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Beryl Wajsman

"SPOONGATE!" - TIME TO DISSOLVE THE OQLF AND GET QUEBEC MOVING AGAIN

By Beryl Wajsman on June 22, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgSo, now the barely legible words  "what's your mix" and "Sweet moosic" on the plastic spoons of Menchie's yogurt has drawn the attention of the OQLF language troopers.  The words are moulded into the plastic spoons in all 305 North American locations. They are barely legible because the spoons are all monotone.  But Menchie's has been told by an inspector that they may have violated Bill 101 and the issue was under investigation. Trouble is, only three of the locations are in Quebec and the spoons are produced at the franchise operator's American headquarters. That bit of  reason and sanity  has failed to move the guardians of  French purity.

THE MORGENTALER TRIALS: CLAUDE-ARMAND SHEPPARD AND THE SPIRIT OF LAW

By Beryl Wajsman on June 18, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpg

Much has been written about  Morgentaler’s  acts and his convictions that affirmed collective dignity and individual freedom for all women in Canada. This is as it should be. This was  paramount.
But the legacy of the Morgentaler trials in Quebec was greater than that. We are affected by them to this very day. They were profiles in courage and conscience. Profiles of a doctor who challenged the  law of our land, and his lawyer - Claude-Armand Sheppard - who changed the life of our law.  And not enough has been written about that.

SPVM backs off as Globe Restaurant had not committed offence

By Beryl Wajsman on June 9, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgWarrant issued based on resolved past infraction; entrapment to enforce arcane law existing only in Quebec may be in issue.
The recent seizure of the Globe Restaurant’s liquor supply, subsequently overturned in court just before the Grand Prix, did not stem from any offence. In fact, the Globe’s owners were not even presented with a copy of the warrant as mandated by law. It has also come to light that a previous incident in 2011 may have been the result of  possible police entrapment, a tactic condemned in numerous judicial decisions going all the way to the Supreme Court and grounds for a legal defense usually resulting in acquittal.

MONTRÉAL –PLUS LIBRE, PLUS JUSTE, PLUS RICHE A FREER, FAIRER, RICHER MONTRÉAL

By Beryl Wajsman on June 9, 2013

richermont_s.jpgIl vient un temps dans les affaires entre gouvernants et gouvernes ou chaque action de l’administration publique aiguise la mefiance du peuple et ou le defaut d’agir suscite sa colere. C’est la ou nous en sommes rendus a Montreal. Tout contrat social entre les citoyens et l’Etat demande une certaine cession par le peuple de sa liberte et de son tresor. Rien de plus. Le contrat social n’exige nullement l’abdication de nos prerogatives. Le contrat social ne permet pas l’imposition au public de fardeaux financiers additionnels sous la forme de penalites en guise de punition pour des services pour lesquels les contribuables paient deja des taxes, mais que leur impose la bureaucratie gemissante de l’administration publique. Montreal besoin un marteau pour un maire!

RFK: A ripple of hope

By Beryl Wajsman on June 9, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThis past Thursday we commemorated the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. He was shot on June 5, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles as he was celebrating the California primary victory that would have led him to the Democratic presidential nomination. He died the next day. For many of us who were coming to political maturity in that turbulent time, hope seemed to die with him.


Dare to dream! Thoughts on Commencement 2013

By Beryl Wajsman on June 9, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgSome of you will be graduating this month. You go forth at a time in history of great danger as well as great opportunity. You are surrounded by far too much sham and drudgery, but also by noble acts of selflessness and courage. So these thoughts go to the class of 2013.
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.

Advance the attack! A response to the De Courcy-Lisée letter

By Beryl Wajsman on May 21, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgClearly the letter that Ministers De Courcy and Lisee released was nowhere near enough. Not enough because they failed to address the central point – Bill 14 is not necessary and is nothing but an attempt to solidify the `pur et dur` base through more politics of division. Not enough because the Bill demeans all Quebecers, francophones as well as non-francophones. Not enough because the government is still not willing to stop the economic destruction of Quebec by ceasing to put up these false issues of discord. But let us take another point of view for a moment and make what some of you may consider a strange plea.

Time To Stop Taking Francophones For Granted

By Beryl Wajsman on May 7, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgYes I know. This kind of headline usually has the word "anglophone" in it. Yet last week two incidents demonstrated that politicians of several parties have not understood that the rejection of , and resistance to, Bill 14 may have done more to unite francophones and non-francophones alike in opposition to the politics of fear and the words of demonization than anything we have seen in recent history. And as much as many anglophones may be tired of some politicians taking their votes for granted through a perceived lack of choice, many francophones are tired of some other politicians taking their votes for granted by outdated appeals to prejudice and fear.

You take a walk M.Dubuc!

