By Alan Hustak on October 7, 2016
Constellations, the Centaur’s season opener running until October 30th is an existential exercise that is almost as inaccessible as the theatre on St. Francois Xavier itself these days. The narrow street in front of the Centaur, like almost every other street in the city, has been ripped up. You have to make your way around barricades across planks and around heavy machinery to get through the front doors of the playhouse.
But the effort is worth it.
By Amb. Freddy Eytan on October 2, 2016
L’ancien Premier ministre et Prix Nobel de la Paix est incontestablement l’homme politique qui a marqué de son empreinte l’Histoire de l’Etat Juif depuis sa proclamation par David Ben Gourion jusqu’à nos jours.
Toujours dans le peloton de tête et au carrefour du destin de son peuple, il est le dernier leader israélien né avant la Shoah.
J’ai suivi durant cinq décennies la carrière de Shimon Pérès. J’ai eu le privilège de l’accompagner dans ses voyages et de pénétrer avec lui dans les arcanes du pouvoir et des chancelleries. Personne n’en doute, Shimon Pérès est un animal politique.
By David T. Jones on September 26, 2016
Washington,DC - Donald Trump (Republican candidate for president) will debate Hillary Clinton (Democratic candidate for president) on Monday, 26 October.
It may be the most watched TV show in history (100 million projected viewers) rivaling Super Bowl figures.
And most eyes will be on Trump, perhaps the most reviled major U.S. political figure in modern history.
And we all know Trump. Bullying, bombastic, bigoted, racist, male chauvinist. He sneers at cripples; mocks menstruating females; endorses torture; believes that “blue lives” (police) matter more than black; is hostile to immigrants of all variety, but particularly illegal immigrant Hispanics described as replete with rapists—as well as taking jobs from honest U.S. citizens.
By David T. Jones on September 20, 2016
Washington,DC ~ The current focus in the United States is on the day-to-day campaign vagaries of the candidates in the presidential election and in particular the upcoming debates (one in late September and three times in October). Foreign policy will feature in the debates and the campaign, although for the moment it seems to have boiled down to loving or hating Putin and hating ISIS (but unsure how to kill it off). There is much more in play, notably the fate of trade agreements now in effect (NAFTA) or prospective (TPP); the North Korean nuclear threat; containing/relating to China in every particular, notably Beijing’s effort to make the South China Sea a personal lake; our relationship with NATO and other allies; and if/when/where to put “boots on the ground.” Any one of these problems could become incendiary crises before election day.
By Dr, Mark Grossman on September 19, 2016
I am neither a dog lover or hater. I cried when Old Yeller died. Underdog was one of my childhood heroes.
But when I am invited to your house please have a person, and not your dog, answer the door. I do not like being pawed, barked at and sniffed in my nether regions in your vestibule, prior to be granted free passage into your home. I won’t object if you try to sniff me.
Please do not expect me to go onto the road so your dog can remain in the passing lane of the sidewalk. Do not assume that I wish to interact with your dog when out on my evening stroll. I will engage and babble in baby talk If I want to have some dog time.
By Jill Salomon on September 19, 2016
I'm so glad that I was born in 1961. I am a product of my time. A time of rebellion against a raging war in Vietnam. A time of loving love and wanting peace - but really wanting it. Meaning it. Woodstock and the free love movement. Colors and nature and coke ads where they wanted us all to teach the "world to sing".
When Bell wanted us to "reach out and touch someone." When there were four movies that we watched each year on one televisio. -(The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, It's a wonderful Life) - and it wasn't an HD big screen. You may have even had rabbit ears on top of that television for better reception. (For the millenials, you can google "rabbit ears.")
By Beryl Wajsman on September 19, 2016
There have been many over-the-top actions by governments in their wars on tobacco, but few have been as illogical, illiberal and illegal as the proposal by Ottawa to enforce uniform plain packaging on cigarette packs accompanied by grotesque pictures of diseased organs. It doesn't work, breaches fundamental liberal principles of free expression and infringes trademark protections. Worst of all, it will cost us money that the government will eventually take out of our pockets.
