Society

Society

Leo Leonard, a.k.a Clawhammer Jack : last of the urban horsemen.

By Alan Hustak on July 18, 2012

6899727.jpgLeo Leonard, affectionately known as Clawhammer Jack, was an authentic urban horseman who maintained a horse palace in the heart of  Montreal’s Griffintown  neighbourhood for almost five decades.  A third generation Irishman, Leonard was a horse whisperer and a former caléche driver who lived in the same neighbourhood just below the Bell Centre for almost all of his 86 years. He held out almost to the end against developers  who wanted his property for office and commercial space and for affordable and subsidized housing. He died on July 5 several months after finally moving out of Griffintown.

Notes from the Sinkhole of our discontent

By Joel Ceausu on July 18, 2012

 

I held my son’s chocolate peanut-butter ice cream slathered hand and looked at that nice strip of fresh black bitumen over the former sinkhole that opened up on Ste. Catherine St. last week and wondered like many others in our city, what if?
What if it happened in front of my house? What if it swallowed a car? What if some protesting window-smashing “anarchist” had taken a journey down that rabbit hole?

 

"We're just friends" doesn't apply to men and women. An appreciation of Nora Ephron

By Margaux Chetrit on July 18, 2012

Nora_Ephron.jpgNora Ephron, the journalist, playwright, director, producer and actress passed away last week after a years-long battle with leukemia. She was 71. The disease never got the better ofmher until almost the very end. She leaves behind a legacy of best-selling books, sparkling  films and priceless advice. 
Nora, through her ongoing artistic commentary on the romantic zeitgeist, succeeded in imparting lessons and igniting debates on the state of love and relationships.
She shook our conceptions to the core and left us uncomfortably aware of how truly clueless we were about the opposite sex. 

Hot town: putting the new prohibitionists on the run

By Beryl Wajsman on July 2, 2012

It begins as the velvet draping that envelops the downtown core of this pearl of the St. Lawrence as night turns pitch black. As the deep evening turns early morning, the moveable feasts make their pilgrimages to their own holy stations. These hours are ours and there are no rules. The stars sparkle and wink guiding you from one holy grail to another. The playrooms of the inner city, with their terraces and open doors, that beckon all who are willing to live life to the fullest into their open arms.

Maria Marrelli, Italian Community Activist, and former Citizenship Court Judge

By Alan Hustak on June 24, 2012

Maria_Marelli_01.jpgMaria Marrelli was the community activist and local columnist before she was named a Citizenship Court Judge in 1977. Mrs. Marrelli, who was 97 when she died on June 21 was well known in Notre Dame de Grace, where she was heavily involved as a Liberal party organizer and as a warden of St. Raymond’s parish, and as an interpreter at the local caisse populaire.

”She was a leader. A force to be reckoned with. Not only was she able to express her views, she was able to rally people behind her so when she spoke, she spoke with a unified voice,” said  Montreal’s Executive Committee Chairman, Michael Applebaum. Applebaum said the borough will see how best to honour her achievements in a permanent manner

Madeleine Parent

By Alan Hustak on May 18, 2012

parent.jpegMadeleine Parent was a diminutive but fearless union organizer, labour leader and community activist who devoted her life to improving the cause of working women and to the creation of uniquely Canadian labour unions. Parent, who was 93 when she died March 12 helped to create the Candian Textile and Chemical Workers Union, organized women in Ontario, was active in the Féderation des femmes du Québec, fought for abortion on demand in the 1950s, and championed the rights of aboriginal women.

Bring back garbage!

By Mischa Popoff on May 18, 2012

Until someone proves that sorting trash into recyclables and compostables actually helps my family, my community, or society at large, I am no longer doing it. You heard right. I’m bringing back garbage!

Remember when it wasn’t an indictable offence to throw things away? Trash all went into a bin and the garbage man took it all away to the landfill. Why did this stop? Has anyone done a cost/benefit analysis on the various forms of recycling and composting we’re forced to adhere to?

