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Outremont: Yellow is not the new red

By Beryl Wajsman on March 14, 2018

wajsman_beryl_02.jpgLast week Outremont brought shame upon itself. A group of residents came to city council to demand restrictions on school bus traffic. Not all school bus traffic in an area with some of the highest concentration of schools on the island. Just the buses carrying children of Hasidic Jewish families. And these residents wore yellow badges to emphasize their point.
Let's be as blunt as we can. These people were not complaining about buses. They were complaining about who the buses were carrying. Jewish children. This is the same group that lobbied successfully to get a ban against more synagogues being opened on Bernard Ave. Some of those wearing yellow badges claimed not to understand their significance. If they didn't understand it was because they didn't want to understand. But their leader clearly did.


By Robert Landori on March 4, 2018

Ted_Lewkowski.jpgHe was born in the town of Bialystok, Poland. The day the German Army invaded his country on September 1, 1939 he was visiting Warsaw. Instead of returning home, he enlisted in the Polish Army. They were happy to take him, principally because he spoke faultless German. (In those days most Polish Jews spoke Yiddish only and they mistook him for a goy.)
He fought first against the Germans and then against the Russians (who in, 1939, had signed a non-aggression pact with the Germans).

He was captured and sent to Siberia.
He somehow escaped the Gulag and found his way to the UK through Scandinavia in 1942, and enlisted in the Free Polish Army there.

The What-Me-Worry 2018 Federal Budget

By Robert Presser on March 4, 2018

Presser_Robert_new.jpgHey Canada, things are going great!  Unemployment is at 5.8%,a 4-decade low, we have the top growth rate of the G-7 nations since the second quarter of 2016 at 3.2%, and federal revenue growth has been stronger than expected.  Oh, but we still have deficits planned for the next decade or so?  We know that Liberal and NDP voters don’t care, so spending an extra $12-18billion per year with no end in sight allows the feds to pursue initiatives we all care deeply about – gender equality, reconciliation, and other promises from the 2015 Liberal election platform.  Well, not so much for all those infrastructure spending plans, we can’t seem to get that money out the door – but no matter, with all the growth in other sectors we don’t need all those new roads, bridges or water treatment plants in any case!

The Parkland Massacre: The NRA’s Waterloo?

By Beryl Wajsman on February 28, 2018

wajsman_beryl_02.jpg"...the wolf will lay down with the lamb and a little child shall lead them..." ~ Isaiah 11:6
The wolves haven't laid down with the lambs, but the children have picked up the standard of their fallen friends. As one American writer put it, "The kids of Douglas High in Parkland may be the NRA's worst nightmare." Unlike the other school shootings, the young survivors are speaking  truth to power. And the world is listening.
Unlike other school shootings, the kids of Parkland are older and bolder. They have used social media virally to call out the cowardice of politicians who are too afraid to act and even challenged their parents who may not know how to act. 

There may not be a solution to gun violence in the United States

By David T. Jones on February 28, 2018

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC Although not the most costly in terms of lives lost, the killing of 17 students in Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school on February 13 has unleashed an unprecedented “I’m mad as hell and not going to take this any more” reaction.
Poignant scenes and finger pointing have dominated the national media, coupled with commitments on various political/social levels to “do something.” 
Consequently, the cynical, ritualized reaction of “been there; done that” so far as public manifestations of grief/concern are concerned may not suffice to mitigate the outrage.
A fresh examination of realities might be useful.  Will they fit the United States socio-political circumstances?

An open letter against the closing of Mount Royal traffic

By Me. Hannah Deegan on February 20, 2018

Deegan_Hannah.jpgDear Mayor Plante ,  I wish to voice my opposition to your decision to close a large part of chemin Camillien-Houde, effectively removing one of the more convenient, and beautiful, east-west trajectories of this city.
I drive that route every morning on my way to work, and it’s truly one of the things I cherish the most about my day. When everyone obeys the traffic signs, as they usually do, Camillien-Houde is a safe road, both for cyclists and drivers. I do not believe this decision is in the best interest of Montreal’s population. Closing the road will increase traffic congestion on other major arteries in the city by re-routing thousands of cars daily.  It will also needlessly restrict access to the park, especially for those with families or limited mobility.

