Premier Couillard charms his audience at packed Côte Saint-Luc address

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Premier Couillard charms his audience at packed Côte Saint-Luc address

by: Councillor Mike Cohen

It is pretty rare that we see the Premier of Quebec come to speak in the City of Côte Saint-Luc. But this finally did occur on May 12 as Philippe Couillard addressed a standing room only crowd at our Aquatic and Community Centre on Parkhaven Avenue.
Credit is due to our incredible Men`s Club and of course the Member of the National Assembly, David Birnbaum, who made this happen. As event emcee and District 2 resident Sidney Margles pointed out that in his then capacity as new Quebec Liberal Party leader Couillard was slated to address this same group at the urging of Birnbaum`s predecessor, Lawrence Bergman. Something came up at the last minute and his appearance had to be cancelled. The Men’s Club has 560 members and counting.

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The Premier shakes hands as he enters the room. (Photo: mikecohen.ca)

This time everything worked out just fine. The Men`s Club began distributing reserved tickets a few weeks ago. When I arrived, there was a strong police presence around the building. Couillard did get to the ACC a little late and like a born campaigner he enter the room by shaking as many hands as possible.
One thing must say about our Premier, who by profession was a former professor and neurosurgeon. He speaks both languages so beautifully. While many of us are upset with the significant budget cuts we incurred early in the Liberal mandate and their gutting of the health system, Couillard has this audience eating out of his hands from the get go. He began with some humour, alluding to the massive flooding in different parts of Quebec and the fact he decided to visit an aquatic center. He drew applause immediately when he announced “I will do this speech in English so we can all follow.” He also introduced Greg Kelley, son of Native Affairs Minister Geoff Kelley, as his new point person for Quebec’s English-speaking community. “Anglophone liaison officer,” is the exact title. I met Kelley after the talk. He’s 31 and presently bunking with his parents in Beaconsfield. He formerly worked in the office of government House Leader Jean-Marc Fournier.
Couillard drew cheers again when he previewed his upcoming trade mission to Israel. “This will be my third trip there…it is the first time a Quebec Premier has gone.” More than 100 Quebec business persons and leaders will accompany him. “Why are we doing this?” Couillard asked rhetorically. “Israel is a start-up nation and an example to follow.”

Couillard mentioned the fact that both Air Canada and Air Transat have direct flights from Montreal to Tel Aviv. He also laughed that when he is in Israel, so will controversial US President Donald Trump.
“Since elected our government is doing exactly like we said we’d do; putting our financial house in order.”

The Premier gave a ringing endorsement for federalism. “Some people are telling me that I cannot be a Quebecer and Canadian. We will stand tall for a strong Quebec within Canada.”
Couillard expressed pride about his government’s job creation program. He also pointed to the investments made at the Jewish General Hospital. “This is a hospital that serves all communities,” he said. “My (late) father was treated there in oncology. So was Mr. Parizeau”
Couillard asked, “How do we build our economy in such an unstable world?” He referred to the three pillars: advance manufacturing, exports and entrepreneurship. “You need a strong educational system to build a proper economy,” he said.

Couillard spoke very excitingly about the planned 67-kilometre, $6 billion electric-train system which will connect downtown Montreal with the South Shore, Deux-Montagnes, the West Island and Trudeau airport. “This will be the equivalent of Expo ’67 in 2017,” he said.

Rather than a straight question and answer period, Margles said that members were asked to submit queries. From the 40 or so obtained, he chose to share a few with the Premier related to assisted living for seniors, the availability of family doctors, special needs children, the sale of marijuana and the Quebec Electoral Commission’s decision to merge the Outremont and Mont Royal ridings and change the boundaries of D’Arcy McGee.

Couillard said that he turns 60 in June so he is sensitive to issues related to seniors. “We are devoting significant dollars to seniors,” he acknowledged. “We have many more doctors than we did before – hundreds of new physicians and they are staying in Quebec.”

As for access to family physicians, Couillard said that right now there are 600,000 people more who have this option compared to 2014.

Turning to the sale of marijuana, which will become legal in Canada in July 2018. “An easy thing for me to say that at first glance I think there is merit to the idea,” said Couillard. “It is now controlled by the black market. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done. My biggest concern is public health. Smoking pot is probably not good for your lungs. Young people now are smoking a product that much worse than the hippy days.”

Couillard also wished to clear up a myth that the province is not going to make a lot of money on this. “If to price it too high you will send people back to the black market,” he remarked. “If you price it too low, you will increase consumption.”

Mayor Brownstein concluded proceedings by thanking the Premier for coming to Côte Saint-Luc and particularly the ACC, which the provincial government contributed one-third of the cost.

