Anthony Housefather Steps In To Keep Christmas Poem Tradition Alive In House

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POLITICS 12/12/2019

With big shoes to fill, a Liberal MP’s spin on a popular Christmas tradition had the House of Commons roaring with laughter Thursday.

Montreal MP Anthony Housefather rose before question period to assume the mantle left vacant by Rodger Cuzner, the popular former Nova Scotia MP who did not run again this year after serving 15 years in Parliament.

Every year, Cuzner penned a parody of “Twas The Night Before Christmas” that took good-humoured jabs at political rivals just before everyone headed home for the holidays.

“Twas the last sitting week before Christmas and who knew? Cuzner’s Christmas poem tradition would be assumed by a Jew,” Housefather began, yielding a standing ovation off the top.

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather is applauded by colleagues during a speech in the House of Commons on...
Liberal MP Anthony Housefather is applauded by colleagues during a speech in the House of Commons on Dec. 12, 2019.

Housefather treated the Tories with kid gloves, an apparent rewrite after the earlier announcement from Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer that he will step down.

“For our Conservative colleagues, I know today has been a shock. In the spirit of the holidays, I’ll go straight to the Bloc,” he said.

Housefather even navigated the tricky terrain of Quebec’s Bill 21, which prohibits some civil servants in the province from donning religious symbols on the job. Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet is an outspoken supporter of the controversial law.

“The Bloc leader, flush with success… for Mr. Claus, he had but one request,” he said. “When flying over Quebec, please remove that red suit. It’s a religious symbol, and ugly to boot.”

The MP even had a joke lined up for his boss.

“When it comes to our PM, we know what he wants, all being equal. No more hot mics and a new Star Wars sequel,” he said, a dig at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s headline-grabbing comments about Donald Trump on the heels of the NATO summit in London this month.

“So I wish all members some holiday cheer. Enjoy your family and friends, and maybe some beer,” Housefather said. 

“And when we come back in January, let’s see the light. Let’s work together for Canadians and let’s get it right.”

Not bad.

Not bad at all.

Anthony Housefather appointed parliamentary secretary to the minister of Labour

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Mount Royal riding residents are learning of the appointment of Anthony Housefather as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour.

The appointment was made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

I could not be more proud of Anthony for his incredible accomplishments nor happier for him in this tremendous nomination. We are so very lucky to have Anthony as our MP.

“I am pleased to inform you that I have been appointed by the Prime Minister to be the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour,” Housefather wrote to his supporters.

“In addition to my role as Member of Parliament,  I will now also assist Labour Minister Filomena Tassi with her Parliamentary duties, including serving as an integral link between the Minister and Members of Parliament and Parliamentary Committees.”

“I am looking forward to working with the Minister, a diverse set of stakeholders, and all Members of Parliament to move forward on policies that help both employees and employers,” the Mount Royal MP added.

Here is more about Housefather’s role and responsibility as a parliamentary secretary.

Congratulatory messages and comments from across the riding have been appearing on social media.

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein said, “Well deserved. Canada is lucky to have Anthony’s experience in labour relations both in the private and public sectors. His advice and guidance shall benefit all Canadians.”

“Well deserved. Nobody negotiated better collective agreements than former Mayor Housefather,” said CSL Councillor Mike Cohen.

“You continue to inspire all of your faithful constituents,” said Orna Hilberger, D’Arcy McGee provincial riding Liberal president.

Former TMR City Councillor and CSL senior leader Sidney Margles added, ” Our pride in our M.P. runneth over. Many Mount Royal constituents know of his dedication to public service and this latest appointment underscores the Prime Minster’s recognition of what we all know.”

Also, during Thursday’s Question Period in the House of Commons, MP Anthony Housefather continued a yearly tradition, delivering a political version of “T’was the night before Christmas.” Anthony is a brilliant legislator, a straight arrow politician and a witty orator. I know he’ll continue to make us proud.


Urging the government to put seatbelts on school buses

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You may know that I have joined with Gary Lillico and his advocacy group Seatbelt’s for Canadian School Buses Now to urge Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau to require seatbelts on all school buses. Thousands have signed a petition in support. Read details on this campaign and watch an incredible CBC report for background information.

