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Those F-35s

By David T. Jones on May 18, 2012

There is one sure way to avoid controversy over cost overruns, misestimates, delivery failures and the like for major military equipment—or any significant item of goods or service.

Don’t buy them.
Otherwise, the exercise is problematic.  Attempting to get the best item at the best price with assured delivery schedules and guaranteed performance is fraught with difficulty and usually falls short in one or another particular.


Loving enemies: human dignity is ultimately indivisible

By The Hon. David Kilgour on May 18, 2012

The words of Jesus, “Love one another as I have loved you”, link explicitly love of God and love of neighbour. The two great commandments, found in both the New Testament and the Torah, complement each other. Similar thoughts are found in the holy books of probably all other spiritual communities, certainly including Tibetan Buddhism.

Le malaise de la France

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on May 18, 2012

Freddy_Eytan.JPGLa sauvage tuerie de Toulouse ne peut être oubliée, elle sera longtemps ancrée dans tous les esprits en France comme en Israël. Hélas, labarbarie qui a frappé  la "ville rose" s’inscrira dans une page sombre etpeu glorieuse de la  République. Loin d’être un fait divers local oucommunautaire, la tragédie de Toulouse a franchi les frontières de l’Hexagone. Elle s'inscrit dans une vague anti-juive et anti-israéliennequi se propage à travers les continents. L'Europe des islamistesredevient le berceau de la haine du peuple élu.

There's Hope, It’s Not Over Yet: French Voters Look To Crucial Post-Presidential Legislative Vote

By Julien Balkany on May 18, 2012

balkany.JPGFrench voters expressed themselves at the polls democratically choosing alternation in electing Francois Hollande as President. With only the second Socialist Party president in French history, France risks once again experiencing the errors and hesitations of Socialist power at the helm. The U-turn of the last Socialist President, Francois Mitterrand, from socialist economic policy to one of austerity comes to mind.
Even prior to taking office Hollande explained in a media appearance that the fiscal state of the nation is worse than previously thought – a convenient position from which to perhaps prepare French voters for a letdown on the costly promised state spending that formed the cornerstone of his campaign.

China and the West: An Uncomfortable Connection

By The Hon. David Kilgour on May 18, 2012

china_west.JPGI admire the people of China greatly, including their often heroic protests against acts of misfeasance by their government. To his credit, the outgoing premier, Wen Jiabao, has spoken often about the necessity for democratic reform. He recently had a major role in blocking the advance of Bo Xilai to the nine-member Standing Committee of the Communist Party. Bo and his mentor, former President Jiang Zemin, have been among the worst offenders in the ongoing persecution of the Falun Gong movement since July, 1999.  Bo has been removed from his  posts and his wife, Gu Kailai, is under investigation concerning the murder of a British citizen. The next to go will hopefully be Zhou Yongkang, the Party head of security, who worked closely with Zemin and Bo in the persecution of Falun Gong.

The Future of Syria

By Rouba al-Fattal on May 18, 2012

Al-Fatal_Ruba.jpgIn February the Russia Federation and the People’s Republic of China lay their cards on the table. They vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution on the Arab League’s Plan for resolving the Syrian crisis which calls for President Bashar al-Assad to hand power to his vice-president, proposes the formation of a unity government,and holding free parliamentary elections within two months. Both China and Russia are putting their money on Mr. Assad, betting that he can overcome both the political opposition movement and growing rebel forces spreading across his country if he is given enough time.

Gems from the 2012 Budget

By Robert Presser on May 18, 2012

piggy_bank.jpgSo far, Canadians are an easy lot to distract.  The big budget lead item was the gradual increase in the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) from 65 to 67 by 2023.  The provinces accused the federal government of downloading since their governments will step in to support those seniors who cannot afford to lose the extra two years of federal payments. Ageing baby-boomers were upset by the change, since most had taken retirement support at 65 as an unchangeable right regardless of the fiscal ability of the government to support it.

Too frail to fail: a look at seniors' residence failures

By Robert Frank on May 18, 2012


Frank_Robert.JPGBusinesses fail all the time. It’s called creative destruction, and it’s one of the things that North America responds to exceedingly well. That makes our economy more dynamic than Europe, where bankruptcy is still thought of as a moral failure, the way that adultery is thought of here.

