CSL City Council supports legal contestation of D’Arcy McGee boundary changes

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Cote Saint-Luc City Council adopted a resolution to support the legal challenge of the electoral divisions of Québec seeking that the electoral map maintain the current divisions of Mount-Royal, Outremont and D’Arcy McGee ridings.

On March 2, 2017, the Quebec Electoral Commission published the final version of the electoral map which substantially altered the boundaries of the electoral riding of D’Arcy-McGee and seriously undermines public confidence in the objectivity and independence of the Commission. The electoral riding of D’Arcy-McGee will have around 56,000 voters, making it one of the most populous constituencies in Quebec and will, therefore, seriously dilute the political weight of the residents of the City of Côte Saint-Luc.

The Commission also decided to merge the electoral divisions of Mount Royal and Outremont. All of these changes will result in the loss of an electoral riding on the Island of Montréal and dilute the political weight of all the residents living on the Island.

Other affected municipalities such as the Town of Mount Royal and the Town of Hampstead have already agreed to financially contribute to a legal contestation being filed by Me Julius Grey.

It is in the interest of the residents of the City of Côte Saint-Luc to oppose the decision and to financially contribute to its legal contestation. Therefore the City agreed to support the legal challenge and authorized an expenditure of $7,000 to this challenge. Additionally, the City will match up to $3,000 from contributions of its residents.

Residents interested in supporting the challenge can make their cheques payable to Julius Grey, In Trust, and drop off or mail to the City of Cote Saint-Luc, 5801 Cavendish Blvd., CSL, QC  H4W 2C2.

Elimination of Mount Royal perversely penalizes communities, A letter by Anthony Housefather, M.P.

 

CDN-NDG ignoring rush hour congestion at Plamondon

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Wishful thinking: Green light at Plamondon and Decarie.

Wishful thinking: Green light at Plamondon and Decarie.

Despite assurances I received from the previous administration in the Borough of Cote des Neiges – NDG to my suggestion for minimal restrictions on morning rush hour parking on the block of Plamondon, just west of Decarie, as well as on Vezina, nothing has been done over the last three years. Traffic congestion continues to worsen year after year.

By eliminating the very few parking spots on these two blocks, two lanes of traffic will be able to queue at the red light at Decarie, therefore doubling the capacity of these intersections during the morning rush hour congestion.

Plamondon approaching Decarie from the West

On Plamondon, there is just one single house on the block westbound from Coolbrook as one approaches Decarie.  Traffic here routinely backs all the way toward Ferncroft in Hampstead, as seen below during a typical morning rush hour in December. These vehicles are generally coming from Cote Saint-Luc and Hampstead, but also from the Snowdon area.

Winter view: Single lane slowly approaching Decarie

…and the view from behind is not much better.

Borough Mayor Russell Copeman is open to the idea. I ask Snowdon Councillor Marvin Rotrand to be open-minded to dealing with his neighbours in CSL and Hampstead in trying to improve circulation throughout the area.  Surely it is not to the advantage of his constituents to have constant idling of cars and buses that are blocked from crossing Decarie each morning. The reduction of very few parking spaces on Plamondon, and on Vezina, would increase traffic flow and decrease noise, pollution and frustration.

Two parked cars on Plamondon near Decarie block at least 6 to 10 extra cars from driving in right lane

Two parked cars on Plamondon near Decarie block at least 6 to 10 extra cars from driving in right lane to cross Decarie faster

Fleet left-hand turn signage criticized by resident

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Nov. 11, 2014 | Free Press | Click to enlarge

Nov. 11, 2014 | Free Press | Click to enlarge

 

Hampstead stands with CSL against Bill 60

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Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg at his desk ...

Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayor Bill Steinberg and the members of Hampstead Town Council have taken a principled and bold stand against the odious proposed “Charter of shame” (as coined by MP Irwin Cotler), the PQ government’s Bill 60.

Mayor Steinberg announced at Monday night’s rally outside Cote Saint-Luc City Hall that his town was poised to adopt a resolution later that night denouncing the bill as “racist and immoral”. This strong language stands in sharp contrast to that of Cote Saint-Luc’s resolution against the Charter of Quebec Values adopted in October.

The Hampstead resolution says, in part:

  • We believe in the fundamental right of freedom of religion and expression;
  • We believe that in a liberal democracy there is a very real place for the separation of church and state and that the state has no right to impose religious beliefs on its citizens. The separation of church and state should not, however, be confused with the persecution of religion by the state.  It is the basic right of every citizen to be free to believe as he will and practice his religion free of state intervention, so long as the practicing of his religion does not interfere with the basic rights of other citizens to freely enjoy their own civil rights;
  • We believe the wearing of a Kipah, Sikh turban, or Hijab, is not an impediment to carrying out ones’ duties as employees of the State. These symbols do not diminish the wearer, they do not impede the wearer and they are not prejudicial to those with whom the wearer of a religious symbol interacts;
  • We reject the notion that people who believe in a deity are somehow lesser citizens. We reject the notion that wearing an identifiable religious symbol that does not physically impede a person from performing his/her duties, is a basis for discrimination;
  • We believe in a Liberal Democracy the majority does not have the right to pass racist and discriminatory laws against any minority.
  • The strength of a society is not evidenced by its ability to subjugate its minorities but by its ability to protect them.
  • Should this Charter, or any variation which violates the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. be passed by the National Assembly, the Town of Hampstead will not recognize it as a valid law. We will not comply. We will not be complicit with hatred, racism and intolerance.