Also on hand for Couillard’s speech were provincial cabinet ministers Kathlee Weil, Pierre Arcand and Francine Charbonneau, Mount Royal Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather, Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg, CSL councillors Sam Goldbloom, Ruth Kovac, Allan J. Levine, Dida Berku and myself and English Montreal School Board Commissioner Bernard Praw.

VE Day commemorated in CSL

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VE Day 2017 was a pedagogical affair

By: Councillor Mike Cohen

Posted: 09 May 2017

For many years the annual Victory in Europe (V-E) Day commemoration took place on a Sunday. In attendance were veterans from the Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion, dignitaries and members of the community. The crowds were never exceptionally large and what we clearly missed was the younger generation.

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A Merton student reads “In Flander’s Field” as Jordy Reichson looks on.

When fellow Councillor Sidney Benizri and I were appointed co-chairs of this year’s VE Day event, we were committed to making it an educational exercise. So we scheduled it for a Monday morning (May 7) at a centrally located school – the Marymount Adult Education Centre(soon to be renamed Wagar) on Parkhaven Avenue. Principal Jacques Monfette was most gracious in making all of the arrangements. We virtually filled the 350 seat Syd Wise Auditorium with students from the two host schools – Marymount Adult Education Centre and John Grant High School; Merton and Willingdon Elementary Schools; and Solomon Schechter Academy.

The ceremony highlighted the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Europe from the armed forces of Nazi Germany, on May 8, 1945. Our Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson coordinated much of the ceremony and served as a superb master of ceremonies. He put VE Day into perspective, provided some historical notes and showed this  excellent video.

 

Two students helped lay wreaths at the front of the stage. English Montreal School Board Commissioner Bernard Praw and Mr. Monfette read the Act of Remembrance. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Mount Royal Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather, Israel Consul General Ziv Nevo Kulman and Elisabeth Prass (on behalf of D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum) gave remarks. Two students from Merton read From Flanders Field. We concluded with the singing of the national anthem.

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A group photo of dignitaries and the Merton students.

We were fortunate to have with us veteran Sonny Rubin, 92 years young.

“Seventy-two years ago very young men went to war,” said Mayor Brownstein. “You had to be 18 years of age. Some 15, 16 and 17 year olds got fake IDs so they could get into the armed forces. They did this to insure our freedom.”

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Ziv Nevo Kulman

Housefather pointed out that this year’s commemoration of VE Day coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “No matter who is in power,” he said, “you have rights.”

Regarding VE Day, Housefather noted that when he was our mayor VE Day was coordinated by the veterans. “We had dozens of veterans in their 70s who had fought and come back and created Côte Saint-Luc,” he recalled. “They could have come back jaded or disgruntle. But they came back and built our community.”

The Consul General told the audience that his father was a survivor of the Holocaust whose family hid in a little underground shelter and was liberated by the Soviets. “I would not be here had it not been for the Allies,” he said.

Raising the elections in France, the Consul General expressed deep concern over the fact that Marine Le Pen, a candidate whose party denies the Holocaust, got 11 million votes. “We have a very important role to remedy that so denial and revisionism does not happen again,” he said.

Thanks to staffer Jordy Reichson, Regine Banon, Cornelia Ziga and Laura Trihas for coordinating the event. We will next convene to honour our veterans on Friday, November 10 (11 am) for our Remembrance Day commemoration at Veteran’s Park next to City Hall.

“Côte Saint-Luc is proud to express gratitude to the men and women who have fought to liberate Europe,” said Mayor Brownstein. “Our veterans contributed in ending the genocide against the Jewish population of Europe and others targeted by the Nazis. Attending this ceremony is a concrete and visible manner to honour them and to reflect on the sacrifices made.”

Construction begins on Marc Chagall: Update by Cllr. Mike Cohen

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Construction on new buildings on Marc Chagall to begin: here are the facts

By Cllr. Mike Cohen, 29 Mar 2017

Phase One of  construction will begin this week on the first of two 12 storey rental apartment buildings at the corner of Marc Chagall and Mackle. The project will be called Le Carlyle.

It is very important to clarify that zoning for this site has been in place for nearly 30 years. Contrary to some opinions, the present-day city council can do nothing to stop this project from happening.

Let me please make it clear that I am not pleased to see more construction occur on this street. But the zoning for this land was established in 1988 by a former city council.

I would like residents of Marc Chagall to please come back with me to 2000. A sales office was sitting on this land and down payments were being accepted by many people for two – yes two 16 storey condominiums. Eventually, the owners of the land cancelled the project. While city council could not rezone the land, we were able to adjust our master plan. By-law amendment no. 2217-36 brought the density down from 16  to 12 storeys in 2010. Now, seven years later, this new company has purchased the land and as long as they remain in the exact same footprint as the bylaw dictates we cannot stand in their way.

