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Restons vigilant face à l’islamisme protéiforme

By Pierre Brassard on September 15, 2013

Depuis plusieurs annees, le deploiement et l’installation de divers groupes islamistes au Canada et au Quebec suscitent des interrogations qui sont plus que legitimes.Cependant, il devrait y avoirdes principes forts pour nous guider comme« societe ouverte » pour y faire face avec encore plus de maturite. Invitation donc a un travail de longue haleine.

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.

Obama hits the pause button on Syria

By Robert Presser on September 7, 2013

Presser_Robert_new.jpgAfter intelligence evidence emerged that Bashar Assad had used chemical weapons on his people, the Obama administration ramped up its military presence in the Mediterranean and initiated efforts to build an international coalition to attack key strategic sites in Syria.  That was up until Friday August 30th.  On Saturday afternoon, Obama and VP Joe Biden appeared in the Rose Garden and announced that the administration would seek Congressional approval to use US forces to attack Syria.  A resolution was drafted and sent to Congress indicating that vital US security interests in the region are at stake, necessitating decisive action.

Syria: Playing the Waiting Game

By David T. Jones on September 7, 2013

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - Having yielded the Syria-missile strike portfolio to Congress, President Obama spent a few days in Russia for a G-20 meeting hosted by President Putin.
It might have been useful (albeit marginally) to meet with Putin over a range of bilateral issues on the periphery of the G-20.  However, the president, in what must be considered virtually a fit of sandbox-level pique, earlier cancelled their meeting when Putin’s provided sanctuary/refugee status to Edward Snowden, who stole and released massive amounts of highly classified U.S. electronic intelligence data and collection plans/techniques.

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.

Kristallnacht in Cairo--Prelude to a Christian Exodus?

By David T. Jones on August 28, 2013

Washington, DC - Kristallnacht or “crystal night” or “night of broken glass” identifies the German attack on Jones_David_bw_new.jpgJewish synagogues, properties, and homes on 9-10 November 1938.  Virtually every synagogue in Nazi Germany and recently annexed Austria was comprehensively destroyed; looted and/or burned with tens of thousands of Jews beaten, abused, and imprisoned.  Mercifully, the direct death toll was relatively small (officially 91), however, several thousand are believed to have committed suicide and/or died in the concentration camps, although most were released within a few months.  Those who remained went back to the camps and their deaths later.

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. 

Innovation, immigration and infrastructure

By Hon. Gerry Weiner on August 23, 2013

Weiner.jpgMost readers will recall the extensive coverage of the steps the Stephen Harper government took in launching the reform of Canada’s immigration system. There have also been a plethora of news stories about the critical need to finance the repair and modernization of deteriorating local infrastructure in Canada.. While these stories may seem unconnected, using innovative strategies to achieve the former may actually help solve the latter.
Examples of crumbling municipal infrastructure are becoming almost daily occurrences throughout Canada.

Beijing Commitment To :Reduce Dependency" On Organ Seizures Is Not Enough

By The Hon. David Kilgour on August 23, 2013

Kilgour_David_bw.jpgReuters news agency in Beijing reported on August 15 that the Chinese government has committed to “reduce dependency” on its longtime practice of seizing vital organs of prisoners for transplantation without setting a final deadline to end the commerce.
China is the only country on earth that systematically uses organs from persons convicted of capital offences and prisoners of conscience—usually convicted of nothing-- in transplant operations, a trafficking in organs that has drawn almost universal international condemnation. 

Martin Luther King and modern America’s defining moment

By John Parisella on August 23, 2013

Parisella.pngFifty years ago (August 28), Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his legacy “I have a dream” speech. Events are planned in Washington at the Lincoln Memorial, and elsewhere, commemorating this landmark address. Speakers are expected to highlight Dr. King’s philosophy for promoting change, how the civil rights movement and its accomplishments defined modern America, and the work that remains to be done. President Barack Obama will speak, honoring the work of Dr. King.
Five years ago, the Democratic Party chose as its nominee, Barack Obama, who went on to become the first African-American president. Hope and change were in the air. 

An attack against Egyptian Society

By Rev. Majid El-Shafie on August 23, 2013

El_Shafie.jpgAs the situation in Egypt continues to unfold, the evening news continues to bring you stories of how hundreds of people have been killed over the past few days by Egyptian security forces firing live rounds against “peaceful demonstrators”. We cannot stress enough that we are against killing – we do not rejoice in the killing of any human being and certainly not innocent civilians. Moreover, we are not against Muslims – we are opposed to extremists. With this in mind, the news reports require some context and background.

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.” 

