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"Ça suffit!" Quebec rejects the politics of fear

By Beryl Wajsman on April 8, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgLast week we asked Quebecers to vote as if their lives depended on it. And they did.
Last week we wrote that "this is the referendum." Quebecers got that too. And answered with a resounding "NO!"
Last week we urged voters not to penalize Philippe Couillard for speaking truth on the language issue. And they did not.
Perhaps that is the most eloquent legacy of Décision 2014. Quebecers - all Quebecers - rejected the rhetoric of marginalization and the politics of fear. They said "Ça suffit!" to division and discord.

This is the referendum

By Beryl Wajsman on April 6, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgClearly, this is the most important vote you will cast since 1995. But aside from the fact that both Pierre-Karl Péladeau and Premier Marois have made it clear that there will be a referendum – whether Quebecers be “ready” or not – depending on which one you listen to, vote Couillard and the Quebec Liberal Party because of his courage to speak some much-needed truths and candidates with the competence to tackle the problems that face us with focus on the priorities that really matter.

C’est le referendum.

By Beryl Wajsman on April 6, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgC’est le vote le plus important depuis 1995. Mettons de côté le fait que tant Pierre-Karl Péladeau que Mme Marois se sont clairement exprimé sur la tenue d’un referendum, que les Québécois soient prêts ou non (dépendamment de qui vous écoutez). Votez pour le PLQ et les libéraux en raison de leur courage de dire la vérité qu’on a tellement besoin d’entendre, d’attirer les candidats compétents pour s’attaquer aux problèmes auxquels nous faisons face; l’accent étant mis sur les priorités qui comptent vraiment.

Quebec's China Syndrome: A snitch society gnaws at the body of a just society

By Beryl Wajsman on March 3, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgBack in the 1970s amidst the fear and panic over nuclear power plants, Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas starred in a move set in California called “The China Syndrome.” The story centred on a nuclear power plant gone wrong, and the hypothesis was that if the nuclear rods went out of their cylinders they could melt through the earth’s core all the way to China.
Last week’s attack by the OQLF on a store  in Chelsea, Quebec called “Delilah in the Parc” raises the spectre of a different kind of China Syndrome. The syndrome of state censorship of public media and communication.

Le chaos hospitalier au Québec

By Beryl Wajsman on February 28, 2014

hospital.jpgAvis au ministre de la Santé M. Hébert : Les gens ne croient plus à rien et ce, pour de bonnes raisons.
Le débat récent sur la « régionalisation » des hôpitaux et où ils peuvent se faire soigner peut embrouiller même les gens raisonnables qui pensent qu’il ne s’agit pas d’un simple malentendu, mais d’un ballon d’essai qui a mal tourné.
Comme le lecteur peut s’en rappeler, il y a quelques semaines, le Ministère de la Santé a émis des directives à l’Hôpital Général Juif – mondialement reconnu, entre autres, dans leur spécialitéen traitement du cancer – à l’effet que les gens qui viennent de l’extérieur d’une région géographique spécifique ne devraient pas être admis comme patient à l’hôpital ni avoir droit à des soins. 

Quebec`s hospital havoc. It’s not about regionalization, it’s about desperation

By Beryl Wajsman on February 28, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgMemo to Quebec Health Minister Hébert: nobody believes anything anymore. And with reason.
The recent back and forth on hospital “regionalization” and where patients could get care, can rightly leave reasonable people thinking that this wasn’t so much a misunderstanding as a trial balloon gone bad. The reality is there is no way to fix it.
As readers may recall, the Health Ministry issued directives several weeks ago to the Jewish General Hospital – world renowned in cancer treatment among other areas – not to admit as patients, nor administer care to, anyone outside of a specific geographically defined area.

Leslie’s Legacy

By David T. Jones on February 19, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC…It is a shame and a pity that Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie’s immediate legacy from a lifetime of professional and distinguished military service should be a kertuffle over his moving expenses.
The “perk”--and it is a serious benefit--is standard not only for Canadian Armed Forces retirees but also for U.S. professional military and career diplomats.  
Specifically, retiring U.S. diplomats often serve a final posting overseas or, if serving a terminal assignment in Washington DC, don’t expect to retire there.