Residents of Le Rothchilds I and II might be interested  to learn that in 1988 it was Mr. H. Glassman and Mr. N. Arnovitz who requested the zoning to allow for two 16 storey multi-family dwellings and a 12 storey plus penthouse facility. Their plans were to  call them “Le Rothchild Condos III and IV.”   Le Rothchild III   became La Marquise and was built in 2005. The owners eventually sold the other piece land, where the new apartments will be constructed.

At no time did I or any member of council advocate for someone to purchase this land or build on it.  I was very pleased to see it remain vacant. But there are very few pieces of land available in our city, so someone was bound to secure it.

Some people have raised concerns about parking. Council has also applied our parking bylaw to the limit. Parking ratios are calculated as follows: one bedroom, one parking stall; two bedroom, 1.5 parking stalls; three and more bedrooms, two   parking stalls,

This project is proposing the following breakdown of units: 140 one bedrooms (140 parking stalls); 147 two bedrooms (221 stalls); and 19 three or more bedroom units (38 stalls).

According to our bylaw then, for the total of 306 dwellings, they are required to provide 399 indoor spots and 40 outdoors. They will actually do better than that, with 402 interior spaces and 44 exterior spaces for a grand total of 446, so five more than required.
We will work closely with the builders to insure they follow the proper noise bylaws and keep the area as clean as possible. I will be meeting with representatives of the different buildings to discuss this development in more detail.

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Un message du conseiller Mike Cohen, District 2

 

La phase 1 de la construction débutera cette semaine sur le premier des deux immeubles d’appartements de 12 étages au coin de Marc Chagall et de Mackle.

Il est très important de souligner que le zonage de ce site est en place depuis près de 30 ans. Contrairement à certaines opinions qui circulent, le conseil municipal actuel ne peut rien faire pour bloquer ce projet.

Je tiens à préciser clairement que je ne suis pas heureux de voir plus de construction sur cette rue. Mais le zonage de ce terrain a été établi en 1988 par un conseil municipal précédent.

J’aimerais que les résidants de Marc Chagall remontent avec moi à l’année 2000. Un bureau de vente était installé sur ce terrain et des mises de fonds ont été acceptées par plusieurs personnes pour la construction de deux — oui, deux — immeubles à condos de 16 étages. Plus tard, les propriétaires du terrain ont annulé le projet. Le conseil municipal ne pouvait pas changer le zonage du terrain, mais nous avons été en mesure d’ajuster notre plan directeur. La modification no 2217-36 aux règlements a baissé la densité de 16 à 12 étages. Aujourd’hui, sept ans plus tard, une nouvelle entreprise a acheté le terrain. Tant qu’elle reste exactement sur la même empreinte que celle dictée par le règlement, nous ne pouvons pas lui faire obstacle.

Les résidants de Le Rothschild I et II seront peut-être intéressés de savoir qu’en 1988, c’étaient MM. H. Glassman et N. Arnovitz qui avaient fait la demande de zonage pour permettre la construction de deux immeubles multifamiliaux de 16 étages et d’un immeuble d’appartements-terrasses de 12 étages. Leur plan était de les appeler « Condos Le Rothschild III et IV ». Le Rothschild III est devenu La Marquise et a été construit en 2005. Au bout du compte, les propriétaires ont vendu l’autre morceau de terrain, là où les nouveaux appartements seront construits.

Jamais les membres du conseil, dont moi-même, n’avons recommandé que quelqu’un achète ce terrain ou construise dessus. J’étais très heureux de le voir rester vacant. Mais notre ville ne contient plus que quelques terrains disponibles, et il était inévitable que quelqu’un se le procure.

Certaines personnes ont soulevé des inquiétudes concernant le stationnement. Mais le conseil a aussi appliqué notre règlement sur le stationnement jusqu’à sa limite. Les ratios de stationnement sont calculés ainsi : une chambre, une place de stationnement; deux chambres, 1,5 place de stationnement; trois chambres et plus, deux espaces de stationnement.

Ce projet propose la répartition suivante des logements : 140 logements à une chambre (140 places de stationnement); 147 logements à deux chambres (221 places); et 19 logements à trois chambres ou plus (38 places).

Selon notre règlement, donc, pour l’ensemble des 306 logements, l’entreprise doit fournir 399 places intérieures et 40 places extérieures. Elle fera en fait mieux que cela, en offrant 402 places intérieures et 44 places extérieures, pour un total de 446 places, soit cinq de plus que ce qui est exigé.
Nous collaborerons étroitement avec les constructeurs pour nous assurer qu’ils respectent les règlements appropriés concernant le bruit et qu’ils gardent la zone aussi propre que possible.

