CSL City Council supports legal contestation of D’Arcy McGee boundary changes

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Cote Saint-Luc City Council adopted a resolution to support the legal challenge of the electoral divisions of Québec seeking that the electoral map maintain the current divisions of Mount-Royal, Outremont and D’Arcy McGee ridings.

On March 2, 2017, the Quebec Electoral Commission published the final version of the electoral map which substantially altered the boundaries of the electoral riding of D’Arcy-McGee and seriously undermines public confidence in the objectivity and independence of the Commission. The electoral riding of D’Arcy-McGee will have around 56,000 voters, making it one of the most populous constituencies in Quebec and will, therefore, seriously dilute the political weight of the residents of the City of Côte Saint-Luc.

The Commission also decided to merge the electoral divisions of Mount Royal and Outremont. All of these changes will result in the loss of an electoral riding on the Island of Montréal and dilute the political weight of all the residents living on the Island.

Other affected municipalities such as the Town of Mount Royal and the Town of Hampstead have already agreed to financially contribute to a legal contestation being filed by Me Julius Grey.

It is in the interest of the residents of the City of Côte Saint-Luc to oppose the decision and to financially contribute to its legal contestation. Therefore the City agreed to support the legal challenge and authorized an expenditure of $7,000 to this challenge. Additionally, the City will match up to $3,000 from contributions of its residents.

Residents interested in supporting the challenge can make their cheques payable to Julius Grey, In Trust, and drop off or mail to the City of Cote Saint-Luc, 5801 Cavendish Blvd., CSL, QC  H4W 2C2.

Elimination of Mount Royal perversely penalizes communities, A letter by Anthony Housefather, M.P.

 

Housefather packs TMR Town Hall, Libman a no show

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Mario Rimbao, Dennis Trudeau and Anthony Housefather at the TMR candidates debate. Missing from photo is Robert Libman who refused to participate.

Mario Rimbao, Dennis Trudeau and Anthony Housefather at the TMR candidates debate. Missing from photo is Robert Libman who refused to participate.

