Beryl WajsmanBeryl Wajsmanhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/author/13fraRFK: "A tiny ripple of hope..."http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1702http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1702“In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” ~ from Aeschylus’ “Agamemnon”, one of RFK’s favorite quotes he repeated often after the murder of his brother.Today we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. He was shot on June 5, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles as he was celebrating the California primary victory that would have led him to the Democratic presidential nomination. He died soon after midnight of June 6th. For many of us who were coming to political maturity in that turbulent time, hope seemed to die with him.Beryl WajsmanWed, 06 Jun 2018 16:17:00 -040050 years ago today we lost a King....http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1698http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1698Fifty years ago today, The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis. He had gone there to champion the rights of African-American sanitation workers  surviving on subsistence wages and striking for fair treatment. They marched carrying signs that declared, "I Am A Man!" King was slain by a rifle blast from James Earl Ray in the fading light of late afternoon surrounded by his closest brothers in arms including Andrew Young and Jesse Jackson with whom he had been  sharing laughter inside their rooms just moments before. Beryl WajsmanWed, 04 Apr 2018 00:20:00 -0400Hampstead: Trying to penalize what it can't criminalizehttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1695http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1695Hampstead's ban on smoking in public spaces - including sidewalks - is an affront to a free community, unconstitutional in its breadth, unenforceable without encroachments on individual liberty, unnecessary even for health reasons and exhibits the worst elements of blue-haired prohibitionism that forgets the teaching of history which is that prohibitions increase crime. And the paternalistic manner in which Hampstead  did it is a slap in the face to the democratic due process owed to voters. Elected officials are our employees. Not the other way around.Beryl WajsmanSat, 24 Mar 2018 14:09:00 -0400Outremont: Yellow is not the new redhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1694http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1694Last week Outremont brought shame upon itself. A group of residents came to city council to demand restrictions on school bus traffic. Not all school bus traffic in an area with some of the highest concentration of schools on the island. Just the buses carrying children of Hasidic Jewish families. And these residents wore yellow badges to emphasize their point.Let's be as blunt as we can. These people were not complaining about buses. They were complaining about who the buses were carrying. Jewish children. This is the same group that lobbied successfully to get a ban against more synagogues being opened on Bernard Ave. Some of those wearing yellow badges claimed not to understand their significance. If they didn't understand it was because they didn't want to understand. But their leader clearly did.Beryl WajsmanWed, 14 Mar 2018 22:41:00 -0400The Parkland Massacre: The NRA’s Waterloo?http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1691http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1691"...the wolf will lay down with the lamb and a little child shall lead them..." ~ Isaiah 11:6The wolves haven't laid down with the lambs, but the children have picked up the standard of their fallen friends. As one American writer put it, "The kids of Douglas High in Parkland may be the NRA's worst nightmare." Unlike the other school shootings, the young survivors are speaking  truth to power. And the world is listening.Unlike other school shootings, the kids of Parkland are older and bolder. They have used social media virally to call out the cowardice of politicians who are too afraid to act and even challenged their parents who may not know how to act. Beryl WajsmanWed, 28 Feb 2018 20:38:00 -0500Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's indictments are legally questionablehttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1686http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1686Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's indictments are legally questionable, intellectually dishonest and threaten an open internet and free expression...Let the piling on begin but read my comments past the headline please. I am anything but a Trump fan. I find him offensive on so many levels not the least of which are his affronts to aesthetic sensibilities, intellectual rigour and the civil discourse demanded of all public officials but particularly of a President. But I am equally offended by the hypocrisy of these indictments which would threaten the very standards and liberties we all feel are jeopardized in the conduct of this administration. Beryl WajsmanSat, 17 Feb 2018 13:20:00 -0500Closing Mount Royal: Plante administration exploits the politics of fearhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1685http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1685George Orwell warned that the limits to freedom by command-state government will come as much through the use of the psychology of fear as the brute force of arms. That is a prophecy that has become overwhelmingly evident as rule and regulation is constantly formulated to limit our everyday actions “for our own good.” Quebec elected officials know that game very well. Le Jour’s great editor Jean-Charles Harvey first condemned it in his seminal novel of Quebec political life titled “La Peur” – “The Fear” – published in 1938 in the darkest time of the Duplessis era. But the tactics of the old right, have been adopted by the new left.Beryl WajsmanThu, 15 Feb 2018 10:42:00 -0500The Holocaust: On memory and witnesshttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1683http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1683“In our time, it is more important to be hard and relentless than genteel and unobtrusive.” Today, January 27th, is the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. For this reason, this