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“Fortaleza do Guincho, A Gorgeous Chunk of Portugal”

By Robert K. Stephen on March 16, 2013

If you are looking for a gorgeous chunk of Portugal you really must stay at the Fortaleza do Guincho situated in the Sintra Cascais Nature Reserve some 10 minutes away from Cascais, the trendy resort suburb of Lisbon.. This is not a hotel as most of you will know a hotel. It is a small hotel within an old fort perched on a cliff overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic. It is part of the Relais & Chateaux brand dictating strict standards of luxury accommodation and food.

Tom Flanagan and Death by Political Correctness

By David T. Jones on March 16, 2013

jones_david.jpgThus Tom Flanagan’s musing, off topic response to a Q&A, regarding whether viewing (not creating, circulating, let alone participating/implementing) child pornography/pedophilia justified a prison sentence has destroyed his career.  Virtually instantly CBC dropped him as a commentator and the University of Alberta announced his retirement.  So toxic is his name that reportedly an article he coauthored on a totally different political topic was withdrawn from publication--even when Flanagan offered to remove his name from the article.


HABEMUS PAPAM

By Father John Walsh on March 16, 2013

father_walsh.jpg

The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes from or where it goes; so it is with every person who is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8)  A puff of white smoke!  A new Pope!  Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, becomes leader of the Roman Catholic Church.  On the balcony overlooking Saint Peter’s Square he addresses the people of the world.  His first words are memorable. In times of uncertainty, disruption, division, and alienation, he offers the image of a “camina,” a walk, pilgrims together, and then, spontaneously he includes all people of good will with the faithful. 

 

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.

CRITIQ launch draws near record numbers opposed to Marois' policies

By P.A. Sévigny on March 13, 2013

critiq_01.jpg

"Canadian rights in Quebec are in jeopardy," group warns, " and maybe it's time for a Maple Spring."

In what many have called the largest gathering against discriminatory Quebec acts that curtail civil rights since Premier Bourassa used the notwithstanding clause in 1989,some 800 people crowded into the downtown Delta Hotel in order to attend a conference staged by CRITIQ ( Canadian Rights in Quebec.) CRITIQ is a broad alliance of anglophones, allophones and francophones dedicated to ensuring that constitutionally enshrined Canadian civil rights - particularly with respect to language - are respected in Quebec.

 

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.

PITY THE FRANCOPHONE PARENT IN QUEBEC! The language of education in Quebec - why does the majority continue to favour the minority?

By John N. Buchanan on March 13, 2013

Ever since the PQ returned to power (and in the election campaign beforehand) language has been back on the political agenda.  A draft law with new provisions to bill 101 is presently before the National Assembly,  proposing to tighten the language rules for businesses with at least 26 employees (down from 50) and requiring CEGEPs to give priority to English students first before granting spots to francophones.  In addition, the proposed law -  in a perverse way - guarantees that any French employee cannot be fired because they are unilingual, raising the spectre of an endless parade before the tribunals of wrongful dismissal cases, based on language, and a fear amongst businesses of hiring unilinguals.

Realities facing Scotland and Quebec are worlds apart

By Jim Wilson on March 13, 2013

Scotland has many historical links with Quebec .Montreal, with its street names and institutions, provides signposts to that past. Despite the connections, in their quest for independence the two are literally and metaphorically oceans apart. Quebec’s additional difficulties compared to those facing Scotland are numerous; in politics, history, culture or geography, there are substantial differences. However, in the crucial matter of the economy, both face similar challenges.

Agnès Maltais’ aborted pilgrimage to Ottawa

By William Johnson on March 13, 2013

william_johnson.jpgWas it symbolic? Quebec’s labour minister Agnès Maltais took a plane to the national capital Monday but was unable to land. The airport tarmac was covered with freezing rain making a landing dangerous.
The Quebec minister flew to confront Diane Finley, the federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. Maltais insists that Ottawa doesn’t understand Quebec’s labour market. She came intending to set Finley straight and insist that the reformed program for employment insurance that went into effect in January be rewritten to suit Quebec. In fact, the policy of the Quebec government is to demand the total transfer of employment insurance to Quebec, as part of “la gouvernancesouverainiste.”

 

A Native and a Zionist

By Ryan Bellerose on March 13, 2013

I am a Métis from Northern Alberta. My father, Mervin Bellerose, co-authored the Métis Settlements Act of 1989, which was passed by the Alberta legislature in 1990 and cemented our land rights. I founded Canadians For Accountability, a native rights advocacy group, and I am an organizer and participant in the Idle No More movement in Calgary. And I am a Zionist. 

