Rights Commission to police: "Change policy on incivilities."

By Anja Karadeglija on June 10, 2011

racial_profiling.jpgThe Quebec Human Rights Commission has released a report tackling racial profiling in Quebec, but whether it’ll make a difference depends on the political will to implement the recommendations, says Fo Niemi,executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations.
The report notes that racial profiling is often viewed as aproblem exclusive to Montreal, and Niemi says that’s because of the city’s racial diversity.

JEAN-PIERRE GOYER: Born in Ville St. Laurent, long-time MP for Dollard was architect of prison reform

By Alan Hustak on June 10, 2011

As Solicitor General in Pierre Trudeau’s government, Jean-Pierre Goyer was the architect of prison reform in Canada. Concerned about both the cost of keeping a prisoner in jail and the rate of recidivism, Goyer promoted  a more humane approach to incarceration. During the 1970’s heintroduced better haircuts and better clothing for inmates, inaugurated new housing arrangements that permitted conjugal visits, and made it easier for prisoners to work and go to school. If society really was to be protected, prison he argued, should offer inmates a “more rehabilitative atmosphere.”

Maynard Gertler: Editor, publisher, pacifist, farmer and activist (1916-2011)

By Alan Hustak on April 27, 2011


IMG_0423a.jpgMaynard Gertler was an innovative farmer, civil libertarian, and  the  headstrong Montreal publisher who was the first to market books by French-Canadian authors in English Canada during the Quiet Revolution so the rest of the country could appreciate what was happening in Quebec in the 60s and 70s.
Gertler was the founding editor  of  Harvest House Ltd , once described as “a one man university press,” Harvest House was the first  to translate the works  of Quebec writers such as  Jacques  Ferron, Victor-Levy Beaulieu,  Anne Hébert, Yves Thériault  and the poet  Emile Nelligan.


L’apartheid culturel de Pauline Marois

By Beryl Wajsman on April 21, 2011

marois.jpgEn octobre de 2007, j'ai écrit dans « Une question de préjudice » au sujet du projet de loi sur l’identité québécoise de Pauline Marois et du PQ que  « Pauline Marois ne semble pas comprendre la fureur provoquée par la proposition du projet de loi sur l’identité québécoise du Parti québécois de limiter l'accès à la citoyenneté, l'ascension à la fonction politique et même le droit de grief devan tl'Assemblée nationale à moins que les nouveaux arrivants au Québec aient une connaissance « adéquate» du français. Essayons d’apporter une clarté à sa compréhension. Mme Marois, la fureur surgit parce que c'est une question de préjudice! C’est outrageux dans une société démocratique. »

New palliative care unit facility

By Alan Hustak on April 21, 2011

p_c.jpgPlans to  convert  the church of St.  Raphael  the  Archangel in Outremont into a 12-bed palliative care unit and day centre have  moved into high gear.   The  church on Lajoie Ave.  opposite the Sanctuaire apartment complex,  served an English-speaking congregation for almost eight decades until it  closed in June 2008.



A nice way to say ‘Thank You’!

By P.A. Sévigny on April 21, 2011

maison_partage.jpgWhile some may think it was nothing more than an evening full of music, a bit of wine and a plate full of spaghetti Bolognese, others would recognize the supper party as the kind of event which pulls a community together.
​“Without all of your efforts,” said Michelle Bourget, “…none of this would be possible.”
​After spending almost 30 years with friends and colleagues fighting the endemic poverty in Montreal’s Sud-Ouest, Bourget’s efforts are beginning to pay handsome dividends because hundreds of people who used to come to their doorlooking for something to eat are now honorably employed, working professionals or even own their own business.


Don Cherry and hockey pornography

By Dan Delmar on April 21, 2011

max_pac.jpgMontreal Canadiens fans were horrified on March 8 when the seemingly lifeless body of a young star, Max Pacioretty, laid on the Bell Centre ice for minutes before being carried away on a stretcher by paramedics. Pacioretty wasn’t just a victim of an overzealous defenceman looking to intimidate his opponents, but a sport culture that tolerates brutal violence and even promotes it.

