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.
By Beryl Wajsman on February 24, 2016
The current debate over Über and the restriction by the CDN/NDG borough of future fast food restaurants to two streets and a mall, should make everyone wake up to the unacceptable level of intervention by politicians and bureaucrats into our private lives. These are not areas where the state should be involved. And the very banality of government involvement is underscored by its actions that treat us like children.
Politicians take note: people are going to exact retribution when our power to choose is taken away. And you do no good to future generations when you destroy individual capacity for making reasoned decisions.
By Alan Hustak on February 22, 2016
Dr, Victor Goldbloom, a pediatrician, prominent leader in the community, the first Jew to be named a Quebec Cabinet Minister and a former federal Commissioner of Official Languages, died in Montreal last week at the age of 92. He was also invested by Pope Benedict XIV as a knight in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Sylvester Pope and Martyr, one of the few Jews worldwide to be so honoured by the Vatican for his efforts to promote Catholic-Jewish dialogue for a period of almost six decades.His interest in resolving the misunderstanding between Christians and Jews began in the 1950’s when he was invited by Jesuits to be part of a dialogue at Loyola College.
By Dr. Sima Goel on February 22, 2016
The City for All Women Initiative (CAWI) is asking Canadian women in the nation’s capital to offer support for the Hijab, the head covering worn by many Muslim women. It is their belief that in order to eliminate hatred and Islamophobia, all non–Muslim women should unit and wear the hijab on February 25th at Ottawa city hall.
Although not all Muslim women wear the Hijab, those who wear it, do so as a religious obligation. I have yet to meet a non-Muslim woman who wears the Hijab as a form of cultural expression. However, I have met many devout followers of Islam, who say that the Hijab is not a required tenet of faith.
By Father John Walsh on February 21, 2016
There is a current in history that is pushing us towards reconciliation and peace. Listen to the whisper of God everywhere. At Vatican II the whisper of God could be heard in the document Nostra Aetate when fundamental questions about our human existence were posed. Men expect from the various religions answers to the unsolved riddles of the human condition, which today, even as in former times, deeply stir the hearts of men: What is man? What is the meaning, the aim of our life? What is moral good, what is sin? Whence suffering and what purpose does it serve? Which is the road to true happiness?
By Robert Presser on February 21, 2016
I write this as I am watching Bernie Sanders’ acceptance speech after winning the New Hampshire Democratic primary. All his typical themes are there; universal health care, pay equity and a living wage for all, rebuilding America’s infrastructure, the rich and the large corporations paying their fair share – the list goes on and on. The common thread through all of his initiatives is money – more of it, either going out as spending or coming in as revenues. Spending is not really the problem, governments are good at that. But collecting money and raising taxes? Avoidance and tax planning can deflate revenues from any new tax measure, just ask the Trudeau Liberals who discovered that their new upper income tax bracket’s revenue projections are a few billion dollars short of plan. If Bernie wins, he has a problem.
By Beryl Wajsman on January 27, 2016
Today, January 27th, is the 71st commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. Perhaps for this reason, this date was chosen as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Curiously, and sadly, it took the UN sixty years to give recognition to this most seminal and apocalyptic event in human history. The organization at whose entrance are carved the words of the prophet Isaiah that, “Swords shall be beaten into plowshares and nation shall not make war against nation anymore,”got around to commemorating Holocaust remembrance only in 2005. We are not only still waiting for Isaiah’s prophecy to be realized but also for that day when those other prophetic words “Justice shall roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream…” have life breathed into them.
By Beryl Wajsman on January 25, 2016
Several years ago Canada failed to get elected to a seat at the Security Council in the United Nations. The opposition NDP and Liberals lambasted the Harper government condemning it for not being "balanced" in its Mid East policy and for being too strong an ally in the war on terror in Afghanistan. Frankly, Canada's failure to get that seat was a badge of honour.
The countries that voted against us were for the most part members of - or fellow travelers with - the very same theocratic tyrannies and tinpot dictatorships that are overtly and covertly aiding and abiding the various jihadist groups that have formed a front against western liberal democracies. At the core of those countries is the 50-odd member Arab League.
By David T. Jones on January 24, 2016
Washington, DC - Sometimes the best time to remember is after the official commemorations. The oft-inflated hoopla has ended. The parades are over. The rhetorical speechifying is now deleted from media coverage. In our 24-hour news cycle, if an event receives a day of coverage, that is all that is deemed necessary or deserving.
Thus it was for Remembrance Day 11 November 2015 (and less than a month later the 74th anniversary of the 7 December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor received similar minimalistic attention). Traditionally, on Remembrance Day, wearing a red poppy of the nature no longer available in normal U.S. outlets, I attended morning ceremonies at the Canadian Embassy in Washington and/or afternoon ceremonies at the Canada-United States memorial in Arlington National Cemetery.
By Robert Presser on January 17, 2016
As we were celebrating the new year, the United Nations adopted a resolution proposing a roadmap and negotiations to end the Syrian civil war and create a climate of stability that would end the refugee crisis that uncomfortably invades our TV viewing every night. All the major players involved in the conflict were on board; the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, even relatively uninvolved China expressed support. No one asked ISIL what they thought about losing their caliphate, but no matter, the others plan to degrade and destroy them in any case. This was a major step forward in engagement, but there are serious barriers to this initiative ever producing even a shaky peace. It is, however, a feel-good start to what will probably be another disappointing year for the region.