Drainville just doesn't get it

By Beryl Wajsman on February 17, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgAs I have written before, reasonable people can agree that laity in the areas of the public square where we make laws, interpret them and enforce them has a long history of tradition and jurisprudence in western democracies. There have even been lay regulations in public schools that have withstood tests of intellectual rigour and legal challenge. What is not acceptable about Bill 60 is the breadth and depth of its imposition of secularism in areas such as healthcare where it is irrelevant. It should not, and must not, be imposed beyond the confines described here.

The Invisible Servants

By Father John Walsh on February 15, 2014

father_walsh.jpgThere once was a television series about New York called The Naked City and the opening line was: There are 8 million stories out there.  How true!  Each woman and man has a story to tell and so few are told.  I would say that is really true about the homeless.  The story of homeless people begins and ends with what they look like, not who they are, not what they have experienced and we never get to know why they are homeless.  They just are!  They just are on our streets, in our neighborhoods, and although they are just there we distance ourselves from them by not recognizing who they really are. 

A Real Charter For Quebec

By Father John Walsh on February 15, 2014

father_walsh.jpgThe fundamental reason for the Quebec Charter of values as proposed by the present PQ Government, tabled as Bill 60, is to render Quebec a secular society, defined as a neutral society disallowing any faith community to be part of a public discourse.   No society can move forward without hope and if it were possible to create a neutral society the need to instill hope in every member of Quebec society remains fundamental.   Hope speaks louder than faith.
The following expressions of hope are essential to a Charter which opens all of society to a good life today and a better life tomorrow.

Former Canadian Bar President condemns Bill 60 - Bernard Amyot calls it a “vindictive act”

By Beryl Wajsman on February 11, 2014

Amyot_Bernard.jpgAmyot told The Métropolitain that, “All my professional life I have made respect for the rule of law the hallmark of my public engagement. The reason is simple. Our social cohesion, and the protection of our democratic values depends strongly on the fidelity we evidence towards the rule of law and due process, which fidelity obliges elected officials to work within established parameters - within the rules of the game if you like - that protect the equity and equality of all citizens.”

Canada Is Never Dull

By David T. Jones on February 4, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - Almost a generation ago, when first I contemplated engaging with Canadian issues, I was told that “Canada is dull.”  Subsequently, when assigned to Ottawa, I experienced a referendum on revising the Constitution (1992), a change in Tory party leadership, the virtual annihilation of the Tory party (1993), a cliff-hanging referendum on Quebec-Canada separation (1995), and reconstitution of conservatives until they ultimately won a majority government in 2011.  Simultaneously, the “natural governing party” imploded with revolving door leadership, Bloc Quebecois separatists lost 90 percent of their seats, and the previously laughably amusing socialist NDP became the federal official opposition. Interspersed there were two wars, a Great recession, and complex trade arrangements.

A wake-up call to Quebec: “ We’re Quebecers too and we’re here to stay – our way!”

By Beryl Wajsman on February 3, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgIt seems that every week the Marois government gives us new reasons to pause in astonishment at its craven opportunism and breathtaking hypocrisy. Not to mention its continued pursuit of monstrously wrong-headed policies and manipulation of the public purse. Last week was no exception.
And there is the political profit. Nationalist governments will go to any lengths to spend public dollars pursuing the language and culture wars and eeking out whatever `victories` they can get. This administration has spent its almost 18 months in power proposing divisive and demonizing legislation that is a slap in the face to the 20% of Quebecers who are not Francophone. Constant and continuing marginalization. It`s time for a wake-up call.

Time for prosperity over prejudice: Let’s improve « nous-mêmes » not demonize « les autres »

By Beryl Wajsman on January 20, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThe Leger Marketing poll released this week was dismaying for several reasons. Obviously troubling was the fact that the percentages seem to put the PQ within reach of a slim majority government. But equally – if not more – troubling , is the fact that the reason for increased support for the government is broader acceptance of its identity initiative called Bill 60. This truly puts into question where Quebecers’ minds are at. Too many just don’t seem to get it.

Romeo, Romeo Wherefore Wert Thou?

