A Day to Remember

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Three generations marking Remembrance Day 2019: George, Glenn and Jeremy Nashen

Each year, on Remembrance Day, our family takes time out to pay tribute to the members of the Canadian Armed Forces who served in wars, conflicts, peacekeeping missions and here at home. We remember those who fell in action and who were injured. We think of those who continue to serve and we acknowledge the hardship for their families.

Closer to home, my family pays tribute to my father, George Nashen, for his service as a Sargent in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII.

This year we attended the Cote Saint-Luc ceremony held last Friday in City Hall. While the number of WWII veterans sadly diminishes each year we were fortunate to be with my dad, as one of only three veterans in the capacity crowd.

George Nashen surrounded by mayors, councillors, MNA, MP, clergy and emergency responders as school children look on

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein honoured the attending veterans, Alan Ruben, former City Councillor Isadore Goldberg and my father, George. The Mayor produced a video highlighting their contributions to Canada. Below you can watch the portion about my father.


There were three main pillars to this year’s events: the children, the wreath laying and the speeches.

Four elementary schools (JPPS, Hebrew Academy, Ecole de la Monde and Merton School) and two high schools (Bialik and John Grant) participated. The children recited poems, including In Flanders Field, and sang songs, such as The White Cliffs of Dover, in four languages. It was an impressive showing of the next generation and was reassuring that the fading memories of long ago sacrifices would still be remembered.

Wreaths were deposited by the politicians, emergency services, volunteer and community organizations, students and the staff of the city. One moving episode had three generations of the Reichson family including former CSL Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson, along with his father and daughter, laying a wreath in memory of his grandfather while holding his shining service medal from WWII and his photo.

The speeches were poignant and emotional. Mayor Brownstein spoke about educating the next generation and how the CSL Dramatic Society fulfilled an important mission in presenting the Broadway smash hit, Cabaret, earlier this year. The musical exposed the troubling times emerging in Germany as the country, and Europe descended into despair and chaos.

Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather gave a stirring speech about the veterans who returned to Canada and built our community. With his voice cracking with emotion, Housefather highlighted the veterans’ contributions and participation in civic life and noted that this spirit has endured and has made Cote Saint-Luc a volunteer-rich community with residents passionate about being involved.

Polioce Station 9 Commander Luis Olivera lays a wreath, accompanied by vCOP Susie Schwartz

D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum was solemn and retrospective and in his typical eloquence and charm marveled at the passing of the torch down through the generations.

The speeches were heartfelt and meaningful. I am grateful to our Mayor, MP and MNA for singling out my father as an example for the next generations.

MNA David Birnbaum, Cllr. Dida Berku, Fmr. Cllr Isadore Goldberg, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Mayor William Steinberg, MP Anthony Housefather and George Nashen

A minute of silence in memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving in the Canadian Armed Forces

George’s Story


Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

George Nashen, 96, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force from December 1942 to April 1946 and was stationed at RCAF Overseas Headquarters in London, England for nearly three years. Luckily, he was not called up to the front lines. But his buddies were. Some never returned.

My father enlisted in December 1942 with several of his friends from Baron Byng High School, and was shipped off for two months of basic training in Toronto where the RCAF had taken over the CNE Fairgrounds. From there he was stationed at the Rockcliffe Airbase in Ottawa from February until August 1942 and then to Halifax where they boarded the Queen Mary cruise ship that had been commandeered to transport troops.

“We were 26,000 troops and 1,000 crew members crammed into the ship for the four day crossing to London, England,” my father told me. “There were 54 troops to a room and we took turns sleeping, 27 at a time slept on the hammocks lined up three high in nine columns,” he said. “It was so uncomfortable and there were so many disturbances that I chose to sleep in the hallways and stairwells. But the ship would list from one side to the other every seven minutes as it curved to avoid sailing in a straight line to escape any pursuing German U-boats. I remember the empty Coke bottles rolling bake and forth in the halls and hitting the walls preventing any rest there as well,” my dad said.

RCAF Aircraftsman 2nd Class, George Nashen (1943)

“In London, we slept in the Canadian Legion Hall until we could find an apartment,” my dad reminisced. There were no barracks in the city as they couldn’t chance losing so many soldiers in a targeted German bombing raid. “One night a bomb fell right outside the Legion Hall and blew in the doors and windows. As the glass flew and the ceiling collapsed I immediately rolled under my bed to take cover,” he said. “I yelled out to my buddy, Mel Nicol. ‘Are you alright Nic?’ Mel Nicol was real joker and responded, ‘I’m not sure, I’m looking for my leg’. Of course, he was just fine,” George said.

George and Mel eventually rented an apartment at Queens Gate Gardens about a 30 minute walk from Harrods, where the RCAF set up their administration and accounting division. We often joke that my father served in women’s lingerie during WW II, in reference to the department in Harrods where the Accounting Office was located. They were paid $2.50 per day subsistence allowance for their lodging and another $1 for food.

As an Aircraftsman 2nd Class they received $1.30 per day. Dad used to send $10 per month back to his Mom in  Montreal to save for him. Upon his return, three-and-a-half years later he had saved up about $300.