 

Honest talk and mutual respect can make our health services tolerable

By Rouba al-Fattal on May 18, 2012

Having spent the last five years in Belgium doing doctoral research before returning to Quebec, I did not realize that going to the doctor nowadays is as challenging as going camping. As I was waiting in my silence for three hours, looking around me at the grim faces of the other tired expectant mothers, I could not help but think about how the natives of this country must have waited for hours to see the only doctor in the village.

Neil McKenty 1924-2012: broadcaster, author, and former Jesuit.

By Alan Hustak on May 18, 2012

neil_mckenty.pngThe irreverent Jesuit who left the priesthood and went on to become the cornerstone of Montreal talk radio died Saturday morning at the age of 87. During his 14 years as a CJAD telephone talk show host in the 70’s and 80’s he brought a degree of  civility to  the charged political atmosphere  in province after the election of the Parti Quebecois in 1976, and in the referendum that followed.  In its heyday, his program, Exchange, attracted as many as 85,000 listeners or more than a quarter of the city’s English-speaking audience.

Marc Gervais: Jesuit champion of cinema. 1929-2012

By Alan Hustak on March 28, 2012

Gervais_during_mass_s.jpgRev. Marc  Gervais was a charismatic Jesuit priest, teacher and movie critic who rattled Vatican authorities in the late 1960s by championing Teorma,  a  homoerotic  film by a Communist film maker Pierre Pasolini which celebrated the healing power of human sexuality.    Rev. Gervais taught cinema and communication arts at Concordia University in Montreal for 25 years  where he  influenced the careers of students such as Clark Johnson, who plays in the HBO television series, The Wire,  Oscar winning Quebec film maker, Denys Arcand , producer Kevin Tierney (Good Cop, Bad Cop) and the CBC television journalist Hannah Gartner. Admired as a leading authority on the films of Ingmar Bergman, whom he knew, Gervais died Sunday (march 25) at a retirement home in Pickering, Ont. He was  82 .

Heard the one about the priest, the Rabbi and the Imam?

By Alan Hustak on March 12, 2012

rabbi_priest_imam.jpgIt’s no joke, but there is a punch line: faithblender.com.  The new inter-faith blog which went on line three weeks ago (Feb 14) features postings by Montreal broadcaster  and Roman Catholic priest John Walsh, Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz, and Imam Ziyad Delic of Ottawa, who is considered to be among the world’s 500 most influential Muslims. 

 

 

 

There is no such thing as an “honour killing”

By Dan Delmar on March 12, 2012

It has become part of the Canadian lexicon thanks to the furor surrounding the Shafia quadruple murder trial. This concept of an “honour killing” has been widely condemned and strikes most people as shocking and revolting. But the condemnations are in vain and may even be counter-productive. In reality, these types of murders are no more or no less heinous than any other; let us dismantle the Muslim straw man and stop pretending that honour killings really exist.

Time to decriminalize

By Charles Ghorayeb on March 12, 2012

The ever vigilant forces of law and order (mostly the Surete du Quebec) seized 1.7 billion dollars in illegal drugs in 2011. Some of these drugs were seized from shipping containers “randomly” selected by Customs for inspection at the Port of Montreal or at one of the rail yards, others in police raids against organized crime operations and a few on the street.  At first glance, this doesn’t seem like a bad year’s work.  Upon further scrutiny however, the numbers are far from convincing.  Coming in a proud and perennial First Place Winner by a comfortable 10 to one margin, weighing in at a staggering $1.3 BILLION (76%), was marijuana; hashish was a comfortable second at $122 million.  All other drugs combined added up therefore to less than $400 million.

KNUT HAMMARSKJOLD, DIPLOMAT 1922-2012

By Alan Hustak on March 12, 2012

Knut_LP_13r_784908d.jpgKnut Hammarskjöld was the Swedish diplomat who served in Montreal for 18 years as the second executive director of the International Air Transport Association, which regulates the interests of most of the world’s commercial airlines. Hammarskjöld was the nephew of the United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, who was killed in a mysterious plane crash in Africa in 1961. Knut Hammerskjold, who died at his home in Lidingo on Jan. 3, two weeks shy of his 90th birthday, considered his distinguished uncle as a second father. 