It’s time to legalize

By Dylan Jones on August 15, 2013

Jones_Dylan.jpgThe legalization of marijuana is our generation’s answer to the prohibition of alcohol.  Although the true rate of marijuana use among North American adults varies depending on who’s asking, it is generally accepted that a substantial portion of the population uses, has used or will use marijuana at some point.  A good indicator of this is the recent decisions by the Washington and Colorado electorates to legalize marijuana in those states.  Marijuana is also legal in Portugal, Uruguay and the Netherlands.  Despite its high usage, legislators around the world and here in Canada have clung to the notion that marijuana should remain illegal.  Their position is outdated and must change.

THE MONTREAL ARTS CENTRE: A NEW KIND OF “INCUBATOR”

By Alan Hustak on August 13, 2013

IMG_0438.JPGBusiness discipline and artistic creativity produce unique marriage.

In business, the word “incubator” has become synonymous with investors taking a chance on hi-tech start-ups. The partnerships have worked so well they have been responsible for some of the most important technological advances. It’s rarely been tried in the art world. Now Montreal is home to one of these unique experiments.

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.

L’union européenne brouille les cartes et s’embrouille avec Israël

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on July 30, 2013

Freddy_Eytan.JPGA chaque fois que le processus de paix avec les Palestiniens pietine ou se trouve  dans une impasse, nous entendons a Bruxelles le meme son de cloche. Comme de coutume, la commission europeenne prefere entendre un seul son, et dans ce cas, il est bien difficile, voire quasiment impossible de juger equitablement toutes les parties dans ce conflit. Depuis plusieurs decennies nous nous sommes  habitues au  jugement partial, aux lecons de morale et a des avertissements, mais cette fois-ci, le double jeu est si transparent qu’il l’emporte sur la realite quotidienne. Avec maladresse, l’Union europeenne a brule les etapes du processus de paix, a brouille les cartes et a inflige un camouflet injustifie a Israel et aux Americains.    

Tragedy and Leadership

By John Parisella on July 12, 2013

Parisella.pngIn the past few days, U.S. media networks have been reporting on the tragic events in Lac Mégantic, Québec, where a runaway, unmanned train carrying crude oil from North Dakota (73 wagons) barreled through a quiet tourist village of 6,000 inhabitants, derailed and exploded, leaving devastation in its trail.  At the time of this writing, the entire downtown area had been decimated—15 people are reported dead and close to 40 missing. This will surely rank among the most heartbreaking tragedies in Canadian history.  The events have since galvanized Canadians from coast to coast to offer heartfelt encouragement to the tiny village of Lac Mégantic and its inhabitants who are coping with this unspeakable horror.

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. 

About love

By Jill Salomon on July 8, 2013

For some strange reason, I have not had a relationship in seven years. This last relationship was not even Salomon_Jill.jpga good relationship. It was on again, off eight months. It was with a man who could not communicate his thoughts or feelings. If ever he did, it was purely physical. Men are like that.

I was not one to constantly say "what are you thinking".  That is a very big mistake, as the answer is usually a frustrating..."nothing...why?."
I crave communication. I need to understand and be understood.  I think that is the basis for any good relationship.

Spiking rates: A Wake-up call?

By David Lisbona on July 8, 2013

Lisbona_David.jpgA simple spike in rates
That’s all that did it. A jump of the rate on the U.S. 10-year from somewhere in the 1.80% range to slightly above 2.10% and sure enough it was as if someone turned off the music and you had to find a chair.

Many investing folks didn’t really appreciate the move and the resulting sentiment change was noteworthy. 

So what happened?

Two Popes In The Footprints Of Two Saints

By Father John Walsh on July 8, 2013

father_walsh.jpgIn the early Jesus movement a serious dispute arose between Peter and Paul.  Paul held that the new Gentile converts would not be required to be circumcised.  A Council was called in Jerusalem to address the problem.  In the letter to the Galatians commentators have described the confrontation of Peter by Paul as one where the sparks were flying.  The issues:  Are Gentile converts to be circumcised?  And what about following the Mosaic Law?

The pertinent record of the Council is found in the Acts of the Apostles chapters 10 and 15.

 

Démocratie arabe et l’Islam politique

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on July 6, 2013

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJerusalem, Israel - L’Egypte plonge vers l’inconnu et l’incertitude s’aggrave dans la tourmente. Nous ne pouvons apporter ni contribution ni intervenir, et laissons donc les Egyptiens decider eux memes de leur propre avenir.
Certes, nous suivons les evenements en cours avec inquietude et nous avons l’impression que dans ce theatre de l’absurde nous assistons a une repetition de la chute de Moubarak. Il est incontestable que l’armee joue un role crucial et unique dans un monde arabe en ebullition. Contrairement a la Syrie les militaires en Egypte sont avec le peuple. Ils sont avant tout des patriotes sachant parfaitement maitriser la situation mais aussi savent diviser pour regner. 