Mayor Steinberg and the council have shown solid leadership in taking this position and standing up against the Quebec government and their horrendous, discriminatory law.

Indeed, every municipality on the Island of Montreal, including the City of Montreal, has spoken out, either individually or through the Association of Suburban Municipalities against the so-called Charter of Quebec Values.

Town of Hampstead won’t apply ‘racist’ Quebec charter CBC.ca

Hampstead passes resolution denouncing Quebec’s proposed charter Globalnews.ca

Taking a stand against Bill 60: Hampstead, CSL, universities throw down gauntlet CTV News

Large crowd rallies against ‘Charter of shame’

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“We’re not going anywhere. We’re staying!”

These ominous words uttered by Mayor Anthony Housefather echoed off the walls of Cote Saint-Luc city hall in an impassioned speech that delighted the crowd.

Major personalities to take the microphone included Rabbis Chaim Steinmetz and Reuben Poupko, Father Peter Laviolette and Mayors Bill Steinberg of Hampstead and Beny Masella of Montreal West.

Housefather gave an electrically charged plea to about 700 enthusiastic residents who cheered him on in great support before he even uttered his first word.

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather addresses the large crowd

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather addresses the large crowd

“This is an odious bill that sends a message that some Quebecers are more equal than others,” Housefather said. “This is not the charter of most Canadians, most Quebecers or most Cote Saint-Lucers,” the mayor added saying that the government can remain secular. with equality between men and women without needing such legislation.

“We can light the Christmas tree and the menorah in front of city hall, we can employ staff wearing hijabs, kippas, turbans or crosses, and none of this interferes with offering excellent services at fair rates to our taxpayers,” said Housefather. The mayor added that the city will never fire anyone for displaying their religious convictions and that we will go to court to fight this bill should it ever become law.

2013-12-01-Chanukah-in-CSL-2013-010.JPG

“Some people have asked why as a city we are speaking out against the Charter,” said Mayor Anthony Housefather. “City government has an absolute right to speak out against the charter. Our council is unanimous in opposing it and, in fact, each and every city on the Montreal island has adopted positions against the charter. We are against the charter because it is a violation of both the Canadian and Quebec Charters of Rights and international treaties Canada has signed. It would reduce religious and linguistic freedoms in Quebec as the primacy of French is also bundled into the charter. In the same way CSL led the fight in opposing Bill 14 which would have reduced our residents linguistic rights we will also lead the fight against this charter. Indeed the charter is a municipal issue as it impacts our employees and how the municipality operates including forcing elected officials to adopt policies against their conscience.”

Photo Pascal Dumont

Photo Pascal Dumont

Housefather ended with a poignant reminder citing former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s famous quote that the ‘State has no business in the bedrooms of Canadians’. “Well, I say that the state has no business in the wardrobe of Canadians,” the mayor emphasized, to wild applaud.

Mayor Bill Steinberg announced his council was set to adopt a resolution after the rally vowing to ignore and to fight Bill 60 if it were ever to be adopted into law.

Photo Pascal Dumont

Photo Pascal Dumont

Rabbi Steinmetz, the spiritual leader of Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation, worried aloud that a year ago he would never have thought twice about wearing his kippah elsewhere in Quebec. Today, he would be worried for his children’s safety to wear a kippah outside of Montreal.  He referred to Bill 60 as the “Charter of darkness”. “It is destructive and divisive,” he said. “This is cheap demagoguery. A ploy to get better results at the ballot box.”

Citing the civil disobedience movement of Martin Luther King, the rabbi added, “We are here not just to oppose it Bill 60, but to deny its legitimacy. We will never respect this law. If it is ever passed, we will deny it and undermine it. We will act with civil disobedience and follow the lead of the Jewish General Hospital.”

2013-12-01-Chanukah-in-CSL-2013-006.JPG

After Father Laviolette’s remarks and illumination of the Christmas tree, the St. Richard’s choir sang Christmas songs in English and Italian and ended off on a unique and hugely appreciated rendition of: “We wish you a happy Chanukah.”

Rabbi Poupko of Congregation Beth Israel Beth Aaron added in, “I am glad they did not sing Silent Night. History has taught us that when rights are being trampled we must never remain silent.”

Mount Royal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler was unable to attend the rally, but he sent a message calling Bill 60 ‘the Charter of shame’.

Mayor Masella acknowledged that while our communities have not elected PQ MNAs, “we need to tell the CAQ and the Liberals that there is no common ground here.”

After the rally, the large crowd moved over to the giant menorah where Chabad Rabbi Mendel Raskin, just back from his native Casablanca, Morocco, and Rabbi David Cohen led them in song and celebration.