George Nashen in front of the Cote Saint-Luc cenotaph in Veterans Park 2012

One night they were awakened by a bomb blast and heard that the nearby hospital was hit. Mel and George raced over to offer their assistance only to find out that 30 babies had been tragically killed. “It was the saddest day of my life,” my father said.

Back at Harrods he was busy taking care of Airman Pay Accounts to ensure each of the troops received their salary. Daily Routine Orders were meticulously entered for the tens of thousands of airmens’ accounts, all manually, of course.

My dad lost his best friend in battle. “Jay Singer was like a brother to me,” my father recounts. “Jay and I were inseparable from kindergarten through Baron Byng High School. Jay was an air force pilot from the age of 19. His plane went missing while laying mines in the Baltic Sea on June 15, 1944. Jay was just 22 year’s old when he died in service. I’ll never forget him.”

Jay Singer

Jay Singer

My father endured the bombardments and hardship of everyday life in London but fortunately was safe relative to so many others. The thick, dark clouds that hung over the city many nights from fog made it impossible to see right in front of you. My father recounts as he would feel his way along the walls of the buildings on his way home, counting off the number of doors and turns in the road to find his way home.

One night a bomb fell at a pub just outside of Harrods and some Londoners were killed. The next day, a young Princess Elizabeth, came by to visit and offer her support. My father watched excitedly from the window as the future Queen made her way along the street.

My father returned home in April 1946.

Three generations of Cote Saint-Lucers: George, Glenn and Jeremy Nashen 2013

Each year, I ask dad to take out his medals and his beret and to teach my own kids what it meant to serve Canada as a soldier.  They listen in amazement at his stories of 70 years ago, as they reflect on their lives in the best country to live in, Canada.

WWII veteran George Nashen, 93, deposits the wreath on behalf of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 97 at the Cote Saint-Luc Cenotaph in Veterans Park. Accompanied by his grandson Cory, son Jeff and vCOP Phil Mayman. (Photo: Darryl Levine, CSL).

Each year on Remembrance Day, I salute my dad, and all those who served, who paid the ultimate price, who sustained injury and who were lucky to return just like George. His bravery and commitment, and theirs, to stand on guard, to liberating those who had their freedom taken from them so many years ago, to keeping Canada glorious and free, shines like a beacon to my kids and our entire family.

With my dad on Remembrance Day (Jewish General Hospital, 2014)

We’re proud of his accomplishments and grateful to still have him, and my mother, as our bridge between our past and our future.


George and Phyllis Nashen at their 95th and 90th birthday party (June 2018)



Mount Royal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather’s speech

Councillor Mike Cohen’s blog


JGH News: Glenn J. Nashen awarded National Assembly Medal of Citizenship


by: Henry Mietkiewicz

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

Glenn J. Nashen, Associate Director of Communications and Media Relations for CIUSSS West-Central Montreal, has been awarded the National Assembly’s D’Arcy McGee Medal of Citizenship in recognition of his many contributions to the lives of Montrealers in and beyond the provincial riding of D’Arcy McGee.

Mr. Nashen, a former long-standing City Councillor in Cote Saint-Luc, accepted the medal on June 19 from David Birnbaum, MNA for D’Arcy McGee, in a ceremony at City Hall.


In a video message, Premier Philippe Couillard praised Mr. Nashen for his “years of devoted service as a Cote Saint-Luc City Councillor, highlighted by your visionary leadership in creating a ground-breaking Emergency Medical Services team, as well as a unique volunteer citizens’ patrol, which are deeply appreciated by the community.

“Your continued volunteer and professional accomplishments only add to your fine record of community involvement.”


“Glenn exemplifies the kind of qualities of personal and professional dedication, leadership and energy that inspired me to create this medal ceremony in the D’Arcy McGee Riding,” Mr. Birnbaum noted. “I think it’s poignant to remember that he also joins [pioneer HIV/AIDs researcher] Dr. Mark Wainberg among the worthy past winners of the medal.”

Mr. Nashen has had a life-long interest in emergency services, which was among his key portfolios when he served as Councillor from 1990 to 2001 and from 2005 to 2017. He began volunteering in 1979 as a First Responder for Cote Saint-Luc’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and was a part-time Emergency Medical Technician with  Urgences Santé during the 1980s and ’90s.

Mr. Nashen says he is particularly proud of his key role in transforming the EMS into a modern, 24/7, all-volunteer, life-saving operation. He also saved it from closure in the early 2000s, a time of uncertainty when Cote Saint-Luc had to merge with the City of Montreal, only to de-merge later. Today the EMS responds to 3,000 life-threatening or potentially life-threatening calls per year.

Also created and launched by Mr. Nashen in 2006 was the unique and innovative  volunteer organization, Citizens on Patrol, which he built into an organization of nearly 100 participants who keep an eye on the city in marked patrol vehicles, scooters and bicycles. The volunteers assist and inform residents on matters of public safety, and they alert the authorities to any emergencies they come across. This public safety service, unique in Quebec, is greatly appreciated by area residents.

Since joining the JGH in 2001 as Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Mr. Nashen has been instrumental in enabling the hospital and, later, the CIUSSS to keep pace with rapid and constant changes in web and social media, branding, media relations and political affairs, while providing news and information about the JGH and the CIUSSS to the public and members of staff.

