Authors > Beryl Wajsman
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....
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.
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."
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.
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
When 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.
By Beryl Wajsman on October 19, 2012
In 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.
By Beryl Wajsman on October 19, 2012
Many 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Beryl Wajsman on July 18, 2012
The 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.
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.
By Beryl Wajsman on June 26, 2012
The problem with modern government is that everyone tries to do things by consensus and to give all parts of the whole a sense of importance. It doesn`t work.
In Quebec, what that produces - specifically in the case of the OQLF - is a bloated sense of self-importance resulting in actions that are not only injurious to the government as a whole, but to the citizens that government and those agencies are meant to serve. The latest broadside of the OQLF demanding that national and multinational companies add a French descriptor to their trade names is beyond reason.
By Beryl Wajsman on June 26, 2012
Quebec playwright and novelist Pierre K. Malouf has recently published an explosive book on one of the most controversial and divisive figures in the Quebec political scene. "Les faces cachées d'Amir Khadir" - "The Hidden Faces of Amir Khadir" - examines the Québec Solidaire MNA from Mercier from several perspectives.
The book, brought out by the independent publishing house called Accent Grave, is divided into two parts. The first examines Khadir's involvement in the boycott of a St. Denis St. shoe store called "Le Marcheur" because that store had the "audacity" to sell Israeli shoes among its products. Readers may remember this paper's leadership in supprt of Le Marcheur. Eventually, the street was taken back from Khadir and his cohorts, but they moved further down St.Denis to boycott a store selling exclusively Israeli producs called Naot.
By Beryl Wajsman on June 13, 2012
The sight of Montreal’s marchers giving Nazi salutes has gone viral around the world. These gangs of thugs have lost all credibility.
Yes, we know, some voices are calling for understanding of “context.” That these students were making a point that the police were fascists. Nonsense!
Justin Trudeau recently said in Parliament that the first party to invoke the Nazis or Hitler in a debate automatically loses. Memo to Montreal’s mad marchers: You lose!
By Beryl Wajsman on May 23, 2012
The current debate about Quebec’s Bill 78 and Montreal’s notional and nascent demonstration regulations, have opponents of both measures invoking the Charter. Well, Charter rights are not one-sided. It’s not just the students who have them. The students’ victims — all of us — have them too.
The reality of the current troubles is that a small group of students, probably positioning themselves for a future in politics, gave a large number of their cohorts a reason to party. In the streets, and at the expense of all citizens. In the course of two months, their demonstrations have involved criminal trespass, violent destruction of private property and collective intimidation of the two-thirds of students who want to study and complete their semesters. A massive, moveable rave snaking its way through our streets at a whim. Even union supporters of these paragons of radicalism cannot control them.
By Beryl Wajsman on May 18, 2012
The story of the abuse and humiliation of Abiner Lema and Stacey-Ann Philip by Montreal police underlines once again how critical it is that this city achieve what I call for in the title to this piece. Responsible authority.
An end must be brought to the aggression demonstrated by too many of our security officials, whether police or STM guards. The stories come in on a weekly basis. Yes, I know it is a minority of our security personnel that step out of line. But that minority is in danger of growing into a plurality.
By Beryl Wajsman on May 17, 2012
Monday night I went to city hall. Not as a journalist but as a citizen. To ask a question of the Mayor. I ran into a reporter friend of mine who asked me if I wasn’t worried about crossing the line. I asked, “What line? From writer to citizen? “ I said to him that if journalists give up their responsibilities of citizenship, they do no one any good. If the media truly want to be considered the fourth estate of government, then journalists must become in Malraux’s words “citoyens engagés.”
By Beryl Wajsman on March 30, 2012
The Ontario Court of Appeal decision in the Bedford case striking down that province’s anti-brothel laws should be celebrated for reasons far removed from the salacious. The decision, if properly interpreted nationally, would open the door for liberty not license. It is in that sense that it is important.