Mount Royal candidates Anthony Housefather (Liberal Party of Canada) and Mario Rimbao (NDP) debated before a full house at City Hall in the Town of Mount Royal last night. Conservative candidate Robert Libman refused to attend, advising the moderator by way of a written statement minutes before the scheduled debate that he would not participate.
Housefather was invited to the debate by Philippe Roy, Mayor of TMR. The debate was organized by the TMR municipal citizens association.  Unfortunately Robert Libman, the Conservative candidate, did not attend the debate and put out a statement stating his refusal to attend was linked to support for the BDS movement by the President of the municipal association.  Anthony pointed out at the debate that both he and the Liberal Party strongly oppose BDS but that this opposition was even more of a reason for Anthony to participate in the debate and forcefully make that point.
“This debate, the only one in TMR, a very important part of the riding centered on local TMR issues and environmental, domestic and international issues,” Housefather said.
When receiving questions on Israel Anthony made the same forceful defence of Israel that he has made in front of Jewish audiences.  “It is easy for a candidate to defend Israel in front of a largely Jewish audience but the real test of a candidate is being able to make the same statements in front of people who may disagree with you,” he said.  The debate was expertly handled by the municipal association which remained strictly neutral and Dennis Trudeau the moderator.
Listen to Dennis Trudeau reading Libman’s statement:
Housefather, alluding to Libman’s refusal to participate, began his remarks stating it’s very easy to only debate before a friendly crowd where everyone agrees with you. “But I’m not afraid to come to come to TMR and make a statement (in support of Israel) where some people don’t agree with me.”
Listen to Anthony Housefather’s opening remarks:
The two participating candidates debated everything from airplane noise to climate change, mail delivery to foreign policy, military investment to job creation.
Moderator Dennis Trudeau kept the event moving along allowing for many questions from the crowd, many of whom were annoyed that the Conservative candidate chose to ignore TMR residents.
Speaking on the issue of Canada Post home mail delivery Housefather said, “Under the Harper government plan we would be the only country in the western world to end home delivery. This is blatantly unfair to seniors and the disabled. And not consulting with local representatives is completely unacceptable. A Liberal government would end this right away.”
“Anthony and I are on the same page. Stephen Harper made the biggest mistake,” Rimbao said.
Anthony Housefather debates Mario Rimbao with moderator Dennis Trudeau
Anthony Housefather debates Mario Rimbao with moderator Dennis Trudeau
Housefather said he has a proven track-record on environmental issues citing his achievements as mayor. “I lead my city to become tops on green issues. We were the first in the region to begin composting, we are big into waste diversion and recycling. We began an urban agriculture movement and we’re on the verge of finally saving Meadowbrook,” he said. “Harper leads the only government that withdrew from the Kyoto Accords,” adding that a Liberal government will provide real leadership in climate change and environmental issues.
On the issue of security and Bill C-51, “Harper wants you to think there’s a terrorist around every corner. We need to balance security with freedom. You need to be pragmatic and reach consensus. Harper could easily have achieved consensus in Parliament. He could have created an oversight committee as requested by the Liberals,” Housefather said.
“How would your government support the refugees flooding into Europe?” asked the moderator.
“We need to help. Bringing people is part of the solution but doesn’t solve for millions being displaced,” Housefather said. “We need to send much more relief to those leaving their countries. Canada has been an expert in this for many years. But we need to solve larger problems in the region and help people where they are, over there.”
Rimbao agreed with Housefather. “This should not be a divisive political issue. As Canadians we should be proud to support people in need.”
Further, on the foreign policy theme Housefather said, “A reformed United Nations is the best route to fix some of the evils in the most challenging parts of the world. The U.N. has lost our respect in many areas, citing the preposterous example of Saudi Arabia presiding over the Human Rights Council. “What’s wrong is that Harper doesn’t work with world leaders to convince them of his principled foreign policy. If he doesn’t agree, he shuts the door, just like his local candidate who didn’t show up to debate tonight.  Harper should show up on the world stage and dialogue and try to convince people of Canada’s position, not stay away from the table,” he said to loud applause.
Housefather stated that the Liberals have the exact same position on Israel as the conservatives with one exception. “We do not believe that Israel should be a political wedge issue,” he said, again to the delight of the audience. “Support for Israel started not under Harper but with former Prime Minister Paul Martin. Justin Trudeau has been very clear on his intention to continue strong, principled support of the Jewish State.
On Israel:
On the issue of airplane noise the NDP would put penalties if noise is not reduced and change flight paths. The Liberal candidate said that the airport authority should have municipal representation, make sure curfew is respected. “I’d work with all mayors on the island to deal with this problem,” Housefather said.
“Improve safety and move pipelines out of major urban centres. The Liberal Party is committed to solutions. The Conservatives have not moved fast enough in redesigning oil tanker train cars,” Housefather stated referring to the riding being home to the second largest rail yard in eastern Canada.
Rimbao said, “You need strong safety procedures. The Harper government cut funding to scientists and research. How can we improve the situation if we do not carry out proper research?”
The first questioner criticized Libman for staying away saying that we don’t all agree with each other’s beliefs but as candidates it’s incumbent to show up and to state their opinions, to say what they agree or disagree with.
Asked what he would do specifically for the riding Housefather said he would lobby for funding for priorities, citing railway safety, the Cavendish extension, congestion and exppansion around the 15 and 40. “I would hold public information meetings throughout the riding on a regular basis,” Housefather added.
Another resident took to the microphone and thanked Housefather and Rimbao for showing up rather than the one candidate (Libman) who stayed away. The questioner asked if they were for or against reopening the Canadian embassy in Iran. Housefather responded, “We would not reinstate until security concerns are cleared. Our issues aren’t with the Iranian people. It’s with their regime. We should have embassies to represent Canadian interests, to protect Canadians citizens to support Canadian business people and to speak out against those regimes that we do not agree with. There’s no reason to close an embassy because we don’t agree with their regime,” Housefather said. “Harper hasn’t closed the Venezuelan embassy, yet Chavez is completely anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. Yes, we need to ensure the security of our embassy staff and represent our interests everywhere.”
On BDS:
The third questioner also said it was too bad that Libman was not there. “Strange way to support Israel by staying away,” he chimed in.
Yet another questioner decried the irony that Harper’s commendable position on foreign policy is not backed up with investment in the military. “They study and study but they haven’t delivered the goods.”
Housefather remarked, “Harper hasn’t planned to replace fighter jets or ice breakers. We need to properly equip our armed services to protect Canadians. While Harper talks about it he doesn’t do it.”
A TMR resident asked about Trudeau’s position on Israel. “The Liberals have the exact same position on Israel as the Conservatives with one exception. We do not believe that Israel should be a political wedge issue,” Housefather stated. “Support for Israel started, not under Harper, but with former Prime Minister Martin. Justin,” he said. “Justin Trudeau has been very clear on this issue.”
Housefather gave an impassioned closing to the audience. “I have proven my dedication serving the public for 21 years. I also bring my business experience as a lawyer in a multinational corporation. On October 19, I ask you to vote for the best candidate to support you in Mount Royal riding.”
Concluding remarks:

Will CSLers soon be shopping in one of Canada’s largest shopping malls?

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The Dix-30 gigantic mall may soon be replicated just a stone's throw from Cote Saint-Luc

The Quartier Dix30 gigantic mall may soon be replicated just a stone’s throw from Cote Saint-Luc

The CBC reports that a massive shopping centre is proposed for a site on the Island of Montreal. The 3-million square foot, $1.6 billion centre would feature retail stores, restaurants, green space, a cinema, and possibly a concert hall.

The new centre would be located in the affluent Town of Mount Royal, located at the southwest corner of Autoroute 15 and Highway 40 (see maps below). Its developer is Carbonleo, which also built the popular Quartier DIX30 in nearby Brossard.

With the planned extension of Cavendish Boulevard in CSL the new mammoth mall in the TMR industrial park would be a couple of minutes away by car from CSL City Hall. The extension would also feature bike and walking paths.

The development would pose a major threat to the remaining retailers in the Cavendish Mall. The Bureau en Gros in the Cavendish Mall is already a major loss to the shrunken mall with liquidation signs plastered in its windows in the last few days.

A new mega centre would also result in increased traffic as west-enders make their way up Cavendish Boulevard to access the area by the future extension.

Hundreds of new jobs would be created during construction as would eventual retail positions which would be attractive for CSL and west-end residents and students alike.

(Source: Retail Insider and CBC News)

Housefather and Roy defend English-speaking cities

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Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather and Town of Mount Royal Mayor Philippe Roy appeared before the Quebec National Assembly hearings into Bill 14 this morning.  They did a stellar job at defending the acquired rights of the English-speaking communities residing in 86 bilingual municipalities and boroughs throughout the province.

