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Vivre en plein milieu du peuple

By Father John Walsh on October 19, 2012

father_walsh.jpgUn jour j’ai rencontré Sœur Hélène Préjean, l’auteur du livre Dead Man Walking et consultante majeure du film du même nom, dont Susan Sarandon à obtenu un « Oscar » pour le rôle de la religieuse.  J’ai pu l’interviewer à la radio et j’étais surpris quand elle me disait que la vie à Nouvelle Orléans cote « suburbia » était une vie tranquille.  Mais, un jour elle a déménagée l’autre cote de la ville, quartier pauvre, et le premier soir quelqu’un cognait à la porte.  Elle ouvre la porte et une femme me poussait de cote et entrait brusquement, un homme la suivait avec un couteau à la main.  La surprise qu’elle me révèle : ce soir-là mon Dieu a changé complètement. 

Dieppe : un épisode terrible, mais pour le Canada, une force unificatrice

By Bernard Amyot on October 19, 2012

Amyot_Bernard.JPGLe 19 août dernier, les Dieppois et de nombreux Français ont commémoré le 70ème anniversaire du raid de Dieppe.  
Le 19 août 1942, des milliers de soldats canadiens ont combattu avec grand courage dans le cadre de ce débarquement mémorable, mettant ainsi la table pour les opérations du Jour J et l’Invasion alliée de Normandie plus de deux ans plus tard (Opération Overlord).  Les Français se souviennent encore vivementde ce raid et continuent de le célébrer, bon an mal an.  Les Canadiens devraient, a fortiori, se souvenir avec autant de ferveur des énormes sacrifices de leurs compatriotes.

Insights from homelessness: There is much to learn from those who live far from the madding crowd

By Father John Walsh on October 19, 2012


homeless.jpgThe majority of people in Montreal, and elsewhere, pass a homeless person on the street and they are unable to go beyond what their eyes see.  The very presence of a homeless person on the same street where people have their daily route to work disturbs some people; others, walk on as if they do not exist.   
The homeless are no different from you and me.  No different.  They laugh, they cry, they feel pain and they are struggling to make sense of their lives.  Each of us hasn’t a story to tell, we have a history to recount.  It begins with birth and ends with death.  History unfolds in one’s upbringing, one’s childhood, youth, adolescence and adulthood.  The road less travelled is that of the homeless people. 


Quebec’s Debt: Who manages better? It depends on what's an investment and what's an expense

By Robert Presser on October 19, 2012

Presser_Robert_new.jpgIn the aftermath of the Quebec election, taxpayers wait with clenched teeth for a coherent taxation strategy to make up for the lost revenue from the cancellation of the tuition hikes, the abolition of the health care tax for some (with an increase for others) and the cost of the PQ’s election promises.

A Dark and Comic read: Bluebeard’s Seventh Door

By Alan Hustak on October 19, 2012

Vescei_Andre.jpgSex, guilt, music, Serbian-Croatian politics and the atrocities committed by the fascist  Croatian Ustasha revolutionary movement during the Second World War figure prominently in Bluebeard’s Seventh Door, Andre Vecsei ‘s didactic novel which his wife has published posthumously. The title comes from one of the author’s favourite operas by Bartok  in which pentatonic chords reminded him of “The antagonism between men and women.”

Vecsei is at his best describing  the musicians sexploits, especially a  licentiouis lecture tour in New York state. He returns to discover that his  Schererazade, has run away with a colleague and  learns the end of her story from a “a fat old  fabulist” .

Yoga gets off the mat and tries to help part of the world

By Beryl Wajsman on October 19, 2012

backbend.jpgMany people think yoga is a discipline practiced by those privileged with the time and means for proper instruction and a certain degree of self-absorption. Somewhat removed from the harsh realities of life that beset most people. It is of course not that at all. And for for the past several years, adherents to a certain school of Yoga have set out to demonstrate just that.
The Global Seva Challenge, a program of "Off the Mat into the World", adopts a cause every year and hundreds of yoga instructors around the world adopt personal projects to raise money for the goal. This year the Seva Challenge is to help victims of sex trafficking. 