Je rencontrerai les représentants des divers édifices afin de discuter de ce projet plus en détail.

Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather touches all of the bases at Town Hall meeting

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Thank you to my colleague and friend Councillor Mike Cohen for the excellent summary of the recent Town Hall meeting hosted by our incredible MP, Anthony Housefather

 

Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather touches all of the bases at Town Hall meeting

By Councillor Mike Cohen | 19 Mar 2017

In the 17 months since Anthony Housefather was elected as the Liberal Member of Parliament for the Mount Royal riding, I believe he has exceeded expectations in terms of his performance both within his constituency and in Ottawa.
As an MP he could not be closer to the people who elected him, always present at community events and going the extra mile by having Town Hall meetings throughout the year in different parts of his constituency. Such was the case on March 16 at the Irving Adessky Community Centre in Hampstead.

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Anthony Housefather addresses his Town Hall meeting.

I served as a city councillor under Anthony for 10 years when he was mayor of Côte Saint-Luc before he moved on to federal politics. He is a born leader and a walking encyclopedia on nearly every dossier he must deal with. Speaking notes are never needed and when asked a question, he is able to respond accurately and immediately.

Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg introduced Anthony, noting that the two first met in 1994. “He came to my door and was campaigning to become the youngest councillor in the Town of Hampstead’s history,” he recalled. “He stayed for about a half hour; he was young, enthusiastic and energetic. He has not changed a bit.”
Steinberg went on to explain how their paths crossed again in 2000 when his wife Doris dragged him into politics to fight against the forced municipal mergers and how they worked together to both battle the forced mergers and then fight for demerger. In 2005 Steinberg was elected mayor of Hampstead and Anthony was elected as mayor of Côte Saint-Luc so they continued to work together. “Anthony is a valuable Member of Parliament because as a former councillor and mayor he stays close to his constituents,” he said.
Steinberg hailed Anthony not only for these Town Halls, but his summits with elected officials in the territories he serves (Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead, Snowdon, Côte des Neiges and Town of Mount Royal). “Sometimes I vote Liberal, sometimes Conservative,” volunteered Steinberg. “I do not vote NDP. One thing I give the Liberals credit for is that they allow free votes for their MPs. I give Anthony credit for he is not afraid to vote against his party.”

That provided the perfect opening for Anthony to explain his leading role in having a bill passed aimed at preventing genetic discrimination. He did so by working with Toronto MP Rob Oliphant to lobby enough members of his own governing party to ensure that more than 100 Liberal backbenchers joined Conservatives and New Democrats to give final approval to the bill, this despite warnings from Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that it is unconstitutional. Housefather noted that in his opinion the bill was constitutional and that the majority of experts who testified before Parliament agreed that it was indeed constitutional.

The bill is aimed at ensuring that Canadians can get genetic tests to help identify health risks and take preventive measures, without fear that they’ll be penalized when it comes to getting a job or life and health insurance. It would make it illegal to require a person to undergo genetic testing, or disclose the results of previous tests, as a condition of signing or continuing an insurance policy or any other contract or agreement. In addition, it would also prohibit anyone from sharing genetic test results without written consent, although there are exceptions for physicians and researchers. This bill has enormous significance for the Jewish community which has a considerable number of genetic mutations such as the BRAC 1 and BRAC2 genes for breast cancer in much higher density than the general population. Having the law adopted was a big priority for Jewish community organizations.

Anthony went on to explain that he has no issues with the federal government referring the question of constitutionality to the Supreme Court.

“Either way, we already knew with statements having been made by the insurance industry that somebody was going to challenge the constitutionality of the law,” said Anthony, the Liberal chair of the Justice and Human Rights Committee that refused to amend the bill to suit the government.

“Having the federal government refer the matter directly to the top court “means that we will have an answer from the Supreme Court far faster than if a challenge is started in a lower court by industry or by someone,” he said.

Anthony credits his years in municipal politics for providing the experience necessary to work with colleagues to have obtained the necessary votes from his fellow Liberal backbenchers and members of the opposition. “It goes to show that even if you are not in cabinet, you can have power,” he remarked.

Anthony was also proud to talk about how his Justice Committee issued a report recommending the Liberal government revive and expand the Court Challenges Program. The Government recently announced it was doing so and accepted most recommendations of the report, expanding the program to allow funding based on challenges to the Official Languages Act as well as additional charter rights.. The new program to fund court challenges will include cases based on freedom of religion, freedom of democratic rights, and right to liberty and security as well as equality and language rights.

Justice Minister Wilson-Raybould said the renewed program will ensure that the government “promotes access to justice for Canadians who need it the most,” adding that Canada’s justice system will need to continue to evolve. The promise to restore the program, which was scrapped by the Stephen Harper Conservatives in 2006, was included in the 2015 Liberal campaign platform and the mandate letters for Heritage Minister Melanie Joly and Wilson-Raybould.

