Par Beryl Wajsman le 23 avril 2014
I wrote this in 2007 as gas prices were in the 1.20-1.40 a litre range. Now that they have broken 1.50 today in Quebec, it seems opportune to republish this. Sadly the numbers quoted here are more or less the same as seven years ago. It is a crisis. It is also unconscionable. ~ BW
"The bottom line is that in the life of every nation there comes a time of reckoning. That reckoning determines whether its people have the maturity to cast aside false notions and fictitious pieties and assert the strength of their nationhood. If that maturity is lacking, if there is no courage, then citizens condemn themselves to eternal subservience to vested interests."
Par Beryl Wajsman le 22 avril 2014
I received the news of the Right Honorable Herb Gray's death Monday night. It was the eve of the last day of Passover. This last day is one of four days in the Jewish calendar when Yizkor prayers - memorial prayers - are recited in memory of departed relatives. And as I reflected on my own late parents, I must admit to pangs of loss for this very special gentleman who was not merely a Parliamentary giant, but perhaps the last of that generation of public servants who always put ideas before identities and principle before partisanship. He was a mentor, guide and most of all a dear friend whose wise counsel I could call upon at all times and in all circumstances even when events and circumstances kept us apart for long periods.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 21 avril 2014
As we approach Holocaust Remembrance Day this coming Sunday night, and the commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising that follows soon thereafter, there is a moral duty to take a hard look at the world around us. What we see must compel us to the responsibility of memory and witness. Particularly as, seemingly all around us, there is a desire to forget.
Par Michael Ashby le 10 avril 2014
Is it ok to punish a criminal for the same crime twice. Recently, the Supreme Court of Canada said no, ruling that tougher parole-eligibility rules -applied retroactively - violated an offenders’ Charter rights in this respect.
But what about punishing someone for crimes that were never committed in the first place? Would it be okay to judge a person based on allegations that could not be proven in court?
Par Beryl Wajsman le 10 avril 2014
La semaine dernière, nous avons demandé aux Québécois de voter comme si leurs vies en dépendaient et ils l’ont fait.
La semaine dernière, nous avons écrit que « c’est le référendum ». Les Québécois l’ont compris également et ils ont répliqué avec un « non! » retentissant.
La semaine dernière, nous avons exhorté les électeurs à ne pas pénaliser M. Philippe Couillard d’avoir dit la vérité en ce qui concerne la question de la langue. Ils ne l’ont pas fait.
Par Amb. Freddy Eytan le 10 avril 2014
Rien ne va plus avec l’Autorité palestinienne et la méfiance persiste, pourtant rien n’est complètement perdu. L’administration américaine est confiante pour l’avenir et souhaite un prolongement des pourparlers. Tout en exerçant des pressions sur les deux parties elle réanime à chaque fois le processus pour prouver sa puissance et surtout pour ne pas perdre la face.
Jusqu’à ce jour, nous avons pensé sincèrement que notre partenaire est vraiment sérieux et que notre voisin a de bonnes intentions, capable de mettre fin aux hostilités et à la belligérance et même pourra signer un jour un traité de paix viable.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 8 avril 2014
Last week we asked Quebecers to vote as if their lives depended on it. And they did.
Last week we wrote that "this is the referendum." Quebecers got that too. And answered with a resounding "NO!"
Last week we urged voters not to penalize Philippe Couillard for speaking truth on the language issue. And they did not.
Perhaps that is the most eloquent legacy of Décision 2014. Quebecers - all Quebecers - rejected the rhetoric of marginalization and the politics of fear. They said "Ça suffit!" to division and discord.
Par David T. Jones le 7 avril 2014
At some point, one has to recognize that the cause, no matter how noble, has been lost.
And the “West” has lost in Syria.
Recall that approximately two years ago pontificating cognoscenti were saying Syrian leader Assad couldn’t last another six months, that it was “just a matter of time,” that the rebels would shortly prove victorious.
In a word, “Not.”
