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.

 

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