Authors > Beryl Wajsman

Beryl Wajsman

Corporations should just say no to the OQLF

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.

"Les faces cachées d'Amir Khadir" The new faces of the old fears

By Beryl Wajsman on June 26, 2012

les_faces_cashes.jpgQuebec 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.

 

Memo to Montreal’s mad marchers: Nazi salutes? You lose!

By Beryl Wajsman on June 13, 2012

 

nazi_salute.jpgThe 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!

 

Charter rights don’t just belong to the students

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.

The urgency for responsible authority. Pause if there is no cause

By Beryl Wajsman on May 18, 2012

 

IMG_1307.JPGThe 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.

 

An evening at city hall

By Beryl Wajsman on May 17, 2012

city_hall.jpgMonday 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.”

The Bedford decision: For liberty not license

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.

Olymel and Halal: Private prerogative must trump public interference

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.

Time for a nation of one piece

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. 

 

Power play at the pumps

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. 

Big Brother Canadian Style - Too much law, too little justice

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.

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.

Pour la restoration de l'exceptionnalisme libérale

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.

The Fight Against The Payette Plan: A community protected, a battle won, a campaign continued

By Beryl Wajsman on December 16, 2011

image001.jpgWe 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.


Occupy What?

By Beryl Wajsman on October 26, 2011

occupy_what_01.jpgOk, 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.

To revive our courage to loathe - 9/11 - Ten Years LAter

By Beryl Wajsman on October 26, 2011

No, this is not another essay about the abomination of the modern theocratic kamikazes of the Middle East and why we must remember 9/11 because of them. Enough has been written about that. Legitimacy or condemnation, applause or denunciation, they seem to all assume a single phenomenon at issue: killing for a cause, strategic murder. However, they sadly miss the point. These are very different activities indeed. A new manifestation of an old evil was loosed upon the world that day 10 years ago.

Both sides wrong

By Beryl Wajsman on October 10, 2011

The excuse used by Mayor William Steinberg to justify the inclusion of the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur in existing Hampstead anti-noise by-laws was damaging and wrong-headed. Statutory holidays on which municipal workers don’t work is one thing. But to overlay that with a veneer of religion to satisfy specific groups is quite something else. Freedom of religion, in the words of James Madison, is also freedom from religion. The idea is to live and let live. Allow the broadest possible latitude in which everyone can fend for themselves. Religious strictures should never be imposed by any governmental authority.

Capitalism’s insurance not citizens’ ‘entitlements’

By Beryl Wajsman on August 26, 2011

The global economic crisis has led many commentators and politicians to engage in heated debate over the appropriate balance between increasing government revenues and decreasing government spending. With sovereign debt in doubt throughout the west, the debate is sorely needed. But what is not needed is the hijacking of language and the misrepresentation of the issues that flow from that act by placing the vulnerable among us at the greatest risk.

Election analysis: Pourquoi le libéralisme est important

By Beryl Wajsman on June 10, 2011

20110609_05.jpgIl semble que l’élément le plus important à retenir de la dernière élection fédérale soit le supposé renouveau de la gauche. En fait, cet élément est un non-événement. Il n'y a pas eu de renouveau de la gauche. On tente ainsi de démontrer que le succès du NPD est d’abord un phénomène québécois enveloppé dans une «énigme» du Québec. On tente aussi de nous faire croire que ces élections signifient un pays divisé et désespérément polarisé entre une droite récalcitrante et une gauche autocrate. Et pourtant, les raisons sont toutes autres : la fatigue des Québécois pour la séparation et l’incapacité pour les libéraux de rallier les Canadiens à travers un message authentique.

 

Theodore Bikel and the soundtrack of our lives

By Beryl Wajsman on June 10, 2011

IMG_0900_01.jpgSome things stay with you. More importantly, some people do. They become part of the fabric of who you are. The memory of their piercing glare, their defiant words, their resonant voice and their courageous acts rally your resolve whenever it weakens. It is not even the stirring of memory, for their images never really leave you. Theodore Bikel is all that and more. For in his case there is music, and what music. It is the soundtrack of our lives.


Why liberalism matters

By Beryl Wajsman on May 4, 2011

The biggest story about the supposed resurgent left in this election is that there is no story. Nor is there a resurgent left. 
What most current discussion misses in covering the NDP is that the party's success was an overwhelmingly Quebec phenomenon wrapped in a Quebec enigma. It had nothing to do with a nation divided against itself hopelessly polarized between a recalcitrant right and a statocratic left. It had everything to do with Quebecers fatigue with separation and Liberals failure to connect with Canadians through an authentic message.

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. »

The image of eviction

By Beryl Wajsman on February 24, 2011

eviction.jpgThis is one of those stories without a good guy or a bad guy. Just victims. And the cushion of comfort between the fortunate and the vulnerable is filled with a good deal of luck.This past Monday morning I received an e-mail about an eviction. It was from a neighbor of the unfortunate tenant. By the time I arrived on the quiet block of duplexes in Cote St-Luc the bailiff and police had gone. All that was left were the worldly possessions of the tenant neatly stacked on the street as you can see in the picture.

A wake up call for Quebec

By Beryl Wajsman on February 21, 2011

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier’s weekend comments calling Bill 101 unnecessary are a clarion call of courage and candour. We should be rallying around those sentiments. Bernier spoke truth to myth and emerged as a new patron saint of reason. He should be lionized not vilified as he has been in much of the Quebec press. He has opened the door to a much needed debate on a heretofore taboo subject. It is a wake up call for this province and perhaps a last chance to turn Quebec toward the politics of respect, justice and equality. 

