What went right in D’Arcy McGee? A Thanksgiving opinion.

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Thomas D’Arcy McGee, a Father of Confederation, may be turning over in his grave knowing that his namesake riding went from having almost the highest voter turnout in the 2014 general elections (at 72%) to almost the lowest in the province in last week’s election (at about 46.5%).

D’Arcy McGee riding also changed dramatically with the boundary shifting from its traditional Decarie eastern extremity all the way to Cote des Neiges. And despite the huge growth of 40,000 voters to 55,000 this time around, voter turnout dropped dismally from 29,000 to 25,000.

Much went wrong, to be sure. Political pundits and armchair analysts will be drilling through the numbers and issues and faux pas for a very long time. There will be no shortage of theories to understand why English-speaking voters simply stayed home in huge numbers this time around. Poll clerks have reported that ballot boxes stayed quiet throughout the day in the West End and West Island. Tumbleweeds were rolling at my voting station at the Cote Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre. Not a single person was lined up at any of the tables neatly arranged for the masses who never showed up. Apparently the scene was similar throughout the day and throughout the area.

The Liberal brand was evidently on trial in this normally red riding neighbourhood. The smartly Photoshopped posters of Philippe Couillard sporting the lackluster pitch-line, “To make life easier for Quebecers,” didn’t hit the mark, at all.

So what went right?

We have re-elected our incumbent Liberal Member of the National Assembly, David Birnbaum, who deservedly garnered an impressive 74% of the vote compared to the Quebec Solidaire candidate, Jean-Claude Kumuyange at just over 7% and the CAQ’s Melodie Cohen at 6%.

D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum speaks to a group of supporters at the Gelber Conference Centre

The individual makes the difference, locally.

The affable and eloquent Birnbaum is very close to his constituents and obviously appreciated at a rate that far outstrips the voters’ feelings about his party. David is very present in his constituency and cares deeply about his constituents. He is engaged in the key files of importance to the riding and very willingly representing his electors concerns in Quebec City.

While he moves from the government side where he served in high positions with great distinction to the opposition benches I am confident that David will adapt quickly to his new role and continue to represent us with determination and exuberance.

It’s always easier to be negative and to look to blame and shame. We’ve read many articles and opinions pointing fingers in the last week. You won’t hear a negative word from the mouth of David Birnbaum as he is a class act, an intellect and peace-maker, highly skilled at choosing the right words to make a convincing argument. As a new era in Quebec politics begin, I’m thankful that we have David to represent us.

I wish much success to David Birnbaum, and to the interim Liberal leader Pierre Arcand (a very fine gentleman and tremendous MNA and Minister).

Let’s hope that the old referendum turmoil stays way behind us and that our new premier is true to his election-night words of uniting all Quebecers. I extend my wishes for good governance, wise judgment, fair representation and abundant tolerance to our new Premier, Francois Legault, and to the new government.

Quebec is indeed a magnificent place and we must remain united, generous and tolerant to our fellow citizens and new arrivals and hopeful that our lives will indeed be made easier. Happy thanksgiving to all.

D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum was a real sport golfing in his Expos T-Shirt, seen here at the ACC for lunch, with my dad, George and me

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Giving thanks in CSL

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Sure there’s always something to complain about. Life is so unpredictable and things go wrong all the time. Small irritants fester, emotions get the best of us, anger fills the void, we point and lay blame. It happens.
Today, I prefer to focus on the positive, to offer a word of thanks. And appreciation.
Our community is made up of diverse people, who don’t always agree and may not even be on best terms with one another. But one thing everyone can find consensus on is in expressing thanks to our amazing volunteers throughout Cote saint-Luc. They are the backbone of our civic organization and the driving force of our city.
Thank you so much to our star power volunteers at EMS. For your dedication, your heroic efforts and your sense of duty and caring for all of us.
Thank you to our committed and generous volunteers at vCOP for your time and perseverance in patrolling our city again and again, keeping us safe.
Thank you to our local Public Security agents, police officers at station 9 and firefighters at station 78. You are all the front-line resources keeping us safe and sound.
Thank you to all CSL residents for whatever efforts you make for our community, and the special place it has been and will continue to be.
Let’s agree to be helpful and hopeful but not unrealistic, to be polite and neighbourly rather than heaping scorn and above all, thankful for whatever we have, as a community.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgivukkah!