date was chosen as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This year the World Jewish Congress has launched the #WeRemember campaign in the face of studies that have shown that half of young people in the west today have not heard of The Holocaust. Think of it. Half. Please share this.Beryl WajsmanSat, 27 Jan 2018 21:17:00 -0500The Malysa Affair: Compassion should be the only language of healthcarehttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1682http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1682By now most of you have heard of the language prejudice suffered by Zbigniew Malysa when he went to the CHUM for some medical tests and was refused service because he asks to have things explained in English. His daughter  Suzanne has done a remarkable job of bringing this unconscionable behavior to the public's attention. We offered her whatever support and intervention she and her father need, and will continue to help through the pricess of examination of the behavior of the doctor by the CHUM and the Human Rights Commission to whom she has made a formal complaint. Beryl WajsmanThu, 18 Jan 2018 17:59:00 -0500Shame! Not one voice against the suppression of expressionhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1677http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1677Yet again in Quebec, we are living through more suffocating political hypocrisy and pandering to the worst elements of division and discord merely to cover the cowardly partisanship of elected officials. And as has become de riguer here, truth, equity and respect for civil rights be damned. It is not justice that "rains down like waters" from the National Assembly but words of "nullification and interposition" as Martin Luther King, Jr. once called the rule and regulation of institutionalized prejudice in the American South. And not one voice was raised in the Assembly against the latest installment of capitulation and appeasement. Not one voice.Beryl WajsmanWed, 06 Dec 2017 16:25:00 -0500Who will watch the watchmen?http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1675http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1675When UPAC was created, there were many who warned that setting up another level of policing - with extraordinary powers - was inconsistent with due process of law and could pose a threat to basic liberties. UPAC's arrest without charge of former senior SQ officer and now Laval MNA Guy Ouellette may have finally woken up those in power to the dangers of such a body.Assembly Speaker Jacques Chagnon rose to give an extraordinary statement criticizing UPAC and saying in part that UPAC's action demonstrated, "...ignorance of our institutions, and in particular of parliament, which is at the very heart of the democratic governance of our State."Beryl WajsmanSun, 26 Nov 2017 19:55:00 -050040 years of Bill 101: The legacy of narrow spirithttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1669http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1669Forty years ago this past week - Aug.26, 1977 - Bill 101 became law. We all know the material damage it has done. The exodus of hundreds of thousands of anglophones and francophones. The departure of head offices. The giant sucking sound of foreign investments drying up and leaving. But we want to examine today the moral damage it inflicted. That perhaps is as much its lasting legacy as anything else.Beryl WajsmanWed, 30 Aug 2017 17:00:00 -0400Herb Paperman: Bringing conscience and compassion to community "A righteous, learned, man of deeds."http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1668http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1668There is a discussion in the Talmud among a number of Rabbis on who we should stand up for when they enter a room. They decided on three types of people. The righteous, the learned and the people of deeds. Yesterday, Montreal lost a man who embodied all three. Herbert Paperman passed away at the age of 92. Herb, as he was known to everyone, passed away as he had lived. Quietly, with dignity and surrounded by love. He was beloved by all, but it was right and just that his final hours in this vale were warmed by his beloved wife Leila and their family at his side. Beryl WajsmanMon, 07 Aug 2017 23:07:00 -0400The Kahdr settlement: A bodyguard of lieshttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1666http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1666Free nations in order to survive in liberty do not negotiate with, pander to or reward terrorists. This has been the keystone of policy among all western countries for decades. The Trudeau government's decision to settle Omar Khadr's legal pursuit against Canada for the alleged violation of his sec.7 Charter rights protecting the "security and liberty of the person" is shameful in principle, distorts the 2010 Supreme Court decision upon which the Prime Minister claims to rely on, opens the door to the compromise of the very Charter protections he seeks to defend and potentially blocks the ability of the widow of the man Khadr killed to obtain redress under the 2012 Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act that allows for the collection of damages from U.S. judgments in Canadian courts.Beryl WajsmanWed, 12 Jul 2017 17:08:00 -0400Dare to dream! Passion is not the enemy of reason. Fear is. Commencement 2017http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1663http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1663Many people will be graduating this month. They go forth at a time in history of great danger as well as great opportunity. They are surrounded by far too much sham and drudgery, but also by noble acts of selflessness and courage. Here are some thoughts for them, the class of 2017.You will soon be leaving the comfortable world of academe for the much harder school of life. It’s waiting for you. Just there in the early morning. What you leave you should always remember. Keep these years of study and searching warm in your hearts, and remember the lessons of effort and striving. It is the truth you looked for. Never forget that goal in all your endeavors. It is pre-eminent of purpose.Beryl WajsmanThu, 15 Jun 2017 18:06:00 -0400"Masada shall not fall again! Metzadah shuv lo tipol!" The legacy of the bold and the bravehttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1660http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1660This week we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Israel's victory in 1967's Six Day War. A war pre-meditatively planned and instigated by frontline Arab states whose leaders promised to "drive the Jews into the sea!" It was a victory for the frontline nation in the family of the free, a precursor of the time of terror we live in today, but more than all that, it affirmed President John F. Kennedy's creed that with, "Resolve and courage, the bold and the brave can assure the survival and success of liberty."In the weeks leading up to the War - a war that took place just 22 years after the liberation of the death camps of the Holocaust that killed 6 million Jews - Arab states flaunted international law and the international community responded with submission and impotent silence.Beryl WajsmanSun, 04 Jun 2017 12:50:00 -0400JFK:Why he matters stillhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1659http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1659“When he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy quoted these lines from Romeo and Juliet upon the death of his brother....Today we commemorate the centenary of the birth of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Think of it. He could very well have still been with us. Think of the difference in this world if he had lived the vigorous and robust life he could have. Just over a half-century after his assassination on that terrible day in Dallas, his hold on our imagination does not wane. It is important to reflect on the reasons why.Beryl WajsmanMon, 29 May 2017 10:24:00 -0400Westmount: For community and for dignityhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1653http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1653I want to thank the hundreds of you that have expressed your support and confidence as I explore a possible candidacy for the Mayoralty of Westmount. Most of you have been with me in so many of our efforts. The fight against Bill 14, battling the Payette Plan, advocating for seniors rights, helping strengthen our food bank network, protecting minorities from racist authorities, representing the vulnerable against state fiat and championing our Canadian civil rights in the face of institutionalized prejudice.  Without your help I would not been honored with a Martin Luther King, Jr. Award  from Rev. Darryl Gray, nor a Parliamentary Certificate for contributions to Canadian democracy from the Hon. Marc Garneau, nor a Queen's jubilee medal for community service from Sen. Leo Housakos. You've been at the barricades with me.Beryl WajsmanThu, 06 Apr 2017 22:42:00 -0400The dissolution of Mont-Royal riding must not be allowed to stand. We must respond to the "fierce urgency of now!"http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1652http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1652The decision of the Director-General of Elections to eliminate Mont-Royal riding cannot be allowed to stand. It is about the compromise of our most basic rights as citizens. It is about the disenfranchisement of our suffrage. It is about the second largest population of the economically vulnerable on the island not having a place to turn to. It is about anglophones and allophones losing a voice in our Assembly of law and legislation. It is about natural communities torn asunder with some moved into ridings represented by elected officials with neither the time nor understanding of their particular needs. It is a decision of egregious hypocrisy.Beryl WajsmanWed, 22 Mar 2017 21:55:00 -0400The Holocaust: On memory and witnesshttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1641http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1641Today, January 27th, is the 72nd anniversary 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.Beryl WajsmanFri, 27 Jan 2017 14:38:00 -0500Quebec's problem with due process and the rule of lawhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1640http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1640"The means are all important. The means by which a society finds guilt or innocence is what determines whether it has a place at the table of civilized nations." ~ Justice William O. Douglas Attorney-client privilege. Guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Freedom of the press as the fourth estate of government. Confidentiality of journalists' sources. Pretty straight forward stuff right?Any tenth-grader in a civics class gets these. So why is it that so many Quebec prosecutors and judges not get it? Beryl WajsmanThu, 26 Jan 2017 18:32:00 -0500YAHYA AND ALI: TWO HEROES WHO MADE ME CRY TODAYhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1638http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1638This made me cry today. We live in a time when too many cannot bear to confront in themselves the realities of this thing called life. They refuse to reflect on the true purpose of our own fleeting existence, much less our own inevitable mortality. It's too sad for them. The resolve we can demonstrate that defines a life of purpose, is too difficult for them. Most can't be bothered. They hide behind veneers of false illusions and ascribe unwarranted importance to ungracious consumption, childish games and purile entertainment. Rare is there appreciation for true beauty,  thought, love. Rarer still are there examples of personal engagement to bind up the wounds around us. Character, fidelity, caring are too often scorned as weak. A corroding cynicism has pervaded our everyday life and our everyday relationships. Beryl WajsmanWed, 04 Jan 2017 18:29:00 -0500Leonard: Of poetry and power...http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1636http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1636It has been written that we love so that we know we are not alone. The outpouring of love for Leonard Cohen this past week has brought all Montrealers together. In our grief, with pain falling drop by drop upon the heart, no one was alone here.From the hundreds who stood in near freezing temperatures outside his now iconic greystone on rue Marie-Anne to the musicians who appeared - seemingly spontaneously - in various sites singing Cohen's songs to the artists painting canvas tributes. No one was alone. Love was in the air in this time of sadness. A love born