Anthony’s staff both in Montreal and Ottawa receive a lot of e-mail correspondence. He expressed fear about the rising escalation of bigotry. “I have never seen in my adult life more of a prevalence since the United States elections,” he said. “It has now become socially normal and tolerated.”

Anthony alluded to the Quebec mosque terrorist attack, Montreal and Toronto imams who preached anti-Semitic theories, the “Punch a Zionist” comment by a McGill student leader and the ongoing BDS movement on university campuses – the new form of anti-Semitism.

Anthony also discussed the US-Canada relationship, the Syrian refugee issue, Motion 103, the government’s plan to introduce legislation to legalize cannabis this spring and Trudeau in general. “I think he is doing a very good job,” he said. “A lot of people have the wrong perception of him. He is actually one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.”

Besides Mayor Steinberg, Hampstead Councillors Michael Goldwax, Warren Budning and Leon Elfassy were on hand. I was joined by fellow Côte Saint-Luc Councillor Allan J. Levine.

To reach Anthony`s office call 514-283-0171 or e-mail anthony.housefather@parl.gc.ca. His constituency office is located at 4770 Kent, Suite 316.

Municipal leaders band together to fight Quebec Electoral Representation Commission’s senseless decision

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Municipal leaders band together to fight Quebec Electoral Representation Commission’s senseless decision

By Councillor Mike Cohen | 23 Mar 2017

As a city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc, I always appreciate opportunities to work together with other elected officials in neighbouring municipalities. Such was the case on March 21 when the borough of Côte des Neiges-NDG spearheaded an energizing public meeting at their Community Centre to protest the senseless decision arrived by the Quebec Electoral Representation Commission. This unelected body, which answers to absolutely nobody, inexplicably reversed its February 7, 2017 second report on the electoral map that proposed to maintain the Mont Royal, Outremont and D’Arcy McGee ridings without any change. When the next provincial election takes place in October 2018, Mont Royal and Outremont will be merged and D’Arcy McGee unnecessarily larger in size.

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Dida Berku and Ruth Kovac join other political leaders at the event.

Snowdon Councillor Marvin Rotrand and Suburban Newspaper editor Beryl Wajsman led the charge, first with a press conference and then with this impressive public meeting. Rotrand was joined at the head table by Borough Mayor Russell Copeman, Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg, TMR Councillor Erin Kennedy (representing Mayor Philippe Roy), CSL Councillor Ruth Kovac (representing Mayor Mitchell Brownstein) and Outremont Councillor Mindy Pollak (representing Mayor Marie Cinq Mars) English Montreal School Board Chairman Angela Mancini spoke, with Vice Chair Sylvia Lo Bianco, Commissioner Julien Feldman and Parent Commissioner Joanne Charron in attendance. Allan J. Levine, Dida Berku and I were the other CSL councillors on hand. I saw several of my constituents.

If the Electoral Map had been adopted by Members of the National Assembly, I am certain that the passion and clear facts set out at this meeting would have resulted in an about face. Regrettably, there is nothing elected officials seem to be able to do. In fact, Mont Royal and Outremont are represented by cabinet ministers Pierre Arcand and Helene David. One of them will have to find a new place to run or retire.
I spoke to lawyer Peter Villani after the meeting and we both agreed that the Electoral Representation Commission still has an opportunity to correct this terrible wrong, admit it made a mistake and allow the status quo to prevail.

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It was standing room only at the event.

The room was packed, something which elated fireball Rotrand. “The large attendance we witnessed speaks to the public interest in opposing the loss of representation that our communities will suffer if the map decreed by the Electoral Representation Commission stands,” he said. “The meeting essentially came together in a very short time so I believe the turnout reflects a broad consensus in our part of the island.”
Now unless the Commission shows some class, this decision will have to be fought in court and initiated by citizens. Ideally, an injunction can be sought. Wajsman has taken the lead by collecting funds for an eventual contestation and former NDG-Lachine Liberal Member of Parliament Marlene Jennings stepped forward to set up a blue ribbon panel. Jennings was chosen by the Quebec English School Boards Association to do the same when the provincial government tried to push through Bill 86 – aimed at abolishing elected school commissioners. The government backed off and they did so because they answer to the public; the Electoral Representation Commission simply marches to the beat of its own drum.

