Authors > Beryl Wajsman

Beryl Wajsman

JFK: 50 YEARS AFTER – WHY HE STILL MATTERS

By Beryl Wajsman on November 19, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThere could be no more poignant day to remind us all that submission to this bodyguard of lies is not a strategy against existential threat. A threat that has been driven as a stake into the hearts of almost every western capital over the past dozen years.
During Kennedy’s Presidency Europe threats of similar magnitude, though of different origin. Kennedy went to Berlin to address that threat and to send a message to the enemies of freedom. On a glorious June day in 1963, some five months before his murder, he delivered his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” address in Rudolph Wilde Platz facing the then recently constructed Berlin Wall. 

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. 

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.

The “Values Charter”: A different perspective

By Beryl Wajsman on September 9, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgLet’s put aside for a few moments all the pros and cons of the PQ’s proposed “Values Charter.” Enough has been written, with sufficient passion, on all sides. But what has not been sufficiently debated, even by those who favor this proposal, are the optical, tactical and legal errors of its presentation.  We need to say something about that now.
It is important to look at these errors because even the fiercest opponents of the PQ have generally given it credit for knowing how to manipulate its agenda even if it sometimes did so on the edges of reason and regulation. The handling of this “values” issue has been so absurdly managed, that reasonable people may question the fundamental motives behind it.

Not The Time To Let Our Guard Down

By Beryl Wajsman on September 7, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgAs heartening as it was to hear that Premier Marois realizes that passage of Bill 14 is now unlikely and that it may well die in committee, we would caution that this is not the moment to let down our guard. We can indulge in cautious optimism, but we must keep up the pressure. One thing that we can be happy about. Engagement works and community matters! Decisions can be influenced. But you can’t leave it up to the few. The few can’t defend the many alone forever. But events of the past ten months culminating in the Premier’s statement prove that the few can succeed with the help of us all.

The day hope lived "Today we commemorate, tomorrow we agitate!"

By Beryl Wajsman on August 27, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgOn this day  fifty years ago, America witnessed the largest public manifestation for the dignity of mankind it had ever seen. The March  on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, led by The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw 250,000 people descend on the Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Black and white, men and women, old and young, all faiths and all creeds. On that day we heard Dr. King deliver what is arguably the greatest piece of oratory in the English language. "I have a dream!" he thundered. And we all dreamt the same dream. No one -  even if they were a child - who saw or heard it was left unmoved or unchanged. The words and the spirit swept us up on gossamer wings. 

The Ellingtons:Weaving a tapestry of iconic music and social witness

By Beryl Wajsman on August 20, 2013

ellingtons.jpgOver the years, I have found that serendipity should never be dismissed. It often produces the most remarkable surprises. And signals paths forward.
Several months ago I was invited to speak at a celebration of Rev. Darryl Gray’s thirty years in ministry. Soon after I spoke, an elegant woman shared memories of her encounters with “The Rev.” Her style and eloquence were from another era, and the applause after she spoke was so loud that I only heard the last syllable of her name. “Ton.” 

Enough! We have a right to be human!

By Beryl Wajsman on August 13, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgTwo weeks ago it was a student sitting on the grass. Last week a woman putting out her garbage two hours early. Next week someone will throw a cigarette butt or candy wrapper on the road. What connects all these incidents? Massive fines that go up to $692 per incident that many cannot afford to pay. This has to stop!



The right to be let alone

By Beryl Wajsman on July 30, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgAs we enter what we hope is a quiet period in Quebec’s political landscape, it is time to reflect on the turbulence we have gone through over the past eight months. Pastagate, Pastrygate, Spoongate and all the other “gates.” But what is the common thread that binds all these egregious violations of private prerogative? What was the most injurious prejudice to our social contract? It was the constant and unceasing violations of the central right of free people everywhere that Justice Brandeis declared in the quote above. The right of every individual to be let alone.

Megantic - Let's focus on what's really important!

By Beryl Wajsman on July 12, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgWhenever a tragedy happens, there seems to be a default question. Who's to blame? Though that's critical, might we suggest a new default question. How can we help?
We seem to be mature enough to ask that second question whenever there are tragedies caused by nature's fate. But when tragedies happen through error, we almost need reassurance that something - anything - will be done to avoid it happening again. But there is no assurance of that. That's why the word "accident" is still in the dictionary. 

My Canada Includes Quebec

By Beryl Wajsman on July 2, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThere has been a troubling undercurrent recently by some in the non-francophone communities that proposes that one is either a Canadian or a Quebecois. This proposition is historically inaccurate, morally reprehensible and patently hateful. It evidences a rejection of our history, an ignorance of our laws and a disdain for the truth. My Canada includes Quebec!
It includes Quebec not merely as a physical territory, but as a moral patrimony. A patrimony which if lost, would leave Canadian values bereft of the best of us.

The Meaghan Moran Affair: Reaping a poisonous whirlwind

By Beryl Wajsman on June 28, 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgSo young Meaghan Moran, a 17-year-old part-time employee at a South Shore IGA supermarket, has become the latest victim in the ongoing babel about protecting French language and culture in Quebec. And yes we meant to spell babel just that way. Read on. Because this time it's different.
It's different because Meaghan is a victim not of some snooping inspector or some "denonciation anonyme," but of a store supervisor who told her that Quebec law did not allow her to speak anything but French even in the employees' room of the workplace, and that in any case if anything other than French was allowed "ghettos" would be created among the employees. Rubbish of course.

"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.


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
La Patrie