By Beryl Wajsman on March 14, 2013

Monday night the usual suspects held a rally in support of Bill 14. You know who they were. Impératif français, Mouvement Montréal français, etc...ad infinitum...ad nauseum.

But at the press conference before the rally - a rally attended by only several hundred attesting to francophone fatigue on this issue - one Pierre Dubuc,editor of L'Aut' Journal, decided to unburden himself of his true feelings and blurted out, with unconcealed venom, "If someone can't ask for a Métro ticket in French, let them walk!" Well M. Dubuc, here's a message for you. Why don't you take a walk! Out of here!

 

Cinq éléments les plus honteux de le projet de loi 14

By Beryl Wajsman on March 13, 2013

Les gens devraient lire le projet de loi et comprendre que le mal est possible ici. Il n’est pas question de langue dans ce projet de loi. Il est question d’une tentative vénale par un gouvernement qui a dû reculer sur presque toutes ses promesses de tenir la ligne de partie de sespurs et durs grâce à une politique de diabolisation, d’invalidation et d’interposition.

It Is Not Over! Stay Vigilant And Resolute/

By Beryl Wajsman on March 13, 2013

Angelica Montgomery`s report on CJAD this morning that the CAQ opposes important elements of Bill 14 is gratifying. But this is not over. The CAQ will be voting against Bill 14 because it rejects closing English CEGEPs to francophones, and it supports the right of municipalities to determine and protect their own bilingual status. The CAQ also wants the exemption for soldiers’ children to be maintained.

Exclusive: Lisée on language and Montreal

By Beryl Wajsman on March 13, 2013

The man who is arguably Quebec's busiest Minister, and some would say the one holding the brief on the most contentious issues, took time out for a rare weekend interview this past Saturday. Jean-François Lisée, Minister for International Relations, External Trade, La Francophonie and Minister responsible for Montreal, forthrightly addressed concerns on the politics and policies of language of the Marois administration that have many Montrealers, regardless of cultural background, angry and concerned. To his credit, Minister Lisée set no preconditions on the questions that would be posed.

Estates-General on Quebec Sovereignty: A Distinction With A Difference

By Beryl Wajsman on February 11, 2013

So often, we become immune to the nationalist nonsense coming out of Quebec. It all becomes so much white noise. Many would tell us that we've taken so many punches that the latest is simply a distinction without a difference.
Once in a long while - sadly - we get off our lethargy and remember that we are Canadians - not just Quebecers - and that we are imbued with inalienable rights. That is what is happening now in the reaction of anglophones and francophones against Bill 14. Our civil rights matter!

The only language of a hospital should be healing

By Beryl Wajsman on January 24, 2013

lachine_hospital.jpgWhen Provincial Health Minister Dr. Réjean Hébert took the unilateral decision last week to pull Lachine General Hospital out of its arrangement with the MUHC, Hébert violated the cardinal promise of the Hippocratic oath. Do no harm!
Hébert justified his decision by saying it was necessary to protect Lachine's "francophone vocation." It is true that LG is listed as a franchone institution. But its decision to join the MUHC was based not only on its need for more money and doctors, but also on the fact that the physical proximity of the MUHC was simply closer than the francophone CHUM.

Of images and guns

By Beryl Wajsman on December 18, 2012

…and yet again.

Words fail. Comfort the bereaved yes. But platitudes to the living, whether from realms private or public are inappropriate. As Father John writes on the page opposite, there is a time to respect silence. Or perhaps a time for respectful silence.
But let us suggest that in one arena this is just the time for certain words. Not the obsequiousness of public officials promising to do something about…it…at some time…soon. But the urgency of addressing…it… in the public arena, with fierce urgency… now.

Bill 14- Don't even think about it! A memo to Liberals and the CAQ

By Beryl Wajsman on December 13, 2012

Rarely does a piece of legislation come forward that calls for complete rejection. Bill 14 however is just such a piece of proposed law. No Liberal or CAQ MNA should even think of compromise or common cause with the PQ government of Pauline Marois on this regressive and retrograde proposal.
Its rejection is compelled not just by the social, cultural and economic damage it will cause; not just by the civil rights - legislative and acquired - that are once again aborted ; but by the sheer transparent political opportunism and venal prejudice that gave it birth.

Justin Trudeau’s decision to address Islamic Revival Conference hurts Canada

By Beryl Wajsman on December 13, 2012

Mere prescence will be used to validate Conference speakers and sponsoring organizations with Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas ties

Liberal leadership candidate and Papineau MP Justin Trudeau’s decision to give a keynote address at the “Reviving the Islamic Spirit” conference taking place in Toronto Dec.20-23rd  . is a disappointing one and potentially disastrous for liberalism. His mere prescence will be used to validate some of the most retrograde elements on the political landscape that are associated with this Conference. In that he hurts Canada. 