To begin with, tobacco is a legal product and smoking is a legal activity. For those who are concerned that smoking puts a strain on our health care costs here are the real numbers.
By David T. Jones on September 11, 2016
Washington, DC - Canada is contemplating a return to “peacekeeping.” The Liberal government’s concept of peacekeeping falls into the “we’re not Stephen Harper’s Tories” category of avoiding expeditionary military activity such as Afghanistan like the plague. There is even the thought that Canada-the-Peacekeeper will get more votes when seeking a seat in UN committees.
But if there is some vague amorphous concept of once-upon-a-time peacekeeping which featured the equivalent of civilians in military garb, “back to the future” will prove a bitter and perhaps bloody comedownance.
By Beryl Wajsman on September 1, 2016
No, the numbers in our headline are not the combination to a safe nor the secret winning numbers for a Loto draw. They are however numeric markers of a society moving to the status of a failed state. They are the numbers of Bills being presented and studied for passage in Quebec's National Assembly this fall.
You have all heard the term "failed state." It usually refers to an oppressive regime. A state where there is often sectarian violence. Where the institutions of government have stopped functioning, other than to press their heels onto the necks of the people. A state where the economy is in tatters and essential services cannot be delivered. A state that taxes its citizens to the point of ruin. And finally, a state that passes rule and regulation meant to control, command and coerce.
By David T. Jones on August 19, 2016
Washington, DC ~ Politics is now in the phase of “let it all hang out” and, if there is reluctance to such exposure, rip it out of the recalcitrant.
Thus the endless clarion calls for politicians to release their federal tax returns. Ostensibly, these demands are couched in dulcet “good government” terms designed to reveal whether certain financial claims by a candidate are accurate or that income is honestly obtained. “Transparency” is the new buzz word.
In truth these demands are hypocritical and self serving. They are emphasized by political opponents who suspect that published tax returns will provide further grist for derogatory attacks.
By Beryl Wajsman on August 15, 2016
Forty-four years after the Munich massacre, the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics were finally commemorated in an official International Olympic Committee ceremony last Thursday at the Rio Games. The ceremony was held at a memorial site in the Olympic Village. Called the Place of Mourning, the site honors the memory of the Israelis as well as four other people who were killed at Olympic Games. The others are the German policeman who was killed in a failed rescue attempt in Munich; two victims of a bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and a Georgian athlete who died in an accident at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
By Beryl Wajsman on August 8, 2016
Every few years, particularly after a census, the Quebec Electoral Commission studies our provincial ridings to determine whether new boundaries may be necessary given changes to population. But this year, one of Quebec's faceless bureaucrats, has suggested not just changes in boundaries, but studing the possibility of eliminating one Montreal riding altogether. That riding is Mount Royal.
The provincial Mount Royal riding rests between D'Arcy McGee and Outremont. What is being studied would split Mount Royal's citizens between those two ridings and shunt part of Outremont's residents into Mercier riding.
By Beryl Wajsman on August 8, 2016
Ok, confession time. I haven't seen Céline Dion live in twenty years. But when a lady named Brigitte tells you she got the tickets and asks, "So Wajsman, you going?" Well, you go. Now, at least half of you will be saying to yourselves, "Who cares Wajsman! Get back to the problems we all have!" You would be wrong. As I tell a lot of activist friends, if tomorrow, all the problems of the world were solved, we would still need art and music and poetry and passion. Céline Dion delivered all that and more. It wasn't just a concert. It was a mesmerizing, seductive, singularly unique outpouring of talent laced with the maturity and authenticity that is only born out of pain. This is not just a "Queen of pop" as she is too often flippantly labeled.
By Robert K. Stephen on July 31, 2016
Yes you have heard the name Pompeii countless times but the exhibit really highlights a point in time of history with artifacts and a description of everyday life in Pompeii. Personally, it conveys the message that a natural disaster is never far away whether it be a massive ice storm, a tsunami or earthquake. Everything is normal and kaboom it’s all over for thousands of people. How can those people in Los Angeles sleep knowing they’ll be sliding into the sea as the San Andreas Fault heaves?