Un cynique chez les lyriques

By Louise V. Labrecque on October 19, 2012

cynique_chez_les_lyriques.jpgD’abord, on se demande pourquoi un titre pareil. Puis, nous traversons le préambule pour découvrir les intentions de l’auteur, Carl Bergeron. Soudain, s’impose comme une envie d’en savoir davantage, de dévorer ce livre ou mieux, d’écrire, exactement de la même manière que l’on constate l’urgente nécessité, tous les printemps, de préparer le terreau afin que plantes, fleurs et fruits puissent planter ses racines. En fait, cela va encore plus loin que la parole ou l’écriture. Plus loin que la sensibilité. Nous parlons ici de cynisme, comme analyse symbolique et philosophique des films de Denis Arcand. En tant que rapport au monde également, dans un regard en surplomb -comme celui d’Arcand-, scrutant l’horizon au tant de l’intime que du collectif, notamment en ce qui a trait à la situation québécoise actuelle. 

The Not So Perfect Martini in New York City

By Robert K. Stephen on October 19, 2012

nycmartini.jpgMartinis and Kraft Dinner have much in common. One can spend hours comparing techniques, add-ons, personal preferences and anecdotes and reach no conclusions as to the ultimate Martini or bowl of Kraft Dinner. Do you like your Kraft Dinner, milky, cheesy, al dente and with chopped up hot dogs in it? Do you like a gin vs. vodka Martini, dirty Martini, with lime twists or with or without vermouth? Do you like to eat your Kraft Dinner right out of the pot with a soup spoon or in a bowl? Would you like your Martini shaken in front of you or be content to hear it be shaken twenty feet behind you? Do you want it stirred or shaken? All these questions are deep and serious worthy of contemplation by both philosophers andprobably not wine writers who should keep their snouts out of Martini stemware.

CREATURE MYTHOLOGIES St. Henri gallery combines art and interior design.

By Alan Hustak on October 19, 2012

Rhino_rabbit.jpgNostraCasa  a  new  concept gallery opening in St. Henri Aug 30 represents a felicitous  marriage of contemporary  art, interior design and eco-luxurious furniture.

A dozen artists are represented at the gallery’s opening art exhibition  Creature Mythologies, a show that features fairy tale beings, astonishing animals, and esoteric creatures that dwell in an artist’s deep flight of fancy. It is an usual concept  that combines the surreal with conceptual photography and sculpture.

4035 St-Ambroise, Suite 407, Montreal, Quebec  Tel.: 1 (514) 937-1549

Guys and Dolls revisted

By Byron Toben on October 19, 2012

This is how my strange and wondrous experience happens.
I am floating around Writers Valhalla, which is in a place called Eternity, chatting with wise guys Willie the Shakes and  North Side Hendrik, when Big Mouth G.B. Shaw butts in.

“Damon, Dear boy…” sez He,
“You talking` to me ?” sez I...


Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini: Candidate for Papacy forged new alliances between Catholics and Jews

By Father John Walsh on September 30, 2012

carlo_martini.JPGThe death of a retired Cardinal has made headlines throughout the world.  The headline of the New York Times was "Cardinal Carlo Martini says Church 200 years behind."However, the headline didn't capture his prophetic voice as a reflection Jeremiah knew when he wrote:  “When I found your words, I devoured them, they became my joy and the happiness of my heart."

Bet on Bibi

By David T. Jones on September 30, 2012

Jones_David_bw_new.jpgIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or “Bibi” as he is widely known is not President Obama’s favorite person.  Indeed, he is so controversial, personally and politically, that the president apparently decided that it was better to meet with no foreign leaders while at the UN General Assembly speechathon than to be forced, de facto, to meet with Netanyahu.  (That Obama had time to meet with View is another story). Essentially, if he met with any leader, he would be compelled also to have a session with Netanyahu.

Expulsion of Iranian Diplomats

By The Hon. David Kilgour on September 23, 2012

Kilgour_David_bw.jpgOn September 7, Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran welcomed Foreign  Minister Baird's announcement that his government is closing the  Iranian embassy in Ottawa after removing earlier our remaining diplomats and their families from Canada's embassy in Tehran. 
Canada is no longer willing to put up with the conduct of one of the  most inhuman regimes on earth, including the ongoing intimidation of  many Canadians of origin in Iran by its embassy. Canadians and the world's peoples have a responsibility to stand in solidarity with the  struggle for dignity in Iran. I stress here too my high regard for Iranians living within and outside Iran, who believe in peace, dignity, the rule of law, and freedom of speech and religion as much as Canadians do.