In addition, from 1995 to 2000, Mr. Nashen worked for Federation CJA where he headed the Young Leadership Division and founded the Jewish Chamber of Commerce. From 2000 to 2001, he was Executive Director of Alliance Quebec.

Mr. Nashen is married to Dr. Judy Hagshi, a family physician at the JGH.

The D’Arcy McGee Medal of Citizenship

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



Watch and share: Here’s what they’re saying | Regardez et partagez: Voici ce qu’ils disent

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Watch and share: What do Dr. Mitch Shulman (CJAD and MUHC), fmr. Quebec Minister of Revenue Lawrence Bergman and Dr. Marc Afilalo (JGH) have to say about the Cote Saint-Luc elections?


Regardez et partagez: Le Dr Mitch Shulman (CJAD et CUSM), ancien ministre du Revenu du Québec, Lawrence Bergman, et le Dr Marc Afilalo (HGJ) se prononcent sur les élections à Côte Saint-Luc. Écoutez ce qu’ils ont à dire.


More comments by residents.

CSL announces mayoral election process

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By Joel Goldenberg
The Suburban
Côte St. Luc has announced the process leading up to next year’s mayoral election, to replace Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather.
Pro-mayor Glenn Nashen is at the helm for now.
At Monday night’s public meeting, Côte St. Luc’s city clerk officially declared a vacancy on council.
“Because there is more than one year until the November 2017 municipal elections across Quebec, the city council cannot simply appoint someone to be mayor — there must be a by- election,” the city announcement says. “The Returning Officer will select a date for the byelection at a date to be determined. If only one candidate files nomination papers, then she or he will be acclaimed mayor. When the b-election date is set, it will be posted at CoteSaintLuc.org.”
So far, among council members, only Councillor Allan Levine has declared an intention to run, via his Facebook page. Other council members are either considering the possibility, saying it’s too early at this point to declare anything or are not running — at least next year.
The Suburban heard a rumour that former D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman, who is very popular in the community, would possibly run. We called Bergman and asked if he had any intention to run.
“No, at the moment, I have no intention,” Bergman said. “At the moment.”


Statement from Lawrence S. Bergman, former MNA for D’Arcy McGee riding

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Lawrence Bergman, fmr. MNA for D'Arcy McGee

Lawrence Bergman, fmr. MNA for D’Arcy McGee

Statement from Lawrence S. Bergman, former MNA for D’Arcy McGee riding:


I received an election pamphlet today (October 14, 2015) that obviously was created to deliberately mislead the public.

On one side, in Liberal colours and pictures showing statements taken out of context. In fact, the issuer was actually the Conservative Libman campaign.  

These Conservative pamphlets are an insult to the intellect of the voters of Mount Royal, who have always elected Members of Parliament in the tradition of Allan McNaughton, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Sheila Finestone, Irwin Cotler and soon, Anthony Housefather …people of tremendous integrity, intellectual honesty and respect for the electors of Mount Royal.

The people of Mount Royal deserve better, not the negative campaign undertaken by the Conservatives who should apologize for their tactics.

MNA Birnbaum inaugurates citizenship medals

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For the very first time, Member of the Quebec National Assembly, David Birnbaum, inaugurated the D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medals, this evening in Ashkelon Gardens at Cote Saint-Luc City Hall.

The first three inductees were selected by a blue ribbon panel of three former MNAs for D’Arcy McGee riding: Dr. Victor Goldbloom, Justice Herbert Marx and Lawrence Bergman. All three served as ministers in previous Quebec Liberal governments. The dedicated Bureau Chief of the riding office, Elisabeth Prass, served as emcee.

Attending the D'Arcy McGee Medal of Citizenship Ceremony: Cllr. Ruth Kovac, Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil, Energy Minister Pierre Arcand, Hampstead Mayor Bill Steinberg, CSL Mayor Anthony Housefather and Cllrs. Glenn J. Nashen and Mitchell Brownstein

Attending the D’Arcy McGee Medal of Citizenship Ceremony: Cllr. Ruth Kovac, Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil, Energy Minister Pierre Arcand, Hampstead Mayor Bill Steinberg, CSL Mayor Anthony Housefather and Cllrs. Glenn J. Nashen and Mitchell Brownstein

Mr. Birnbaum introduced the medal presentation as a unique and meaningful manner in celebrating the deep involvement and  active participation of the citizens of D’Arcy McGee. Eloquent and sophisticated in speech-making, Mr. Birnbaum spoke beautifully about each award winner as well as in reference to his esteemed predecessor MNAs.

Medal recipients were Paula Brauer Shuster, Samuel Gewurz and Barbara Seal.

Paula Brauer Shuster is a retired teacher who now serves as a volunteer library ambassador in Cote Saint-Luc, offering community input on library programs and serving as driver in the home delivery program to those who are home-bound. She is always involved in book sales, the annual city tomato plant giveaway and Canada Day celebrations. Paula serves lunch at B’nai B’rith House and volunteers for the Pharmaprix Weekend to End Women’s Cancers. Library Director, Janine West, noted in nominating Paula: “Her willingness to help and selfless spirit have made her a very beloved member of the Cote Saint-Luc library family.”