in the poetic pathos of the words of this most gifted son of this island.Beryl WajsmanMon, 21 Nov 2016 13:50:00 -0500Healthcare: Reforming the reformshttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1629http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1629CIUSSS West End Director Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg's suggested reforms of our new health agencies could have an important positive impact for the English community of Montreal. Rosenberg has proposed that Montreal's English healthcare institutions - in the West End, West Island and MUHC agencies - be merged with regard to establishing a seamless flow of information and communication as well as easing the ability of doctors to have input on their patients regardless of which of the hospitals in the English stream their patients may be treated at on any particular occasion.Beryl WajsmanSat, 29 Oct 2016 13:49:00 -0400Ottawa's plain packaging cigarette proposal: Illogical, illiberal and illegalhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1621http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1621There have been many over-the-top actions by governments in their wars on tobacco, but few have been as illogical, illiberal and illegal as the proposal by Ottawa to enforce uniform plain packaging on cigarette packs accompanied by grotesque pictures of diseased organs. It doesn't work, breaches fundamental liberal principles of free expression and infringes trademark protections. Worst of all, it will cost us money that the government will eventually take out of our pockets.To begin with, tobacco is a legal product and smoking is a legal activity. For those who are concerned that smoking puts a strain on our health care costs here are the real numbers. Beryl WajsmanMon, 19 Sep 2016 13:19:00 -040056,59,74... The numeric markers of Quebec as a failed statehttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1619http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1619No, the numbers in our headline are not the combination to a safe nor the secret winning numbers for a Loto draw. They are however numeric markers of a society moving to  the status of a failed state. They are the numbers of Bills being presented and studied for passage in Quebec's National Assembly this fall.You have all heard the term "failed state." It usually refers to an oppressive regime. A state where there is often sectarian violence. Where the institutions of government have stopped functioning, other than to press their heels onto the necks of the people.  A state where the economy is in tatters and essential services cannot be delivered. A state that taxes its citizens to the point of ruin. And finally, a state that passes rule and regulation meant to control, command and coerce.Beryl WajsmanThu, 01 Sep 2016 03:05:00 -0400Munich Massacre commemoration at Rio Games may be too little, too latehttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1617http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1617Forty-four years after the Munich massacre, the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics were finally commemorated in an official International Olympic Committee ceremony last Thursday at the Rio Games. The ceremony was held at a memorial site in the Olympic Village. Called the Place of Mourning, the site honors the memory of the Israelis as well as four other people who were killed at Olympic Games. The others are the German policeman who was killed in a failed rescue attempt in Munich; two victims of a bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and a Georgian athlete who died in an accident at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.Beryl WajsmanMon, 15 Aug 2016 15:18:00 -0400We can't let Quebec eliminate Mount Royal ridinghttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1616http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1616Every few years, particularly after a census, the Quebec Electoral Commission studies our provincial ridings to determine whether new boundaries may be necessary given changes to population. But this year, one of Quebec's faceless bureaucrats, has suggested not just changes in boundaries, but studing the possibility of eliminating one Montreal riding altogether. That riding is Mount Royal.The provincial Mount Royal riding rests between D'Arcy McGee and Outremont. What is being studied would split Mount Royal's citizens between those two ridings and shunt part of Outremont's residents into Mercier riding.Beryl WajsmanMon, 08 Aug 2016 16:19:00 -0400Célinehttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1615http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1615Ok, confession time. I haven't seen Céline Dion live in twenty years. But when a lady named Brigitte tells you she got the tickets and asks, "So Wajsman, you going?" Well, you go. Now, at least half of you will be saying to yourselves, "Who cares Wajsman! Get back to the problems we all have!" You would be wrong. As I tell a lot of activist friends, if tomorrow, all the problems of the world were solved, we would still need art and music and poetry and passion. Céline Dion delivered all that and more. It wasn't just a concert.  It was a mesmerizing, seductive, singularly unique outpouring of talent laced with the maturity and authenticity that is only born out of pain. This is not just a "Queen of pop" as she is too often flippantly labeled.Beryl WajsmanMon, 08 Aug 2016 00:44:00 -0400Quebec Human Rights Tribunal's Ward decision is a threat to free speechhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1612http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1612We have written often of Quebec's problems with freedom of expression. We have received awards for those editorials. Particularly one in opposition to Quebec's upcoming Bill 59 that would give the province's Human Rights Commission more power to curtail expression. We have advocated for that freedom to Ministers in the face of government encroachment when everyone was silent. And we have won those battles too, especially important being the defeat of Quebec's Payette Plan which would have imposed a government registry of - and language testing for - all journalists. But the struggle for the minds of Quebec's opinion-makers - and its citizens - on this issue continues.Beryl WajsmanThu, 28 Jul 2016 15:34:00 -0400