By David T. Jones on January 17, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - On 22 December, Romeo Dallaire, Liberal Senator and former senior Army officer, published a column lamenting what he viewed as “stealth” cuts in current Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel, equipment, and readiness.  Senator Dallaire is best known for his catastrophic role in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda in 1993-94, culminating with a “never-again” style genocide with the death 800,000 Hutu and Tutsi civilians, along with 10 Belgian peacekeepers.  The Belgian Senate branded Dallaire “careless and unprofessional ”--presumably for perceived inaction resulting in the death of the Belgian soldiers. 

Why The Red Hat Stays In Quebec City?

By Alan Hustak on January 16, 2014

cardinal_lacroix.jpgMontreal may have been bypassed for appointment of a new Roman Catholic cardinal because Jean-Claude Turcotte remains eligible to vote in the College of Cardinals even though he retired two years ago.

Gérald Cyprian Lacroix will become the ninth Cardinal Archbishop of Quebec City – and one of three Canadian cardinals - when he is formally installed as a prince of the church in Rome on Feb 22.  Lacroix was given the red hat rather than Montreal Archbishop Christian Lepine,  62.

Bill 60 "Destructive Legislation". Quebec's Anglocatholics Want It Scrapped

By Alan Hustak on January 16, 2014

Hustak_Alan_bw.jpgThe English Speaking Catholic Council wants the minority PQ government to scrap Bill 60 arguing that its proposed secular charter would undermine the so-called “First Freedoms” enshrined in any democratic society.In its submission to public hearings on the legislation which opened Jan 14, the ESCC says the bill is an “unnecessary and destructive” piece of  legislation.  

The issue has polarized Quebec.

The Brutish Temper Of Quebec's Times: Language, Commerce And The Law

By Beryl Wajsman on January 13, 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgI wrote the following several years ago - Dec. 15 2010 - when the OLF issued its original directive to over 160 government agencies to stop communicating with businesses in English. At the time only the CSST complied. It's not a new story, but given the recent report by CJAD's Anjelica Montgomery that the PQ plans to enforce the original directive, the situation is even more objectionable today than it was then. This is all about politics and power. 

Where Is Virtue Ethics In The Quebec Charter Of Values?

By Father John Walsh on January 3, 2014

father_walsh.jpgWe are hard-wired to be happy.  What we want most is a good life.  What does make people happy? In the World Happiness Report of 2013 Jeffrey Sachs offers a very thoughtful chapter entitled, Restoring Virtue Ethics In The Quest For Happiness.  He presents differing views on how happiness is achieved.  He writes that virtue ethics, the ethical dimensionleading to happiness is the most often overlooked in any discussion about well-being. Where is virtue ethics in the Quebec Charter of Values? 


La Charte : nationalisme identitaire, ou denationalisme républicain? On doit choisir

By Pierre Brassard on January 3, 2014

generic.jpgLe ministre et depute du Parti Quebecois de Jonquiere Sylvain Gaudreault est un personnage special dans la faune politique. Fierde ses origines acadiennes et bon serviteur envers sa formation politique qui l’a vue naitre, M. Gaudreault obeit bien aux consignes pequistes. Son sens du devoir politique peut cependant reveler des postures surprenantes. Surtout a la lumiere du debat sur la Charte des valeurs.


A caution on corruption

By Beryl Wajsman on December 17, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgLast week the City of Montreal and the provincial government announced that the Montreal anti-corruption squad, known by the acronym EPIM, would be folded into UPAC, the provincial anti-corruption unit.. The two are being combined  to better coordinate resources and shared intelligence. EPIM is a select 20-person team created by the city this past January.
Mayor Coderre said,  “What we're looking for is efficiency. What we're looking for is results. I think that as the minister just mentioned, there are no boundaries, saying after Montreal, that's it. So we need the expertise and sensitivity of Montreal, but at the same time we need the intelligence of UPAC. It's clearly in my mind a sign of success and that's only what it's all about.” 

Drainville's deceit

By Beryl Wajsman on December 3, 2013

drainville_deceit.jpgMinister for Democratic Institutions Bernard Drainville's last minute decision to pull out of a debate on Bill 60, the "Values" Charter, at Concordia University last week due to "security concerns" was disappointing and deceptive. It also played loose with the facts and reasonable people could argue that his action could incite violence.
If an elected official, particularly a Minister of the Crown, is not prepared to meet the public in open debate on legislation they support, that official should reconsider their suitability for Ministerial responsibility. This is the litmus test of political courage.