L’AFFAIRE FABI” The Need To Hold To A Higher Standard

By Beryl Wajsman on November 28, 2012

Let us be clear. Freedom is indivisible. And perhaps the most indivisible freedom is expression because it is perhaps the most fragile and always the first to be assaulted by tyrants.
So where is the line? This has been the subject of endless debates and discussions. But on one aspect, all agree. Overt incitement to violent hatred – and the encouragement of that incitement – clearly and candidly expressed, cannot be tolerated. And more. Those who are in positions to influence public opinion, whether in elected office or in the fourth estate, have a responsibility to maintain a higher standard of vigilance and intelligence....

Media coverage of Mid-East is biased not balanced

By Beryl Wajsman on November 21, 2012

Too many in the media, in their rush for "balance" on reporting on Israel's response to Hamas' attacks, have forgotten that words matter, images can be contrived and facts must be checked. An anti-Israel bias has brushed all that aside far too often.
Even CNN has resorted to using phrases normally heard on local radio stations without a sophisticated news-gathering organization. Phrases like "Palestinian retaliation for Israeli bombing." They are either kidding themselves or purposely misleading the public.

A Matter of decency: Does Montreal need a Birmingham Bus boycott to get the point across?

By Beryl Wajsman on October 30, 2012

 

And here we go again! Another incident with a subway ticket taker insulting a customer on language. This time it ended in a fight with possible assault charges against the STM employee.
Mina Barak said the incident occurred at the De La Savane métro station (in a predominantly English part of town) when an Opus machine took her money but did not provide transit tickets. When she spoke to the STM employee in the ticket booth in English, harsh words were exchanged. The employee allegedly told her to “go back to your country” and “in Quebec, we only speak French."

 

Ella Bergeron and the empowerment of intolerance

By Beryl Wajsman on October 24, 2012

And now the youngest victim of the nationalist rhetoric of the recent election campaign. The tragedy of two-year old Ella Bergeron this past weekend in Hudson. We say this not to exploit a child. But if the “little children shall lead them,” then the story of little Ella leads us to a hard and bitter truth.

No mandate! A prejudiced, “not-ready-for-prime-time” government

By Beryl Wajsman on October 19, 2012

One thing is clear from the narrow election result in Quebec - it gave the PQ no mandate for any of its radical agenda. It was to be hoped that we could take Pauline Marois at her word that she not only respected, but understood the will of the people. However, from the  inflammatory rhetoric, the sparking of new language friction and the irresponsible fiscal policies it was perhaps too much to hope for.The only sign of hope are the endless flipflops and reining in of her Ministers that she has done.

Revenue Quebec reforms regulations Minister and Director-General take action after problems brought to light

By Beryl Wajsman on October 19, 2012

 

Bachand.jpgWhen we take on advocacy cases and causes they usually center on an individual. An individual who has suffered a prejudice that is demonstrative of a broader systemic problem whether in a government department or within a major corporation. Individual cases that have within them issues illustrative of universal applicability. But sometimes it can't be done that way. Fear and impotence stand in the way.
Fear of retribution, and impotence in the face of a maze of ever-changing rules and regulations that baffle even experts. That is the way it is for most citizens who feel victimized by Revenue Quebec and have no idea what to do about it. Many call us.

 

Tony Loffreda - The Rainmaker

By Beryl Wajsman on October 19, 2012

Loffreda_Tony.JPGIn business and the law a rainmaker is someone who brings in important clients. Keeps the money flow coming, and in a big way. But there are two aspects to rainmaking. And it is not everyone who can pull it off with grace and effectiveness. RBC’s Tony Loffreda may be first among equals.
Leaders come in two categories. Insiders and outsiders. A few, a very few, manage to be both. We have all met rainmakers whose sole concern is money. Whether it be a  businessman,  banker, lawyer, they are people who focus all their energy on a constant round of power breakfasts, meetings and presentation. They may be charitable with their money, but frankly have little time left to give of their talent. These are the insiders.

Yoga gets off the mat and tries to help part of the world

By Beryl Wajsman on October 19, 2012

backbend.jpgMany people think yoga is a discipline practiced by those privileged with the time and means for proper instruction and a certain degree of self-absorption. Somewhat removed from the harsh realities of life that beset most people. It is of course not that at all. And for for the past several years, adherents to a certain school of Yoga have set out to demonstrate just that.
The Global Seva Challenge, a program of "Off the Mat into the World", adopts a cause every year and hundreds of yoga instructors around the world adopt personal projects to raise money for the goal. This year the Seva Challenge is to help victims of sex trafficking. 

 

After asbestos - Time to support a Royal Commission on toxic threat

By Beryl Wajsman on September 18, 2012

Public policy is not always boring. As much as most voters like the excitement of personality over purpose, there are fleeting moments in the life a nation where we have to pay attention to what has been done, and not just to what has been acted. And when such moments occur, it is our responsibility as citizens to push forward the agenda of human progress. If we fail, at those moments, to engage in the life of our nation we compromise our responsibilities  as citizens of freedom and prejudice our rights to complain.
One such moment occurred last week in the life of this nation.