More Canadian Loser Films

By Robert K. Stephen on September 22, 2012

canadian_loser_film.jpgIt would seem from Canadian “Festival Films” I have reviewed as of late Canadian directors carry on the tradition of portraying loveable losers. Did all this start with one of the first true grit Canadian movies and possibly the greatest Canadian movie ever, “Goin’ Down the Road” in 1970? Who can forget Kraft Dinner in that movie? Sometimes the losers can have a sudden resurgent success such as in “Slaughter Nick for President”where a former television star living in his parent’s basement in Mississauga is celebrated as a national hero in Serbia...

Twas The Time Before Idiocy

By Peter Anthony Holder on September 21, 2012

Many years ago, during the Nixon administration in the U.S., Vice-President Spiro Agnew once called the press “the nattering nabobs of negativity.”
Perhaps that chestnut of a phrase, which was actually penned in a speech for the Veep by William Safire, could be applied today to the folks who wish to reign over language and culture with the sanitization that is political correctness.
How else could you explain the idea of taking a poem that is a Christmas classic, written by Clement Clarke Moore back in 1822, and changing it for the sake of appeasing today’s sensibilities of removing anything a child might see or hear that has a negative connotation?

After asbestos - Time to support a Royal Commission on toxic threat

By Beryl Wajsman on September 18, 2012

Public policy is not always boring. As much as most voters like the excitement of personality over purpose, there are fleeting moments in the life a nation where we have to pay attention to what has been done, and not just to what has been acted. And when such moments occur, it is our responsibility as citizens to push forward the agenda of human progress. If we fail, at those moments, to engage in the life of our nation we compromise our responsibilities  as citizens of freedom and prejudice our rights to complain.
One such moment occurred last week in the life of this nation.

Montreal Democrats Abroad Cheer Obama Nomination

By Byron Toben on September 8, 2012

About 50 US Democrats (many dual citizens) gathered at Hurley`s Irish pub on September 6 to watch the final day of the national Democratic convention in North Carolina as President Barak Obama accepted his party`s nomination for a second term.

The night before, delegates from the 50 states plus Democrats Abroad had unanimously voted to nominate him. Democrats Abroad (as well as Puerto Rico, Samoa, Guam and the Virgin Islands ) may vote to nominate the president but does not have electoral votes in the general election.

No mandate! PQ must govern for all Quebecers - now let's all get more involved in this society

By Beryl Wajsman on September 6, 2012

One thing is clear from the narrow election result - it gave the PQ no mandate for any of its radical agenda. It is to be hoped that we can take Pauline Marois at her word and that she not only respects, but uderstands the will of the people.

Two-thirds of Quebecers - anglophones, allophones and francophones - voted for the federalist, free-market alternatives. Mme. Marois must take that into account and we all must hold her accountable.


PQ's Jean Poirier fighting Khadir's "discrimination" in Mercier

By P.A. Sévigny on August 30, 2012

While it may be hard for anyone who lives west of Atwater to like Pauline Marois’ Parti Québecois, it’s more than easy to like Jean Poirier who is Marois’ candidate in Montreal’s Mercier riding. While taking a well-deserved break from a frenetic amount of door-to-door activity amid the charming little streets which define Montreal’s trendy Plateau, Poirier told The Suburban that he believes in pressing the flesh because “…in the end, that’s the only way people can really get to know you.” And following those first few minutes, those are the same people who will tell you they can really trust a man like Jean Poirier.

Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon Delivers

By Robert K. Stephen on August 26, 2012

ritzlisboa.jpgIsn’t it encouraging witnessing a Canadian success story in foreign markets? I am not talking about lumber, minerals or oil but The Four Seasons Hotel “chain”. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts was founded in 1960 in Toronto. Its first hotel, the Four Seasons Motor Hotel, opened on Jarvis Street the following year. Since that time, Four Seasons has followed a targeted course of expansion, focusing on opening in destinations whereits guests need to travel for business and want to visit for leisure. Today, Four Seasons operates 88 hotels and resorts in 35 countries, and continues to be guided by the Canadian values upon which it was founded.