From 14 to 41: The “Charter’s” other danger

By Beryl Wajsman on November 19, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgIt is clear to any objective observer that the PQ's "Values" proposal goes too far for nothing other than political opportunism. The old politics of appeal to division and discord. The spectre of "les autres." There is no justification for it in hospitals, social services and anywhere else where laws are not made, interpreted, enforced, and where impressionable young minds are not affected.

Reasonable people can argue that the imposition of laity in legislatures, courts, security authorities and public schools has a long and accepted tradition in liberal democracies.

FATIMA HOUDA-PÉPIN IS ONE OF OUR MOST COURAGEOUS LEGISLATORS

By Beryl Wajsman on November 14, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgFatima Houda-Pepin`s letter has caused much debate today. That debate is driven - as happens too often in our public discourse - by a lack of facts and intellectual rigour. Houda-Pepin is one of our most courageous legislators. Let us not forget that it was she who introduced the motion in the National Assembly - unanimously adopted some years ago - against allowing Sharia Law any role in our civil family law system as demanded by certain fundamentalist religious elements in Quebec at the time. She withstood much menace for for that courage. But she spared Quebec the 18-month battle that Ontario went through. People should read past the headlines. Including many reporters. 

Que Faire Maintenant?

By Louise V. Labrecque on November 10, 2013

Labrecque_Louise_bw.jpgNul n’est prophete en son pays et les traditions ont la vie dure.  Notre temps salue des ruptures que l’ont dit  necessaires .  Or, je prefere, et de loin, saluer l’invention, la continuite des connaissances.  Il y a une zone grise qui s’exprime ainsi :  Sapere aude ! , soit  le message celebre des Lumieres : « ose penser par toi-meme !» ou « aie le courage de te servir de ton propre entendement! »  De plus, Pierre Bayle a ecrit sur le deracinement, ce qu’il exige de l’homme, a savoir le droit d’ « une conscience errante ».  Et de la on suppose le defi irreconciliable avec une racine identitaire.

Canada and the Commonwealth

By David T. Jones on November 3, 2013

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - The decision by Prime Minister Harper to avoid the leaders meeting of the Commonwealth in Sri Lanka has unleashed the pack of media attack dogs.  The reaction is predictable but also pathetic.  While there is an implicit obligation of Opposition to oppose, the criticism has been over the top.
There has been a remarkably intense and palatably cynical critique that Harper is acting either hypocritically and/or for prospective political gain.
Harper has taken a reasoned decision, telegraphed far in advance.  To wit, he noted upwards of two years ago that unless Sri Lanka leadership improved its human rights performance in relation to the Tamil minority, he would not attend the conference.  They haven’t; he won’t.

An Open Letter To Montreal`s New Mayor

By Philippe Roy on October 28, 2013

Roy_Philippe.jpgIn just a few days, we will know the identity of Montreal’s new mayor. As such, the chosen person will be given a broad and impressive mandate. In the current political context, he or she will face numerous challenges and big expectations.
Beyond the many duties inherent in being mayor of Montreal, the new chief executive will assume the chair of the Montreal Agglomeration Council, which is responsible for organizing a wide range of services for the 1.8 million inhabitants of the 16 related Montreal Island municipalities.
It is in my role as mayor of one of the 16 Montreal Urban Agglomeration municipalities that I want to draw my future colleague’s attention to three issues with a significant impact on all who live on Montreal Island.

Les impôts municipaux : prérogative des élus

By Claude Garcia on October 25, 2013

Garcia_Claude.jpgLe salaire des employes des municipalites de plus de 25 000 habitants au Quebec est superieur de 18,6 % a celui des employes de l’administration provinciale. La remuneration globale (ce qui comprend , en plus, les benefices marginaux et autres avantages) est quant a elle 33,6 % plus elevee chez les travailleurs du secteur municipal que chez leurs homologues de la fonction publique provinciale. Cette situation ne date pas d’hier puisqu’on constate, depuis l’octroi du droit de greve aux employes de l’Etat, il y a une cinquantaine d’annees, une croissance continue de l’ecart entre la remuneration globale des employes municipaux et celle de leurs collegues provinciaux.