Let me tell you why.

 

Obama en Israël- amitiés et réalités

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on March 13, 2013

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJerusalem - Le Président des Etats-Unis sera reçu en grande pompe et avec tous les égards dus à la politesse et les respects du protocole. C'est naturel et normal pour accueillir le chef de la plus grande puissance de la planète, celui qui nous dicte l'ordre du jour mondial.
Obama a enfin choisi Israël pour marquer son premier voyage officiel à l'étranger. Il avait manqué le rendez-vous historique lors du précédent mandat et sans doute a commis une erreur stratégique en préférant le Caire à Jérusalem.

Mulcair’s Folly

By Akil Alleyne on March 11, 2013

alleyne_akyl.jpgNew York - In my last comment in these pages, I cautioned federalists against allowing the Parti Québécois’ underwhelming 2012 election performance to lull them into complacency. Even with a mere minority government, the Péquistes will pounce on any political friction between Quebec and the rest of Canada, the better to roll the referendum dice again. There is no telling what developments may so offend Quebecers as to make a third referendum a realistic possibility. Separatism has appeared to go into terminal decline before and yet still experienced frightening resurgences, usually with little or no warning. It is exactly when separatist sentiment is at low ebb that federalists should prepare a strategy for dealing with the threat if it ever rears its head again.

Our Soldiers' Children

By Colin Standish on March 11, 2013

Standish.jpgWhen I think of Bill 14, I think of Sandra. Sandra goes to the English-language Dollard-des- Ormeaux (D.D.O.) school just off Valcartier military base near Quebec City. When I met her, she emotionally asked why she would have to change schools and lose her friends. Her father serves in the military and was wounded in Afghanistan. She lives with her mother, her parents separated partly due to the strain of post-traumatic stress after her father returned from combat. Now, one of the few constants in her life, her elementary school and close friends, could be taken away by Bill 14.

Beware of Quebec`s revisionist history

By Jim Wilson on March 11, 2013

One of Quebec’s recent educational musings is to consider revising the History course presently been taught in schools. Revamping and revising school curriculum should be part of ongoing educational practice; however, when a history course is being changed it requires great scrutiny, for no other course is more susceptible to a government’s manipulation. The oft quoted statement that ‘history is written by the victors ’ can be challenged; history, as  taught in schools, is written not by the victors, but by governments, who have control of the curriculum content, the text books, and the examination format.  

Obama, the Sequel: What is the standard of success for his second term?

By Robert Presser on March 11, 2013

Presser_Robert_new.jpgNo one does an inauguration like the Americans, and it is a marvelous spectacle to watch.  What made it even more memorable was the progressive, liberal bent to his inaugural address that included a broad range of initiatives from gun control to gay marriage to the preservation of Medicare and Medicaid. Whether you agree with that agenda or not, the fight with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on all of these issues, perhaps concurrently, will make for a hyperactive 2013 agenda and keep the political class fully engaged.  What is not so clear is how Obama intends to deal with legacy issues from his first term on which he was barely engaged at worst (like the budget debate) or leading from behind (Libya, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, you get the picture).

The Papacy Part III: The Church in Quebec

By Father John Walsh on March 11, 2013

father_walsh.jpgAttention has been riveted on Rome since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.  The possible election of Cardinal Marc Ouellet, a native of Quebec, may even distract Quebecers from the reality of the Church of Quebec which was recently addressed by the Assembly of the Bishops of Quebec.  The title of their letter to Catholics in Quebec is entitled, Catholics in a Pluralist Quebec (January 2013).  It serves as a reminder that the Catholic Church is essentially a grass-roots church.  The Church is built upon the lived experience of faith expressed in local ecclesial communities, commonly known as parishes. 

The Papacy – Part II: Who Is Knocking On The Pope's Door?

By Father John Walsh on March 3, 2013

Will the next Pope be from the Americas, Europe, or Africa?  Speculation is growing exponentially about who the future occupant of the papal residence will be.  More so for us in Quebec with the mention that a Canadian Cardinal, a Quebecker, Marc Ouellet, is in the running!  The other names on the list are several in number and not known by many outside of Italy or South America or Ghana.  The choice will be made shortly but while waiting I recall a priest I knew as a teen-ager, Father Wally Sutton.  

S’assurer que les entreprises canadiennes soient à la fine pointe

By Marc Garneau on February 28, 2013

GarneauMarc_Lib.jpgLe Canada a besoin d’être bien positionné pour l’avenir. Et en ce moment ce n’est pas le cas.