The snarky language minister Diane de Courcy pressed the mayors on why they hadn’t consulted their residents (in a referendum) as to whether or not they wished to have bilingual status, suggesting the mayors spoke emotionally and not based in fact.  Such chutzpah and warped logic, to poll the majority on the rights of the minority, is to be expected from the narrow-minded PQ.  A testy liberal MNA Geoff Kelley shot back that the PQ themselves hadn’t consulted the population before they wiped out these two cities through forced mergers.  His microphone was abruptly shut off for being too smart.  Way to go Geoff!

“It concerns me that you haven’t consulted your residents,” de Courcy asked of Housefather.  “And, you haven’t consulted other areas, such as Cote des Neiges-NDG, that would probably vote to acquire bilingual status,” a very wise Housefather retorted.

Housefather went on to press his point.  “In some countries, bilingual status is obligatory in municipalities where 5% of the city’s population is a minority community. Nowhere, other than Quebec, is it prohibited to have bilingual status unless the minority forms the majority,” the mayor quipped, in reference to Bill 14’s provision that a city would lose its bilingual status if its minority language population fell below 50%.

When asked what he would propose as a way to make Bill 14 acceptable to municipalities, Housefather responded he was not prepared to negotiate away fundamental rights.  Roy stated that the autonomy of city councils must be respected as they are closest to the people, best placed to represent its residents.

While PQ MNA Daniel Breton spoke in exclusionary and divisive language the mayors described their towns as inclusive, where respect and equality prevail, as should be the case with all Quebecers.  “What do you propose we do for immigrants to make Bill 14 better?” the MNA asked.  Housefather replied, “If my parents moved to Quebec with me in the 20s, if I’ve used English as my preferred language for 90 years, and if I’m now excluded from your calculation as to who is an English-speaking Quebecer, you’re draft law is unfair!”

Housefather explained that there are three ways of classifying language in the census: mother tongue, language used at home and preferred language.  Bill 14 chooses the most restrictive classification: mother tongue.  A Quebecer is branded by the language of his or her mother, effectively reducing the English-speaking community in Quebec by nearly 300,000 individuals.

D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman was next to speak.  He said that is all of his years in elected office he had never received so many calls from constituents as he did for this bill, except against the forced mergers.  He read a letter from a local English-speaking resident of Italian origin who wrote that his family chose to live in Cote Saint-Luc because of its welcoming, bilingual environment.  None of his family are considered as English-speaking in this legislation.

Housefather too said he had not seen such fierce opposition to a draft bill, save for the mergers, in his 17 years in city hall.  Bill 14 scares English-speaking people, he said.  The message of the bill, Housefather said, is that English-speaking people are not respected.  “You’re a problem,” the bill tells us.  “We’ve evolved.  We’re bilingual.  We built our city, and we’ve been a majority in it for years!” the mayor told the commission.

The CAQ member, Nathalie Roy was only partially opposed to the bill, unfortunately.  “The CAQ doesn’t want bilingual status to be touched.  Cities need to be able to decide for themselves.  This is an acquired right of the minority community,” the MNA said.  She then asked Housefather what would happen if the bill passed?

“There would be chaos,” Housefather asserted.  “Either the city would refuse to obey the law and would fight it in court or you’d have citizens in the streets,’ the mayor concluded. “It would change daily life, the way we live.”

Thankfully the English-speaking community was represented by such fine individuals such as Housefather and Roy.  They spoke with passion and conviction and although I’m confident that bilingual status provisions of the french language charter will remain unchanged it remains to be seen if Bill 14 will be scrapped in it entirety and deposited in the trash bin of of oppressive Quebec legislative history where it rightfully belongs.

Housefather gets first kicks at Bill 14

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Mayor of Côte St. Luc, Quebec, Anthony Housefather

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather will be among the first to present a brief to the National Assembly commission reviewing the odious Bill 14 that gets started this morning.

Housefather, a lawyer and former president of the English language rights lobby Alliance Quebec will press for status quo for the 85 bilingual municipalities and boroughs in Quebec who already enjoy relative language peace in civic matters.

Housefather will be joined by town of Mount Royal Mayor Philippe Roy. The two mayors will be representing the Association of Suburban Municipalities , the group bringing together the demerged cities on the island of Montreal.

Bill 14 is a shameful piece of work introduced by the PQ government. Ultimately, the law would punish Anglo Quebecers by further restricting their rights and freedoms. The bill, if adopted, would create more anxiety and discomfort not only among English speaking Quebecers but would do the same to small business owners and even to military families who’s children would no longer benefit from the exemption from attending French language schools since they constantly move around the country.

The government ought to have learned something from the recent Pastagate disaster that created international embarrassment for Quebec.  Major world media outlets are now tuned in to the mean-spirited and repressive language laws in this province.

How can Canadians continue to tolerate this infringement on rights for other Canadians?  If they can rally around Idle No More protests what about speaking out for English-speaking Canadians here in Quebec?

If students can continue to rally, clanking their pots and pans, protesting against a tuition increase of pennies a day what about their sense of social justice against the suppression of their fellow citizens’ rights?

Montrealers protest against real and perceived human rights violations all over the world.  What about the human rights violations against fellow Quebecers?

Enough!

The spotlight should shine upon these Bill 14 hearings and Quebec should be shamed yet again for the abuse of rights and freedoms here at home.  The opposition parties ought to vote down the bill, in its entirety.