Each of the boroughs and municipal councils in the area has or will soon adopt a motion in opposition to the electoral map. All feel that the Commission’s map will mean a serious loss of representation for their citizens, lacks respect for natural communities and does not provide the effective representation that the electoral law indicates must be the basis of any final decision.
The mayors have shared a legal decision written last September by Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens, Dean of the University of Montreal Law School, which indicated that the Commission’s proposal of 2015 to merge Mont Royal and Outremont and change D’Arcy McGee was highly questionable. As the Commission’s final decision has reverted to the 2015 plan, the mayors feel the Commission’s proposal will not stand up to a legal challenge.
“We are strongly concerned about the diminished political weight of the island of Montreal,” said Copeman, a former Liberal MNA for NDG. “Our political weight has been reduced in every riding redistribution since 1992 which merged Westmount and Saint-Louis. We have lost four ridings over the decades.
“The merger of Mont-Royal and Outremont creates a very large riding which is expected to see robust demographic growth over the next five years which we anticipate will take it over the legal maximum number of voters allowed by the electoral law.”
The Commission proposes to maintain 125 electoral ridings in the National Assembly with the average number of voters being 48,952 per riding. The electoral law allows ridings to be as much as 25 percent more or less than the average, a maximum of 61,190 or a minimum of 36,714 voters. This legal disparity of up to 24,476 voters or up to a 69 percent legal difference of voters per riding gives some voters in Quebec far more power than others.
While the mayors believe such a disparity in number of voters per riding should only be allowed in the rarest cases, there are many examples in the map of small ridings in the 37,000 to 40,000 range while many others approach the upper limits. Ridings like Duplessis, Dubuc, Rousseau, Megantic and Nicolet-Betancour all have far fewer voters than Montreal ridings such as Nelligan, Saint Laurent, Robert Baldwin or the new D’Arcy McGee or merged Mont Royal – Outremont which have between 55,000 and 59,000 voters each.
“Worse of all is that the Commission proposes six ridings that are exceptions to the law beyond the Iles de la Madeleine, the only exception the law actually permits,” says Mayor Brownstein. “These ridings including Abitibi-Est, Abitibi Ouest, Bonaventure, Gaspe, René Levesque and Ungava have between 26.8 and 44 percent fewer voters than the electoral map average and are below the legal minimum of voters. How do we explain to voters that D’Arcy McGee will now have boundaries that will no longer resemble its historic territory and have 56,245 voters while Gaspe, a riding that will have fewer voters in 2018 than at the 2014 elections, will have a Member of the National Assembly with only 30,048 electors?”
The mayors note that the new map cuts the large Filipino community that had real clout in Mont Royal in half with a large part of the community residing west of Côte des Neiges Road shifted to D’Arcy McGee. The large Orthodox Jewish community in the former Outremont riding is also diluted with those living east of Hutchinson moved into Mercier.

Councillor Kovac presented a strong statement from Mayor Brownstein at the public meeting. Natural communities should be kept together in order to give minority groups a stronger voice,” she said. And yet helping natural communities is not what has happened in the commission’s report. We have the worst of both worlds – they are removing representation from the island of Montreal, making ridings bigger, and breaking apart natural communities. Maybe we don’t need the exact same strict equality rules as they have in the United States. But can we at least apply the same fairness as they have Macedonia, or Yemen, or Belarus?
“When you increase the size of a riding like D’Arcy McGee, you weaken the voice of its natural communities. Allophones, Anglophones, Italian, Filipino, Jewish communities and others will no longer have as strong representation as they did when the riding of D’Arcy McGee was of a reasonable size. Further Mount Royal brought one more vote to the National Assembly for these communities and other minority communities. As the largest city in Quebec continues to grow its voice should not be weakened. It’s up to Quebecers to raise our voices, open their wallets, and help challenge in court decisions that hurt our community. I sincerely hope the Commission reverses its decision without the need for a legal challenge.”

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I agree completely with my esteemed colleague and friend Cllr. Mike Cohen in this excellent resume of this past week’s meeting over local electoral reform. We must not remain silent in the face of this injustice to our linguistic and cultural communities. Thank you to our local elected officials for speaking up on our behalf, spearheaded by Cllr. Marvin Rotrand and supported by editor Beryl Wajsman.

CSL celebrates with extraordinary florists

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An extraordinary Maisons Fleuries Awards ceremony includes touching honour for the Van Egmonds

By Councillor Mike Cohen

When my city council colleague Sidney Benizri and I were asked to co-chair the 2016 Maisons Fleuries Contest, we agreed to do something different. I suggested Sidney, Parks and Recreation Associate Director Cornelia Ziga, event coordinator Laura Trihas, devoted committee member Louise Ferland and the dean of city employees Harold Cammy that we introduce a Lifetime Achievement Award.  We brought the idea to Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and city council and it was approved.

Maisons Fleuries recognizes the superb floral arrangements at homes, condominiums, apartments and business complexes. Judging is done during the summer and every November we hold a ceremony at our Aquatic and Community Centre.