Canada must show resolve against Iran or children will continue to be slaughtered

By Dr. Sima Goel on February 20, 2018

Goel_Sima.jpgIn Shiraz of 1978 when I was 13 and used to slip out of my house to protest the Shah’s corrupt government, I was never arrested nor hurt. Flash forward to January 2, 2018, an 11 –year- old boy participates in government protests in the small town of Khomeinishahr: he dies as a result. Nearly half a century later, and Iranian children still feel they have to march to get their leaders to listen to the people.
Iranians hoped that when President Obama lifted economic sanctions against Iran, inflation rates would drop, employment would rise and foreign investment and tourists would return to this country so wealthy in natural resources and potential; but under Rouhani’s government, the expected gains have not materialized.

UToo Is no longer just an Irish band. Let's guard against mass hysteria

By Me.Linda Hammerschmid on February 20, 2018

hammerschmid_linda_bw.jpgIt mystifies me every time I read or hear about people, from every walk of life, who do the unthinkable, or even the risky, and believe no one will ever ferret out the truth.
If orange is the new black, and 0 is the new 6, is sexual abuse the newest fad?  No disrespect to anyone who was actually sexually molested, but the flood gate that seems to have been opened in 2017, thanks to men like Harvey Weinstein, appears to have been holding back an ocean of complaints against an ocean of transgressors.
In this day and age of no more privacy given social media, investigative journalists worth their salt, drones, hackers - the list is endless – why does anyone actually think no one else will figure it out, or talk?

Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's indictments are legally questionable

By Beryl Wajsman on February 17, 2018

wajsman_beryl_02.jpgSpecial Prosecutor Robert Mueller's indictments are legally questionable, intellectually dishonest and threaten an open internet and free expression...
Let the piling on begin but read my comments past the headline please. I am anything but a Trump fan. I find him offensive on so many levels not the least of which are his affronts to aesthetic sensibilities, intellectual rigour and the civil discourse demanded of all public officials but particularly of a President. But I am equally offended by the hypocrisy of these indictments which would threaten the very standards and liberties we all feel are jeopardized in the conduct of this administration. 

Closing Mount Royal: Plante administration exploits the politics of fear

By Beryl Wajsman on February 15, 2018

wajsman_beryl_02.jpgGeorge Orwell warned that the limits to freedom by command-state government will come as much through the use of the psychology of fear as the brute force of arms. That is a prophecy that has become overwhelmingly evident as rule and regulation is constantly formulated to limit our everyday actions “for our own good.” Quebec elected officials know that game very well. Le Jour’s great editor Jean-Charles Harvey first condemned it in his seminal novel of Quebec political life titled “La Peur” – “The Fear” – published in 1938 in the darkest time of the Duplessis era. But the tactics of the old right, have been adopted by the new left.

Running for the hills in the GOP? Not quite

By Robert Presser on January 29, 2018

Presser_Robert_new.jpgAll the US administration’s 2018 optimism seems to have vanished in the face of Wolff’s inside look at the Trump White House, Fire and Fury, coupled with the threat of a new round of indictments from the Mueller enquiry that target more insiders.  No worry, Trump is telling us that he can take the heat, and that he is prepared to take the heat for everyone involved.  Fear not, skittish Republicans, Trump has your back!
With the mid-term House and Senate elections coming up in November 2018, incumbent Republicans must make two major related decisions. 

The Holocaust: On memory and witness

By Beryl Wajsman on January 27, 2018

holocaust_01.jpg“In our time, it is more important to be hard and relentless than genteel and unobtrusive.”