Ringuet, cet illustre inconnu

By Louise V. Labrecque on April 21, 2011

Philippe Panneton, dit Ringuet (nom de sa mère), trifluvien d’origine et ensuite montréalais, écrivain et auteur du roman Trente arpents amène une réflexion sur nos origines.  Tel un monde oublié, le Dr Panneton illustre avec force et justesse, dans le livre Un Monde était leur Empire, notre préhistoire américaine.  Dans les manuels, nous nous intéressons en effet beaucoup plus à l’Europe qu’à l’Amérique. Ce fait s’explique aisément et il n’y rien là de quoi s’élever. Nous sommes bien un peu européens malgré notre transplantation il y a quelques siècles en sol québécois. 

May Cutler 1923-2011

By Alan Hustak on March 6, 2011

May_Cutler_photos_4.jpgNot  only was May  Cutler  the  fearless  Quebec  champion of kids lit  who  pioneered the market for quality children’s  books  in Canada through  her  publishing house Tundra Books  she was also the girl from the other side of the tracks, the outsider,  who in 1987  became the  hell-raising  Mayor of Westmount, the first woman  elected to run the tony Montreal suburb.

The imperative of individualism

By George Jonas on February 16, 2011

When I was 10, a rusty mastiff followed me home from the playground. It accepted a dish of liver from my mother, then curled up in front of my bed. Whenever my parents approached, it raised its massive head and growled.
I felt flattered. The dog had a collar but no tag. “Can I keep it?” I asked my father.
“If that were a real question,” my father replied, “my answer might be yes. But you and I know that what you’re actually asking is: Will you, dear parents, keep a dog for me? Feed it, walk it, groom it, muzzle it? And the answer to that is no.”

It Can Happen Here

By Rev. John Vaudry on February 16, 2011

American author Sinclair Lewis, in his chilling 1935 novel It Can’t Happen Here, imagines the United States becoming a fascist state. Doremus Jessop, a small town Vermont newspaper editor, tries valiantly to warn his compatriots that what is taking place in Europe in the 1930s could occur on this side of the Atlantic, but is met with disbelief—“It can’t happen here.”


By Bill Economou on February 16, 2011

Itineraire_500.jpgThe newsroom at L’Itineraire, magazine remains one of the most unique in Montreal because it is the only one in the city where you will also find several tables set aside for homeless people to eat. That’s because the publication is published, sold and written by members of Montreal’s homeless population and serves as a vehicle to help restore their pride while articulating their points of view.
The magazine is published by a non-profit organization and about 150 people, including myself, sell L’Itineraire in different locations across the island of Montreal. Each vendor is assigned at least one or two locations to sell. A number of us can also be found in métro stations. 

A tribute to Diana and David Nicholson's Wednesday Nights

By Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone on February 16, 2011

The Nicholsons greeted me in their salon for the first time back in 1996. I was then a graduate student at HEC Montreal, completing a M.Sc. in International Business. I love debates, sharing ideas, learning about the arts, trade, diplomacy, and politics, among many other subjects.

More celebrations of Wednesday Nights: They make it relevant

By Donna Logan on February 16, 2011

 had the great, good fortune to meet Diana and David long before they started the Wednesday Night Salon.  I already knew they were very special people.  The salon started... I have many fond memories of great sessions and meeting a broad, cross-section of incredible people!

More celebrations of Wednesday Nights: Dear Wednesday Nighters

By David Beigie on February 16, 2011

I regret that I was unable to represent my dad Carl at the 1500th gathering. But I wanted to share these words of congratulations as you embark on the next 1500.
My father enjoyed debate and discussion. And he loved to teach. This was his main currency in life. Wednesday Night provided an ideal setting for all his passions to come together in one place with people he cared about.

More celebrations of Wednesday Nights: Rage, rage into Wednesday Night

By Felix von Geyer on February 16, 2011

Like the two matching lines of a villanelle poem such as Dylan Thomas above, Diana and David Nicholson intertwine their alternate lines that have recurred throughout the poetry of Wednesday Night that last December pushed through its 1500th successive Wednesday – more than 25 years.
Between them they introduce, compare and contrast people, their perspectives, opinions and deeds that are the substance and form that bring shape, solidity and occasionally lingering noeticism to any informed debate or opinion.