Salem: Museums, Culinary Trails and...Witches

By Sharman Yarnell on October 16, 2013

Yarnell_Sharman_bw.jpgA drive into New England’s coastal area for the fall colours and a dose of history is just the thing - a history that is rather relevant when we consider what’s happening here in Quebec with the Marois government. People’s rights being taken from them, finger pointing, religious persecution - their rights of belief, rights of behavior, rights of thought, even - were summarily denounced, illegally declared criminal against all normally accepted laws of humanity and social behavior - and heavily paid for.

Korean NAvy vessels arrive in Montreal

By Alan Hustak on October 15, 2013

IMG_1160.JPGVisit Commemorates 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean engagement

A South Korean destroyer and an auxiliary naval vessel arrived in Montreal Sunday as part of ceremonies being held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean engagement.  The  Roks Dae Jo Yeong and Roks Hwa Chen will be open to visitors in the Old Port until Wednesday, Oct. 16  The ships are on a round the world cruise and are visiting ports of call in 14 countries which sent troops to the Korean engagement.

Lisée, Drapeau and Montreal`s special status

By Beryl Wajsman on October 15, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgOne of the reasons that the nationalist narrative in Quebec gained currency over the past forty years – particularly with young Francophones – is that our history is not known. People buy into whatever version of history the nationalists sell, particularly the skewed version of Francophones  having been victims of imperialists in their own native land when in fact their very presence here is as much the product of European imperialism as the Anglophone presence. History matters. And not just because, as Santayana wrote, `Those who forget it are bound to repeat it.” It matters because Its perversion is used as a political tool. Particularly in a jurisdiction with North America`s highest high school dropout rate.

Montreal can work. Let’s just do it! Part 1

By Beryl Wajsman on October 6, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgDespite the allegations brought forth at the Charbonneau Commission and the arrests from UPAC, and the never-ending record tax increases, the solutions to Montreal’s challenges are not that complicated. What is complicated, as it is in all matters human and political, is that candidates for office – and the bureaucrats already in – must muster the courage and resolve to commit themselves to speaking hard truths to the people; to entrenched vested interests and most of all to themselves.

"Breaking Quebec” –The Marois malaise

By Beryl Wajsman on October 6, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThe hit cable series “Breaking Bad” ended its five year run this past weekend. But we have another up here. It’s called “Breaking Quebec” starring Pauline Marois.

Amidst the stark battles over Bill 14 and the Values Charter, sight has been lost of the broader malaise of the Marois administration. And frankly, some anger should be kept in reserve by demonstrators to make their voices heard on it.

Why special status would work

By Beryl Wajsman on September 25, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThere has been considerable public confusion on what special status for Montreal would actually mean ever since last week's release of the CRITIQ commissioned IPSOS poll demonstrated a dramatic 76% support for the idea among francophones and anglophones alike living on the island of Montreal. The most common misconception is that special status is equated with partition or some other form of division from Quebec. That is not the case. Indeed if it was, special status would not work. Special status is an idea whose time may have come precisely because it would be a boon for both the metropolis and the province.

Restons vigilant face à l’islamisme protéiforme

By Pierre Brassard on September 15, 2013

Depuis plusieurs annees, le deploiement et l’installation de divers groupes islamistes au Canada et au Quebec suscitent des interrogations qui sont plus que legitimes.Cependant, il devrait y avoirdes principes forts pour nous guider comme« societe ouverte » pour y faire face avec encore plus de maturite. Invitation donc a un travail de longue haleine.


Editorial Staff

Beryl P. Wajsman

Redacteur en chef et Editeur

Alan Hustak

Senior Editor

Daniel Laprès

Redacteur-adjoint

Brigitte Garceau

Contributing Editor

Robert J. Galbraith

Photojournaliste

Roy Piberberg

Editorial Artwork

Mike Medeiros

Copy and Translation

Val Prudnikov

IT Director and Web Design

Editorial Contributors
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