Le rapport Payette: Un autre affront à la liberté d'expression

By Beryl Wajsman on February 16, 2011

Au-delà d’un an, Dominique Payette, une ancien journaliste et maintenant professeure à l'Université de Montréal, a été mandatée par la Ministre de la culture Christine St-Pierre pour étudier des façons dont les médias dans les régions du Québec et les médias indépendantes dans les villes pourraient être aidés à l’ère des nouvelles technologies. Son rapport final, présenté la semaine dernière, est allé bien au-delà de son mandat. En fait, c'est le plus grand affront à la liberté d'expression depuis les lois linguistiques. Ça mérite un rejet retentissant.

Boycott this!

By Beryl Wajsman on February 16, 2011

DSCN0807.JPGAinsi, une partie des puissantes forces "progressives" du Québec ont décidé de boycotter les produits et les compagnies israéliens en raisonde « l’apartheid politique" d'Israël. Simplement de l’hypocrisie et une ruse. Par leurs mots et leurs actions elle a démontré, en folie et en honte, le vrai visage de cette partie de la société « civile » du Québec qui tout en déclarant hardiment sa propre « différence », est vraiment hanté par un doute de soi-même poussé par une jalousie des croyances individuelles des autres.


La CSST: Le mauvais tempérament de l’époque au Québec

By Beryl Wajsman on December 27, 2010

Les événements en société sont connexes. Parfois indirectement. Parfois ils reflètent simplement le tempérament de l’époque. Mais c'est pour cette raison que ceux qui affectent ce tempérament, ceux qui ont un poste politique important, doivent être imputables quand ils pratiquent la politique de l'annulation.

Des parlementaires du monde entier émettent une déclaration sur l'antisémitisme: Cotler mène la CILA à un accord historique

By Beryl Wajsman on December 27, 2010

icca.jpgDes parlementaires de six continents étaient sur place pour émettre le Protocole d'Ottawa - un document qui représente la coopération globale dans la lutte contre l'antisémitisme à la fin de la deuxième conférence de la Coalition interparlementaire de lutte contre l’antisémitisme (CILA), cofondé par le député de Mont-Royal Irwin Cotler. La conférence était la plus grande de sa sorte, et a donné l'occasion pour que les délégués puissent explorer des données et échanger sur les meilleures manières de combattre l'antisémitisme autour du monde. La CILA rassemble 46 pays et plus de 250 parlementaires du  monde entier pour mener le combat contre la résurgence de l'antisémitisme global. 

A moveable feast

By Beryl Wajsman on December 27, 2010

WedNit3_small.jpgSome thirty years ago, Diana and David Nicholson opened their storied home at 33 Rosemount Avenue in Westmount for conversations with friends every Wednesday night. Those  conversations grew into a Montreal tradition that rivals the most influential political and literary salons of Washington, London or Paris. Almost every leader from the worlds of politics, finance, medicine, science, academia and any other vocation you can think of have passed through their warm and welcoming doors.

 

Supreme Court compromises home privacy

By Beryl Wajsman on December 1, 2010

 

We have all heard the expression that a “person’s home is their castle.” It is more than a saying. It has for hundreds of years been incorporated into the body of our laws. Clearly one can understand that there are certain exceptions. If we hear some horrible scream or smell or smoke coming from our neighbour’s home or apartment we would be irresponsible not to call the appropriate authorities and they would be perfectly right to come and investigate. But how do you feel about information collected about you through the endless panoply of wires and meters governing our abodes being handed over to public security authority? A great danger we think. Yet that is what the Supreme Court has opened the door to.

 

Words do matter: Time to end the waste of so many

By Beryl Wajsman on November 4, 2010

A local media ad campaign has used the slogan “words matter” for some time. Sadly that is not getting through to our intelligentsia. Words should matter and we shouldn’t waste so much time arguing what language they are spoken in.

SORENSEN

By Beryl Wajsman on November 4, 2010

JFK.jpgSo often today, throughout the free nations of the West, we seek leadership. Not simply the elected kind that confuses bookkeeping with boldness and social engineering with social progress. We seek the kind of leadership that with clarity, candour and courage gives us confidence in ourselves and realistic hope for our nation. The kind of leadership that dares to care, refuses to merely run between the raindrops and does not let focus groups and polls determine its vision and values. This week one of the last ties to one of the last such leaders died. Theodore Chaikin Sorensen passed away at the age of eighty-two from complications of a stroke.

Pour une limite raisonnable au vertu

By Beryl Wajsman on September 9, 2010

Depuis l'époque de la Prohibition des années 1920, l'histoire récente nous démontre que les tentatives de l'État de s'employer à l'ingénierie sociale sont vouées à l'échec. L'homme aura toujours ce qu'il veut; et ce faisant, affermira le soi-disant élément criminel parmi nous.
Des lois relatives aux drogues sont des lois qui n'ont pas lieu d'exister. Depuis Trudeau, les gouvernements se succédant ont tenté, et ont échoué face à une opposition virulente d'une droite rétrograde, de les radier des livres. Jusqu'à présent, les lois régissant les armes à feu auront coûté plus d'un milliard de dollars, sans commission d'enquête, et sont futiles puisque les criminels ne déclarent pas leurs armes. Faut-il une ruade pour que nos législateurs comprennent une réalité pourtant bien simple?

 


Editorial Staff

Beryl P. Wajsman

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