More celebrations of Wednesday Nights: Beyond measure

By An Thien Ngo on February 16, 2011

How to measure the contribution of Wednesday Night to our society and to the lives of the individuals who gather each week in the Nicholsons' salon? By insights gained, connections forged, endeavours catalyzed, new fields explored?

More celebrations of Wednesday Nights: The University of Wednesday-Night

By P. David Mitchell on February 16, 2011

The Age of Enlightenment spawned the salon, an important place for the exchange of ideas,  an increase in knowledge and a source of pleasure and friendship for participants. And an influence on society.

More celebrations of Wednesday Nights: Something unique

By The Hon. David Kilgour on February 16, 2011

Diana, David and friends have achieved something unique and important with their uninterrupted Wednesday salons over so many years. In our travels around the world, we have never heard a similar institution.

More celebrations of Wednesday Nights: Never better, never warmer

By Stephen Blank on February 16, 2011

From someone who spent some moments on Canadian TV in the 1990s (when I headed the Council of the America’s Canadian Program in New York City), I can tell you that the lights were never hotter, the questions never tougher, the company never keener and the conversation never quicker than around the Nicholson’s table on Wednesday night.  Might I also say, the friendships were never warmer, the wine more plentiful or hosts more gracious. Hail to David and Diana!

More celebrations of Wednesday Nights: Plus ça change..the 700th tribute

By Sam Totah on February 16, 2011

Dear Diana and David,

The year is now 2011, you have just moved out of the house - 33 Rosemount avenue, Westmount, Quebec, still in Canada (!) and I just reviewed what I had written some fifteen years ago about your Wednesday Nights Salon on the occasion of the 700th anniversary. Now, you have passed your 1500th anniversary of your unforgettable “plus ca change plus c’est la même chose” soirées with some slight changes, but the spirit is still the same ! Hope you would like the following to …my tribute to the 700th


By Alan Hustak on January 2, 2011

Naomi Bronstein, who died in Guatemala City on Dec. 23 at the age of 65,  was a humanitarian,  Children’s aid worker and a non-conformist whose abrasive  personality earned her a reputation as the swearing Mother Teresa.

A moveable feast

By Beryl Wajsman on December 27, 2010

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


1500 mercredis consécutifs!

By Alan Hustak on December 27, 2010

WedNit9_small.jpgCe n’est peut être pas impressionnant si vous le dites rapidement, mais contemplez le nombre pour un instant et il est en effet impressionnant. 

Since David and Diana Nicholson held their first salon in February, 1982, we’ve gone through seven Canadian Prime Ministers, five United States Presidents, ten premiers of Quebec, eight periods of negative economic growth, four economic recessions, and two Quebec referendums. The ramifications all of which have been either debated, dissected, discussed or dismissed by those who have kept the flame of friendship burning at their table for 28 years. There have been Wednesday nights on Christmas Eve, even on a Leap Year a Wednesday in 1992. Through it all there has never been an occasion when no one has shown up.

Toast to a House

By Wanda Potrykus on December 27, 2010

WedNit11_small.jpgFor 1495 consecutive Wednesdays this stately mansion on its quiet tree-lined street in Westmount has opened its yellow door with the admiral’s port and starboard lights of red and green firmly, quietly beaming welcome to a motley crew of you and yes, meet and greet, to talk and tease, and laugh and joke and sing...and ring in the changes of government, economies, birthdays, markets, years, ideas, philosophies, generations, recessions, opinions, seasons, reasons...even millennia...during times of sadness and madness...of plenty and of want...while it has steadfastly borne the brunt of countless openings and closings, farewells, hallos, and bon voyages...swinging shut for the final time behind some...but opening more often than not...for the crew of long time regulars...with or without their varied guests...and pasts... 

Lasting connections

By Helen Forbes on December 27, 2010

I think my late boss, Richard J. Kaiser and I started going to Wednesday nights in 1981 or '82. Sometimes there were 20 or 30 people, sometimes as few as 10, often in the summers when people were away. Richard J. ended up giving up on the late nights as he had kids to get to school the next morning but I kept going.