Greenfield Park gears up for a fight

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The Montreal Gazette is reporting that Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather‘s initiative to solicit support against the PQ’s Bill 14 has picked up major steam with endorsement by the Longueuil borough of (and former City of) Greenfield Park.

About half of the 86 cities, towns and boroughs that currently enjoy bilingual status have already passed resolutions condemning the proposed law, said Côte-St-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather, who is co-ordinating municipal opposition to the bill.

They include Hampstead, Montreal West, Town of Mount Royal, Senneville, Beaconsfield, Dorval, Baie d’Urfé, Pointe-Claire, Kirkland and Westmount, along with several towns in the Eastern Townships and other regions, like Ayer’s Cliff, Shawville and Gore.

“There’s nothing good that I can say about this bill,” Housefather said.

“It’s a bill that’s not needed. It simply makes it uncomfortable for the English-speaking community in Quebec,” he added.

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Greenfield+Park+gears+fight/7922969/story.html#ixzz2K8kHjItg

 

First five bilingual municipalities adopt resolutions opposing Bill 14’s provisions on removing bilingual status

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Côte Saint-Luc, December 18, 2012 – The first five municipalities with bilingual status adopted resolutions yesterday affirming their desire to retain their bilingual status and opposing Bill 14, which would give the Quebec government the power to unilaterally remove this status against the will of the municipality or borough concerned.

The municipalities that adopted the resolution yesterday include the City of Côte Saint-Luc, the Town of Hampstead, the Town of Montreal West, the Town of Mount Royal and the Town of Senneville. It is anticipated that cities, towns and boroughs with bilingual status across the province will adopt the resolution prior to the legislative hearings on Bill 14.

“If the bill becomes law, more than half of the 84 municipalities and boroughs that have bilingual status might lose it,” said Mayor Anthony Housefather of Côte Saint-Luc. “It is unconscionable that the Parti Québécois government amended the legislation in 2000 to define who is an English-speaker in the narrowest possible way and now wants to use those misleading numbers to unilaterally remove bilingual status.”

Since 1977, it have been illegal for municipalities to, among other things, send a bilingual tax bill, erect bilingual signage, or send a bilingual memo to city workers. However, an exception was made under Section 29.1 of the Charter of the French Language, commonly referred to as bilingual status, for municipalities where a majority of residents spoke a language other than French. In 2000, another Parti Québécois government adopted Bill 171, which drastically changed the criteria to obtain bilingual status from a majority of residents of a municipality or borough who spoke a language other than French to a majority of residents whose mother tongue was English.

This revised criteria was imposed without consulting municipalities and boroughs, and adopted the narrowest and most inaccurate definition of the English-speaking communities.

“The criteria for who is English-speaking is ridiculously restrictive,” said Mayor William Steinberg of the Town of Hampstead. “You could live in English, speak to your kids in English, consider yourself to be English-speaking. But if 50 years ago your mom spoke to you in Italian, or Yiddish, or Greek, when you were a toddler, then the government says you are not English speaking when it comes to a municipality or borough being eligible for bilingual status.”

Bill 14, tabled by the new Parti Québécois minority government, would allow for the potential removal of bilingual status from municipalities or boroughs by decree–and against the will of the municipality or borough concerned, its duly elected council and its residents—if less than 50 percent of residents are mother tongue English speaking.

“We believe the proposed law is an attack on the fundamental rights and intrinsic character of all municipalities and boroughs that currently possess bilingual status,” said Mayor Philippe Roy of the Town of Mount Royal.

Of the 1,476 cities and towns and boroughs in Quebec, only 84—or 6 percent—have bilingual status.

The cities that passed resolutions affirmed that they view bilingual status as fundamental to the character of the municipality and as a testament of the historical presence of both the English- and French-speaking communities in the municipality.

Copies of the resolution are available here or at CoteSaintLuc.org.

 

New law imperils English in suburbs

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Henry Aubin: New law imperils English in suburbs

Loss of bilingual status is a devastating blow and a barrier to business

BY HENRY AUBIN, MONTREAL GAZETTE DECEMBER 7, 2012

The Marois government’s proposed law to tighten the Charter of the French Language would deal a truly devastating blow to most of the 65 municipalities in Quebec that possess official bilingual status. The bill would strip this designation from a town if fewer than 50 per cent of its residents have English as their mother tongue.

Six of the 12 suburbs on Montreal Island that now offer services in French and English would lose the legal ability to continue to do so in English. They are Côte-St-Luc, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Dorval, Kirkland, Mont-Royal and Senneville. (See table.)

Four other suburbs, whose English mother-tongue residents are steadily declining and now represent less than 55 per cent of the population, are on course to falling under the threshold within a few years. They are Baie d’Urfé, Beaconsfield, Pointe-Claire and Westmount. Hampstead and Montreal West, both of which are near the 60-per-cent mark, are safer ground. (The island’s two remaining suburbs, Montréal-Est and Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, do not have bilingual status.)

Municipalities not on the island would tend to lose their status at a considerably higher rate. Many of these mostly rural towns or villages have aging anglo communities.

(The government would determine whether a city or town is above or below the 50 per cent bar on the basis of Statistic Canada’s census. However, it is unclear how the government would define people with English as their mother tongue. Most people have only one language as their mother tongue, but others list two or even more on the census form, depending the circumstances of their infancy. The table gives figures for both options.)