By Beryl Wajsman on March 23, 2012
The controversy over Halal chicken slaughtering by Olymel has ballooned into a series of debates on everything from animal cruelty to unfair pricing to unreasonable accommodation . Yet all these miss the central point. If a society wants to be called free, it cannot take upon itself the right to dictate to a private enterprise - that asks nothing from the state - how it should conduct its business. That is not freedom. That is statism. The arrogance that our public officials and commentators take upon themselves to intervene in private prerogative is not only unjust, it is dangerous. It leads to a society where demonization becomes the goal and disinformation the tool.
By Beryl Wajsman on March 15, 2012
A biographer of U.S. Supreme Court Justice and champion of civil liberties Louis D. Brandeis, once described him as a man with a “mind of one piece.” He took the phrase from Brandeis’ own teaching. The great jurist had tried to instill in his students, colleagues and indeed in public officials, the understanding that for the people to feel that their governors are dispensing justice there must be equity in the law. And for there to be equity there must be consistency. And for there to be consistency there must be reason. A holistic approach not only to the law, but to society as a whole. Reason, consistency, equity, justice.
Trudeau at Islamic Conference Ignores moderate Muslim Canadian Congress, states he “believes” in the people he sees
By Beryl Wajsman on March 13, 2012
So Justin Trudeau finally did speak to the "Reviving the Islamic Spirit" conference in Toronto yesterday while refusing to meet with representatives of the Muslim Canadian Congress and B'nai B'rith who expressed concern that this Conference had been taken over by Islamists.
Trudeau then attacks his critics for practising the politics of division while speaking to Islamists who have made division and exclusion the hallmarks of their public face without uttering a word about that.
By Beryl Wajsman on March 12, 2012
Short-term memory loss is normally considered a worrisome symptom. But for the companies that sell refined gasoline it is the greatest blessing. To us, the general public that is squeezed everyday by the power play at the pumps, it should be a source of shame. To be a citizen of a democracy requires responsibility. And part of that responsibility is be an educated consumer of public information. We need a populace that can remember the relationship of crude to pump as well as it does the stats of the local hockey heroes. If we don ‘t wake up soon, we won’t be able to afford those tickets to the Bell Centre.
By Beryl Wajsman on February 14, 2012
Today, we in Canada, are threatened with a new legal assault masquerading as a necessary protection against internet predators. The new Conservative legislation allowing security authorities access to information on personal computer use and cellphone conversations without reasonable cause nor necessity of warrant is nothing more than the imposition of constructs, and constraints, of social engineering driven by the proponents of of the politics of fear.
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
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.
By Beryl Wajsman on January 10, 2012
Ça fait trop longtemps que le Parti libéral essaie de définir le libéralisme comme un ensemble de pratiques comptables ou de positionnements politiques centristes. Le libéralisme ne peut pas réussir une fois réduit à une stratégie qui plaît à tout le monde. Le libéralisme n'est pas facile, il est difficile. Il est difficile parce qu'il représente surtout l'idéal dont son nom origine : la liberté. Le libéralisme et les libéraux réussissent quand les gens à trouver le courage de surmonter leurs craintes.
By Beryl Wajsman on December 16, 2011
We have to give credit where credit is due. When The Suburban’s publisher Michael Sochaczevski and I testified in front of Culture Minister Christine St-Pierre, and her commissioners, hearing testimony on the Payette Report that seeks to institute journalistic accreditation creating two classes of writers, we came with a long list of concerns. Not only those of The Suburban and The Métropolitain but also those of the 31 member Quebec Community Newspaper Association whom we represented.
By Beryl Wajsman on October 26, 2011
Ok, everybody gets it. Economic disparity between the wealthy and the workers is expanding at a faster rate than at any time in the post war period. We have seen the destruction of a free and fair market by rapacious corporate chieftains. But why occupy Wall St.? The problems do not lie in Wall St. or Bay St. and certainly not in Pace Victoria.
If these protestors really understood the markets, they would know that the stock exchanges are the great equalizers. No you can't beat the markets. But if you understand them, then a relatively small amount of money, properly invested, can produce a healthy supplementary income. People should pay as much attention to that as they do to sports.