Today, January 27th, is the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. For this reason, this date was chosen as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This year the World Jewish Congress has launched the #WeRemember campaign in the face of studies that have shown that half of young people in the west today have not heard of The Holocaust. Think of it. Half. Please share this.

The Malysa Affair: Compassion should be the only language of healthcare

By Beryl Wajsman on January 18, 2018

malysa_affair.jpgBy now most of you have heard of the language prejudice suffered by Zbigniew Malysa when he went to the CHUM for some medical tests and was refused service because he asks to have things explained in English. His daughter  Suzanne has done a remarkable job of bringing this unconscionable behavior to the public's attention. We offered her whatever support and intervention she and her father need, and will continue to help through the pricess of examination of the behavior of the doctor by the CHUM and the Human Rights Commission to whom she has made a formal complaint. 

Couillard administration begins to discuss potential Universal Basic Income initiative

By P.A. Sévigny on January 18, 2018

Sevigny_PA_bw.jpgAlthough it’s presently considered to be among the most ambitious and progressive policy initiatives on the table, the Couillardadministration’s recent policy survey indicates that it’s going to take a while before there’s going to be any kind of a realistic discussion about a working UBI (Universal Basic Income) policy within Québec’s National Assembly.
While early reports indicate that an efficient and universal UBI policy could make a serious difference in the lives of the working poor, Simon Lejeune’s analysis of the Couillard administration’s recent UBI report describes at least 6 problems that must be dealt with before any government can realistically consider adopting a UBI policy.


By The Hon. David Kilgour on January 7, 2018

Kilgour_David_bw.jpgNegotiating a free trade agreement with an increasingly totalitarian and plutocratic party-state in China, which treats its Tibetan, Falun Gong, Uyghur, Christian, farm, urban worker and other communities appallingly,should be unthinkable for any democratic country.
Canadian Clive Ansley, who practised law in Shanghai for 14 years until 2003, notes that its Communist party has long operated outside and above the law: 
China is a brutal police state…There is a current saying amongst Chinese lawyers and judges who truly believe in the Rule of Law…: ‘Those who hear the case do not make the judgment; those who make the judgment have not heard the case’…. Nothing which has transpired in the ‘courtroom’ has any impact on the ‘judgment’. 

Quebec obstructs medicare portability and Ottawa does little to help

By Dr. Charles S. Shaver on December 17, 2017

medicare.jpgHospital care is fully portable across Canada, but unlike all other provinces and territories, Quebec has refused to sign a reciprocal agreement for physician services. Quebecers seeking medical treatment in another province usually find that the MD refuses to accept their provincial health card. Instead they must pay upfront and wait for partial reimbursement (often only half of the amount paid) from the Quebec government. This affects three major groups of persons.
Quebecers may wish to visit friends and relatives in other provinces. Those with pre-existing conditions should not be deterred from travel for fear that they may develop an unexpected illness and face unaffordable up-front medical charges in another province.

Shame! Not one voice against the suppression of expression

By Beryl Wajsman on December 6, 2017

bonjour_hi.jpgYet again in Quebec, we are living through more suffocating political hypocrisy and pandering to the worst elements of division and discord merely to cover the cowardly partisanship of elected officials. And as has become de riguer here, truth, equity and respect for civil rights be damned. It is not justice that "rains down like waters" from the National Assembly but words of "nullification and interposition" as Martin Luther King, Jr. once called the rule and regulation of institutionalized prejudice in the American South. And not one voice was raised in the Assembly against the latest installment of capitulation and appeasement. Not one voice.

Poor Morale at Department of State—Ho Hum

By David T. Jones on December 4, 2017

poor_moral.jpgWashington, DC - In recent media stories, there has been a flurry of excitement among the fluttering class prompted by a State Department spokesman’s comment that morale is poor at State.
The announcement is as dramatic as “The sun rose in the east this morning” or “It was really hot and humid in Washington this summer.”
Drawing on 50 years of experience with State, both on active duty and as a retired officer, I can say that there has never/never been a period when one could say that morale at State was good, let alone excellent. 