The proposed law, Bill 14, tabled this week by the minister responsible for language, Diane De Courcy, comes completely out of the blue. It’s been a long time since language has been a notable issue in the island’s suburbs or in the more distant places. You have to wonder what the problem is that De Courcy set out to fix.

To be sure, the presence of English has become a hot political issue, but that controversy has been confined do Montreal’s central core, especially the shopping areas. De Courcy’s measure gives the core a free pass — the bill can’t revoke Montreal’s bilingual status because the city doesn’t have one.

Removing the suburbs’ bilingual standing would also be curious because it would reduce the attractiveness of Montreal for knowledge workers from English-speaking countries. When they move here, these workers often choose to live in a bilingual suburb where — as is only normal — they feel more linguistically hospitable.

The Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Index of cities — an annual ranking to help multinational companies and organizations make decisions — came out the day before De Courcy tabled the bill. It rated Montreal well behind Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto. If the minority government succeeds in making Bill 14 law, it’s not going to help the economy.

Peter Trent, the Westmount mayor and leader of the island’s suburban mayors, is a moderate on language issues. He calls the measure “completely unacceptable” to anglo communities. As well, he notes an additional curiosity about the bill: “It wouldn’t help the cause of preserving French one jot.”

Trent notes a final curiosity about the bill: Those suburbs whose majority of English mother-tongue residents are rapidly shrinking might have no interest in attracting those newcomers who would further dilute the English mother-tongue presence. The law might thus have the perverse effect of making francophones unwelcome.

This measure might make short-term political sense: Riling the anglos is often a surefire way to boost the PQ in anglophobes’ eyes.

But as a step to advance the interests of francophones, the bill shoots itself in the foot. In the end, it would harm everybody.

Read more:http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Henry+Aubin+imperils+English+suburbs/7669480/story.html#ixzz2EUfHTkUV

 

City of Montreal pulls the plug on Cavendish again

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Côte Saint-Luc, September 14, 2012 – Only six months after announcing the Blue Bonnets agreement, which included the funding for Cavendish Blvd. road extension project, the City of Montreal has reneged on its undertaking and put the project on the back burner.
In March 2012, the City of Montreal and the Quebec government signed an agreement to transfer the Blue Bonnets race track land to the City of Montreal. One of the conditions of the transfer was an undertaking by the City of Montreal to set aside $44 million for phase 1 of the Cavendish Blvd. road extension project in its three-year Capital Works Budget. This agreement was ratified by the unanimous vote of the Montreal City Council on March 26, 2012.
Notwithstanding this undertaking in the agreement to set aside $44 million for this project and notwithstanding the unanimous resolution of Montreal City Council ratifying the agreement, the Tremblay administration has withdrawn the Cavendish Blvd. road extension project from the proposed three-year Capital Works Budget for 2013-2015, even though it was included in the last year’s three year budget (2012-2014). The proposed budget—without the funds for the Cavendish Blvd. road extension project—will be presented to Montreal City Council for adoption on September 20, 2012.
“The City of Côte Saint-Luc has worked very hard with our neighbouring cities and boroughs to convince the Tremblay administration that the Cavendish extension be made a priority,” said Anthony Housefather, Mayor of Côte Saint-Luc. “We worked with the local Liberal MNAs to find means of funding the project and over the last six months the announcements related to the Blue Bonnets site had pushed the project forward. The proposal by the City of Montreal to remove these amounts from the PTI is a complete reversal of commitments made only months ago and is completely unacceptable to those living and working in the west end and West Island of Montreal.  We will use all means at our disposal to oppose this reversal.”
As well, the new Capital Works Budget does not provide for the completion of the feasibility studies that the City of Montreal also undertook to do. Since 2005, it has spent $2.5 million on these studies but so far has refused to make them public and now is refusing to complete them.
“This omission is in total violation of the Blue Bonnets agreement and the unanimous vote of Montreal City Council,” said Côte Saint-Luc Councillor Dida Berku. “This flies in the face of the will of all the councils of the boroughs of St. Laurent, CDN-NDG and cities of Côte Saint-Luc, Town of Mount Royal, Hampstead, and Dollard des Ormeaux, which have systematically called for the extension of Cavendish to be included in the Agglomeration of Montreal Transport Plan and in the Capital Works Budget of the City of Montreal. As well it flies in the face of the conditions in the Blue Bonnets agreement with the Quebec government and is a reversal of the public commitments and pronouncements of the Tremblay administration, made six months ago.”
When the Blue Bonnets agreement was announced, Minister Raymond Bachand said that one of the conditions of the transfer was that the proceeds would be used to finance the Cavendish Blvd. road extension project and that the City of Montreal would commit to proceeding with the feasibility studies in order to advance this project.
“We encourage residents to attend the meeting at Montreal City Hall on Thursday, September 20 and voice their concerns during question period,” said Councillor Berku.
Copies of the Blue Bonnets agreement, the 2012-2014 Capital Works Budget, and a press release from the City of Montreal announcing the commitment to build the Cavendish Blvd. road extension project are available at www.CoteSaintLuc.org/CavendishExtension.

Cavendish link a longstanding issue

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The Suburban looks back at 50 years in our community

Cavendish link a longstanding issue in The Suburban

April 18, 2012

Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

 

Sometimes, when I go out into the community and identify myself as being from The Suburban, longtime readers will frequently bring up the Cavendish extension issue. And why not? The issue of the link, or lack thereof, between St. Laurent and Côte St. Luc is almost as old and perhaps even older than the paper itself, and has become synonymous with us.