No mandate! PQ must govern for all Quebecers - now let's all get more involved in this society

By Beryl Wajsman on September 6, 2012

One thing is clear from the narrow election result - it gave the PQ no mandate for any of its radical agenda. It is to be hoped that we can take Pauline Marois at her word and that she not only respects, but uderstands the will of the people.

Two-thirds of Quebecers - anglophones, allophones and francophones - voted for the federalist, free-market alternatives. Mme. Marois must take that into account and we all must hold her accountable.

 

A matter of prejudice

By Beryl Wajsman on August 21, 2012

There is a troubling aspect in the coverage of the unprecedented series of debates in the current provincial election. Too many commentators are paying attention to everything from hand motions to smiles and smirks. They should be paying attention to what is said. And so should all voters.
This is the most important since the 1995 referendum. The reason? After a spring and early summer of social insurrection organized and mobilized by the radical CSN union, the PQ and the QS as much as by students, we enter a fall and winter of public sector union negotiations and the sword of Damocles of more urban paralysis and economic atrophy caused by more demonstrations and marches. It is important for voters to use intellectual rigour to look at actions and results and not just body movements.

Marois, Bill 101 and small business: Mean-spirited, petty bullying

By Beryl Wajsman on August 19, 2012

So now Pauline Marois wants to extend Bill 101 to small businesses as well. Why not, Quebec has so much extra money to spend on more social engineering inspectors. And of course we need more constriction of entrepreneurs’ ability to function so we can lose more jobs.

Perfidy! The United Church betrays "Bearing Faithful Witness"

By Beryl Wajsman on August 17, 2012

So,  in the face of a world of horrors, the General Council of the United Church of Canada chose to vote a boycott of products produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank because the Council claims that the settlements are the primary impediment to a two-state solution. Reasonable people can debate the settlements. But where is the Council's concern over Hamas' thousands of murders of their own people as well as Israelis? Where is the Council's concern over the utter failure of the Palestinian Authority to stop suicide bombers operating from its territory against Israel? Where is the Council's concern over Palestinian children being taught anti-Jewish, yes anti-Jewish not anti-Israeli, hate in PA schools from textbooks paid for in part by Western foreign aid dollars? Whether or not one supports the settlements, to announce that they are the major impediment to peace is a travesty of truth.

The Debate About The Debates: "No Taxation Without Comprehension"

By Beryl Wajsman on August 3, 2012

As much as the ongoing fracas in the francophone media about what kind of leaders French debate to have is somewhat assuming, the refusal of Pauline Marois to accept an English debate, even one on radio where questions could be filtered, is downright insulting. It is time that Quebec’s non-francophones start saying “Assez c’est assez! “ Montreal island, as of several years ago, is more than 50% non-francophone. The 21% of Quebecers who are non-francophone account for some 40% of all individual revenues collected by Revenue Quebec. Where is, in Sheila Fraser’s words, their “value for money?”

“Do not cast me off in my old age. Forsake me not when my strength fails.” Psalm 71:9 A plea to the CSDM for compassionate authority.

By Beryl Wajsman on July 25, 2012

Those words came to mind when we got involved with the sad plight of the Borden Place seniors. There are many commentaries on that verse in Psalms. But among the most interesting is that even a King like David has a right make a plea and call on the compassion not only of God but on his community. And that both should respond with compassion.
This phrase of the Psalmist has been a cornerstone of social justice whether one is religious or not. It has become an article of secular faith that we do not take advantage of the vulnerable. It is an article of moral conscience, that we care for those who paved the way for the benefits of life we enjoy today

 

Borden Place seniors caught in bureaucratic and legal nightmare CSDM forces evictions though judgment was only against operator.

By Beryl Wajsman on July 25, 2012

For the 20 tenants of the Borden Place Residence at 4635 Place Borden in NDG , the assisted living facility is a sweet taste of home. Though many are in their eighties and nineties, they are generally autonomous and mobile. The long-time staff gives them assistance whenever needed. It is like one big extended family.
After some 25 years in existence, the tenants had no reason to think that they could not live out their lives in this convivial and nurturing environment. Then money, courts and unfeeling bureaucracy fatefully conspired to turn their quiet lives into nightmares.   

Navi Pillay, butt out of Quebec!

By Beryl Wajsman on July 18, 2012

navi-pillay.jpgThe arrogant, breathtaking audacity of, pardon the expression, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, taking a swipe at Quebec’s Bill 78 as a cause of concern evidences again not only the UN’s never-ending readiness to take any shot at functioning democracies to balance off its cowardice in confronting tyrannies, but also the ignorance of its officials. Even at the highest levels.


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.


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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