We can move right to the disaster. The early warning sign was in 62 A.D. when Pompeii was reduced to rubble by a strong earthquake.
By David T. Jones on July 31, 2016
Washington, DC ~ Sometimes it is useful to review the realities underlying myths, And this is an opportune time to clarify some of the accepted mythology around NATO.
I have spent eight plus years of my diplomatic career either at the US Mission at NATO, on the "NATO Desk" at State, or addressing arms control negotiations with the then Soviets regarding intermediate nuclear force (INF) missiles in Europe. So I think that I have sufficient background to make these observations. Particularly in light of the current debate in the Presidential campaign on whether NATO allies are shouldering enough of their financial and military responsibilities or depending too much on the United States. And the discussion with regard to Article 5 of the Treaty needs some perspective.
By Beryl Wajsman on July 28, 2016
We have written often of Quebec's problems with freedom of expression. We have received awards for those editorials. Particularly one in opposition to Quebec's upcoming Bill 59 that would give the province's Human Rights Commission more power to curtail expression. We have advocated for that freedom to Ministers in the face of government encroachment when everyone was silent. And we have won those battles too, especially important being the defeat of Quebec's Payette Plan which would have imposed a government registry of - and language testing for - all journalists. But the struggle for the minds of Quebec's opinion-makers - and its citizens - on this issue continues.
By Beryl Wajsman on July 15, 2016
It has always been a matter of some frustration that after every Jihadist slaughter too many western leaders and opinion makers bent over backwards to avoid calling the enemy by its name, drawing comparisons with other brutal dogmas and stating - with open candour - that we are in a war. A new type of war certainly. But a war nonetheless.
In the aftermath of the horror in Nice, something new is becoming evident. The "none dare call it.." mentality is being replaced by a "now they dare..." resolve.
By David T. Jones on July 10, 2016
Washington,DC - French leader Charles De Gaulle was one of the protean figures of the 20th century. His monumental physical stature (6 foot 5 inches) was exceeded only by his monumental ego and arrogant self regard.
Not that he was without accomplishment. When Europe and France had collapsed under German aggression in 1940, De Gaulle as leader of the “Free French,” surviving in North Africa and England, provided a rallying point for his countrymen. As such he was a useful tertiary figure for England (Churchill) and the United States (Roosevelt) to prop up as an ally against fascist Germany/Italy.
By Beryl Wajsman on July 2, 2016
Elie Wiesel - child survivor of Auschwitz, renowned author, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and conscience of our time - has died. We shall not see his like again. He now belongs to the ages. I had to share my feelings at this sad moment with you all...
The Book of Joshua tells us that, “…the Lord delivered up the Amorites… and he said Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; …And the sun stood still at mid-day, until the people avenged themselves upon their enemies.” I used those words in my eulogy at my father's funeral.
Some seventy years ago, Elie Wiesel was a young man with no name, no hope, no future and was known only by a tattooed number.
By David T. Jones on June 26, 2016
Washington,DC - Following the frenzy over his Parti Quebecois victory in the 1976 Quebec provincial election, Rene Levesque was portrayed in a famous Aislin cartoon as saying, “Okay, everybody. Take a valium.” In other words, relax. The PQ victory was not world’s end.
Nor is “Brexit’s” victory by those Brits who want to divest themselves of links to the EU.
Essentially, the entire issue was a campaign over national philosophy disguised as an economic debate. The existential question was whether British wanted to remain Great Britain or whether they be content to become “Britain;” a homogenized element of a 27-member European Union taking direction from a non-British majority of states.
By Beryl Wajsman on June 20, 2016
So, Montreal wants to ban pit bulls and "other dangerous breeds" in its 19 boroughs. When we heard about this, we began to reflect on how many bans we have lived through in the past year or so. It seems that the default reaction of our elected officials is prohibition. The last prohibitionary era gave us organized crime. This one won't end any better. It will give us a permanent big-brother command state.
Pit bulls, caleches, plastic bags, fireplaces, woodburning ovens, outdoor smoking and sidewalk terraces. All have been banned in the past year. And the war on cars and parking continues as well as the restriction of language rights.Some have enforcement dates that only begin next year. All are wrong in most of their aspects.