At a recent press conference announcing the ceding of the Hippodrome land from the Quebec government to Montreal and the resultant resurfacing of the Cavendish link, I inwardly chuckled as a local reporter said she has been hearing about the issue since she started reporting about 16 years ago. That’s only a fraction of the time the matter has been discussed.

For the last 45 years, motorists from Côte St. Luc, Hampstead, NDG and St. Laurent stuck in traffic on the Decarie expressway have been dreaming of an alternate north-south route. But it always seemed elusive. Côte St. Luc was opposed for many years (”We don’t want it, we don’t need it and we can’t afford it,” former mayor Bernard Lang famously said) and then supportive under the Robert Libman and current Anthony Housefather administration.

The link resurfaced during the merger years – with a project bureau even being formed – and was seemingly placed on the shelf again after demerger.

Yet, in recent weeks, Côte des Neiges/NDG, Town of Mount Royal, Côte St. Luc, Montreal West, St. Laurent and Hampstead have passed resolutions calling on Quebec and Montreal to prioritize the link. And some believe the future development of the Hippodrome land gives the project new hope.

Hopes of this sort were temporarily dashed in one of the earliest stories The Suburban had on the Cavendish link. The front page of the June 16, 1966 issue carried the story “Cavendish WILL NOT be extended.” The story quotes an A. Branchand, chief engineer for the department of roads; and Jean-Paul Matte, project director for what was to be a second bridge from Montreal to Laval, as saying there was “no intention” to extend Cavendish from Côte St. Luc to Côte de Liesse in St. Laurent. Both told The Suburban that bigger priorities were the second bridge, the Décarie expressway then nearing completion and what became the Rockland overpass north o f Van Horne and south of Jean Talon. Matte even said that Montée de Liesse in St. Laurent was more of a possibility for an extension, to be linked northward with the second bridge.

To this day, there has been no Montée de Liesse extension to Gouin and there is no span west of the Lachapelle Bridge in the area where an extended Montée de Liesse would be.

“Both Mr. Branchaud and Mr. Matte agreed that ‘Cavendish was not a provincial problem,’” the 1966 story concludes.

But today, the municipalities involved are very much looking to the province to finally resolve this issue. As the years go by, many have told us they wonder whether the Cavendish link will ever be completed in their lifetimes. At least there is a little more hope now than in 1966.

CSL, Bergman working toward Cavendish link: Housefather

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CSL, Bergman working toward Cavendish link: Housefather

April 25, 2012

Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

Côte St. Luc mayor Anthony Housefather insisted to discouraged council regular Bernard Tonchin that Côte St. Luc and especially D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman are working hard to help the cause of a Cavendish Blvd. link between Côte St. Luc and St. Laurent.

Côte St. Luc, Hampstead, St. Laurent, Côte des Neiges/NDG, Montreal West and Town of Mount Royal have passed resolutions asking that the link be prioritized. The Quebec government also revived the issue in their announcement that the Hippodrome land would be ceded to Montreal for future development.

Tonchin said at last week’s city council meeting that he would not attend the next Montreal island-wide agglomeration meeting if the Cavendish link was not on the agenda. The resident pointed out that previous plans called for the link to be completed this year.

“I’m very concerned with Cavendish, it’s a 40-year battle,” he added. “I and some others are ready to go down again to the agglomeration council, because we have more support now [from suburbs] and we really need it. I’ve asked many times to invite our representative from D’Arcy McGee to a meeting strictly on Cavendish. He got a lot of things done and is pretty powerful in Quebec. We have to confront him, once and for all, on the extension of Cavendish. I don’t know where we stand.”

Housefather said Tonchin is well aware that Côte St. Luc has been in favour of the link for more than 10 years, and that the city and TMR pushed to have it as part of the agglomeration’s transport plan.

“Lawrence Bergman is working on the Cavendish dossier,” the mayor added. “I speak to him about this dossier on a weekly basis. There is nothing he does not know about the population’s support for Cavendish going ahead. He knows it very well. He’s doing his best to lobby, to get the money for Cavendish being extended. He’s doing everything he can. “There is definitely every kind of impetus that the city can have on Cavendish. And there’s no point in putting it on the agglomeration agenda – there’s nothing being voted on. But you’re always welcome to show up for question period and you can ask it to Mayor Tremblay exactly the way you put it to me. There’s nothing I can do to further Cavendish than I’m not already doing. I’ve asked along with the mayor of TMR for a meeting with the Quebec transport minister and I’m waiting for a response, and we’ve done our best at every level of government.”

CSL gives new push to extend Cavendish

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The City of Cote Saint-Luc has adopted a resolution requesting the Quebec government and the City of Montreal to push forward with the Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish extension project.