Paula Brauer Shuster accepting the D'Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal in Ashkelon Gardens

Paula Brauer Shuster accepting the D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal in Ashkelon Gardens

Barbara Seal is a former citizenship court judge, Hampstead Town Councillor and director of the Segal Centre for Performing Arts. She’s the National President of the Canadian friends of Tel Aviv University and a director of the McGill School for Continuing Studies. In her long professional and volunteer career, Barbara has been chair or director of more than 40 community, educational, cultural and health support organizations. She has lectured widely, has been a lifelong learner, and the recipient of a myriad of citations and awards. She continues to conduct the annual Canada Day Citizenship Ceremony in Cote Saint-Luc.

CSL Mayor Anthony Housefather congratulates Judge Barbara Seal on being presented with the D'Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal

CSL Mayor Anthony Housefather congratulates Judge Barbara Seal on being presented with the D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal

Samuel Gewurz is a commercial and industrial real estate developer who has given back to his community throughout his life. He has been recognized with awards for his impact on urbanism in Quebec and for his leadership initiatives to promote staying in school, heritage properties and sustainable development. Sam has been a volunteer advocate and supporter of MADA, which provides groceries and prepared meals for thousands fighting poverty, Hebrew Academy and Canadian Friends of Bar Ilan University, among others. MADA director Rabbi Chaim S. Cohen noted in supporting Sam’s nomination: “We are continuously honoured and awed by his care to MADA and the community. He’s a true leader, paving the path of goodness and kindness in our community.”

Music was provided by the local, talented and energetic high school band, Les jeunes musiciens de l’Ecole secondaire St-Luc.

Congratulations to the medal recipients and to MNA David Birnbaum for this excellent initiative.

Why I support the call for an Office of Anglophone Affairs

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The need for an Office of Anglophone Affairs to represent the interests of 800,000 English-speaking Quebecers is reasonable and quite evident.

First, having three cabinet members of the Quebec Liberal Party who come from the English-speaking community does not absolve the government from its ongoing obligation to its English-speaking population. Cabinet members come and go, so do governments, and cabinet members have many more responsibilities than uniquely watching out for linguistic issues of their constituents.

The last four decades have shown us that English-speakers promoted to cabinet are no guarantee that the rights afforded to the English-speaking community will be respected in each ministry and throughout the government.

No disrespect or lack of appreciation to our Anglo MNAs, past or present. Their competencies are far from limited to their mother tongue. In D’Arcy McGee riding, for example, David Birnbaum is off to a great start, is very interested in his constituency and his assistance is quite sincere, I have no doubt. Lawrence Bergman was a model MNA, of the highest calibre. Robert Libman (Equality Party) was elected specifically because of his position on language and Bill 101 and had wide community support because he was a thorn in the side of the government – a voice specifically for the English-speaking community.

An Office  of Anglophone Affairs would be such a representative body that is sorely lacking in Quebec City.

Editorial: An Office of Anglophone Affairs is needed now more than ever | Montreal Gazette.

Second, in an era when a judge of the Quebec Court rules that it is legitimate for the government to deny the rights and freedoms guaranteed to all Canadians and Quebecers, such as this week’s ruling to uphold Bill 101 with respect to marked predominance of French on signs, it is clear that the Quebec English-speaking community needs greater presence within government. An office, as suggested by Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser, would be a good start.

Smaller English wording on signs will convince more people to speak French? Nonsense. This is nothing more than the government, through its OQLF, bullying small business owners, who have enough trouble making a living in this province without being restricted from communicating with their non French-speaking customers.

It is harassment of Anglo seniors who have difficulty reading much too small English wording in the few cases where English is even provided.

It is an insult to English-speaking Quebecers that their language is diminished by such mean spirited laws that do absolutely nothing to promote the French language

It is pure politic and it is contrary to what Philippe Couillard told us in last year’s election campaign (‘English is not the enemy’).

Finally, Quebecers were screaming their support for freedom of expression, alongside people of good will all across the planet just two weeks ago. Where are they today? Where are our business leaders demanding their freedom of expression to run their businesses as they see fit in order to create wealth in our province? Where are those politicians who waved their signs upholding freedom of expression? Where are all those marchers?

We’re quick to cry for freedom for everyone all over the world. I fully support that. But what about right here in Quebec, in Canada, where we have something called a ‘Notwithstanding Clause’ that allows our own government to deny our rights? What about our own freedom of expression?

All other provinces have an office for their French-speaking communities. Anglo Quebecers need a voice too.


Read more:

Court quashes challenge to Quebec’s sign law (The Gazette)

Judge shoots down sign law challenge (CTV News)

Suburban | Feb. 4, 2015 | Click to enlarge

Suburban | Feb. 4, 2015 | Click to enlarge

All smiles as CSL celebrates Canada’s 147th birthday

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2014-07-01 010

Pierre Elliot Trudeau Park was an action packed, high energy venue yesterday as residents and neighbours showed up in the thousands to partake in festivities for all ages.