Le Canada c’est sorti de la pire crise économique, entre autre, grâce à l’abondance de ses ressources naturelles. Mais une trop grande dépendance vis-à-vis celles-ci pourrait s’avérer dangereux puisque notre économique dépendrait alors de la fluctuation des marchés. Nous avons besoin d’une économie diversifiée et compétitive dans plusieurs secteurs différents. Dans le secteur manufacturier, dans les secteurs de l’économie du savoir aussi bien que dans le développement des ressources naturelles.

 

L’Europe et le « Parti d’Allah »

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on February 16, 2013

Freddy_Eytan.JPGLe Hezbollah a été créé en 1982 juste après la Première guerre du Liban. Plus de cinq mille Iraniens membres des « Gardiens de la révolution »  se sont installés dans la région de Baalbek au Liban pour « remporter la victoire d’Allah ». L’idéologie est claire : la révolution islamique devrait s’installer dans tout le Moyen-Orient balayant ainsi les monarchies arabes et chassant les Sionistes de toute la Palestine et notamment de Jérusalem !
Pour aboutir à son objectif, le Hezbollah emploie des méthodes de terreur et de terrorisme contre des cibles occidentales, israéliennes et juives. Depuis 1983, le Hezbollah a enregistré des dizaines d’attentats spectaculaires, des prises d’otages, et des missions suicidaires à travers toute la planète.  

Henriette Dessaulles (1860 – 1946) : ces petites choses de notre Histoire.

By Louise V. Labrecque on February 12, 2013

Labrecque_Louise_bw.jpgOriginaire de Saint-Hyacinthe,  Henriettte Dessaulles épousa en  1881 Maurice Saint-Jacques, lequel mourut quelques années plus tard des suites d’une pneumonie.  Veuve avec sept enfants, elle se retrouve alors dans l’obligation de devoir gagner sa vie.  Sous divers pseudonymes, tant il était inconvenant pour les femmes de publier à l’époque, elle signa plusieurs papiers, dans divers journaux, notamment  Le Journal de Françoise, Le Canada, La Patrie, Le Nationaliste.  En 1911, son cousin Henri Bourassa fonda le journal Le Devoir où elle inaugura une chronique hebdomadaire : « lettre de Fadette », laquelle nous lègue pas moins de 1700 textes. 

The Papacy: A Time Of Decision

By Father John Walsh on February 12, 2013

father_walsh.jpgMomentous occasions and defining moments are not everyday occurrences.  The sudden stepping down from the Chair of Saint Peter by Pope Benedict XVI was a worldwide surprise.  It was unexpected and unsettling.  The Papacy is in a time of transition and of decision.
No one can predict the future and Benedict himself disclaimed limbo, so we are confronted with the challenge to discover new images and new metaphors to describe our present experience.  I happily recall the words of Pope John XXIII who, in his opening address at the Second Vatican Council, situated the Church at a new dawn, in need of an “aggiornamento,” an updating and a renewal of the Church. 

A Wise Time for Going, A Good Way to Leave

By David T. Jones on February 12, 2013

jones_david_01.jpgFar be it for non-Catholics to pontificate (so to speak) on Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to retire from the papacy on February 28th.  There are those who might consider any comment at best gratuitous; at worst, intrusive.
But the Pope is a global change-maker and political figure at least as much as a religious leader. Certainly, that was true for John Paul II whose long tenure defined the strengths and challenges facing 21st century Catholicism.  
Consequently, we see Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to retire as wise. His tenure as Pope is already being called a transitional period, but history is yet to speak.

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!

On Grief

By Kristy-Lyn Kemp on February 9, 2013

Krista.jpgIt has been said that the grieving process is one of several steps, such as denial, anger, and acceptance. Although there is no prescribed time frame for each given step, this has always seemed far too neat and tidy. One can experience many of these emotions at once, and just because a person is considered to be over a given stage does not mean that feelings of anger or denial cannot come creeping back long after it was thought that such emotions had been conquered. Similarly, to accept the death of someone is not to be healed; it does not mean that the grieving process can be done away with.

Blood Is Being Shed Everywhere

By Father John Walsh on February 2, 2013

father_walsh.jpgThe Vietnam War, in the late 1960’s, was the first time that war was transmitted via television into our living rooms.  We had to judge whether or not the shedding of the blood of another human being was acceptable.  Had we forgotten fratricide in the biblical story of Cain and Abel?  

What about the jealousy of blessing in the intrigue of Jacob and Esau?  In the end, the American people confronted their beliefs and values and eventually judged that the war had to be terminated.