John Lynch-Staunton

By Alan Hustak on August 23, 2012

John_lynch.jpgJohn Lynch-Staunton was the amicable Canadian senator who played a crucial role in the merger of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive-Conservative Parties and served as the Conservative Party’s first interim leader for four months until Stephen Harper won the leadership  in  2004.  Before Lynch-Staunton was named to The Senate by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1990 he had been a Montreal city councillor and vice-chairman of the City of Montreal’s Executive committee when Jean Drapeau was Mayor. 
Lynch-Staunton was 82 when he died August 17 of a heart attack while on vacation in the Alberta foothills.


A matter of prejudice

By Beryl Wajsman on August 21, 2012

There is a troubling aspect in the coverage of the unprecedented series of debates in the current provincial election. Too many commentators are paying attention to everything from hand motions to smiles and smirks. They should be paying attention to what is said. And so should all voters.
This is the most important since the 1995 referendum. The reason? After a spring and early summer of social insurrection organized and mobilized by the radical CSN union, the PQ and the QS as much as by students, we enter a fall and winter of public sector union negotiations and the sword of Damocles of more urban paralysis and economic atrophy caused by more demonstrations and marches. It is important for voters to use intellectual rigour to look at actions and results and not just body movements.

Dead End! Back to the future with Pauline Marois and the Parti Quebecois

By Jeremy Richler on August 19, 2012

It was twenty-seven years ago, almost at this exact time of the year, that I went with my family to see what would be the first installment in the Back to the Future trilogy. A ten year old boy, I was so excited; the hype was intense, and I just couldn’t wait. I wasn’t too disappointed in the end, and the unrepentant auf Biff Tannon certainly made me laugh!

Fast forward to 2012, and a new installment of Back to the Future has just been released. This time, it stars Pauline Marois, who, just like Marty McFly, finds herself alongside the mad scientist “Doc.” 

105: The New 85 Westmounter Lucille Pacaud

By Alan Hustak on August 19, 2012

Lucille_Pacaud.jpgLucille Pacaud joins an exclusive club next Monday (Aug 27) when she celebrates her 105th birthday. Only about  100 women in Quebec have reached that age. Not many of them who have are  as alert as the woman affectionately known to her friends as  “Auntie Lou. “It’s a hell of a nuisance,” she said about her birthday as she thumbed through  some letters that she wrote in 1926 which she hadn’t seen in years.  “I am a little bit  frightened and  amazed  that have outlived all the friends of my generation. There is so much to remember and so much to forget.”   The secret to living so long she says, is to “walk, to keep walking everyday.” Pacaud retired from her job as a volunteer at the Montreal General Hospital six years ago shortly after she moved into Fulford House.

Marois, Bill 101 and small business: Mean-spirited, petty bullying

By Beryl Wajsman on August 19, 2012

So now Pauline Marois wants to extend Bill 101 to small businesses as well. Why not, Quebec has so much extra money to spend on more social engineering inspectors. And of course we need more constriction of entrepreneurs’ ability to function so we can lose more jobs.

Perfidy! The United Church betrays "Bearing Faithful Witness"

By Beryl Wajsman on August 17, 2012

So,  in the face of a world of horrors, the General Council of the United Church of Canada chose to vote a boycott of products produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank because the Council claims that the settlements are the primary impediment to a two-state solution. Reasonable people can debate the settlements. But where is the Council's concern over Hamas' thousands of murders of their own people as well as Israelis? Where is the Council's concern over the utter failure of the Palestinian Authority to stop suicide bombers operating from its territory against Israel? Where is the Council's concern over Palestinian children being taught anti-Jewish, yes anti-Jewish not anti-Israeli, hate in PA schools from textbooks paid for in part by Western foreign aid dollars? Whether or not one supports the settlements, to announce that they are the major impediment to peace is a travesty of truth.

No Ordinary Joe

By Alan Hustak on August 14, 2012

killer_joe.jpgThree things you need to know about Killer Joe:  the movie which opened Friday at the Scotia Cinema : it is directed by William Friedkin, who made The Exorcist so nerve wracking,  it stars Matthew McConaughey, an actor of deadly charm as a West Dallas police officer who moonlights as a contract killer  and it’s based on an offbeat Broadway play by a skewed Pulitzer prize winning playwright, Tracy Letts.