Cote Saint-Luc has produced several excellent presentations on the Cavendish extension such as this simulation:

Cote Saint-Luc Council has unanimously supported the proposed extension since 1998.  Here is the resolution adopted at this week’s public council meeting:

RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE QUEBEC GOVERNMENT AND THE CITY OF MONTREAL TO INCLUDE THE CAVENDISH-ROYALMOUNT-CAVENDISH EXTENSION PROJECT AS A HIGH PRIORITY PROJECT IN THE NEXT AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE MTQ (QUEBEC MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT) AND THE CITY OF MONTREAL

WHEREAS the project to link Cavendish Boulevard in the City of Côte Saint-Luc to Cavendish Boulevard in the Borough of Saint Laurent through Royalmount Avenue in the Town of Mount Royal, has been discussed amongst all the stakeholders for over a generation and has been an active project for the past 15 years;

WHEREAS, the aforedescribed Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish extension project (sometimes referred to as the ‘‘Cavendish extension project’’) was identified as the most important missing link in the Montreal road network and was defined as a priority project in the Montreal Summit of 2002;

WHEREAS CP rail and CN rail are committed to maintaining their presence in Côte Saint-Luc and Montreal and their yard operations represent an obstacle causing traffic congestion in the Western part of the Island of Montreal affecting the mobility of residents in Côte Saint-Luc and neighbouring municipalities such as: the Town of Mount Royal, the Town of Hampstead, the Town of Montreal West and the City of Montreal;

WHEREAS the new road connections along the Cavendish Boulevard axis would create economic vitality and open up important employment opportunities in the sectors of the Hippodrome, “Cité Scientifique’’ and industrial zones of the Town of Mount Royal and Boroughs of Côte-des-Neiges – Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Saint Laurent;

WHEREAS in December 2004 a project bureau was formed by unanimous resolution of the Council of the City of Montreal with a budget of $5 million with a precise mandate to manage the Cavendish extension project, including the adoption of the final route proposal by 2006  and the design and completion of the work between 2007 and 2012;

WHEREAS in 2007, the City of Côte-Saint-Luc adopted resolution number 070730 and submitted a detailed brief to the Commission permanente du conseil d’Agglomération that clearly outlined the need to proceed with the Cavendish extension project (which was also supported by the Councils of:
Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Montreal West, Hampstead, Dorval, Town of Mount Royal and the Borough of  Côte-des-Neiges – Notre-Dame-de-Grâce);

WHEREAS the Cavendish extension project was included as a ‘priority item’ in the Agglomeration of Montreal’s Plan de Transport 2008, as per item 18e entitled, ‘‘Chantier, Entretenir et Compléter le Réseau Routier de L’Île’’, an extract from which reads as follows:

“A ce chapitre, Montréal entend réaliser en priorité les projets suivants:

  • Notre-Dame (Dickson to Curatteau
  • Sherbrookeest (36e avenue to Notre-Dame)
  • Sherbrooke(Pie-IX to Papineau)
  • Raccorder le boulevard Cavendish: une première phase des travaux établira le lien Royalmount/Cavendish et une seconde phase reliera les deux tronçons existants de Cavendish

WHEREAS the Agglomeration of Montreal identified the Cavendish extension project as one of its Capital Expenditure Projects in its three year capital expenditure budget of 2012-2015;

WHEREAS the City of Côte Saint-Luc deems the Cavendish extension project essential for the development and enhancement of the quality of life of its residents on its territory as well as those in its neighbouring communities;

WHEREAS all of the adjacent municipalities and boroughs are in favour of a Cavendish extension creating a link between its Southern and Northern portions which would create a boulevard which would integrate public and active transit;

WHEREAS the Town of Mount Royal, and the Borough of Côte-des-neiges-Notre-Dâme-de-Grâce have already publicly declared and adopted resolutions in 2007 and in 2012, that they are in favour of the Cavendish extension project;

WHEREAS the commencement of construction linking the two portions of Cavendish is dependent upon provincial financing;

IT WAS PROPOSED BY COUNCILLOR DIDA BERKU

SECONDED BY COUNCILLOR GLENN J. NASHEN

            “THAT the City ofCôte Saint-Luc reaffirms its support in favour of the Cavendish- Royalmount- Cavendish extension project;

            THAT the City of Côte Saint-Luc considers the Cavendish-Royalmount- Cavendish extension project a key element to improving traffic-flow for private, public and active transit  in the Central portion of the Island of Montreal;

            THAT the City of Côte Saint-Luc hereby requests that the Quebec Government and the City of Montreal give priority to the Cavendish-Royalmount-Cavendish extension project and that said project be included  and designated as a priority project in the next agreement between the MTQ (Quebec Ministry of Transport) and the City of Montreal;

            THAT a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Minister of Transport of Quebec, Pierre Moreau; MNA for D’Arcy McGee, Lawrence Bergman; the Executive Committee of the City of Montreal and all Mayors and Councils within the Agglomeration of Montreal;

THAT a copy of this resolution also be deposited at the next Montreal Agglomeration Council Meeting.

Station 9 engaged in Hampstead break-in prevention campaign

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Station 9 engaged in Hampstead break-in prevention campaign

 

By Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban, Aug. 10, 2011

 

Suspects were arrested recently after an attempted home break-in on Finchley Road in Hampstead, and police suspect the two may have been involved in numerous home break-ins, both within Hampstead and nearby Town of Mount Royal, Côte des Neiges and NDG.

 

Station 9 commander Sylvain Bissonnette told The Suburban that while there has not been a recent rash of break-ins in Hampstead, there have been a total of 20 since January in what he described as “regular” ongoing activity. He pointed out that for all of last year, there were 26 break-ins in Hampstead.

 

In 2009, suspects who were arrested were linked to some 42 break-ins In Hampstead, in an intensive wave of crime in 2008 and 2009.

 

Bissonnette said Station 9’s community officer and two cadets have been going door-to-door to neighbours of residents whose homes have been broken into, starting from this past January. “This is a prevention tool, and we want to inform the neighbours what they can do,” the commander explained. “We’re also giving out a document to all these homes called ‘Preventing Theft and Fire’, and it talks about strengthening entry points into homes.