 

Waiting For The Barbarians

By Alan Hustak on February 2, 2013

Waiting_for_the_Barbarians.jpgThe North American premiere of Waiting for the Barbarians at Segal Centre until Feb. 17 is a highly stylized, strikingly  contrived  South African production of a play based on J.M  Coetzee’s  allegorical novel of the same name.  It explores the monstrous aspects of the human psyche, and  centres on the abuse of  imperial power.  The play  suggests  that nothing really changes when one  regime is replaced with another -  a persecuted  minority, once empowered,  finds minorities of its own to tyrannize.  Even in democratic and free countries can governments  manipulate public opinion to marginalize opponents. Unless you are familiar with Coetzee’s book, the stage adaptation by  Alexandre Marine, may be occasionally dense and not easily accessible.

It’s Minority Time at State

By David T. Jones on February 1, 2013

kerry.JPGWashington,DC~ It is time for a minority as U.S. Secretary of State.A white male.

For some while now, males have been a demographic minority in the U.S. population.  And white males are an even smaller minority of the overall population. Consequently, it is appropriate for a white male to lead the Department of State for President Obama’s second term.  And the president nominated and the Senate confirmed Senator John Forbes Kerry (D-Mass) for the position.

Innocence Lost

By Alan Hustak on February 1, 2013

lost_innocence.jpgInnocence Lost  at the Centaur Theatre until Feb 21, tells  how a  web of mindless suspicion woven by decent,  god-fearing folk  in a rural Ontario  ensnared and destroyed Stephen Truscott, the  14-year old who was convicted and sentenced to hang for the 1959 rape and murder of a 12-year old classmate, Lynne Harper,  - a murder he  did not commit.   Under  Roy Surette’s  flawless,  even- handed direction, the production  of Beverley Cooper’s play quietly lays bare every painful emotion of that reprehensible chapter of  Canadian judicial history.  The cast of ten in  multiple  roles  is inspired.  Each and every actor brings to life the various respectable small-minded characters they play in a distinct theatrical creation. 

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.

Taxes, Taxes, and More Taxes

By David T. Jones on January 19, 2013

Foreign observers tut-tut the United States for failing to bring coherence to its fiscal circumstances. These observers either fail to realize or deliberately ignore that we are engaged in an existential political/economic struggle over what kind of society we will endorse.  It is the most defining such struggle since the Great Depression of the 1930s, which gave rise to compromise instituting some elements of a welfare state (social security, farm supports, food stamps, bank deposit insurance, etc.) while leaving other elements of free market capitalism unaffected.  But if our backs are not yet up against the wall, we are on the “warning track.”  Even with full, booming economic recovery, it appears impossible to sustain the current levels of social security, Medicare/Medicaid, and unemployment welfare with current tax revenues. 

The Ancient and Idle Attawapiskat Wars

By Nathan Elberg on January 14, 2013

Chief Theresa Spence’s moderate hunger strike is the polar opposite of the war tactics of the 17th and 18th century Indians of James and Hudson’s Bay.  The lowlands of the northern forest, their shorelines and muskegs were hotly contested by the Cree and Inuit prior to the arrival of the Europeans, as the latter moved further and further south.  The fur-traders turned the tide in favor of Indians, who were first able to trade for guns; the Inuit were initially kept unarmed by Hudson’s Bay Company policy.  The armed Cree turned with a vengeance on their Eskimo rivals.

ZERO DARK THIRTY: Boots-on-the-ground thrill ride.

By Alan Hustak on January 14, 2013

zero_dark_thirty.jpgIgnore the controversy over whether the Americans used torture in their hunt for Osama Bin Laden, Zero Dark 30 is a boots- on- the- ground suspense thriller about the raid on his compound in  Abbottabad  which left Bin Laden and three others dead.    The movie is a draining,  morally complex exercise  that owes it success to director Kathryn Ann Bigelow and  to Jessica Chastain, in the role of  Maya,  the CIA operative whose intuition about the Al Qaeda  leader  is ignored  by her superiors, including the head of the CIA, (James Gandolfini)  precisely because she is  woman.
  

THE GROWING IRANIAN THREAT IN THE AMERICAS

By Shabnam Assadollahi on January 6, 2013

Shabnam.jpgOttawa - The Islamic Republic of Iran's infiltration in the US, Canada and South American countries started in early 90s as the Ayatollah Rafsanjani came into power and spread terrorism abroad. We need to stop the growing threat of the IRI  in Canada and the US.
Immigration is a big issue. If we cannot look carefully and extensively into people’s background, we cannot really have meaningful and reliable security checks. After all, how much good is closing down the Embassy in Canada, if hordes of essentially unscreenable people are entering Canada from Iran aside from those already active in Canadian soil.

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