Tonight, Mount Royal Member of Parliament, Anthony Housefather, rose in the House of Commons to ask about this important issue. Thank you Anthony for pressing forward. We hope to see solid action by the Minister early in the new year to increase safety for school children from coast to coast.

I’ll continue to call upon Minister Garneau to move the necessary regulations or legislation. I have already spoken with him on three occasions on this topic over the last 12 months and I believe that he is interested in making good on this important subject that falls within his ministerial mandate.

Anthony Housefather sworn in to 43rd Parliament


Over 100 friends and volunteers packed two chartered buses for the ride to Ottawa today to witness the swearing in ceremony for Mount Royal Member of Parliament, Anthony Housefather.
Many cultural communities of the Montreal West End riding, once represented by Pierre-Elliot Trudeau, traveled to Parliament Hill for the exciting and memorable occasion. With numerous members of the Filipino, Gujarati, Tamil, Chinese, Bangladeshi, Jewish, French-speaking, English-speaking, Italian and Greek communities, Anthony was completely and warmly encircled by his entire riding.

Members of Mount Royal’s Filipino community with MP Anthony Housefather

With Centre Block undergoing a decade-long renovation the group entered the “new” House of Commons, located in a totally enclosed courtyard of the West Block, beautifully enveloped by the once exterior, exquisitely sculpted walls, green cladded rooftops and Victorian shaped windows.

Anthony Housefather addressing supporters in the new House of Commons in the West Block

The official ceremony was conducted by the friendly and informative Deputy Clerk of the House, M. Andre Gagnon, who has been at VIP receptions and similar ceremonies for the last 29 years. You can watch the official swearing in here.

Deputy Clerk Andre Gagnon oversees MP Anthony Housefather signing in


Future MP Jeremy Nashen with Deputy Clerk Andre Gagnon

Highlighting the guest list were the Ambassadors of the Philippines and the State of Israel. Recognizing the large guest list of Filipinos and Jews, Mrs. Garcia described the close ties between her country and the Jewish state. “My country took in 1200 Jews during the holocaust and was the first Asian nation to recognize the state of Israel in 1948,” she said to great applause.
Mr. Barkan, attending his last ceremony as Israeli Ambassador, as he completes his final posting and retires from the foreign service said, “Anthony is the brightest person I met in Canada.”

Glenn and Jeremy with Israeli Ambassador Nimrod Barkan and Mrs. Barkan

Also in attendance was Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and his wife Elaine, councillor Dida Berku and Jacob Kincler, TMR Councillors Joseph Daoura and Minh Diem Le-Thi. We really missed not having councillor Ruth Kovac with us, as noted by Mayor Brownstein in his remarks highlighting Anthony’s political career.

MP Anthony Housefather sworn in to Canada’s 43rd Parliament with Glenn and Jeremy Nashen, Myrna Housefather, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Councilors Mien Diem Le-Thi

The entire Fabian-Band clan from Cote Saint-Luc attended – all three generations. To be sure, there was representation from all neighbourhoods of the sprawling riding.

Ricki, Leslie, Jamie and Sammi Fabian on the bus with Anthony Housefather and Mayor Mitchell Brownstein

I was particularly pleased to be accompanied by my 10 year old son, Jeremy, for his fifth visit to Parliament Hill. “I really enjoyed Anthony’s guided tour of the House of Commons because he gave such interesting descriptions and answered everyone’s questions,” Jeremy said. “I’m always proud to be Canadian because Canada is such a cool country,” he added, standing among massive paintings of Canada’s Prime Ministers in the stately chamber.

Prime Minister Pierre-Elliot Trudeau overlooking Glenn and Jeremy

“I am so honoured to be surrounded by all of you and to feel the love and friendship here today, “Anthony said. ” It’s remarkable to have you all here with me. We have a special riding and how amazing is it to be preceded by Pierre-Elliot Trudeau, Sheila Finestone and Irwin Cotler.” See Anthony’s full speech here.
Anthony’s supporters filled the green leather seats of the House and many took turns sitting in the regal Speakers Chair, snapping selfies by the hundreds.
Anthony introduced us to his colleague, Michael Levitt, MP for York Centre, in Toronto, who had just been sworn in and was touring the House with his family.
The two greeted all those assembled in the hallow halls of Parliament and remarked how well they worked together for their similar, culturally-rich ridings.