In contrast, North American insolvency is usually a stigma-free way to liberate capital. It lets those who have gone bankrupt quickly pick up the pieces and move on.


Greece again?

By Robert Elman on May 18, 2012

It has been two years and a snit, since I wrote about Greece, and the rest of the PIIGS.
Well it’s difficult to leave well enough alone.

Question: How can a five foot 7 inch Greek exit from a six ft deep hole that is built on quicksand? Answer: You can’t.

This hole with quicksand is the Greek living under the austerity rules of the ECB

Madeleine Parent

By Alan Hustak on May 18, 2012

parent.jpegMadeleine Parent was a diminutive but fearless union organizer, labour leader and community activist who devoted her life to improving the cause of working women and to the creation of uniquely Canadian labour unions. Parent, who was 93 when she died March 12 helped to create the Candian Textile and Chemical Workers Union, organized women in Ontario, was active in the Féderation des femmes du Québec, fought for abortion on demand in the 1950s, and championed the rights of aboriginal women.

Bring back garbage!

By Mischa Popoff on May 18, 2012

Until someone proves that sorting trash into recyclables and compostables actually helps my family, my community, or society at large, I am no longer doing it. You heard right. I’m bringing back garbage!

Remember when it wasn’t an indictable offence to throw things away? Trash all went into a bin and the garbage man took it all away to the landfill. Why did this stop? Has anyone done a cost/benefit analysis on the various forms of recycling and composting we’re forced to adhere to?


Honest talk and mutual respect can make our health services tolerable

By Rouba al-Fattal on May 18, 2012

Having spent the last five years in Belgium doing doctoral research before returning to Quebec, I did not realize that going to the doctor nowadays is as challenging as going camping. As I was waiting in my silence for three hours, looking around me at the grim faces of the other tired expectant mothers, I could not help but think about how the natives of this country must have waited for hours to see the only doctor in the village.

Neil McKenty 1924-2012: broadcaster, author, and former Jesuit.

By Alan Hustak on May 18, 2012

neil_mckenty.pngThe irreverent Jesuit who left the priesthood and went on to become the cornerstone of Montreal talk radio died Saturday morning at the age of 87. During his 14 years as a CJAD telephone talk show host in the 70’s and 80’s he brought a degree of  civility to  the charged political atmosphere  in province after the election of the Parti Quebecois in 1976, and in the referendum that followed.  In its heyday, his program, Exchange, attracted as many as 85,000 listeners or more than a quarter of the city’s English-speaking audience.

Oz Bijoux: Cherchez la Femme

By Louise V. Labrecque on May 18, 2012

oz_bijoux.jpgC’est l’histoire d’une petite bijouterie de quartier. Le spectacle quotidien des commerçants, celui des gens de la rue.  J’écris cet article par solidarité à tous les artistes, qui travaillent durement, et souvent sans reconnaissance digne de ce nom.  Le printemps est revenu sur Saint-Denis.  Une rue pas comme les autres. Nous sommes à Montréal.  Le parfum des lilas n’a pas encore envahi la ville. Mais ça s’en vient… 

The Rif Lover/L’Amante Du Rif

By Robert K. Stephen on May 18, 2012

rif.jpgGreat films take a bit of time to digest and I am still digesting“The RIF Lover” (Amante du Rif) a Moroccan/Belgium/French production shot in Morocco in the RIF mountain range. The impression left by director Narjiss Nejjar is a rich portrait ofMorocco desperately trying to escape from an anti-feminist, tribal and patriarchal society with a nasty undercut  of Muslim fundamentalism way far off in the edge of the film. Thedisapproving burka clad women appearing in the early stages of the film like a ghost shaking her head disapprovingly at the behaviour of Aya and her best friend Raida dancing to ”western” music must be a comment by director Nejjar. We also hear riffs of Bizet’s Carmen from a video that Aya watches in a transfixed state. A hint of an impending tragedy?

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 Young Man Was". Killers Talking to Killers

By Robert K. Stephen on May 15, 2012

This Toronto HOT DOCS 2012 Festival documentary is a bit out of the ordinary. The Festival ended on the 6th of May but the impact and memory of some movies will linger. "The Young Man Was" is so out of the ordinary you start wondering if there is something wrong with it as you just see differing colour dialogue text on the screen for what seems a very long time and when you see footage of the actual hijacking it is in a cloudy grey and white.Just take a look at the picture! There are two conclusions to be drawn from the documentary. One is that that killers are talking with killers. The other is that terrorism is rarely successful.