Blown Away at Musée Des Beaux-Arts Montréal: “Chihuly Un Univers à Couper Le Souffle”

By Robert K. Stephen on July 6, 2013

stephen_robert.jpgWho would have thought of being blown away by gaffer extraordinaire Dale Chihuly at Montréal’s Musée Des Beaux-Arts? A gaffer blows glass and such glass is on display! Incredibly complex colours and not merely glass objects but installations of fantasy and colour. Dale Chihuly was born in Tacoma, Washington in 1941 and has left a creative trail behind him over the years. If you are familiar with Italy’s Murano glass you might be getting an idea of what Chihuly is all about except he has taken Murano to another level. There is no doubt in my mind Chihuly is a creative genius and spend 45 minutes admiring his installations you’ll be so gorged with in your face artistic sensuality there is absolutely no point in visiting the rest of the Museé because it would be a senseless sensory overload.

A SHOUT OUT TO YOUTH

By Father John Walsh on July 6, 2013

father_walsh.jpgIt is time to take off the gloves.
I find you are amazing the world with your innovations, making incredible strides in so many fields of endeavour, and you are greatly respectful of all that is genuinely human.   You have created a new enthusiasm for the protection of our planet, you want creation to flourish, and you have a true desire for peace.   You are forging new roads where no one has travelled.  You want the planet to be sustainable.  You belong to this world.  You venture into the unexplored mystery of life on the planet earth and in the unfolding mysteries in the universes beyond our planet.   You are not shutting your eyes to the world around you.  You are secular, and that means, in its full sense, world-centered.

Another Look at the Snowden Saga

By David T. Jones on July 6, 2013

Jones_David_bw_new.jpgIndeed, the panting media pursuit into the summer media doldrums suggests that what is a serious (alleged) criminal action and massive breach of USG intelligence security is devolving into farce.  (Oh where, oh where will poor Edward find a place to lay his (allegedly) traitorous – or is it heroic?—head on a semi-permanent basis?)
First, the secret flight to Hong Kong; then followed by the adroit exit flight to Moscow (during which the Hong Kong officials managed to locate technical flaws in USG extradition documents preventing action against Snowden).  And now…Moscow.

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.

A Third-Way out of the Syrian Impasse

By Rouba al-Fattal on June 26, 2013

Al-Fatal_Ruba.jpgOttawa- The latest move by President Obama to arm Syrian rebel groups is a clear indication that his administration is wandering aimlessly in the dark when it comes to the Syrian crisis. But as most political analysts can tell you, arming rebels in these types of conflicts is a doubled-edged sword.
One might then ask, is there an alternative to arming the rebels, or should the US just stand idly by and do nothing while thousands of innocent people are killed every day in this conflict? Framing the questions in this black-and-white fashion, either support for Assad or for the Syrian rebels, is not only misleading but unproductive. There is a third-way solution to the Syrian crisis which, at first glance, might appear so simple that it gets overlooked.

Life is short. Stand tall!

By Jill Salomon on June 26, 2013

Salomon_Jill.jpgA week of grey skies,, cold temperatures and rain in Montreal.  Not the best spring that we are having.   It has gotten to me. It has gotten to a lot of other people as well.
There are no backyard bar -b-que smells. The parks are empty. People are holed up in their homes, waiting for the Spring. The real spring.  The sunny skies and the terasses.  Walking up on the mountain. Strolling through old Montreal. Taking bike rides, motocycle rides, going up to the laurentians. Or just sitting on a park bench watching the people go by.

Of Water, Zionism, and Indigenous Rights

By Ryan Bellerose on June 26, 2013

An organization called Justice for Palestinians (JfP) is attempting to organize, in conjunction with the Council of Canadians, a public conference titled Indigenous Perspectives on Water: Canada and Palestine. The objective is clearly to portray Palestinian and native rights issues as one and the same.  Indeed, it has come to my attention that JFP is seeking a native speaker to participate in the conference and, ideally, one from Idle No More (INM), a native rights movement in which I have been active.  

"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.

Will we ever have legal “clarity” on secession? The Dion-Turp debate

By William Johnson on June 16, 2013

johnson_william.jpgOn May 19, 1994, Jacques Parizeau addressed the National Assembly: “We are a state that subscribes to the rule of law. Canada and Quebec are not banana republics. There is the law. There is the Constitution. There is international law. And we have all been elected to defend the rule of law.”
Wonderful statement, even if Mr. Parizeau did not always practice what he preached. But there is a problem: for the rule of law to be in effect, the citizens must have a clear understanding of what the law requires. That is anything but the case in Canada, in Quebec, when the issue is secession.

“Esimésac” - A Mythical Québec Collective Defeats Railroad Industrialization

By Robert K. Stephen on June 16, 2013

stephen_robert.jpgEsimesac has bizarre elements of “Mad Max”, “The Exorcist” and Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian”. Suffice to say it’s a Quebec quasi-mythical film possibly set in the First World War era but with mythology past and present intertwined it could be “anytime”. And there are no clear temporal boundaries here which make it all the more transcendent. Pay attention to the two appearances of the Quebec flag. With increasing industrialization the flag looks much more tattered in its second appearance.


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