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Thanksgiving_Chanukah

From the glut of Thanksgivukkah swag and kitsch out there, you’d think American Thanksgiving and Hanukkah have never overlapped before or will never overlap again. And that would be correct — at least not for another 70,000 years.

That’s right, on November 28, the Festival of Lights and the Festival of, well, Thanks, is converging, spawning anything and everything from turkey-stuffed donuts to a plethora of cross-holiday menorahs.

American Thanksgiving in Cote Saint-Luc

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When Mayor Anthony Housefather says he takes his responsibilities of building close relationships with all levels of government very seriously, very few people realize he includes bi-lateral relations with our American neighbours as well. 

Another secret about Anthony Housefather – he’s a very good cook.

Chef Anthony Housefather prepares the Thanksgiving Turkey

His multifaceted interests in American politics, culinary skill and having a good time made for an excellent excuse to celebrate American Thanksgiving in Cote Saint-Luc.

Anthony, as he prefers to be called, cooked a massive turkey and invited over close friends for a rather unorthodox cultural gathering – at least north of the 49th parallel.

Good friends, good food and good wine were all that was needed to give thanks around Anthony’s dinner table this evening. From Cote Saint-Luc to our American neighbours – Happy Thanksgiving.

Overnight parking tolerance during holidays / Tolerance de stationnement pendant les fêtes

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Overnight parking tolerance during the Jewish holidays and Thanksgiving period

The City of Côte Saint-Luc goes to great lengths to accommodate its residents and guests who park on city streets during civic and religious holidays.

The city normally prohibits parking on streets between 3am and 6am and residents must call Public Security to request a temporary parking permit. However, the city grants a general overnight parking tolerance on many holidays—particularly those with out-of-towners visiting or when a religious observances makes it difficult to move one’s car.

You do not need to call Public Security and you do not require any pass to be displayed in your vehicle from Friday, September 18 at 5pm to Tuesday, October 13 at 8am.

Note: Vehicles are not permitted to park in front of fire hydrants, in fire lanes, in front of driveways, in no-stopping zones or anywhere else when parking is never permitted etc.

http://www.cotesaintluc.org/en/parkingtolerancedates

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Dates de tolerance de stationnement pendant les fêtes juifs et l’action de grâce

La Ville de Côte Saint-Luc déploie de grands efforts pour accommoder les invités des résidants qui stationner leur véhicule dans les rues de la ville pendant les fêtes légales et religieuses.

La ville interdit normalement le stationnement dans les rues de 3 h à 6 h du matin, et les résidants doivent téléphoner à la Sécurité publique, au besoin, pour demander un permis de stationnement temporaire. Cependant, la ville accorde une tolérance générale concernant le stationnement de nuit pour certaines fêtes, particulièrement celles pendant lesquelles il y a des visiteurs de l’extérieur ou lorsque le respect des lois religieuses rend difficile d’avoir à déplacer sa voiture.

Il n’est pas nécessaire d’appeler la Sécurité publique et vous ne devrez pas obtenir de permis spécial à mettre dans votre véhicule pour vous garer du vendredi le 18 septembre à 17h au mardi le 13 octobre à 8h.

Note : Veuillez noter qu’il est interdit de stationner devant les bornes fontaines, dans les voies réservées aux véhicules d’urgence, devant les entrées de garages, dans les zones où il est interdit de s’immobiliser ainsi qu’aux endroits où le stationnement est interdit.

http://www.cotesaintluc.org/fr/tolerancepourlestationnement