Cllr. Sam Goldbloom, Mayor Anthony Housefather, MP Irwin Cotler, MNA David Birnbaum, RCMP officer and Judge Barbara Seal in Cote Saint-Luc's Trudeau Park

Cllr. Sam Goldbloom, Mayor Anthony Housefather, MP Irwin Cotler, MNA David Birnbaum, RCMP officer and Judge Barbara Seal in Cote Saint-Luc’s Trudeau Park

The event kicked off with an emotional and life-altering experience for more than 40 West End residents emigrating from 17 countries. They were sworn in as new Canadians in the annual event marked with pomp and ceremony. Citizenship Judge Barbara Seal, a former Hampstead Town Councillor gave a moving and emotional speech to the new citizens and to all Canadians as she asked those assembled to raise their right hands to take the Oath of Citizenship.

When the new citizens were sworn in Mayor Housefather took to the stage to deliver his usually eloquent and touching speech. He praised Judge Seal for her service to all Canadians and welcomed all to the “Most Canadian city in Quebec.”

Mayor Anthony Housefather helping to distribute 1000 Canada Day cupcakes

Mayor Anthony Housefather helping to distribute 1000 Canada Day cupcakes

The festivities continued with rides, games and entertainment for the youngsters, great entertainment and good ‘ol patriotic speeches by our mayor, MNA and MP.

Wishing you a Happy Canada Day from all three levels: D'Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum, CSL Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen, Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler

Wishing you a Happy Canada Day from all three levels of government: D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum, CSL Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen, Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler

The CSL Human Rights Walkway gained a new inductee as a plaque in honour of Nelson Mandela was unveiled on stage. The walkway is a uniquely CSL initiative that has grown in size and importance over the last dozen or so years.

Unveiling of the Nelson Mandela plaque for the CSL Human Rights Walkway

Unveiling of the Nelson Mandela plaque for the CSL Human Rights Walkway

Former MNA Lawrence Bergman was given special attention as Trudeau Park’s Chalet 1 was renamed in his honour. The Lawrence S. Bergman Chalet was inaugurated in tribute to Lawrence’s outstanding commitment and unwavering support of the City of Cote Saint-Luc and its residents. Mayor Housefather listed the many reasons for praising Bergman including his work to save EMS when threatened with closure by the merger of all local Fire Departments and his support in solidifying the financing of the Aquatic and Community Centre.

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A big highlight each year is the incredible fireworks show. What usually lasts about 15 minutes went on for almost 25 with the most spectacular pyrotechnics seen in Cote Saint-Luc in a very, very long time.

My son Jeremy may not show it but he was thrilled to meet this RCMP officer as well as the Mounted officers and their horses from the Montreal Police Department

My son Jeremy may not show it but he was thrilled to meet this RCMP officer as well as the Mounted officers and their horses from the Montreal Police Department

Keeping our residents and party-goers safe are our amazing EMS and vCOP volunteers along with our professional Public Security agents and Montreal agglomeration police officers.

EMS volunteers always at the ready

EMS volunteers always at the ready

Thanks to all of them for their endless energy and dedicated services. Our community is a better place to live in large part thanks to our many volunteers involved in safety, culture, sports and recreation.

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vCOP Supervisor Susie Schwartz along with Public Security Lieutenant Anthony Tsakon (centre) and Public Safety Manager Philip Chateauvert

The 2014 Canada Day celebration was good fun and a successful event. Thank you to co-chairs Councillors Sam Goldbloom and Mitchell Brownstein as well as to the staff of the Parks and Recreation Department under Director David Taveroff for doing such a fine organizing job. All this could not have been possible without the amazing leadership and abundant enthusiasm of the most incredible mayor in all of Quebec, Anthony Housefather.

Councillor Sam Goldbloom hugs our vCOP volunteers, Mona Aronovitch and Elaine Meunier

Councillor Sam Goldbloom hugs our vCOP volunteers, Mona Aronovitch and Elaine Meunier

vCOP: Proudly Canadian, since July 1, 2006

vCOP: Proudly Canadian, since July 1, 2006

CSL Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson and Police Commander Marc Cournoyer make sure everything stays safe for residents and participants at Canada Day and throughout the year

CSL Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson and Police Commander Marc Cournoyer make sure everything stays safe for residents and participants at Canada Day and throughout the year


Read more on Councillor Mike Cohen’s blog

Côte Saint-Luc to honour Nelson Mandela and Lawrence Bergman at Canada Day celebration