Who will watch the watchmen?

By Beryl Wajsman on November 26, 2017

watchers.jpgWhen UPAC was created, there were many who warned that setting up another level of policing - with extraordinary powers - was inconsistent with due process of law and could pose a threat to basic liberties. UPAC's arrest without charge of former senior SQ officer and now Laval MNA Guy Ouellette may have finally woken up those in power to the dangers of such a body.
Assembly Speaker Jacques Chagnon rose to give an extraordinary statement criticizing UPAC and saying in part that UPAC's action demonstrated, "...ignorance of our institutions, and in particular of parliament, which is at the very heart of the democratic governance of our State."

On Salman Rushdie

By Alecs Kakon-Grundman on November 19, 2017

Kakon-Grundman_Alecs.jpgHaving recently completed “A Sketch of the Past” from Virgina Woolf’s Moments of Being, I walked away from the recent talk by Salman Rushdie at the Jewish Public Library inspired. He was enigmatic, charming and incredibly funny. His staggering playfulness interspersed with witticisms about everything from Saul Bellow and Heraclitus to Trump and the challenges of journalism today were enlightening to say the least. He spoke of the intersection of the public arena with private life and how that plays a role in fiction writing and journalism, as well as politics and social responsibility. However, it was not those reflections that inspired nor touched me. It was not his gaze outward that allowed me to get to know him a little better, rather it was the moments between his speech, the moments when he glanced inward that opened a porthole into who the man behind the work truly is. So, who is Salman Rushdie? 

The Church in Quebec - The challenge of asking why?

By Father John Walsh on October 1, 2017

father_walsh.jpgIn the recent visit of the Catholic Bishops of Quebec to Pope Francis, Bishop Lortie of Mont Laurier, vividly and honestly described the Catholic Church in Quebec.  He told Francis that the Bishops “are aware of the limits and poverty of our Church and we are looking for concrete ways to develop a missionary spirit in a Quebec that has broken its relations with the Catholic tradition and heritage and chooses to find its references elsewhere than the Gospel. In the present context being pastors of a small number, a  little flock, we ask ourselves as pastors, how can we reawaken the faith, reveal the love and mercy of God, open hearts to the Gospel, invite people to conversion, create disciples … in a secular, pluralist Quebec that is often allergic to religion?”

Angela Merkel and the German election

By The Hon. David Kilgour on September 18, 2017

Kilgour_David_bw.jpgAngela Merkel’s re-election as Germany’s chancellor for the fourth time on September 24 is important for Germans, Europeans and many democratic nations around the world, partly because of regional and other international misfeasance by Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Strobe Talbott, President Bill Clinton’s leading adviser on Russia, observes, “Chancellor Merkel is the most steadfast custodian of the concept of the liberal West going back 70 years ... that makes her Putin’s No. 1 target.”
Merkel is the widely-recognized leader of Europe and defender of besieged universal values and democracy internationally. Putin is a contemporary would-be Russian czar, who wants to fracture Europe and democratic governance wherever possible. 

À la recherche de la Ménora du Temple de Jérusalem

By David Bensoussan on September 10, 2017

menora.jpgL’un des monuments les plus visités au forum à Rome est l’arc de triomphe de l’empereur Titus consacré par son frère Domitien pour marquer la prise de Jérusalem en l’an 70. On y trouve l’inscription : « Dédié par le Sénat et le peuple de Rome à Titus Vespasien Auguste, fils de Vespasien. » 

Le butin pris au Temple de Jérusalem dont la Menora ou candélabre à sept branches y figure sur un bas-relief. Tout comme l’Arche de la loi contenant les tablettes des Dix commandements, la Ménora était conservée dans le Saint des Saints dans le Temple de Salomon.