After Shafia: the conversation we need to have

By Beryl Wajsman on February 5, 2012

The Shafia verdict should have implications far beyond the deserved condemnations of the very concept of "honour" killings. Beyond even the condemnation of the terrible subjugation of women that is at the heart of that retrograde and oxymoronic phrase and the corpus of thought that gave it birth. And  beyond any satisfaction people may have about the verdict. It should lead us straight to the heart of the matter: the absolute rejection of accomodation to any status for any religious law in Canada's legal jurisdictions and the urgent need to reaffirm this nation's dedication to the sovereignty of the individual over any collective

Days that sear our souls

By Beryl Wajsman on January 24, 2012

It is a period that reminds us of those historical encounters between governors and governed, when every act of the authorities exasperates the people and every refusal to act excites their contempt. A period of 12 days that should rend our souls asunder with searing intensity and pierce our hearts with rapier-like violation. A period that begins with a date held sacred to all those of conscience who engage in the struggle for mankind’s transcendent yearning for redemptive change. A period that ends with a date that challenges us to fulfill that struggle as we bear witness to mankind’s debased desertion of any of its noble aspirations.

Killing Kyoto… finally and painlessly

By Mischa Popoff on December 16, 2011

Prime Minister Harper had the guts to remove Canada from the Kyoto Accord almost the same way we got into it: with an order from his phone in the comfort of his office.
Never mind those big rooms down the hall full of elected representatives. Prime Minister Chrétien ratified the Kyoto Protocol at a brief ceremony in his office in 2002. He did not consult scientists, economists or anyone in his Cabinet, nor was David Anderson - Canada’s longest serving Environment Minister - consulted. Only Preston Manning and the Reform Party spoke out and were attacked as stooges for Big Oil.

 

Looking for God in all the right places

By Father John Walsh on October 26, 2011

I had never imagined a room filled with people who were so different from one another.  There was a woman with a head scarf, a man with a chequered scarf around his neck, a woman with a beautiful sari and others with a variety of western clothing.  One man with a yellow toga and a shaven head was, I surmised, a Buddhist.  They were mingling with one another but they were distant from one another.  I began to speak with a young man who declared immediately, “I am a Sikh,” and the Buddhist I had already recognized declared, “I am a Buddhist.”

Tax is not a four letter word

By Alex Himelfarb on October 26, 2011

tax.jpgIronically it is in the anti-tax U.S. that a conversation has erupted on taxes. Warren Buffett and a few other billionaires helped open the door, if only a crack, and President Obama has, finally, made taxing the rich a key means of funding his jobs plan. In the context of all that is happening now on Wall Street and beyond, these now seem like small and belated steps. Bigger things are in the air. But the conversation is now engaged and, judging from the reaction — accusations of class warfare, “no tax” pledges — tax is a proxy for these bigger things.

Gérald Larose: parcours d'un catholique de gauche - Partie 1 de 3

By Pierre Brassard on October 26, 2011

gerald_larose.jpgCe texte vise à décrire de manière critique un courant au sein de l'Église catholique au Québec : les « catholiques de gauche ». Il n'est pas à proprement parler une contribution à la recherche universitaire sur la petite histoire des « catholiques de gauche ». Il tenteplutôt de circonscrire certains épisodes qui paraissent significatifs sur l’un d’entre eux qui nous dirige immanquablement vers une réflexion sur l’antisémitisme, l’antijudaïsme chrétien et l’antisionisme absolu.

Why “The Children's" is not just any institution

By Brigitte Garceau on August 26, 2011

mch-bldg.jpgThe Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation  recently held its 12th annual ball at Windsor Station. This one, under the chairmanship of the indefatigable Mirella and Nadia Saputo, raised a record $900,000. Several years ago I had the privilege of co-chairing this important community event. I want to tell you why it’s not just another society ball.