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The Canada Day celebration in the City of Côte Saint-Luc on July 1 will include ceremonies honouring former South African President Nelson Mandela and former Member of the National Assembly Lawrence S. Bergman.
“Our Canada Day event attracts thousands of people and it’s an opportunity to honour people who have made a difference, whether somewhere else in the world or here at home,” Mayor Anthony Housefather said. “We decided to induct Nelson Mandela on the Côte Saint-Luc Human Rights Walkway because of his fight against the abhorrent system in South Africa of forced segregation based on race and because he chose reconciliation over revenge when he was freed from prison and was elected President.
“We are naming Chalet 1 of Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park for Lawrence Bergman because of his huge contribution to the City of Côte Saint-Luc during his 20 years as MNA for D’Arcy McGee. He has been an incredible partner in many respects including through his dedicated work with us to secure a law protecting our unique EMS service and through his extraordinary efforts to assist us in obtaining the grants needed to build our magnificent Aquatic and Community Centre.”
All Canada Day activities take place at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park on Mackle Rd. The Nelson Mandela induction takes place at 7:45 pm. The Lawrence S. Bergman Chalet 1 unveiling takes place at 9:30 pm.
Canada Day will also feature a Canadian citizenship ceremony for new Canadians, live music by Airport 77 and Lorraine Klaasen. Kids will enjoy storytelling, inflatable games, the children’s train, the roaming magician, arts and crafts and more. Other activities include free pedal boats on Centennial Lake, a model airplane show, a model boat show, free cupcakes, and the closing fireworks at 9:45 pm.
See the Canada Day schedule at www.CoteSaintLuc.org/CanadaDay2014.
The masters of ceremonies are Dan Laxer and Laurie Betito of CJAD. The event co-chairpersons are Councillor Mitchell Brownstein and Councillor Sam Goldbloom.
Event sponsors include Canadian Heritage, Qualitifruits, Domino’s Pizza, The Suburban, Maac.ca, Quartier Cavendish, RBC, Scotiabank, Gravel, Chartwell Castel Royal, Witt Realty and West Island Music Academy.
In case of sporadic rain, the majority of activities will take place in the covered Confederation Annex of Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park, with the exception of the Canadian citizenship ceremony, which will take place at the Aquatic and Community Centre (5794 Parkhaven Ave.) and the fireworks display, which will be postponed to Wednesday, July 2 at 9:45 pm.
In the event heavy rain is forecast all day and the city cancels Canada Day on July 1, all planned activities will be cancelled or postponed (except for the Canadian Citizenship Ceremony, which will take place on July 1 at the Aquatic and Community Centre as listed above). The postponed activities will take place on July 2 starting at 9:30 pm and include the Human Rights Walkway Ceremony honouring Nelson Mandela, the Lawrence S. Bergman tribute, and the fireworks.

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.


Birnbaum ready to be Jewish voice in National Assembly


Canadian Jewish News March 20, 2014

David Birnbaum has been away from Jewish community affairs for a decade, but he’s ready to assume the mantle of the community’s representative in Quebec City from Lawrence Bergman.

“It’s quite a legacy I’m seeking to follow in… It would be an honour to play the same role. I understand it is a special role,” said Birnbaum, the Liberal candidate in D’Arcy McGee, in an interview.

Bergman, 73, who announced March 7 that he was retiring from politics after 20 years in office, defined his mandate as representing Jewish interests in the National Assembly, in addition to those of the riding’s residents.

Birnbaum said that tradition goes back much further to when Victor Goldbloom was first elected in D’Arcy McGee in 1966, followed by fellow Liberal Herbert Marx. Like Bergman, they were both cabinet ministers.

Birnbaum acknowledges that Robert Libman, the Equality Party leader and later an independent, also served the Jewish community well as D’Arcy McGee MNA.

“I’ve talked with leaders at the federation [CJA] and CIJA [Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs], as well as the mayor of Côte St. Luc [Anthony Housefather],” Birnbaum said. “And I hope to do so again.”

Birnbaum, who will be 58 on April 8, has left his job as executive director of the Quebec English School Boards Association, which he had held since 2004. Before that, he was executive director of Canadian Jewish Congress, Quebec region, for six years, after holding the same position for about 10 years with Alliance Quebec, the now-defunct English rights group.

“I made the decision to jump into this game because I really care about Quebec and my place in it,” he said. “I’m quite worried about the future. The community I hope to represent is deeply uneasy about the future.

“At the same time, we are defiant and proud of what we have all contributed to Quebec and do not want that put at risk.”

Birnbaum, who began his career as a journalist, said he let the Liberals know he wanted to be a candidate, but it was leader Philippe Couillard who asked him to run in D’Arcy McGee, probably the safest Liberal seat in the province, after Bergman decided to step down.

“I wouldn’t have made such a presumption, but I hope that [the choice] is a logical extension of my talent and commitment,” Birnbaum said.

He does not live in the riding, but notes that his late mother lived in Côte St. Luc for more than 30 years, and his previous positions have given him “roots” there.

Birnbaum is married to Hélène Charbonneau, and they have two children: Zoë, 20, and Vincent, 16. He speaks French fluently.

As a resident remarked to him, even “a head of lettuce” running for the Liberals in D’Arcy McGee would get elected, but Birnbaum says he is campaigning actively.

He reminds voters that under new financing rules, party funding is partly based on the turnout the party receives.

More importantly, Birnbaum believes the April 7 election has become “a referendum on whether the country splits up or not,” and the more people vote against the sovereigntist Parti Québécois, the stronger the message will be.

Barring a miracle, Birnbaum will be the sole Jewish MNA in the next government, but he’s not the only Jewish candidate.

On March 7, Premier Pauline Marois introduced three female candidates – two Muslim, one Jewish – as prominent members of religious minorities who defend her government’s charter of Quebec values because of their strong belief in secularism.

In February, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) announced two candidates who are Jewish, without making any reference to their religion: Noah Sidel and Valérie Assouline.

All are running in solidly Liberal Montreal ridings.

The PQ’s Acadie candidate is Evelyne Abitbol, a journalist by profession, who was press attaché to Lucien Bouchard when he was Bloc Québécois leader and handled government relations and public affairs at Concordia University from 1997 to 2009.