Assad has not only survived, he is winning; indeed, he has virtually won the civil war.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 6 avril 2014
Clearly, this is the most important vote you will cast since 1995. But aside from the fact that both Pierre-Karl Péladeau and Premier Marois have made it clear that there will be a referendum – whether Quebecers be “ready” or not – depending on which one you listen to, vote Couillard and the Quebec Liberal Party because of his courage to speak some much-needed truths and candidates with the competence to tackle the problems that face us with focus on the priorities that really matter.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 6 avril 2014
C’est le vote le plus important depuis 1995. Mettons de côté le fait que tant Pierre-Karl Péladeau que Mme Marois se sont clairement exprimé sur la tenue d’un referendum, que les Québécois soient prêts ou non (dépendamment de qui vous écoutez). Votez pour le PLQ et les libéraux en raison de leur courage de dire la vérité qu’on a tellement besoin d’entendre, d’attirer les candidats compétents pour s’attaquer aux problèmes auxquels nous faisons face; l’accent étant mis sur les priorités qui comptent vraiment.
Par Alan Hustak le 2 avril 2014
Thank God for understanding grandmothers.
And thank our lucky stars for director Roy Surette’s solid, production of Amy Herzog’s intergenerational play, 4000 miles at the Centaur until April 20. Essentially, the play is about blood ties, about the relationship between Vera, a 91-year old non-judgmental grandmother (Clare Coulter) and her 21-year old grandson, Leo. (Nathan Barrett.)
Grandma, as it happens is an independent left-wing idealist who cut her teeth during the McCarthy era. She’s losing her hearing, she’s frail and a bit forgetful, but still mentally tough and perceptive,..
Par Alan Hustak le 24 mars 2014
It takes a special cast to pull off a David Mamet play, and Paul Flicker has assembled a superlative team of actors who can indeed handle the playwright’s spare, scalding idiomatic dialogue with his directorial debut of Glen Garry Glen Ross at the Segal until March 30. The 1984 Pulitzer Prize winning work about a group of cut-throat Chicago salesmen selling worthless Florida real-estate to gullible victims is a riveting exercise in Flicker’s hands, made even more topical following the bust in the corrupt U.S. housing market six years ago.
Par Amb. Freddy Eytan le 16 mars 2014
Une fois encore Israël brouille les cartes de ses ennemis, une fois encore Tsahal prouve que son bras est long et qu’elle est capable d’atteindre des objectifs à des milliers de kilomètres de ses frontières. Dans le passé, nous avons connu des exploits extraordinaires comme à Entebbe, à Bagdad, à Tunis ou au Soudan, soit pour libérer des otages, soit pour détruire une centrale nucléaire, éliminer un chef de l’OLP et faire écrouler son QG tel un château de cartes, ou bombarder des convois de contrebandes d’armes et des chefs terroristes, en Syrie, au Liban et dans les déserts africains.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 3 mars 2014
Back in the 1970s amidst the fear and panic over nuclear power plants, Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas starred in a move set in California called “The China Syndrome.” The story centred on a nuclear power plant gone wrong, and the hypothesis was that if the nuclear rods went out of their cylinders they could melt through the earth’s core all the way to China.
Last week’s attack by the OQLF on a store in Chelsea, Quebec called “Delilah in the Parc” raises the spectre of a different kind of China Syndrome. The syndrome of state censorship of public media and communication.
Par David T. Jones le 3 mars 2014
I too believe in climate change--absolutely. I believe in global warming--and in global cooling--and in global “just the same.” By definition “climate” changes every day, even every hour--just look at your daily weather forecast. On a larger scale, climate has changed repeatedly over millennium; ice ages have come and passed. Fifty years ago prognosticators mulled over a coming ice age (which didn’t). Climate will change again--over decades, centuries, and longer, given a wide variety of conditions, e.g., the sun is a variable star. And the climate may, repeat may, be changing over a period of time so that the Earth becomes measurably warmer. But living long enough to prove/disprove it is problematic.
Par Alan Hustak le 3 mars 2014
“The War of the Worlds, not the one from outer space happened right here,” Lillabit Bradley reminds us in David Fennario’s Motherhouse, a 90-minute monologue staged at the Centaur Theatre until March 23 to commemorate the centennial of the Great War.
Motherhouse is not so much a play as an arresting diatribe in search of one. As the protagonist, Bradley, who worked at the British Munitions Factory in Verdun when her brother went off to fight the war, Holly Gauthier-Frankel has her work cut out for her.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 28 février 2014
Avis au ministre de la Santé M. Hébert : Les gens ne croient plus à rien et ce, pour de bonnes raisons.