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Members of Council, MP Housefather, MNA Birnbaum and the Van Egmond family.

So who would win our first Maisons Fleuries Lifetime Achievement Award? Dirk Van Egmond was the logical choice. Dirk, who just turned 92, has devoted his life to flowers and plants. He accepted the honour and it was heartwarming to see him at our event, surrounded by his children, their spouses and hi grandchildren. His wife Teuna (Toos) passed away in 2010.

The Van Egmond family own Edgewood Florist, which they operated on Hudson Avenue in Côte Saint-Luc for 56 years. Although the business relocated to Montreal West in 2012 when the land was sold for development, Dirk continues to be a resident of Côte Saint-Luc. Edgewood and the Van Egmond family have been part of the Côte Saint-Luc landscape for more years than most residents of this city. They have played an important role in the lives of thousands over the decades, making milestone events all the more special with their beautiful floral arrangements.

First,a word of thanks to our judges: Sam and Louise Pinsky; Joan and Bernie King; Cookie and Bernie Band; Mark and Tina Bessner; Joe Segal’ Paula and Avie Shuster; Marty Labow; Ellie Pomerants; Mona Aronovitch; Roz Kasner ; and Sandra Segal.

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Councillor Benizri and I thank Susan Levy.

Single family and semi-detached residences were judged by political districts. Duplex, Townhouse, Institutions, Senior Residences, Commercial Buildings and Highrises were judged overall within the city. We also thank CMS Entrepreneurs Inc. for their sponsorship , George Deligeorge for the wonderful painting he created for this event and Susan Levy and her Painting Acrylics Art Class for their wonderful display.

Rimoks

The Rimokh family of Park Place were winners.

A tip of the hat to our always reliable and talented photographer Rami Negev and to Public Affairs chief Darryl Levine, who put together an excellent video montage of our winners. I was pleased to see a number of winners from District 2. Park Place, still a relatively new street, had some winners. This included Ralph and Carole Rimokh. We presented are top finishers with certificates and plaques. Liberal Member of Parliament for Mount Royal Anthony Housefather and Liberal Member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy McGee David Birnbaum joined us. Anthony presented Dirk with a special certificate and a Canadian flag; David read and presented a letter written by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard. Mayor Brownstein and Councillor Allan J. Levine delivered remarks. Allan has been Dirk’s city councillor for 30 years.

Family

The Van Egmond family.

Dirk was visibly moved as he came to the front of the room to accept our gifts and plaudits. Speaking on his behalf was daughter Corinne.
“Our father has worked with plants and flowers his entire life, beginning in Holland, where he cultivated tulip bulbs with his father and his brothers,” she said. “He immigrated to Canada in 1950, where he began working at Gratton Greenhouses in Saint Laurent. He and his wife, Toos, set down roots in Côte Saint Luc with the purchase of Edgewood Nurseries in January of 1956. We are proud to have the opportunity of providing floral arrangements and plants to so many in the community for over 60 years. We have all heard the expression ‘take time to stop and smell the roses.’ How fortunate our family has been to be able to ‘take time to stop and smell the roses’ on a daily basis.”

The surprises were not over yet as Harold Cammy and Maurizio Giobbi wheeled in a beautiful cake, decorated like a giant flower.The ceremony happened to be held on the eve of Dirk’s 92nd birthday so everyone in the room sang together.

Bravo to everyone!
Here is a list of the winners

District  1
W – 1 – 6130 Bernard Mergler
W – 2 – 5889 Tommy Douglas
W – 3 – 5960 Tommy Douglas
District  2
W – 1 – 5778 Park Place (Sadr Ghayeni)
W – 2-  5716 Park Place (Ralph and Carol Rimokh)
W – 3 – 5720 Park Place
District  3
W – 1 – 5588 Randall
W – 2 – 6799 Baily
W – 3 – 6706 Charest
District 4  
W – 1 – 5528 Hudson
W – 2 – 624 Smart
W – 3 – 5527 Hudson and 628 Smart Tied for 3rd