By David T. Jones on June 19, 2016
Washington,DC - Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be a single category for controversy into which Donald Trump, putative Republican nominee for president, doesn’t plunge. Or that he epitomizes the sobriquet that he opens his mouth only to change feet.
Although Trump is now engaged with critics/opponents over his comments regarding the mass killing in Orlando, Florida, other slanging matches remain unresolved albeit not (entirely) forgotten. The penultimate high-profile contretemps was a nasty barrage of vituperation from Trump against Gonzalo P. Curiel, the federal judge trying a class action suit against Trump brought by individuals formerly enrolled in Trump University.
By Amb. Freddy Eytan on June 19, 2016
Le massacre perpétré dans un restaurant de Tel-Aviv par deux terroristes de la région d'Hébron aura des conséquences graves sur l’avenir des relations avec les Palestiniens. Ces terroristes vêtus de costumes cravates ont lâchement assassiné et blessé des innocents venus tranquillement diner avec des copains et des membres de leurs familles. La fusillade a été commise par deux cousins, juste après qu’ils avaient savouré le repas de la fin du jeune du Ramadan. Au moment où à Tel-Aviv on apportait des soins aux victimes dans la douleur et l’angoisse, et les sirènes des ambulances hurlaient vers les hôpitaux, à Gaza et à Hébron,ce sont des cris de joie et d’allégresse qui scandaient dans les rues, tandis que les dirigeants du Hamas criaient victoire et menaçaient, durant ce mois du Ramadan, de perpétrer des nouveaux attentats plus spectaculaires.
By David T. Jones on May 29, 2016
Washington, DC - The lack of perspective among political and/or foreign policy commentators is remarkable. One would sometimes believe that their sense of history when they awaken in the morning is limited to when they went to sleep.
Even when appreciating the imperatives of the 24-hour news cycle and the imperatives that reporters must serve the Twitter/Tweet/Social Media gods while attempting to provide stories, their absence of historical perspective ranges from amusing to pathetic.
Thus one would believe that the current U.S. presidential primary competition is somehow uniquely horrid in its political atmospherics and prospective consequences.
By Beryl Wajsman on May 20, 2016
We are a couple of weeks away from the Grand Prix coming to town. More than anything else Montreal stages, this event puts this city in front of the eyes of the world. And more than anything else Montreal stages, the Grand Prix week is responsible for up to 15% of annual revenues for many downtown stores, restaurants and bars. As we thought of what we will project this year, the images were very sad indeed.
The construction and repair madness will shoot out scenes reminiscent of the rebuilding of Balkan cities. It's not just the mess that will embarass us, it's the seeming total lack of planning and coordination. Getting around will be a nightmare for the more than 100,000 visitors expected that week.
By David T. Jones on May 9, 2016
Washington, DC - For most of human existence and identifiable history, toilet facilities were wherever the urge struck one. The world was one’s toilet for those actions which could neither be delayed nor delegated. One memorable and illustrative little jingle went: “In days of old, when knights were bold, and toilets weren’t invented, they left their loads upon the roads and went away contented.” Chamber pots from standard dwellings were dumped on the streets (often just hurled from upper story windows). Creeks and rivers were open sewers.
You were into relatively modern times before society recognized the close connection between sanitation and disease. And while there was an appreciation that clean water was a significant health benefit, it is still recognized primarily in “Western” civilization.
By David Benrimoh on May 8, 2016
As future health professionals, we at the Quebec Health Professional Students' Roundtable (FRESQue) have made several attempts to communicate to Minister Barrette our view that public consultation is a necessary part of reforming our health system. Unfortunately, our attempts at engagement have been met with something almost worse than silence: contempt, condescension, and intransigence. We do not doubt that the Minister has a plan for Quebec healthcare. Our issue is that he refuses to share these plans and engage the population that pays for and is served by the system. His attitude has led to antipathy and mistrust regarding his reforms, which is sure to hamper their effectiveness.