The view from up above. The crowd spills into Cavendish Blvd. as lomos wait to begin the parade.

My view from up above as a light the giant menorah. The crowd spills into Cavendish Blvd. as limos wait to begin the parade.

I was privileged, as the Deputy Mayor, to climb into the ‘cherry picker’ to be hoisted up to the top of the menorah to light the six ‘candles’ (for night six of Chanukah) and sing the traditional blessings. The view was amazing from 30 or 40 feet in the air and I stated over the loudspeakers, “I hope Mme. Marois can see us lighting this menorah in Quebec City! These lights of freedom and celebration should shine bright across our province.”

In Chabad tradition, jelly-filled donuts were passed around along with dreydles and Chanukah-gelt (Chocolate coins) and several youngsters were chosen to ride in limousines – with illuminated Chanukah menorahs atop their roofs – through the streets of Côte Saint-Luc, holiday melodies blaring for all too hear.

Watch Global News from CSL

Watch CBC News from CSL (advance to 5 minute mark)

Watch CTV News from CSL (first news item)

Des juifs et des chrétiens de Côte-Saint-Luc se révoltent contre la Charte (Huffington Post)

Hampstead council votes unanimously to condemn Bill 60 values charter (Montreal Gazette)

Cote Saint Luc, Hampstead, Universities denounce Charter (CTV News)

West-end mayors vow to defy values charter | The Canadian Jewish News.

Cllr. Mitchell Brownstein on Global Montreal

Students pay tribute at Hampstead Remembrance Day ceremonies

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Bright skies and a cold breeze greeted more than one hundred and fifty people who assembled at the Town of Hampstead cenotaph for the 2013 Remembrance Day ceremonies Thursday, November 7 at noon.  Public Security Lieutenant Mike Fitzpatrick blasted commands in true military style as the soldiers of the Royal Montreal Regiment Branch 14 and members of the Royal Canadian Legion assembled their colours before a large audience of school children from Hampstead School, Solomon Schecter Academy, JPPS and Bialik High School.

Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 14 assemble at Hampstead cenotaph

Members of the Royal Montreal Regiment Branch 14 assemble at Hampstead cenotaph

Mayor Bill Steinberg welcomed members of his council as well as Councillor Ruth Kovac and myself who were representing the City of Cote Saint-Luc along with Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson. Also in attendance were Station 9 Police Commander Marc Cournoyer and his Lieutenant J.P. Theoret, Mount Royal riding Chief of Staff Howard Liebman, Montreal Torah Centre’s Rabbi Moshe New, Adath Israel’s Rabbi Michael Whitman as well as holocaust survivors and other dignitaries including former Councillor  Bonnie Feigenbaum and Isadore Goldberg.

Mayor Bill Steinberg and members of Hampstead Town Council along with CSL Councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac

Mayor Bill Steinberg and members of Hampstead Town Council along with CSL Councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac

One by one the various school classes were called up to the microphone to recite poems and sing songs of remembrance in honouring those who had fallen to protect Canada and the world, those who were injured in the line of duty, those who serve today in peacekeeping roles around the world as well as to those who perished in the Holocaust at the hands of the nazis.

CSL Cllr. Ruth Kovac lays a wreath at the Hampstead cenotaph as Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen looks on

CSL Cllr. Ruth Kovac lays a wreath at the Hampstead cenotaph as Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen looks on

Howard Liebman’s words echoed across the chilly field:

On this 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we pause in tribute and we remember.

We reflect on all of those who fought in the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, and those who participated in peacekeeping missions around the world. We remember as well those murdered by the Nazis in the Shoah, and pay tribute to the survivors.

This is also a time to reflect on those currently serving our country abroad including those selfless individuals who are involved in peace operations to help bring about security and stability around the world.

This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the infamous Evian Conference, the 75th anniversary of Kristalnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) and the 65th anniversary of the Genocide Convention (the Never Again Convention) and of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

At this moment of Remembrance and Reminder  – of Witness and Warning – our Member of Parliament, Irwin Cotler, reminds us that Canada’s veterans have fought dutifully and courageously for their country and the preservation of peace, security, and human rights abroad. We can all take pride in their service.

We Remember. Nous nous souvenons. 

Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 14 talking with the school children

Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 14 talking with the school children

Cllr. G.J. Nashen, PS Dir. J. Reichson, Cllr. R. Kovac, Cmdr. M. Cournoyer, Lt. JP Theoret, PS Dir. Michel Pilon

Cllr. G.J. Nashen, PS Dir. J. Reichson, Cllr. R. Kovac, Cmdr. M. Cournoyer, Lt. JP Theoret, PS Dir. Michel Pilon

Battle for Mayor heats up in Hampstead

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The election scene has wound down in most of Cote Saint-Luc except for District 1 where incumbent Sam Goldbloom is appreciated for his persistent work in traffic calming and road work.

But next door in Hampstead election fever is running high with lawn signs popping up all over and the Twittersphere abuzz with mayoral candidates’ pledges and testimonials.

Here’s a Global News report about the fight for the mayor’s seat.

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