8 mai 1945: Une amitié indéfectible lie la France aux Etats-Unis et au Canada.

By Julien Balkany on May 8, 2012

balkany.JPGEn ce 8 mai, jour de souvenir de la capitulation allemande, je veux rappeler les liens indéfectibles qui unissent les Etats-Unis, le > Canada et la France. Le 8 mai 1945, ce sont quatre hommes, dont > l’Américain Carl Andrew Spaatz et le Français Jean de Lattre de  Tassigny, qui signèrent le traité de reddition allemand. Cette > victoire des forces alliées, fruit d’une amitié sans précédent, a  forgé le monde tel que nous connaissons aujourd’hui.

Cette alliance ne s’est pas dissoute ni diluée depuis, avec la  création le 24 octobre 1945 de l’Organisation des Nations-Unies.

French Vote Risks Overwhelming Country’s Consulates in Canada

By Julien Balkany on May 3, 2012

balkany.JPGOn June 2nd and 16th, for the first time ever, French citizens abroad will be able to democratically elect representatives to the French National Assembly. It’s an innovative and historic advancement in democracy which was spearheaded by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. But there’s a glitch – and it’s a big one.
ome 80,000 French citizens residing in Canada will, in principle, be making their way to the polls. The Canadian government opposes this election, characterizing it as a threat to sovereignty, stating: “The Government of Canada will continue to refuse requests by foreign States to include Canada in their respective extraterritorial electoral constituencies.

Promouvoir l’investissement équitable pour les communautés de l’Ouest

By Raymond Beshro on April 8, 2012

amt_map.jpgDans l'exercice de consultation sur le financement du transport collectif (TC), des spécialistes des modes de financement apporteront des pistes de solution à la Commission de transport de la CMM, et je leur laisse le soin de le faire.  Ce mémoire vise plutôt à ramener à l’avant plan la notion d’investissement responsable et d’équité dans la distribution des investissements, plus spécifiquement en ce qui a trait au financement et audéveloppement du TC vers l’Ouest.

Titanic: The Canadian story - centennial edition

By P.A. Sévigny on April 8, 2012

book_cover_small.jpgMétropolitain senior editor Alan Hustak pens powerful history.
Even if it’s been a 100 years since the boat hit the iceberg, the fate of the Titanic and the hundreds of people who lived and died with her is still one of the great legends of 20th century. While the ship was originally meant to reflect the glory of British industrial initiative and corporate enterprise, the boat’s fate also reflects the hubris of an industrialized civilization which would soon assume its own apotheosis on the killing fields of Western Europe.

“Cruelty Comes in More Forms than Bullets/ De Bon Matin”

By Robert K. Stephen on April 2, 2012

bon_matin.jpgThe brutality of bullets is evident in “De Bon Matin”, a Franco-Belgian production which had its English Canada language premiere on 27March2012 at the Ciné Franco International Film Festival in Toronto. The brutality of bullets jolts the viewer in the opening minutes of the film and then at the film’s conclusion a horrific bullet scene just about rips you off your chair and leaves you wondering….no leaves you thinking not momentarily but for days after what has just unfolded in front of you. Kind of beats “Avatar” or “The Titanic” in that regard. There is no doubt empathy for Paul the banker killer but there should be no sympathy.

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.

Marc Gervais: Jesuit champion of cinema. 1929-2012

By Alan Hustak on March 28, 2012

Gervais_during_mass_s.jpgRev. Marc  Gervais was a charismatic Jesuit priest, teacher and movie critic who rattled Vatican authorities in the late 1960s by championing Teorma,  a  homoerotic  film by a Communist film maker Pierre Pasolini which celebrated the healing power of human sexuality.    Rev. Gervais taught cinema and communication arts at Concordia University in Montreal for 25 years  where he  influenced the careers of students such as Clark Johnson, who plays in the HBO television series, The Wire,  Oscar winning Quebec film maker, Denys Arcand , producer Kevin Tierney (Good Cop, Bad Cop) and the CBC television journalist Hannah Gartner. Admired as a leading authority on the films of Ingmar Bergman, whom he knew, Gervais died Sunday (march 25) at a retirement home in Pickering, Ont. He was  82 .