By Beryl Wajsman on May 2, 2016
It seems that every day that politicians wake up in the morning they want to make some new prohibition on our personal adult choices. They make war on cars; prohibit English even where the law allows it; make controls on soft drinks and fast food; restrict outdoor smoking; demand politically correct language; outlaw fireplaces and totally ignore privacy, property and commerce rights. We say enough. It's time to put the new prohibitionists on the run.
What sparked our ire this week was the controversy over the opening of the Jersey's Saloon bar on Sherbrooke St. in NDG.
By David T. Jones on April 24, 2016
Washington, DC - There is no question that Japan continues to seek a U.S. apology for having delivered atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
When Secretary of State John Kerry visited Hiroshima on 11 April 2016, he made no apology nor did he speak. His appearance, however, was a “first” by a sitting U.S. Secretary of State. Separately, press release/documentation indicated Kerry’s strong desire (reflecting that of President Obama) for a world without war and nuclear weapons. In 2010, then U.S. Ambassador John Roos was the first U.S. diplomat to partake in memorial ceremonies at Hiroshima.
By Alan Hustak on April 23, 2016
Last Night at the Gayety, George Bowser and Rick Blue’s rousing musical at the Centaur is a full- throttled if somewhat aimless exercise in nostalgia about how television put an end to Vaudeville in the 1950s.
Through the “magic of dramatic license” the plot centres on burlesque queen Lily St. Cyr’s now legendary appearance at the Gayety playhouse and the attempts by the city’s morality squad, led by crime busting lawyer Pacifique “Pax” Plante, (Daniel Brochu) and the Roman Catholic church to rid Montreal of widespread vice and corruption. Inspired by William Weintraub’s classic, City Unique, the show is a return to the days when Montreal “came by its dishonesty honestly.” It is told in flashback, narrated by Tommy, (Trayne McCarthy) the Gayety’s master of ceremonies.
By Beryl Wajsman on April 11, 2016
We have written, sadly and far too often, of the institutions in Quebec that have sought to impose conformity and constraint on freedom of expression and freedom of choice. It is a systemic malady. Last year the Couillard government proposed a law that would allow the Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC) to censor speech that promotes "fear of the other." The proposed law is Bill 59. Hearings are still ongoing, but national media and civil liberties groups have called it everything from a threat to free speech to pandering to Islamists. It has shamed Quebec and underscored once again Quebec's continuing problem with freedom.
By Kevin Budning on April 4, 2016
Usually I would say sit back, relax, and enjoy this piece. But instead, I must urge you to sit forward, tense up, and worry about the blatant hypocrisy, anti-Semitism, and double standards the United Nations has now placed on the state of Israel.
On March 24, 2016, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) concluded its annual meeting by labelling Israel as the worst violator of women’s rights in the entire world. Despite pronouncing themselves as an intergovernmental organization that is “instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women,” one clearly should not judge an IO based on its mission statement.
By The Hon. David Kilgour on April 4, 2016
Since the suicide bomb tragedies in Brussels, the appeal of Senator Bernie Sanders as the next president of the United States to many across America and the world concerned about global security could diminish in favor of Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Helping Clinton’s candidacy is her “smart power” approach to world issues. Where Sanders is more focused on domestic issues, she provided a detailed policy to win“more partners and fewer adversaries” in her 2014 book, Hard Choices. She believes probably more than Sanders that determined resolve now among the 60+ member nations of the International Coalition against ISIS must prevail over fear if ISIS and global terrorism are to be defeated to a point where they no longer offer false hope to disaffected people.
By Amb. Freddy Eytan on March 27, 2016
Après Madrid, Londres et Paris voilà que Bruxelles est frappée au cœur par le terrorisme islamiste. Nos premières pensées vont bien entendu aux victimes et nous sommes toujours solidaires avec les Européens dans leur combat contre le terrorisme, ce qui n’est pas toujours le cas de leur part. Il est difficile de retenir ses larmes en observant les images effroyables, le carnage, les blessés en détresse et la panique. La réaction,à chaud, de Frederica Mogherini était certes naturelle, mais son comportement est interprété par les djihadistes comme un signe de faiblesse. Le fait que la représentante de l’Union européenne laisse couler ses larmes prouve que l’Occident perd sa bataille et demeure impuissante face aux attentats terroristes. Soulignons que l’indignation, la sensibilité et les bons sentiments n’existent pas chez les islamistessauvages.