To slowly suck the life out of a mockingbird

By Peter Anthony Holder on August 26, 2011

mockingbird_article.jpgToday I became part of a jury pool – a group of 200 people who would be whittled down to twelve jurists for a criminal stabbing case; a group that spent the better part of the morning trying to find a loophole that would get them out of jury duty.
Here in Quebec when the judicial system wants you to fulfill your civic obligation, it sends a letter informing you of where and when to appear, along with a series of reasons why you may be disqualified.


NOUS APPLIQUONS: Graduates need more pragmatic expectations

By Rima Hammoudi on August 26, 2011

We’ve all heard the 20-something lament before. Some of us struggle through university, surviving off vicious amounts of coffee while juggling thesis statements, part-time jobs and whatever we can muster up to deem as a social life. When our degree is complete we’re sent off to conquer the market with our ‘expertise’ and our entry-level fervor. What we’re met with, of course, are tight-knit industries with little to no room for our amateur portfolios to expand from. Degree or no degree, opportunity is scarce, or at least it seems so from this standpoint. Figuring out what you want to spend your entire life doing is not even half the battle.

Nous Appliquons: Graduates need more pragmatic expectations

By Rima Hammoudi on August 2, 2011

We’ve all heard the 20-something lament before. Some of us struggle through university, surviving off vicious amounts of coffee while juggling thesis statements, part-time jobs and whatever we can muster up to deem as a social life. When our degree is complete we’re sent off to conquer the market with our ‘expertise’ and our entry-level fervor. What we’re met with, of course, are tight-knit industries with little to no room for our amateur portfolios to expand from. Degree or no degree, opportunity is scarce, or at least it seems so from this standpoint. Figuring out what you want to spend your entire life doing is not even half the battle.

GRIFFITH BREWER 1922-2011 Theatre Stalwart

By Alan Hustak on August 2, 2011

brewer.jpgGriffith Brewer was a mainstay of Montreal s English- speaking theatre for almost 80 years. He was an unassuming supporting actor, properties master, director, carpenter and all around handyman who rarely let his ego interfere with his love of the stage.  Even after  he retired and lost his sight and roles for senior actors  became  harder to find  he was content to play a  corpse.



The Blogging Bishop

By Alan Hustak on July 18, 2011

dowd.jpgCanada’s newest and youngest Roman Catholic bishop-elect, Thomas Dowd, is  a media savy priest who says his appointment as auxiliary bishop of Montreal signals a generational shift in the thinking of the church.

Dowd is expected to shoulder some  of the workload now being done by Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte. Among his duties, Dowd will be responsible for the city’s 250,000 English-speaking Catholics who have been without a bishop of their own since  Anthony Mancini left four years ago to become Archbishop of Halifax. 


A meaner Canada: junk politics and the omnibus crime bill

By Alex Himelfarb on June 10, 2011

himelfarb_alex.jpgCanada’s new Parliament is poised to reshape Canada’s criminal justice system and, in significant ways, Canada itself.   Within 100 sitting days of its resumption Parliament will pass an omnibus “tough on criminals” bill that represents the biggest change to our justice system in recent memory.  But these changes are coming with disturbingly little controversy or opposition.  They are not part of some so-called hidden agenda.  This is what most or at least many Canadians voted for and, among those who did not, few seem much worried.  Political opposition has been muted.  Who wants to be seen as soft on crime, soft on criminals, concerned about inmates?  

Constitutional challenges that are fair to all Canadians

By Chris Schafer on June 10, 2011

In 2007, on behalf of the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF), I testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages, in support of the federal government decision to eliminate the Court Challenges Program. The Program provided taxpayer financed assistance for constitutional cases involving language and equality rights. All Canadians, through their tax dollars, paid to advance through the courts the public policy agendas of various special interest groups who received Court Challenges Program funding, whether taxpayers agreed with those agendas or not. This was unfair.

Rights Commission to police: "Change policy on incivilities."