 

“It’s also very important that when a citizen sees a suspect, dial 911 and give a description so we’ll be able to do something as soon as possible.”

 

Bissonnette said the recent arrests on Finchley were the result of a combined operation of Station 9, 26 and 24. Station 24 officers were following the suspects when they were arrested in Hampstead, and Station 26 officers had been following them as well.

 

“I can tell you that after they were arrested, home break-ins went down.”

 

Bissonnette could not say for sure how many Hampstead break-ins the latest suspects may have been responsible for, but it may have been most of them. He pointed out that the break-ins had the same mode of operation.

 

Asked what residents can do prevention wise, Bissonnette pointed out that the Hampstead victims usually had alarms and good locks on their front doors. In these cases, “the easiest way to get in is usually to break the patio door — which most of the residents have — they go in to the master bedroom, go through a couple of drawers and in less than three minutes, they’re off.

 

“Most of the time, people leave jewelry, money, watches and expensive items in the master bedroom,” the commander said. “They could simply hide these things somewhere else inside the home. Obviously, the suspects are not going to go all over the home, especially if there’s an alarm system. They should place their items differently — this won’t prevent a break-and-enter from happening, but it will reduce the risk of losing money, jewelry and invaluable souvenirs from their families.”

 

Bissonnette said some residents are also thinking of reinforcing their windows, when they buy new ones or have to replace them. “They could have a device that makes it more difficult to move the patio door.

 

“Also, good lighting is important in the evening. Good communication with your neighbours is also very important — they would know you’re not there. Hopefully, the neighbour would be very efficient in looking at your place and quickly calling if he or she sees something odd. You can’t do that much the day after.”

Bilingual status of cities, hospitals in potential danger: CSL mayor, councillor

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Bilingual status of cities, hospitals in potential danger: CSL mayor, councillor

By Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban, May 18, 2011

Côte St. Luc mayor Anthony Housefather and Côte St. Luc Councillor Glenn Nashen are hoping residents of municipalities with bilingual status already or will properly identify themselves as mother tongue English on the 2011 Census questionnaire.

The issue of bilingual status is especially important now, says an article on Nashen’s blog, because of a PQ proposal to “change the rules related to bilingual status of municipalities.”

“The new tools the PQ wants to grant the Office Québécois de la Langue Française would see many communities potentially lose bilingual status,” the blog article adds. “Even a community with as many English-speaking residents as Côte St. Luc would be in jeopardy.

“The ramification of not indicating English as your mother tongue, if indeed it was one of them, is huge should the next PQ government decide to take a closer look.”

“As a mayor, this is dear to my heart,” Housefather told an audience at Westmount’s Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Sunday.

Bilingual status enables a municipality to post signs and communicate with users in English and French. The rule also applies to hospitals.

The problem, Housefather and Nashen said, is that while the Quebec government currently cannot revoke a municipality’s bilingual status, unless the municipality requests it, the PQ proposes to give the OQLF back this power.

Another problem is that in the 1990s, the PQ made attaining bilingual status more difficult, by demanding that more than 50 percent of residents be mother tongue English, rather than the original rule of language most often used.

Moreover, an even bigger problem, Housefather pointed out, is that some municipalities that have bilingual status already have less than 50 percent English mother tongue speakers, even though most residents might use English regularly. Town of Mount Royal is in this situation, as it is “way below the criteria for bilingual status,” the mayor said.

Thus, if the PQ comes to power and follows through on its promise, such bilingual status could be at risk.

And in terms of hospitals, “there are very few on the island of Montreal where 50 percent of the users are mother tongue English speaking,”

Housefather said. “You may have hospitals like the Jewish General where 75 percent of patients may prefer to speak English, but if you go to the mother tongue question, they’re probably well below 50 percent.

“If you go to municipalities across the island, you have that same issue. Many of the cities across the island have dropped below 50 percent mother tongue.

The mayor warned that the PQ will now look at the 2011 Census answer of mother tongue language, not what language is used at home.

“A lot of people, perhaps, didn’t understand that when they filled out the census – they may have written Yiddish when they could have reasonably said they learned Yiddish and English at the same time. You’re allowed to write both. If you forgot your first language or don’t speak it very much anymore, you’re allowed to write your other new language, which would be English.

“People don’t understand the importance of this question and it’s totally unfair, because [mother tongue] is a ridiculous rule and law. So it’s very important the whole English-speaking community in Montreal and anywhere else in Quebec – anybody who is legitimately, legally able to write English on that question, you’re the one who decides what your mother tongue is – understands the ramifications of writing English on that question.”

Conservatives recruit Zajdel to run in Mount Royal

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While I think there are better ways for our MPs to spend $325 million than on yet another unnecessary election it would seem that Mount Royal riding (encompassing Cote Saint-Luc, Hampstead, Town of Mount Royal and the Snowdon and Cote-des-Neiges districts) is shaping up to be one to watch.

While our riding is held by world-renowned human rights advocate and McGill law professor (and former Minister of Justice of Canada) Irwin Cotler the Tories have recruited long time Montreal City Councillor Saulie Zajdel to take him on.  With changing local demographics and the strong support that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has shown toward Israel this race may prove to be more interesting than past elections.

Look for the margins to be significantly reduced.  These are two impressive candidates but I think their party platforms and leaders will work against one and in favour of the other.  What do you think?

Conservatives recruit Zajdel to run in Mount Royal: report (Montreal Gazette).

CTV News report

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