By Robert Presser on March 27, 2016
The 2016-17 federal budget handed down by the Liberals tripled the expected deficit from $10 billion as expressed during the 2015 election campaign to $29.4 billion in one year. Harper was right when he ridiculed the promise as “just three, tiny $10 billion deficits.” What Canadians are really getting is deficits well into the future with no commitment from the government to balancing the books within their first mandate. Instead, the Liberals are focusing on holding the federal debt to about 30% of GDP, more or less where it is today. Since we are returning to spending future generations earnings on today’s consumption, we have a right to scrutinize the assumptions and priorities presented in this budget to determine whether there is value in the extra money being spent, regardless of who is ultimately going to pay it back, if ever.
By Beryl Wajsman on March 22, 2016
Over the past six weeks we have published two editorials almost as personal letters to members of our federal cabinet. One was addressed to the Prime Minister entitled, "Mr. Trudeau, your honeymoon on foreign policy is over." The other was to Immigration Minister John McCallum who defended maintaining the Canadian citizenship of dual national convicted terrorists entitled, "Mr. McCallum, a rose is a rose, but a Canadian has responsibilities." Sadly, we now have a trilogy of these. This week's message is addressed to Finance Minister Morneau.
By Alan Hustak on March 7, 2016
If you ever wonder about some of the people you share public transit with Bus Stops at the Centaur until March 27 is a smart and energetic excursion into our deepest fears and sometimes prejudices.
Originally staged in French as Lignedebus, Marilyn Perreault’s innovative multidisciplinary drama is a ride like no other. The versatile and bilingual cast is identical to the one Theatre I.N.K. mounted two years ago. The play, translated by Nadine Desrochers, has nothing to do with the chirpy Hollies tune, The Bus Stop song. On stage as you take your seats is the charred shell of a Montreal transit bus, a grim set designed by Patrice Charbibbeau-Brunelle.
By David T. Jones on March 6, 2016
Washington, DC - There is an ancient aphorism, both sexist and archaic (and now as unacceptable as the “n” word) that proclaims, “When rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”
But faced with the prospect of political rape by the Donald Trump presidential candidacy, Republicans are far from willing to accept an “inevitable” and certainly not prepared to find any enjoyable element in the circumstance.
Although Trump as the destined Republican nominee for presidency is not definitive, its likelihood appears far stronger, following his victories on 1 March’s “Super Tuesday” when he seized a substantial lead in the delegate count. It is not that Trump cannot lose the nomination, at this point, however, it is profoundly unlikely.
The Global Village - The battle for the soul of the Supreme Court. Disingenuousness drenched in hypocrisy
By David T. Jones on February 27, 2016
Washington, DC - The politico-legal battle to replace just-deceased U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonia Scalia is generating more heat than light.
Canadians, for whom their Supreme Court is a minor actor in domestic politics, are always puzzled over the intensity of the arguments over every aspect of the U.S. “Supremes.” Indeed, in some respects, Canadian have “to die for” procedures for filling their Supreme Court. Were they to apply to a U.S. president, the U.S. politico-legal scene would be infinitely different. Essentially, the prime minister proposes—and the prime minister disposes so far as naming justices to the Canadian Supreme Court. The most recent innovations of some gentle questioning by a parliamentary committee are optional rather than obligatory.
By Beryl Wajsman on February 24, 2016
Don't let the title of this fool you. It is not on McGill that I heap the scorn of shame. It is on the apathy of the Jewish students and of the Jewish community.
I have never regretted choosing a life of social activism and advocacy journalism. With all of its moral and material frustrations, there is so much good that has been accomplished. So much justice attained. Whenever I am introduced, most hosts lead with the fact that I am a recipient of a Martin Luther King, Jr. award for the promotion of human dignity. For in the final analysis that is what the struggle is about. Dignity.