Symposium on the Saint Lawrence: A tribute to Wednesday Night

By Kimon Valaskakis on December 27, 2010

In Plato’s original symposium which took place in the house of the tragedian Agathon, seven Greek philosophers compared thoughts and experiences on the subject of love (Eros, Agape but primarily love of wisdom which is the etymological meaning of philosophy itself).  This started a long historical tradition of erudite discussions over the dinner table (and was probably even the precursor of the modern day business lunch).

Thank You

By Paul Shrivastava on December 27, 2010

Thank you for this grand celebration of Wednesday Night, and of Diana and David's leadership in creating and sustaining community discourse.  For a new comer to Montreal like me, Wednesday Night offered it all - an introduction to the city's buzz, latest political news and gossip, lofty analysis, Punditry at its best, the seduction of a Parisian salon, an open, inviting and friendly  atmosphere.  It was a pill that made me feel instantly like an "insider".  At least once a week I felt like I knew exactly how things really were.  The discussions were well researched, erudite, and incisive, the disagreements were friendly and civil, and the video tapes archive is there to prove it.

The quiet charms of fascinating people

By Steven Lightfoot on December 27, 2010

It all started for me 20 years ago. My friend Marina knew I was interested in ideas and the sharing of them, and she had run across this really interesting couple living in Westmount. They held what could only be described as a 19th century Parisian salon right in their home. They had been doing this literally every Wednesday Night for years, which sounded implausible, but was true.

No small feat: 1500 sparkling nights....and one cracked chair

By Roslyn Takeishi on December 27, 2010

WedNit12_small.jpgIntellectual Salons have been a social reality from the 16th century onwards, starting as an Italian invention, then flourishing in France throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. They are the place for the exchange of ideas. David and Diana Nicholson have been hosting their Salon for over 28 years in their Westmount home. On December 1, 2010, we celebrate 1500 Consecutive Wednesday Nights, a seriously committed undertaking.

Something to look forward to

By Antal Deutsch on December 27, 2010

Wednesday Night is a delightful microcosm of educated Anglo and Allo-Montrealers. The over-all tone is leftist, in the let-us-save-the-world style of the early seventies. There are a couple of sacred cows that are carefully not discussed: Israel vs. the Palestinians, and the suppression of individual rights (nominally language, but really economic) in the name of “collective rights” in Quebec. The over-all leftist tone not withstanding, much attention is devoted to the stock-market.

Montreal’s Source of Enlightenment: « Les beaux esprits se rencontrent »

By Alexandra T. Greenhill on December 27, 2010

As a traveler crossing the desert in hope beyond hope happens upon an unexpected lush oasis, so did we stumble upon Diana and David’s miraculous Montreal institution, at which political, social, artistic, and scientific questions are discussed weekly with never ending passion and an abundance of new perspectives. This is what the Salons of the French 18th century Age of Enlightenment must have felt like and the impact of these gatherings is of similar scope to be felt for decades to come.

Thinking that's outside the box

By Margaret Lefebvre on December 27, 2010

It was the year 1991 and all was not well in the Canadian nation..  The Meech Lake Accord had collapsed, Quebec was feeling even more alienated then even after the “night of the long knives”; Canadian unity was at a crisis point, hoist on a feather, and rumblings of passionate discontent could be heard throughout the land.

1500 Wednesday Nights and a very special friend

By Catherine Gillbert on December 27, 2010

My thoughts about Wednesday Night always centre on the atmosphere created by the Nicholsons in their wonderful home.  The open door, the hugs and handshakes and the glass of red wine is the right way to make anyone feel perfectly at home.  Although I have lived in Canada for almost 50 years I never really felt as if I belonged until I discovered Wednesday Night. No longer the outsider looking in, I have found a place where I am free to hold any number of contrarian positions without being considered an imposter.  As in an Oxford Common Room, divergence of opinion is the staff of life for Wednesday Night.

An unending stream of the best and the brightest

By David T. Jones on December 27, 2010

It seems like forever; it seems like only yesterday that I first encountered David and Diana Nicholson and enjoyed a "Wednesday Night."  In the winter of 1993, I was political minister counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, and I attended this first Night as "spouse of" my wife Teresa who was the economic/commercial officer at the U.S. consulate in Montreal.

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