By Anja Karadeglija on June 10, 2011

racial_profiling.jpgThe Quebec Human Rights Commission has released a report tackling racial profiling in Quebec, but whether it’ll make a difference depends on the political will to implement the recommendations, says Fo Niemi,executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations.
The report notes that racial profiling is often viewed as aproblem exclusive to Montreal, and Niemi says that’s because of the city’s racial diversity.


JEAN-PIERRE GOYER: Born in Ville St. Laurent, long-time MP for Dollard was architect of prison reform

By Alan Hustak on June 10, 2011

As Solicitor General in Pierre Trudeau’s government, Jean-Pierre Goyer was the architect of prison reform in Canada. Concerned about both the cost of keeping a prisoner in jail and the rate of recidivism, Goyer promoted  a more humane approach to incarceration. During the 1970’s heintroduced better haircuts and better clothing for inmates, inaugurated new housing arrangements that permitted conjugal visits, and made it easier for prisoners to work and go to school. If society really was to be protected, prison he argued, should offer inmates a “more rehabilitative atmosphere.”

Maynard Gertler: Editor, publisher, pacifist, farmer and activist (1916-2011)

By Alan Hustak on April 27, 2011

 

IMG_0423a.jpgMaynard Gertler was an innovative farmer, civil libertarian, and  the  headstrong Montreal publisher who was the first to market books by French-Canadian authors in English Canada during the Quiet Revolution so the rest of the country could appreciate what was happening in Quebec in the 60s and 70s.
Gertler was the founding editor  of  Harvest House Ltd , once described as “a one man university press,” Harvest House was the first  to translate the works  of Quebec writers such as  Jacques  Ferron, Victor-Levy Beaulieu,  Anne Hébert, Yves Thériault  and the poet  Emile Nelligan.

 

L’apartheid culturel de Pauline Marois

By Beryl Wajsman on April 21, 2011

marois.jpgEn octobre de 2007, j'ai écrit dans « Une question de préjudice » au sujet du projet de loi sur l’identité québécoise de Pauline Marois et du PQ que  « Pauline Marois ne semble pas comprendre la fureur provoquée par la proposition du projet de loi sur l’identité québécoise du Parti québécois de limiter l'accès à la citoyenneté, l'ascension à la fonction politique et même le droit de grief devan tl'Assemblée nationale à moins que les nouveaux arrivants au Québec aient une connaissance « adéquate» du français. Essayons d’apporter une clarté à sa compréhension. Mme Marois, la fureur surgit parce que c'est une question de préjudice! C’est outrageux dans une société démocratique. »

New palliative care unit facility

By Alan Hustak on April 21, 2011

p_c.jpgPlans to  convert  the church of St.  Raphael  the  Archangel in Outremont into a 12-bed palliative care unit and day centre have  moved into high gear.   The  church on Lajoie Ave.  opposite the Sanctuaire apartment complex,  served an English-speaking congregation for almost eight decades until it  closed in June 2008.

 

 

A nice way to say ‘Thank You’!

By P.A. Sévigny on April 21, 2011

maison_partage.jpgWhile some may think it was nothing more than an evening full of music, a bit of wine and a plate full of spaghetti Bolognese, others would recognize the supper party as the kind of event which pulls a community together.
​“Without all of your efforts,” said Michelle Bourget, “…none of this would be possible.”
​After spending almost 30 years with friends and colleagues fighting the endemic poverty in Montreal’s Sud-Ouest, Bourget’s efforts are beginning to pay handsome dividends because hundreds of people who used to come to their doorlooking for something to eat are now honorably employed, working professionals or even own their own business.

 

Don Cherry and hockey pornography

By Dan Delmar on April 21, 2011

max_pac.jpgMontreal Canadiens fans were horrified on March 8 when the seemingly lifeless body of a young star, Max Pacioretty, laid on the Bell Centre ice for minutes before being carried away on a stretcher by paramedics. Pacioretty wasn’t just a victim of an overzealous defenceman looking to intimidate his opponents, but a sport culture that tolerates brutal violence and even promotes it.



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

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