Le débat récent sur la « régionalisation » des hôpitaux et où ils peuvent se faire soigner peut embrouiller même les gens raisonnables qui pensent qu’il ne s’agit pas d’un simple malentendu, mais d’un ballon d’essai qui a mal tourné.
Comme le lecteur peut s’en rappeler, il y a quelques semaines, le Ministère de la Santé a émis des directives à l’Hôpital Général Juif – mondialement reconnu, entre autres, dans leur spécialitéen traitement du cancer – à l’effet que les gens qui viennent de l’extérieur d’une région géographique spécifique ne devraient pas être admis comme patient à l’hôpital ni avoir droit à des soins.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 28 février 2014
Memo to Quebec Health Minister Hébert: nobody believes anything anymore. And with reason.
The recent back and forth on hospital “regionalization” and where patients could get care, can rightly leave reasonable people thinking that this wasn’t so much a misunderstanding as a trial balloon gone bad. The reality is there is no way to fix it.
As readers may recall, the Health Ministry issued directives several weeks ago to the Jewish General Hospital – world renowned in cancer treatment among other areas – not to admit as patients, nor administer care to, anyone outside of a specific geographically defined area.
Par David T. Jones le 19 février 2014
Washington, DC…It is a shame and a pity that Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie’s immediate legacy from a lifetime of professional and distinguished military service should be a kertuffle over his moving expenses.
The “perk”--and it is a serious benefit--is standard not only for Canadian Armed Forces retirees but also for U.S. professional military and career diplomats.
Specifically, retiring U.S. diplomats often serve a final posting overseas or, if serving a terminal assignment in Washington DC, don’t expect to retire there.
Par Alan Hustak le 18 février 2014
Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and former Quebec premier Jean Charest paid homage last week to Claude Ryan, one of Quebec’s last great Catholic intellectuals.
Ryan, who was a champion of asymmetrical federalism, often frustrated both Mulroney and Charest with his notion that Quebec required enhanced constitutional powers to promote the equality of the French-language throughout Canada.
But that didn’t stop either of them from reminiscing about him on the 10th anniversary of his death, and warmly remembering him as a great Canadian.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 17 février 2014
As I have written before, reasonable people can agree that laity in the areas of the public square where we make laws, interpret them and enforce them has a long history of tradition and jurisprudence in western democracies. There have even been lay regulations in public schools that have withstood tests of intellectual rigour and legal challenge. What is not acceptable about Bill 60 is the breadth and depth of its imposition of secularism in areas such as healthcare where it is irrelevant. It should not, and must not, be imposed beyond the confines described here.
Par Alan Hustak le 17 février 2014
Lucinda Davis is God in the Centaur Theatre’s existential drama The Book of Bob, and she’s divine.
The premiere of Arthur Holden’s updated interpretation of the strained Old Testament parable, The Book of Job, running until March 2, is a toute de force for Davis who is an astonishing presence throughout the 90 minute show. If, as scripture insists, we are created in the image of God, Davis seizes the conceit and infuses ten different characters with her phenomenal talent.
Par Father John Walsh le 15 février 2014
There once was a television series about New York called The Naked City and the opening line was: There are 8 million stories out there. How true! Each woman and man has a story to tell and so few are told. I would say that is really true about the homeless. The story of homeless people begins and ends with what they look like, not who they are, not what they have experienced and we never get to know why they are homeless. They just are! They just are on our streets, in our neighborhoods, and although they are just there we distance ourselves from them by not recognizing who they really are.
Par Father John Walsh le 15 février 2014
The fundamental reason for the Quebec Charter of values as proposed by the present PQ Government, tabled as Bill 60, is to render Quebec a secular society, defined as a neutral society disallowing any faith community to be part of a public discourse. No society can move forward without hope and if it were possible to create a neutral society the need to instill hope in every member of Quebec society remains fundamental. Hope speaks louder than faith.
The following expressions of hope are essential to a Charter which opens all of society to a good life today and a better life tomorrow.
Par Robert Presser le 15 février 2014
The problem with reading most of the post-budget analysis is that it fails to answer the critical question, “what does all this mean to me?” This lighter analysis will attempt to answer this query both metaphorically and through several Canadian personas.
Overall, accepting this budget is like buying a new car in the last year of the current model’s production, right after spy photos come out showing you what the replacement will look like. Unfortunately for you, the current family ride died and this year’s model meets all your needs, though you wish you could hold out just a little longer for the newer, sleeker, sexier, more economical (if that’s your thing) version.