Statuary rape

By David T. Jones on September 10, 2017

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC ~ The current  search for “feet of clay” throughout the United States is curious almost beyond puzzlement. We are self axle-wrapping over what statue should be permitted to commemorate whom and what.

And not just statues and memorials associated with the Civil War Confederacy “losers” but other historical figures who don’t fit 2017 parameters for veneration.  These range from George Washington (slave holder); Thomas Jefferson (slave holder; alleged sexual relations with a slave); Benjamin Franklin (owned slaves); Teddy Roosevelt (violent expansionist); Woodrow Wilson (ignored racism and promoted segregation—and didn’t “keep us out of war” as he promised).

40 years of Bill 101: The legacy of narrow spirit

By Beryl Wajsman on August 30, 2017

wajsman_beryl_02.jpgForty years ago this past week - Aug.26, 1977 - Bill 101 became law. We all know the material damage it has done. The exodus of hundreds of thousands of anglophones and francophones. The departure of head offices. The giant sucking sound of foreign investments drying up and leaving. But we want to examine today the moral damage it inflicted. That perhaps is as much its lasting legacy as anything else.

Herb Paperman: Bringing conscience and compassion to community "A righteous, learned, man of deeds."

By Beryl Wajsman on August 7, 2017

paperman.JPGThere is a discussion in the Talmud among a number of Rabbis on who we should stand up for when they enter a room. They decided on three types of people. The righteous, the learned and the people of deeds. Yesterday, Montreal lost a man who embodied all three. Herbert Paperman passed away at the age of 92.

Herb, as he was known to everyone, passed away as he had lived. Quietly, with dignity and surrounded by love. He was beloved by all, but it was right and just that his final hours in this vale were warmed by his beloved wife Leila and their family at his side. 

Puzzling over hacking

By David T. Jones on August 2, 2017

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC ~ For an extended period now, Washington and President Trump’s administration have been wrapped around the axle over Russian “hacking” of Democrat-associated e-mails and Moscow’s alleged concurrent effort to assist the Trump campaign win the election.
The effort to “get to the bottom of it” does not seem anywhere near to reaching any bottom.  Indeed, it has metastasized into investigations by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller that appear to be casting their investigatory nets in ever-widening directions, ensnaring President Trump’s son and son-in-law as well as assorted odds-and-ends deal-makers/fixers/lawyers of one nationality or another.

The Kahdr settlement: A bodyguard of lies

By Beryl Wajsman on July 12, 2017

wajsman_beryl_02.jpgFree nations in order to survive in liberty do not negotiate with, pander to or reward terrorists. This has been the keystone of policy among all western countries for decades. The Trudeau government's decision to settle Omar Khadr's legal pursuit against Canada for the alleged violation of his sec.7 Charter rights protecting the "security and liberty of the person" is shameful in principle, distorts the 2010 Supreme Court decision upon which the Prime Minister claims to rely on, opens the door to the compromise of the very Charter protections he seeks to defend and potentially blocks the ability of the widow of the man Khadr killed to obtain redress under the 2012 Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act that allows for the collection of damages from U.S. judgments in Canadian courts.

The Khadr Settlement: An Embarrassment to Canada

By Kevin Budning on July 9, 2017

Budning_Kevin.jpgIf there has ever been a time to question the integrity and moral compass of Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government, the time is now. A few days ago, news broke that Omar Khadr had reached a settlement agreement with the Canadian government that entails a formal apology and a $10.5 million payout. Apology and payout for what you may ask?
Well, Khadr - who at age 15 decided to move to Afghanistan to live with his father, a high-ranking Al-Qaeda member - believes he should be compensated for ‘wrongful imprisonment’ at Guantanamo Bay. In 2010, after allegedly being tortured, Khadr pleaded guilty to throwing a grenade that killed U.S. Special Forces medic, Christopher Speer, and for blinding another soldier, Layne Morris. It was this act that landed him in the notorious prison.