She confirmed to The CJN that she’s running to show support for the charter.

Abitbol said the adoption of Bill 60 is “essential” if Quebec is to combat what she sees as the problem of fundamentalism.

“There are a lot of Jewish people who support the charter, but do not say that, because they do not want to be targeted by the community,” she said.

For some years, she and other secular Muslim, Christian and Jewish women of North African and Middle Eastern origin have been working together to counter fundamentalism in those countries. Abitbol came to Canada with her family from her native Morocco in the 1960s.

“We left Morocco because of fundamentalism,” she said. “We do not want to go back to it in this country.”

These women are trying to offer a different perspective on the charter than that held by most in their communities.

“The charter does not attack rights… It may seem strange to say, but it protects religion,” Abitbol said.

“If we have a neutral country, neutral people working for it, then we have a common ground for everyone.”

Abitbol said she chose Acadie to run in, even though Liberal Christine St. Pierre won it in 2012 by 11,800 votes. The PQ came third. “I chose it because it has a lot of immigrants, and it needs to be explained to them that the charter will protect them,” she said.

Sidel has an equally tough battle in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, where Liberal Kathleen Weil won by more than 13,000 votes over the second-place CAQ candidate in 2012.

This doesn’t discourage Sidel, who is vice-president of operations and marketing for a family-owned business that provides maintenance services to retail chains. He’s also a freelance journalist, specializing in sports, and he worked in communications for the Montreal Alouettes from 2004 to 2010.

Sidel, who was born in NDG and is a lifelong area resident (unlike Weil), believes he represents the values of that close-knit district, where anglophones and francophones, not only get along, but “work and play together.”

As a small-business owner, he thinks he represents the priority the CAQ places on the economy and entrepreneurship.

“I disagree passionately that I have no chance of winning,” said Sidel, who turns 33 on April 7.

He also disagrees that the third-party CAQ’s overall chances are fading as this election appears to be turning into a two-way race. Founded in 2011, the CAQ holds 18 of the 125 National Assembly seats.

To those electors whose first priority is stopping the PQ from getting re-elected, or at least, achieving a majority, Sidel points out that it is “mathematically impossible” for the PQ to win in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

He also rejects the argument that any seat the Liberals don’t win gives an advantage to the PQ, saying that the 18 seats the CAQ holds had, almost equally, been previously held by the PQ or the Liberals, and that is likely to recur if the party is to have a better showing this time.

Assouline, a lawyer and business person, is the CAQ standard-bearer in Laurier-Dorion, currently held by Liberal Gerry Sklavounos.

In addition to practising law, she ran a direct marketing business.

Birnbaum and fellow Liberal candidates incumbent Pierre Arcand (Mont Royal) and newcomer Hélène David (Outremont) are scheduled to take part in discussion March 25 at the Jewish Russian Community Centre, 5380 Bourret Ave., at 7 p.m.

Organizer Mark Groysberg said he has received confirmation from Couillard that he will also attend, if he is in Montreal at that time.

– See more at: http://www.cjnews.com/canada/birnbaum-ready-be-jewish-voice-national-assembly-0#sthash.FhWT9yRr.dpuf

A salute to Lawrence Bergman

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Lawrence Bergman, MNA for D'Arcy McGee

Lawrence Bergman, MNA for D’Arcy McGee

It’s unusual to praise someone who gets you fired from a job. But that’s what this post is about. Praising a man who, notwithstanding my abrupt departure from the office of the MNA for D’Arcy McGee, has contributed enormously to the constituents of this West End riding.

Back in 1994, after I served two years in the Cavendish Mall offices of then Member of the National Assembly Robert Libman, a little-known Lawrence Bergman swept to power in the general elections as the new liberal MNA. Such is life in politics and despite loving my full time job as Chief of Staff it was time to vacate the office and make way for Lawrence to move in to the locale that had once housed former MNA Herbert Marx.

Lawrence quickly learned his constituency by attending community events, meeting one-on-one with community leaders and dealing with important dossiers representing us in Quebec City. So devoted was he to his community that he often transcended his immediate borders of the riding to take up matters of importance to the greater Jewish community as well as advocating for the Jewish General Hospital where I’ve worked as Director of Public Affairs and Communications for the past 13 years.

Crucial to the progress of the JGH’s new critical care wing, Pavilion K, was the contribution of Lawrence Bergman who provided valuable insight for years into ways in which the hospital’s many strengths could benefit Quebec’s healthcare system. Mr. Bergman has helped the JGH better understand how to work more closely and efficiently with the civil service to bring Pavilion K to life.

For his accomplishments Mr. Bergman merited the hospital’s highest recognition, the Distinguished Service Award, an honour he accepted “with deep humility” in 2012, adding that he is just “a little link in the chain of success,” compared to healthcare professionals who save lives every day.

We are fortunate to have a dedicated and compassionate Member of the National Assembly such as Lawrence Bergman. I am fortunate to have an excellent working relationship with Lawrence.  He is a friend to all Cote Saint-Lucers. - Nous sommes chanceux d'avoir un membre dévoué et compatissant de l'Assemblée nationale comme Lawrence Bergman. Je suis hereux d'avoir une excellente relation de travail avec Lawrence. Il est un ami à tous les Cote Saint-Lucois.