Par David T. Jones le 15 février 2014
Washington, DC - Even two generations ago, I was probably a sheltered middle-class child. Perhaps my upbringing was closer to “Victorian” in ignorance of sex and sexuality than even 20th century protocols. At an age when today’s children are getting explicit, detailed information on pregnancy, homosexuality, etc, I was still being told that “the stork brought you” or that I was “found under a cabbage leaf.” It generated an inchoate sense of frustration, but not living on a farm where normal animal activity would have clued me in, I had no obvious source of information.
La Patrie - Former Canadian Bar President condemns Bill 60 - Bernard Amyot calls it a “vindictive act”
Par Beryl Wajsman le 11 février 2014
Amyot told The Métropolitain that, “All my professional life I have made respect for the rule of law the hallmark of my public engagement. The reason is simple. Our social cohesion, and the protection of our democratic values depends strongly on the fidelity we evidence towards the rule of law and due process, which fidelity obliges elected officials to work within established parameters - within the rules of the game if you like - that protect the equity and equality of all citizens.”
Par Alan Hustak le 8 février 2014
In director Peter Hinton’s coherent and highly entertaining adaptation of The Seagull at the Segal until Feb 19, Chekhov’s enigmatic psychodrama has been transplanted from a Russian dacha to a chalet somewhere in the Canadian wilderness. The script has been updated and is as full of contemprary references as a pop-culture magazine. It is a three-and a half –hour excursion into the tragi-comic relationships of dysfunctional family that has gathered together in the claustrophobic confines of the lakeshore cottage.
All of them are self-absorbed characters, who talk about art, philosophy and their individual struggles in an attempt to relate to one other another.
Par Esther Benfredj le 6 février 2014
« Chaque génération, sans doute, se croit vouée à refaire le monde. La mienne sait pourtant qu’elle ne le refera pas. Mais sa tâche est peut-être plus grande. Elle consiste à empêcher que le monde ne se défasse. » Lorsqu’Albert Camus prononce ces mots le 10 décembre 1957, il est à l’hotel de ville de Stockholm. Le prix Nobel de littérature vient de lui être décerné tandis que la guerre froide scinde le monde en deux blocs ennemis. Camus évoque alors la terrible condition des intellectuels condamnés à la censure dans les pays communistes d’Europe centrale et orientale. C’est à Louis Germain, son instituteur de l’école communale, qu’il dédie son discours de Suède : Camus n’a jamais oublié cet homme qui lui avait transmis, dans sa jeunesse en Algérie, le goût des lettres.
Par David T. Jones le 4 février 2014
Washington, DC - Almost a generation ago, when first I contemplated engaging with Canadian issues, I was told that “Canada is dull.” Subsequently, when assigned to Ottawa, I experienced a referendum on revising the Constitution (1992), a change in Tory party leadership, the virtual annihilation of the Tory party (1993), a cliff-hanging referendum on Quebec-Canada separation (1995), and reconstitution of conservatives until they ultimately won a majority government in 2011. Simultaneously, the “natural governing party” imploded with revolving door leadership, Bloc Quebecois separatists lost 90 percent of their seats, and the previously laughably amusing socialist NDP became the federal official opposition. Interspersed there were two wars, a Great recession, and complex trade arrangements.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 3 février 2014
It seems that every week the Marois government gives us new reasons to pause in astonishment at its craven opportunism and breathtaking hypocrisy. Not to mention its continued pursuit of monstrously wrong-headed policies and manipulation of the public purse. Last week was no exception.
And there is the political profit. Nationalist governments will go to any lengths to spend public dollars pursuing the language and culture wars and eeking out whatever `victories` they can get. This administration has spent its almost 18 months in power proposing divisive and demonizing legislation that is a slap in the face to the 20% of Quebecers who are not Francophone. Constant and continuing marginalization. It`s time for a wake-up call.
Par Alan Hustak le 1 février 2014
Although Claude Ryan died ten years ago he remains a moral presence in Quebec. As a measure of his ongoing influence, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, NDP Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair and former Quebec Premier Jean Charest will take part in a seminar at the Newman Centre on Peel St. February 13 and 14 marking the 10th anniversary of Ryan’s death.