MPs Anthomy Housefather and Michael Levitt


“How does one get appointed as Parliamentary Secretary (also known as Junior Minister),” I asked, “and how can we help?”  Anthony smiled along with the audience and responded, “The Prime Minister is just upstairs on the third floor,” he said to laughter. The group applauded showing their strong support for Anthony to be nominated to a Parliamentary Secretary position by Prime Minster Justin Trudeau.
It was time for a few group shots with everyone in the House before the two hour ride back to Montreal. What a wonderful opportunity for all of us to witness this ceremony, unchanged since the country was founded some 152 years earlier, and tour the seat of government.

Speaker of the House, Jeremy!

What an amazingly educational day for my son to take a day off of school, to learn about our government and its leaders at the political epicentre of the country and to show his support for Anthony, as the youngest participant.
And what a privilege to partake in this historic occasion, virtually unchanged since confederation. You could practically hear the Parliamentarians of the past century-and-a-half come to life as we walked in their footsteps and literally sat in their seats.  It makes one proud to be Canadian and even prouder to have Anthony Housefather as our remarkable and extraordinary Member of Parliament.

Celebrating Chanukah on the Hill


Judy Hagshi, Anthony Housefather (MP Mount Royal), Jeremy, Glenn, Nicole and Barry Nashen. Chanukah on the Hill. December 2017.

It was a great privilege and unique experience for my family to join Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mount-Royal MP Anthony Housefather, Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentarians, Senators and community leaders from across Canada for Chanukah on the Hill last week for the second night of the eight-day holiday. Our Parliament was brightened by the lighting of the Chanukah Menorah.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lights the Chanukah Menorah in Parliament as MPs Michael Levitt and Anthony Housefather look on.


“Chanukah is about finding light in darkness and hope in the face of overwhelming adversity. It’s a time to honour the profound strength of the Jewish People”, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, on Twitter.

I thank my good friend Anthony Housefather for this wonderful invitation and for his initiatives in ensuring the centrality of Canadian Jews within the deliberations in the Parliament of Canada.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh lights the Chanukah Menorah in Parliament


Green Party Leader Elizabeth May lights the Chanukah Menorah. MPs Michael Levitt and Anthony Housefather look on.


Members of Parliament Michael Levitt (North York) and Anthony Housefather light the Chanukah Menorah in the historic Railway Committee Room of Parliament


Glenn J. Nashen, Arieh Lev Reiktman and MP Anthony Housefather at Chanukah on Parliament Hill, December 2017


Jason Glazer, Glenn and Jeremy Nashen in the Railway Committee Room in the Centre Block of


Glenn, Jeremy, Judy Hagshi, Nicole and Barry Nashen in Parliament for the lighting of the Chanukah candles, December 2017


The Nashens on a frigid December 2017 evening for Chanukah on the Hill


Housefather rises on Speech from the Throne

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Bravo to our indomitable Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather who rose in Parliament last week to give his response to the Speech from the Throne. In true style Housefather blended comments about our riding, its cultural communities, his ascension through municipal politics, his business and legal experiences and outlook on Canadian society without a prepared script, nary a note. What’s more, Housefather effortlessly and smoothly transitioned between Canada’s official languages. Very impressive indeed.

The Cavendish Extension features prominently in the MPs remarks, noting that this project has lingered for 50 years, has received approval by local governments and that federal funding is needed to spur the provincial government into action to jump start this much anticipated plan.


End of year message

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Message from the Acting Mayor of Cote Saint-Luc

CSL Courier – December 31, 2015

Just as the seasons change so does life in the City of Cote Saint-Luc and at our City Hall. After ten incredible years at the helm, our esteemed mayor has accomplished a lifelong dream and has taken on the title of Member of Parliament. We are so fortunate as he will continue to serve us with integrity and passion and determination, now as our Man in Ottawa!