District 5 
W – 1 – 5777 Rand
W – 2 – 5766 Westluke
W – 3 – 5759 Hudson
District 5 Part II
W – 1 – 5710 Wentworth
W – 2 – 5735 Westluke
W – 3 – 5713 Westluke
District 6 
W – 1 – 5830 Einstein
W – 2 – 5604 McMurray
W – 3 – 7480 Spring
District  7
W – 1 – 6848 Emerson
W – 2 – 6845 Weizmann
W – 3 – 5608 Edgemore
District 8 
W – 1 – 6531 Wallenberg
W – 2 – 6529 Aldrin
W – 3 – 6529 Wallenberg
Duplexes
W – 1 – 7386-7388 Kildare
W – 2 – 5860-5862 Shalom
W – 3 – 6613-6615 Baily
Townhouses
District 8 W – 1 – 6043 Cavendish
District 8 W – 2 – 6047 Cavendish
District  2 W – 3 – 6602 Mackle (Robert and Sandra Lubarsky) and 6604  Mackle (Jason and Carol Balinksy) Tied for 3rd
Institutions
W -1 – 6800 Mackle, Beth Israel
W – 2 – 5740 Hudson, Beth Zion
W – 3 – 7070 Guelph, St Richards
Senior Residences
W -1 – 5740 Cavendish – Castel Royal
W – 2 – 8000 Côte Saint-Luc Rd – B’nai Brith House
W – 3 – 6767 Côte Saint-Luc Rd – St. Patrick Square
Commercial Buildings
W – 1 – 7001 CSL Rd – CSL Shopping Center
W – 2 – 5800 Cavendish – Cartier Cavendish
W – 3 – 5850 Cavendish – New Shell gas Station
Highrise
District 2 W – 1 – 5840 Marc Chagall, Bellagio
District 8 W – 2 – 6030 Cavendish, Le Bristel
District 8 W – 3 – 6625/35 Mackle, Mackle Manor

What to do about pit bulls and dangerous dogs in our community

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By Councillor Mike Cohen:

 

While the Quebec government studies the issues of dangerous dogs and consults with municipalities, many of which have already implemented bans on pit bulls in particular, the City of Côte Saint-Luc is reinforcing an existing bylaw.

Our most recent bylaw regarding dangerous dogs was adopted in 2009. In the wake of a series of high-profile dog attacks, Public Safety Department has sent letters to current owners of pit bulls in our community that we have on record, asking that they be muzzled.
According to our bylaw, a dangerous dog” means: a dog which has a propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack, bite, threaten, or injure, with or without provocation, any persons, property or other animals; with or without provocation or physical injury, attacks, bites, or threatens any person, property; a domestic animal that has been trained for dog fighting or to attack upon a command . In the event that the owner and/or custodian of a dangerous dog fails to comply with the obligation to muzzle the animal when on any public property throughout the city of Côte Saint-Luc, he shall be liable to a fine.

Pit Bull

Is this strong enough? As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I know how it must feel for someone who has a pet they love, only to be threatened to have it taken away via legislation. Several municipalities do have laws on the books banning pit bulls. However, they are not the only breeds that pose a threat. We will wait to see what the Quebec government decides for that will impact on our future actions. In the meantime, I wish to urge the owners of dogs considered to be dangerous to please use a muzzle.

The City of Laval wants Ottawa to make changes to the Criminal Code of Canada to create uniform rules across the country to deal with the problem of dangerous dogs.Right now, it’s possible to charge owners of dogs who attack people with criminal negligence, but it rarely happens. Laval Mayor Marc Demers said that the article in the Criminal Code dealing with criminal negligence should be amended to make specific reference to the responsibilities of dog owners.”We would like the federal government to do its homework, so it would be all across Canada the same thing, it won’t change from city to city,” Demers told CBC News.”That way, across the country, if you bring up your dog to be vicious so he may attack somebody, you are responsible for that.”
In recent weeks we have had some disturbing incidents in our own community. At one park, three people with large dogs (a pit bull, a rottweiler and another breed ) were approached by a Public Security agent and asked to leave the premises with the dogs. The owner responded that her dogs were trained to attack on command and loosened her grip on the leash. Fearing for his safety, the agent called immediately for police back-up who arrived, handcuffed the woman in the back of the police car and pointed a Taser at one of the men. Police declarations were filled out and we believe charges were filed against one or all of the individuals involved.
Meanwhile, we had a pit bull attack when the dog escaped from a ground floor apartment and attacked a pug. The dog in question already had a muzzle order in place. Public Security and police were on scene. We issued tickets and the police pressed criminal negligence charges against the owner.
As of January 1, 2017, any dog on a list of banned breeds will be prohibited. Anyone caught with a banned dog will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offence. The City of Montreal is working to come up with a uniform set of rules regarding “dangerous dogs” across its 19 boroughs, but won’t say if it’s leaning toward an all-out ban on any particular breed. Here is a recent TV report.
In Ontario a pit bull ban was proposed in 2004 after a number of cases in which people were badly injured in pit bull attacks. It was passed in 2005. “The legislation bans pit bulls in Ontario, places restrictions on existing pit bulls, and toughens the penalties for the owners of any dog that poses a danger to the public,” Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General says on its website.
The legislation, called the Dog Owners’ Liability Act, defines a pit bull as a pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier or any dog “that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar.

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