"BREXIT" after the British election

By The Hon. David Kilgour on June 26, 2017

Kilgour_David_bw.jpgEmmanuel Macron, president of France, is correct about Britain’s post-election Brexit realities. At a joint news conference with Prime MinisterTheresa May in Paris last week, he said the UK decision to leave the EU could be reversed: “As the negotiations go on, it will be more and more difficult to go backwards...”
May knows she must respect the positions on Brexit of other parties, given her failure to secure a majority and the loss of 13 MPs. She is also under pressure from Brexiters on her own backbenches who could topple her as prime minister if she fails to deliver on their expectations.  The world, however, knows that she and David Cameron - with good reasons -supported "Remain" in last year’s national referendum.

Dare to dream! Passion is not the enemy of reason. Fear is. Commencement 2017

By Beryl Wajsman on June 15, 2017

wajsman_beryl_02.jpgMany people will be graduating this month. They go forth at a time in history of great danger as well as great opportunity. They are surrounded by far too much sham and drudgery, but also by noble acts of selflessness and courage. Here are some thoughts for them, the class of 2017.
You will soon be leaving the comfortable world of academe for the much harder school of life. It’s waiting for you. Just there in the early morning. What you leave you should always remember. Keep these years of study and searching warm in your hearts, and remember the lessons of effort and striving. It is the truth you looked for. Never forget that goal in all your endeavors. It is pre-eminent of purpose.

NATO and the Transatlantic Relationship

By The Hon. David Kilgour on June 11, 2017

Kilgour_David_bw.jpgWhen 12 democratic governments seeking to check Soviet expansion formed NATO by treaty in 1949, it seems unlikely that any of their political leaders thought they would today number 28 and become the most successful defensive military alliance in history.
Post-1952 American President Dwight D. Eisenhower noted at the time, “We are engaged in a war of great ideologies. This is not just a casual argument between slightly different philosophies. This is light against dark, freedom against slavery…”.
The initiative represented a major turning point for the United States. Unprecedented in peacetime, Washington was entering a permanent alliance linking it to Western Europe in both a military and political sense.


By David T. Jones on June 7, 2017

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC ~ Four times in the 75 years of my life, Israel has had to fight its Arab neighbors:  1948, for the creation of the country; 1956, to restore freedom of navigation through the Straits of Tiran and the Suez Canal; 1967, in pre-emptive strikes against Arabs on the verge of their own attacks; and 1973, beating back a surprise Egyptian attack across the Suez Canal that was initially successful.
Each time there was the basic appreciation that Israel could not afford to lose a single war or “never again” would be implemented to catastrophic effect.
It is the 1967 “Six Day War,” now in its 50-year commemoration starting on 5 June, that has proved the most enduring and consequential.

"Masada shall not fall again! Metzadah shuv lo tipol!" The legacy of the bold and the brave

By Beryl Wajsman on June 4, 2017

nation_in_making.jpgThis week we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Israel's victory in 1967's Six Day War. A war pre-meditatively planned and instigated by frontline Arab states whose leaders promised to "drive the Jews into the sea!" It was a victory for the frontline nation in the family of the free, a precursor of the time of terror we live in today, but more than all that, it affirmed President John F. Kennedy's creed that with, "Resolve and courage, the bold and the brave can assure the survival and success of liberty."
In the weeks leading up to the War - a war that took place just 22 years after the liberation of the death camps of the Holocaust that killed 6 million Jews - Arab states flaunted international law and the international community responded with submission and impotent silence.

JFK:Why he matters still

By Beryl Wajsman on May 29, 2017

JFK_2017.jpg“When he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy quoted these lines from Romeo and Juliet upon the death of his brother....
Today we commemorate the centenary of the birth of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Think of it. He could very well have still been with us. Think of the difference in this world if he had lived the vigorous and robust life he could have. Just over a half-century after his assassination on that terrible day in Dallas, his hold on our imagination does not wane. It is important to reflect on the reasons why.

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