Dying is a laughing matter

By Alidor Aucoin on March 25, 2012

vigil_02.jpgIn the first beat of Morris  Panych’s  black comedy, Vigil, at the Segal Centre until April 1, an overly theatrical,  neurotic  character  bursts into his dying  aunt’s  attic  bedroom  and  off the top says  “Let’s not talk about anything depressing. Do you want to be cremated?”

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. 


Irving Layton’s big birthday party

By P.A. Sévigny on March 13, 2012

For a man who left specific instructions not to place a marker or a stone over his grave, Montreal’s Irving Layton isn’t the only poet who would be pleased to see his work is still alive and doing so well. 
Leonard Cohen once wrote that, “I always think of something Irving Layton said about the requirements for a young poet, and I think it goes for a young singer, too, or a beginning singer: 'The two qualities most important for a young poet are arrogance and inexperience.' It’s only some very strong self-image that can keep you going in a world that really conspires to silence everyone.


L’argument fallacieux

By Pierre K. Malouf on March 12, 2012

La bêtise et le mensonge ont la vie dure. Ceux qui se sont donné pour tâche de les combattre auront toujours du pain sur la planche.  Dans mon dernier Brasse-camarade, Les troubles continuent sur la rue Saint-Denis. Qui y mettra fin ?,  je revenais sur les manifestations organisées chaque samedi sur la rue Saint-Denis dans le cadre de la campagne BDS (Boycott, désinvestissement Sanctions) par l’organisme appelé PAJU (Palestiniens et Juifs Unis).  Il faut malheureusement  que je revienne à la charge.

Gérald Larose: militance antisioniste. Partie 3 de 4

By Pierre Brassard on March 12, 2012

La résolution 3370 de l'ONU -associant le sionisme à une forme de racisme- était adoptée le 10 novembre 1975 et abrogée ensuite en 1991. Cette résolution aété une immense déception pour les partisans du « monde libre ». Mais elle a été très satisfaisante pour les esprits totalitaires à la nuque raide. N’oublions pas l’investissement à cette époque de toutes sortes de groupuscules marxistes-léninistes (trotskistes, maoïstes) qui s'imposaient dans bien des facultés affaiblies (y compris chez les catholiques). Rappelons-nous aussique cette résolution onusienne « antisioniste »aété un vecteur très important pour qui voulait se (re)faire une virginité intellectuelle sans l’empreinte infamante de l’antisémitisme.C’est dans ce contexte bien précis que les écrits de Larose se situent sur l’échiquier national et international.

CEDEC study indicates “…more than a perceived discrimination" against anglophones in the workplace. Bill 101 still contracting community

By P.A. Sévigny on March 12, 2012

If you’re an underpaid, under-employed or unemployed middle-aged Anglophone living in Montreal, you’re not alone. Apart from your dismal French, your age and what many would politely describe as ’your limited skill set ‘, the results of a new survey indicate your prospects for a good job are dim-very dim. Based upon results of new research conducted by Montreal’s CEDEC (Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation), anglophones face a serious range of obstacles which can effectively limit, or effectively destroy their employment opportunities in what is already Montreal’s severely depressed labor market.


By Alex Himelfarb on March 12, 2012

harpagon_01.jpgAusterity, we have been told repeatedly by pundits and political leaders, is the defining issue in these uncertain times, the solution to our economic challenges.
We have been given fair warning that the next federal budget will be first about cuts – cuts to government even as we continue to cut taxes. We can expect the same from most provincial budgets.
This, we are told, is what must be done. Austerity is not simply the best way, the argument goes, but the only way, and not just for us but for our friends and allies. Canada has become the champion of austerity.


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. 

The continuing quest to define what Canada is all about

By David T. Jones on March 12, 2012

Now Justin Trudeau seems to be taking a related approach to Canada, Trudeau’s comments, regardless of the context he tried to put them in, are indicative of the existential problem of Canada.  While the United State solved its national unity problem with a bloody and long-remembered civil war, Canada’s national unity issue remains extant.  Not that anyone would recommend the U.S. solution, but Canada - and some of it's most important sons - are still in search of a solution.

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