We are fortunate to have had a dedicated and compassionate Member of the National Assembly such as Lawrence Bergman. – Nous sommes chanceux d’avoir eu un membre dévoué et compatissant de l’Assemblée nationale comme Lawrence Bergman.

Born and raised in Montreal, Mr. Bergman earned his law degree from the University of Montreal in 1964.  He became a Member of the Board of Notaries in 1965 and after being elected to the National Assembly in 1994 he continued to practice as a notary until 2003. He served in government in various senior capacities, notably as Minister of Revenue from 2003 to 2007, and as Chair of the Government Caucus from 2008 to 2012.

Once elected, Mr. Bergman became fully aware of what he calls “the culture of excellence” at the JGH. Ironically, the hospital is not in his riding, but since it serves most of his constituents, he quickly became involved as an advocate on its behalf. I recall at an event marking the launch of the paediatric psychology building on Cote Saint-Catherine Road that Mount-Royal MNA Pierre Arcand, the actual representative of the hospital neighbourhood declared tongue in cheek, that Bergman was so adept at representing the hospital’s needs that the area should be ceded to D’Arcy McGee.

On the Cote Saint-Luc scene my most memorable work together with Lawrence was saving our remarkable, all-volunteer Emergency Medical Services. With the mega-municipal mergers in 2002 Montreal planned to shutter our life-saving organization, known throughout the region as a model volunteer first responder service. Having joined as a young recruit out of high school back in 1980, EMS became a passion of mine. 20 years later, having devoted a significant part of my life to this organization any suggestion of closing it down and handing over the service to the Montreal Fire Department was unimaginable, perhaps even worse than the idiotic mergers themselves.

I worked tirelessly with Ruth Kovac, Anthony Housefather and Lawrence Bergman to consolidate community support and draft the necessary resolutions. Lawrence worked feverishly at the National Assembly and eventually presented a special law for Cote Saint-Luc that received consent and paved the way for EMS to be saved. Countless lives have been touched profoundly over the last decade because of Lawrence’s critical intervention.


So too was his interest in working with City Council to ensure the necessary funding for the Aquatic and Community Centre. This project could not have happened if it were not for the vision and political leadership of Lawrence Bergman and Anthony Housefather.

Councillors Sam Goldbloom, Mike Cohen, Dida Berku, Glenn J. Nashen and Allan J. Levine with MNA Lawrence Bergman

Councillors Sam Goldbloom, Mike Cohen, Dida Berku, Glenn J. Nashen and Allan J. Levine with MNA Lawrence Bergman at his nomination last autumn

He is also noted for, and proud of, convincing the National Assembly to adopt a day, each and every year, marking Yom Hashoah, a day of remembrance for the Holocaust.

Lawrence’s lists of accomplishments for D’Arcy McGee, the Jewish community and all Quebecers is significant and will become political lore and be remembered for generations.

I take this opportunity to thank Mr. Bergman for all this on behalf of my family and my constituents. Indeed, thanks to his success in 1994 and my new career orientations, I too was pushed to new heights and accomplishments. I wish him much happiness and good health as he enters this new stage. And I know, given his love for his community, we will be seeing him around and involved in new capacities for a very long time.  

May Lawrence continue to be an inspiration to the community and as he so often cited the words of the sages, may he too go from strength to strength.

Read more on Mike Cohen’s blog

David Birnbaum to run for provincial Liberals in D’Arcy McGee

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David Birnbaum to run for provincial Liberals in D’Arcy McGee. (Montreal Gazette)

Quebec election: Liberal MNA Lawrence Bergman won’t run

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Quebec election: Liberal MNA Lawrence Bergman won’t run. (Montreal Gazette)

CÔTE-ST-LUC — Longtime Liberal MNA Lawrence Bergman made it official Friday that he will not run in next month’s election.

Bergman, 73, has represented D’Arcy McGee since 1994 and was revenue minister in Premier Jean Charest’s government.

At a press conference in his Cavendish Blvd. office, Bergman said he could not confirm whether David Birnbaum, executive director of the Quebec English School Boards Association, will be the riding’s next Liberal candidate, adding he knew no more than what he has read in the newspaper.

“I’ll always be a Liberal,” Bergman said, adding that he has full confidence Liberal leader Philippe Couillard will lead the party to a majority by focusing on the economy and health care in the campaign.

Tearing up as he reminisced about his 20-year political career, Bergman, who has two sons and four grandchildren, said he wants to focus on family and his partner after not having taken a holiday in two decades. He boasted of achievements including the building of a new wing of the Jewish General Hospital — emphasizing that 77 per cent of patients are non-Jews — and construction of the Shriners’ hospital on the site of the McGill University Health Centre.

Another senior Liberal — Verdun’s Henri-François Gautrin — has also retired, while Vaudreuil Liberal MNA Yvon Marcoux, 72, announced he would not be seeking re-election. He was the MNA there for 16 years.

Bergman was chair of the Liberal Party caucus and a major fundraiser in the Jewish community who won by a 20,000-vote majority in the last campaign.


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