the family of the late Gerry Weinstein


Celebrating with the Pressers (Sandie and Robert) and Fabians (Leslie, Ricki, Jamie and Sammi)


My longtime friend and fellow vCOP volunteer Mitchell Herf


Sharing the good vibes and smiles with my colleagues Stephanie Malley and Marisa Rodi


Siempre me complace celebrar con mis amigos cercanos Natalia y Pablo


D’Arcy McGee National Assembly Citizenship Medal Ceremony (Photo Darryl Levine)


Friends from way back to Bialik days, Ben Burko (and son Milo) and Gary Polachek


Mitchell Brownstein and I go way, way back. I am so proud of my friend the mayor and pleased to celebrate with him.


David Birnbaum and Glenn J. Nashen (Photo Darryl Levine)


Former Quebec Cabinet Minister Lawrence Bergman and I have had a wonderful relationship over the years. He has been a friend and a mentor.


Gracias Miguel Banet y Lulu Brenner por venir y mostrar tu amor y apoyo



Goodbye to a giant Cote Saint-Lucer, my friend Gerry Weinstein

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Gerry Weinstein (Photo credit: The Suburban)

Gerry Weinstein (Photo credit: The Suburban)

Gerry Weinstein has been described as a generous, no nonsense, just do it and quit-yer-belly-aching kind of guy. Some called him a gentle giant. Others say he was the most humble kind of leader. I think he was all that and much more. I also called him my friend.
I originally knew him as “Uncle Gerry,” on account of one of my closest old friends, his nephew, Gary Polachek. Hanging out at Gary’s city and country homes, I’d often meet his uncle who had a sense of humour and a strong sense of family.
As I got older I’d also befriend his daughter Suzee, an immensely personable and affable young woman, witty and strong-minded, and a huge smile, just like her dad. That Suzee was able to donate her own kidney to extend Gerry’s life for 12 years is simply incredible.
As I became involved in community my path would cross Gerry’s again and again. Attending the Telethon of Stars to watch CFCF live television performances at Place Bonaventure, one couldn’t help but witness Gerry’s grandeur as a key organizer.
When my buddy Mike Cohen and I set out to form the Jewish Adult Programming Society with a few other university pals in the mid ’80s, it was Gerry who’d give us an early boost in terms of initial donations that would help create amazing experiences for hundreds of young adults.
Back in 1995, Gerry, Mike and I created a Neighbourhood watch program and Gerry offered up his Knights of Pythias offices on Robert Burns as our headquarters. This initiative was the precursor for what is today known as vCOP (volunteer Citizens on Patrol) and Gerry played a role in its inception.
For more than my three decades of political activism Gerry would be present and engaged again and again. Notwithstanding the irony that we actually ran against each other in our first bid for a Cote Saint-Luc City Council seat in 1989, we never had anything but good words to describe each other. Whether it was contributing to my political campaigns or those of other aspiring local, provincial or federal political candidates, Gerry would always say yes, even to those with opposing political views.
He once arranged for a band to play on the back of an old hillbilly truck as it wound its way through the streets of CSL blasting the name of his candidate.
In later years, despite health issues robbing him of his vision, and later his ability to walk, you’d never hear a complaint from Gerry. And somehow, whenever I’d happen upon him out in the community or at the hospital and I’d say, “Hi Gerry, how are you?”, two things would amaze me. First, he always responded, “Hi Glenn,” before I even identified myself. Second, he’d always reply positively, “Great.” I never figured out how he could remember everyone’s voice. Remarkable.  And my day would always be great after hearing his positive and infectious response coupled with his very firm handshake. How could you have a bad day after shaking hands with this friendly giant who turned every impediment into a challenge to concur and overcome with guts and courage?
I was so proud to nominate Gerry as CSL Ambassador of the Year several years ago and partake in this award that was so richly deserved.
Whatever niceties you hear about Gerry, they’re all true. Generous to the core, in the pure sense of the word.
How appropriate and moving to see the overflow crowd at Papermans yesterday. Of course there were family and friends in attendance. There were leaders too such as Anthony Housefather, MP, former Quebec cabinet minister and MNA Lawrence Bergman, CSL Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and his wife Elaine, several CSL City Councillors including Mike Cohen, Steven Erdelyi, Allan Levine and myself, former MNA and Mayor Robert Libman and former Secretary of State and Minister of Immigration and Citizenship Gerry Wener. I’m sure there were many more leaders that I didn’t spot. There were Masonic brothers wearing their biker vests, looking like Beach Boys from the ’60s, reminiscent of Gerry’s wilder days as a competitive wrestling and boxer. The Pythians were there. There was even a busload of residents from the house that Gerry built, B’nai Brith House in CSL, a place where he was affectionately known as the mayor. And there were many, many more people there to pay respects and to remember Gerry.
His son Jeff eulogized his dad saying he always found someone less fortunate to help and that Gerry recruited everyone into his projects, whether they liked it or not. He was a “giant gentleman,” Jeff said, adding, “his legacy will live on.”
Nephew Aaron Remer, stated that Gerry was , “fair and dealt with all matters with sensitivity.”
Rabbi Asher Jacobson said that there are many words to describe Gerry but “Perseverance” stands out as a key descriptor, as does “Determination.”
“Even in his death, life is being built. People are being helped by Gerry’s perseverance and determination,” the rabbi said. “He had a deep sensitivity of those who were vulnerable. He always spoke up. He never shied away. He was a boxer and a wrestler and he was a fighter for good and for justice, the rabbi continued. “The man could not say no.
Nothing would stop this man. Not dialysis. No health issues. Right to the very end. That someone without eyesight can have such vision is truly extraordinary.”
The world and our community lost a great man this week. Gerry was my friend. He will be missed and fondly remembered by so many people.


Read more:
Mike Cohen’s blog

Cote St. Luc gets Neighbourhood Watch, Gazette

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CLICK: cote-st-luc-gets-neighbourhood-watch-gazette-1995-10-05

Police arrest Weinstein at council meeting

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In this 1991 news item longtime Council attendee and council candidate (we ran against each other in 1989) was surprisingly arrested in the council chamber following a fisticuffs.  This is the only arrest at a council meeting that I can recall in the 40 years I have been following or a member of council, from 1980 to present day, June 2020!

1991-12-18 Police arrest Weinstein, Suburban

CTV News reports on 1989 by-election in CSL District 6

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