MP Housefather blast BDS movement in House of Commons

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Our eloquent and impressive Member of Parliament, Anthony Housefather, rose in the House of Commons on a motion from the Conservative Party of Canada to oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement. Housefather called BDS the new form of anti-semitism.

While Housefather spoke several days before the McGill Student Union voted, yet again, on the BDS issue, a small number of voting students indeed moved to support BDS. They have brought nothing but shame and negative international attention upon this renowned university, my alma mater. Despite the 800 odd ballots cast among 30,000 students, all students will be called upon to ratify this ill-advised motion. I urge all McGill students to cast their ballots and to correct this pitiful stain upon the stellar reputation of McGill University.

Invitation to participate in a questionnaire on language and identity in Quebec

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McGill University’s Dr. Ruth Kircher is conducting a questionnaire-based study to investigate the interrelation between language and identity in Quebec, and is looking for participants. The study is aimed at people 18 years of age and older, of all mother tongues, and in all regions of the province. It is not important whether participants were born in Quebec or not, as long as they are living in the province at the moment. Participation is anonymous and participants can choose whether they would like to complete the questionnaire in English or in French.

Click here to access the questionnaire

Man arrested in Côte St-Luc standoff has dementia: lawyer

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That a collection of 180 long guns, bayonets and other weapons were left in the hands of an elderly man whose mental abilities have been declining for some time is alarming, a Montreal expert in aging said Thursday.

Côte St-Luc resident Isidore Havis, 71, who held police at bay for 20 hours before being taken into custody by police Wednesday morning, has been suffering from dementia, his lawyer Jeffrey Boro told The Gazette. “It has got a lot worse recently.”

Police discovered a large collection of firearms registered to the Guelph Ave. home only once the siege had ended.

Described by neighbours as hostile and confrontational, Havis had barricaded himself inside the house after Hydro-Québec workers tried to carry out work on his property.

“It is an unfortunate situation that escalated out of control with terrible consequences, both for (his) family and the police,” Boro said.

The standoff in Côte St-Luc ended after Havis was shot with two rubber bullets; one police officer suffered minor injuries.

However, Havis’s mental decline was already evident as far back as 2008, during an arrest of his son at the house on child pornography-related charges. The elder Havis attempted to interfere with his son’s arrest. Court records show that police described the elder Havis as acting “disoriented” at the time.

Three years ago, a 90-year-old Australian woman with advanced vascular dementia beat her husband, 98, to death in their apartment with a desk lamp, flowerpot and a walking stick.

But extreme acts of violence are rare in people with dementia, said McGill University professor and neurologist Howard Chertow.

Less serious aggressive behaviour is more common, and it’s usually directed against people closest to them, their caregivers. More often, the elderly sufferers of dementia are themselves victims of abuse, emotional or financial, and are easy prey for fraud and telemarketing scams, Chertow said

The aging population is especially prone to a number of neurological conditions such as dementia, and the condition is not simply a matter of memory loss. Dementia can produce psychiatric symptoms, usually depression and apathy, but also paranoia and violence — and these symptoms are made worse by memory loss, said Chertow, who is also director of the aging research axis at the Lady Davis Institute of the Jewish General Hospital.

“Someone previously calm and polite can become aggressive, agitated and anxious,” Chertow said. “They can’t find something in the home became they can’t remember where they put it. They become paranoid that they’re being robbed, they fear the neighbours and barricade themselves at home.”

There may also be changes in perception, he added. “One patient saw a stranger when she looked in the mirror and became frightened of the stranger in her home.”

The science of violent behaviour is not clearly understood, but research suggests that the frontal lobes of the brain which are responsible for social control are deteriorating. Inappropriate behaviour may suggest the early stages of dementia, Chertow said.

Doctors and family members of those affected by dementia must consider a series of issues, Chertow said, for example, can the person live alone, drive a car, cook a meal or handle money?

“Clearly someone with cognitive impairment should not have any access to weapons,” he said. “These are basic safety issues.”

Incidents of dementia sufferers burning down their homes after trying to cook, wandering off and dying in snowbanks, or having driving or firearm accidents — “all that reflect that somehow the system didn’t work.”

Nona Moscovitz, responsible for mental health and addiction services at CSSS Cavendish community health agency, said that people are reticent to discuss any type of violence including family, conjugal or elder abuse.

“They may feel there are risks involved and they’re protecting a family member because if it’s brought out, steps might be taken to remove the individual,” Moscovitz said. “It’s a tough topic. And violence can be unpredictable.”

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Joe Schwarcz: No evidence radio-frequency devices are hazardous to health

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Hydro-Québec (Photo credit: Lothann)

Smart meters are coming to Cote Saint-Luc.  Hydro Quebec has begun notifying residents that the new, more efficient mechanisms are on their way.

Some residents have expressed resistance to the move citing possible health concerns.

Joseph A. Schwarcz

However, resident expert, “Dr. Joe”, or McGill University and CJAD fame, and a frequent speaker at the CSL Public Library claims that with over 25,000 research studies and no conclusive evidence to suggest concern he would be just fine having a smart meter in his own house.

Read Dr. Joe’s full article, published in the Montreal Gazette on May 4, 2013:

Joe Schwarcz: No evidence radio-frequency devices are hazardous to health.

Outstanding CSLer awarded Queen’s Jubilee Medal

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Dr. Marc Afilalo receives the Queen's Jubillee Medal by Councillor Glenn J. Nashen and Mayor Anthony Housefather surrounded by his family

Dr. Marc Afilalo receives the Queen’s Jubilee Medal by Councillor Glenn J. Nashen and Mayor Anthony Housefather surrounded by his family

I was honoured to join Mayor Anthony Housefather in presenting the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal to Dr. Marc Afilalo at the February 11th public council meeting of the City of Cote Saint-Luc.

This award is quite prestigious and I am so pleased that Dr. Afilalo, Chief of Emergency Medicine at the Jewish General Hospital and professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University, is one of two recipients who received this award as nominated by City Council.

Dr. Marc Afilalo is a formidable nominee on the part of our city.  City Council, on behalf of Her Majesty, has recognized and shown immense appreciation to Dr. Afilalo who has been one of the staunchest supporters of CSL Emergency Medical Services dating back more than three decades.  Dr. Afilalo was a significant influence upon the Quebec government in saving EMS when the Fire Department mergers took place ten years ago and gobbled up all first response services on the Island of Montreal, except in CSL.

Dr. Afilalo has stood with CSL in our campaign to recognize Paramedics in Quebec since the 1980’s. He is one of the gurus of Emergency Medicine in Quebec and has served as adviser to several health ministers.

Having known Dr. Afilalo for well over 25 years I think he is an outstanding nominee, a mentor to hundreds of young students and a remarkable Cote Saint-Lucer and an extraordinary leader in the field of Emergency Medicine and in our community.

Congratulations Dr. Afilalo on this well deserved honour.