China Pulls Focus at This Year's Montreal World Film Festival

By Alan Hustak on August 8, 2012

million_dollar_croc.jpgIt’s hard to know what to make of Million Dollar Crocodile, the Chinese film chosen to open the Montreal World Film Festival this year. Is it high camp, art, a publicity stunt or simply pandering to the growing Chinese influence in Canada?
A  Chinese delegation at the festival  will  take  part  in a week long  forum on film distribution in China.  “The Chinese cinema is one of the strongest in the world right now, and it can be compared to Hollywood in its variety and Its depth,” festival president Serge Losique explained.

A defense of Bev Oda

By David T. Jones on August 5, 2012

Washington, DC - Far be it for an American to offer a defense for a disgraced Canadian, but there is a touch of “kicking someone who is down” with the piling on commentary following Oda’s “retirement” on 3 July.  Essentially, she jumped before being defenestrated, but the absence of any context to her departure deprives Canadians of invaluable perspective.

The Debate About The Debates: "No Taxation Without Comprehension"

By Beryl Wajsman on August 3, 2012

As much as the ongoing fracas in the francophone media about what kind of leaders French debate to have is somewhat assuming, the refusal of Pauline Marois to accept an English debate, even one on radio where questions could be filtered, is downright insulting. It is time that Quebec’s non-francophones start saying “Assez c’est assez! “ Montreal island, as of several years ago, is more than 50% non-francophone. The 21% of Quebecers who are non-francophone account for some 40% of all individual revenues collected by Revenue Quebec. Where is, in Sheila Fraser’s words, their “value for money?”

Reverend Msgr. Barry Egan-Jones 1932-2012. “God’s publicist,” priest promoted Jewish Christian dialogue.

By Alan Hustak on July 30, 2012

IMG_2664.JPGBarry Egan-Jones was English-language director of public relations for the Roman Catholic diocese of Montreal for 25 years before he was named administrator of St. Patrick’s basilica in 1996 where he was given the daunting task of completing the $2.5-million restoration of the historic downtown church.  He started the Catholic Times diocesan newspaper, was on the CBC’s regional advisory council and was the commentator for the national broadcaster during Pope John Paul’s 1984 visit to Canada.  Urbane and socially well-connected, Rev. Egan Jones also conducted part of his ministry writing pointed letters to the editor.  He was 80 when he died of a heart attack on July 25.

On Practicality

By Steven Lightfoot on July 25, 2012

Economic theory typically assumes that, given the right incentives, technological advancement—innovation—is limitless. As economists Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner confirm, “The typical economist believes the world has not yet invented a problem that he cannot fix if given a free hand to design the proper incentive scheme.” (Freakonomics, 2005). Practicing engineers have a more nuanced view. They will acknowledge that technological advancement can sometimes be aided by legislative or economic levers, but they also recognize that hard technical limitations sometimes exist. These limitations can be related to physical laws, or they can be practical in nature.

“Do not cast me off in my old age. Forsake me not when my strength fails.” Psalm 71:9 A plea to the CSDM for compassionate authority.

By Beryl Wajsman on July 25, 2012

Those words came to mind when we got involved with the sad plight of the Borden Place seniors. There are many commentaries on that verse in Psalms. But among the most interesting is that even a King like David has a right make a plea and call on the compassion not only of God but on his community. And that both should respond with compassion.
This phrase of the Psalmist has been a cornerstone of social justice whether one is religious or not. It has become an article of secular faith that we do not take advantage of the vulnerable. It is an article of moral conscience, that we care for those who paved the way for the benefits of life we enjoy today


Borden Place seniors caught in bureaucratic and legal nightmare CSDM forces evictions though judgment was only against operator.

By Beryl Wajsman on July 25, 2012

For the 20 tenants of the Borden Place Residence at 4635 Place Borden in NDG , the assisted living facility is a sweet taste of home. Though many are in their eighties and nineties, they are generally autonomous and mobile. The long-time staff gives them assistance whenever needed. It is like one big extended family.
After some 25 years in existence, the tenants had no reason to think that they could not live out their lives in this convivial and nurturing environment. Then money, courts and unfeeling bureaucracy fatefully conspired to turn their quiet lives into nightmares.   

A final salute for a fallen comrade.

By Alan Hustak on July 20, 2012

IMG_2622.JPGThe casket of firefighter Thierry Godfrind, 39, who died accidentally while fighting a fire on July 13 leaves Montreal City Hall  Friday July 20 after lying in state. 

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