Anthony Housefather, MP, in the Hall of Honour, in the Parliament of Canada

Anthony Housefather, MP, in the Hall of Honour, in the Parliament of Canada

I was honoured to join several Members of Council, our outgoing M.P. Professor Irwin Cotler, and several Cote Saint-Lucers at the official Swearing In Ceremony on Parliament Hill a few weeks ago. It was an extraordinary day, steeped in Canadian tradition and history that will long be remembered. Please join me in congratulating the Honourable Anthony Housefather, M.P. for Mount Royal and wishing him every success in his service to our constituency and our country.

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

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

In the interim I have stepped up to lead the city as Acting Mayor. I have been working hand in hand with the Members of Council and the Administration to ensure a smooth transition as we prepare for winter, build our 2016 budget and get ready to elect a new mayor in an upcoming byelection.

I am also excited to be celebrating 25 years since I was first elected to this venerable council, together with my friends and colleagues Councillors Mitchell Brownstein, Ruth Kovac and Dida Berku. It is truly an honour as I consider being elected to serve the public as a great privilege. I congratulate my colleagues on this important milestone in our political lives.

Celebrating demerger victory (June 2004) with Ruth Kovac, Anthony Housefather and Mitchell Brownstein

Celebrating demerger victory (June 2004) with Ruth Kovac, Anthony Housefather and Mitchell Brownstein

I also note the long and distinguished service of  Councillor Allan J. Levine who has served, remarkably since 1986.


As for Councillors Steven Erdelyi, Mike Cohen and Sam Goldbloom, our youngsters on council, they have deeply devoted themselves for the last 10 years.


All together, we have worked collaboratively and respectfully, for which I am very grateful. We have a dedicated and talented group of councillors here in Cote Saint-Luc, along with a dynamic and creative administration and staff led by Tanya Abramovitch, Nadia Di Furia and Jonathan Shecter, all of whom are focused on delivering quality services and programs to our residents. In addition we have hundreds of incredible volunteers who give of themselves, tirelessly, all for the benefit of our city and its residents.


In the meantime, as the seasons roll over, I invite you to enjoy all our city has to offer throughout the winter months. Our Aquatic and Community Centre is bursting with activity seven days a week. Whether its for a dip in the pool or shooting hoops or taking an art class drop by and get active. The CSL Public Library is open every day of the year and offers so much for every age. Whether you prefer to skate indoors at the arena or at one of the outdoor rinks or go for a brisk walk along one of our park paths we take this opportunity to wish you a safe, healthy and maybe even a warm winter. Safe travels to our snowbirds.

CSL alert mass notification

And please stay in touch with your city all year long. Subscribe to the Cote Saint-Luc newsletter at Also CSL Alert allows you to receive notifications about events that may affect your home or neighbourhood via phone call, text message and e-mail. Visit to sign up.

2015-11-30 Council portrait photo

On behalf of the council, I take this opportunity to wish you a festive and bright Chanukah, a joyous and spirited Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.

Glenn J. Nashen

Acting Mayor


Read the full edition of the CSL Courier (Dec. 2015)

Housefather and Trudeau welcome Chanukah in Parliament

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Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather has made his mark early on in Parliament by co-chairing the annual candle lighting for Chanukah along with York Centre MP Michael Levitt.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lights the Chanukah Menorah in Parliament as MPs Michael Levitt and Anthony Housefather look on

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lights the Chanukah Menorah in Parliament as MPs Michael Levitt and Anthony Housefather look on

Unlike in previous years, Housefather invited leaders from all streams of Judaism as well as from other religion to participate. In addition, MPs from all parties participated in the event which was held last Wednesday night on the fourth night of Chanukah.

Prime Minister Trudeau, a strong supporter of the Jewish community and Israel spoke about the spirit of inclusiveness and respect. “We all come together to celebrate the light that unites as all,” Trudeau said to a gathering that included several invited guests from Cote Saint-Luc including former MP Irwin Cotler, Councillor Mitchell Brownstein and his wife Elaine and Mitch and Jordana Kujavsky.

Elaine Yagod-Brownstein smiles under the towering Prime Minister at the Chanukah celebration in Parliament

Elaine Yagod-Brownstein smiles under the towering Prime Minister at the Chanukah celebration in Parliament

“All Canadians are friends of Israel and all parties support Israel, and going forward we will continue to stand steadfast to our friends and allies around the world,” the PM said. “Happy Chanukah. Chag Sameach,” Trudeau.