As well, the first volume of Michael Gauvreau’s two volume Ryan biography is about to be published.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 27 janvier 2014
Today, January 27th, is the 69th commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. Perhaps for this reason, this date was chosen as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Curiously, and sadly, it took the UN sixty years to give recognition to this most seminal and apocalyptic event in human history. The organization at whose entrance are carved the words of the prophet Isaiah that, “Swords shall be beaten into plowshares and nation shall not make war against nation anymore,”got around to commemorating Holocaust remembrance only in 2005. We are not only still waiting for Isaiah’s prophecy to be realized but also for that day when those other prophetic words “Justice shall roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream…” have life breathed into them.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 21 janvier 2014
This past Monday, Prime Minister Harper addressed Israel’s Parliament – The Knesset. His speech was a bold and resolute statement of the family of the free. It was truth clearly spoken. On moral relativism. On international double standards. On the new anti-semitism. And on the incontrovertible place of Israel as the vanguard of democratic nations. It was history made. On a personal note, it was the most compelling expression of conscience by a Canadian leader in my memory. We have posted the video link to the speech on our website and Facebook page. But we wanted to bring you some excerpts. They are set out below. Please take a few moments to read them. It is worth your while.
Par Amb. Freddy Eytan le 21 janvier 2014
Jérusalem, Israël - Rares sont aujourd’hui les chefs d’Etats et de gouvernements qui manifestent publiquement leur soutien inconditionnel pour Israël . Le Premier ministre canadien fait partie de cette poignée d’hommes courageux qui déclare sans ambages et tout haut de la tribune de la Knesset « Oui, je suis un sincère ami de l’Etat d’Israël ! Oui, j’y suis avec vous corps et âme, dans le feu et l’eau ! Oui nous défendons l’existence d’un Etat libre, démocratique et juif». Un discours sincère qui nous réconforte et qui prouve que l’Etat juif n’est pas isolé sur la scène internationale.
La Patrie - Time for prosperity over prejudice: Let’s improve « nous-mêmes » not demonize « les autres »
Par Beryl Wajsman le 20 janvier 2014
The Leger Marketing poll released this week was dismaying for several reasons. Obviously troubling was the fact that the percentages seem to put the PQ within reach of a slim majority government. But equally – if not more – troubling , is the fact that the reason for increased support for the government is broader acceptance of its identity initiative called Bill 60. This truly puts into question where Quebecers’ minds are at. Too many just don’t seem to get it.
Par David T. Jones le 17 janvier 2014
Washington, DC - On 22 December, Romeo Dallaire, Liberal Senator and former senior Army officer, published a column lamenting what he viewed as “stealth” cuts in current Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel, equipment, and readiness. Senator Dallaire is best known for his catastrophic role in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda in 1993-94, culminating with a “never-again” style genocide with the death 800,000 Hutu and Tutsi civilians, along with 10 Belgian peacekeepers. The Belgian Senate branded Dallaire “careless and unprofessional ”--presumably for perceived inaction resulting in the death of the Belgian soldiers.
Par Alan Hustak le 16 janvier 2014
Montreal may have been bypassed for appointment of a new Roman Catholic cardinal because Jean-Claude Turcotte remains eligible to vote in the College of Cardinals even though he retired two years ago.
Gérald Cyprian Lacroix will become the ninth Cardinal Archbishop of Quebec City – and one of three Canadian cardinals - when he is formally installed as a prince of the church in Rome on Feb 22. Lacroix was given the red hat rather than Montreal Archbishop Christian Lepine, 62.
Par Alan Hustak le 16 janvier 2014
The English Speaking Catholic Council wants the minority PQ government to scrap Bill 60 arguing that its proposed secular charter would undermine the so-called “First Freedoms” enshrined in any democratic society.In its submission to public hearings on the legislation which opened Jan 14, the ESCC says the bill is an “unnecessary and destructive” piece of legislation.
The issue has polarized Quebec.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 13 janvier 2014
I wrote the following several years ago - Dec. 15 2010 - when the OLF issued its original directive to over 160 government agencies to stop communicating with businesses in English. At the time only the CSST complied. It's not a new story, but given the recent report by CJAD's Anjelica Montgomery that the PQ plans to enforce the original directive, the situation is even more objectionable today than it was then. This is all about politics and power.