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Beryl Wajsman

Quebec`s hospital havoc. It’s not about regionalization, it’s about desperation

Par Beryl Wajsman le 28 février 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgMemo 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.

Drainville just doesn't get it

Par Beryl Wajsman le 17 février 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgAs 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.

Former Canadian Bar President condemns Bill 60 - Bernard Amyot calls it a “vindictive act”

Par Beryl Wajsman le 11 février 2014

Amyot_Bernard.jpgAmyot 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.”

A wake-up call to Quebec: “ We’re Quebecers too and we’re here to stay – our way!”

Par Beryl Wajsman le 3 février 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgIt 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.

Remembrance - Auschwitz, January 27th, 1945

Par Beryl Wajsman le 27 janvier 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgToday, 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.

Harper to Israel "Through fire and water Canada will stand with you."

Par Beryl Wajsman le 21 janvier 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThis 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.  

Time for prosperity over prejudice: Let’s improve « nous-mêmes » not demonize « les autres »

Par Beryl Wajsman le 20 janvier 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThe 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.

The Brutish Temper Of Quebec's Times: Language, Commerce And The Law

Par Beryl Wajsman le 13 janvier 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgI 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. 

Imagine….

Par Beryl Wajsman le 23 décembre 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgImagine….
Close your ears to all the noise and hubbub for a few moments and imagine the following…
You go to a CLSC or EI or Revenue office and the civil servant you encounter actually tries to be of service…
You turn to  a police officer for help and they don’t automatically regard you with suspicion but go out of their way to help…
You go through your lists of things to do for you and find that at the top are things that you want to do for others…

A caution on corruption

Par Beryl Wajsman le 17 décembre 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgLast week the City of Montreal and the provincial government announced that the Montreal anti-corruption squad, known by the acronym EPIM, would be folded into UPAC, the provincial anti-corruption unit.. The two are being combined  to better coordinate resources and shared intelligence. EPIM is a select 20-person team created by the city this past January.
Mayor Coderre said,  “What we're looking for is efficiency. What we're looking for is results. I think that as the minister just mentioned, there are no boundaries, saying after Montreal, that's it. So we need the expertise and sensitivity of Montreal, but at the same time we need the intelligence of UPAC. It's clearly in my mind a sign of success and that's only what it's all about.” 

MANDELA: The captain of his soul. A man for our seasons.

Par Beryl Wajsman le 10 décembre 2013

Mandela.jpgNelson Mandela once said, "A people comes to a point in its history where it has two choices. The first is to accept permanent inferiority. The second is to defy the government. We chose to defy the government." There would be no "permanent inferiority" for citizens of color in South Africa if Mandela had anything to say about it. For that matter, there would be no permanent inferiority for any citizen of South Africa.
But in his defiance, Mandela accomplished what no other revolutionary leader in the twentieth century had - attaining freedom for the oppressed without persecution of the oppressors.

Drainville's deceit

Par Beryl Wajsman le 3 décembre 2013

drainville_deceit.jpgMinister for Democratic Institutions Bernard Drainville's last minute decision to pull out of a debate on Bill 60, the "Values" Charter, at Concordia University last week due to "security concerns" was disappointing and deceptive. It also played loose with the facts and reasonable people could argue that his action could incite violence.
If an elected official, particularly a Minister of the Crown, is not prepared to meet the public in open debate on legislation they support, that official should reconsider their suitability for Ministerial responsibility. This is the litmus test of political courage.

Dare To Care: A Testament To Memory And Witness

Par Beryl Wajsman le 21 novembre 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgI think it is fair to state that what brought my colleagues and I into lifelong commitments to social advocacy was that we came to maturity during a period when we knew –viscerally - that the best people we would ever see in public life had been murdered. But it was not simply their killings that made us rage, though that would have been enough. It was not simply that the energy, charisma, eloquence and courage of Medgar and John, of Martin and Bobby had been ripped from us. It was the reason why these bold and resolute men found themselves in the line of fire. After all the theories of who or what killed them, it was really only one thing…they dared to care! 

JFK: 50 YEARS AFTER – WHY HE STILL MATTERS

Par Beryl Wajsman le 19 novembre 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThere could be no more poignant day to remind us all that submission to this bodyguard of lies is not a strategy against existential threat. A threat that has been driven as a stake into the hearts of almost every western capital over the past dozen years.
During Kennedy’s Presidency Europe threats of similar magnitude, though of different origin. Kennedy went to Berlin to address that threat and to send a message to the enemies of freedom. On a glorious June day in 1963, some five months before his murder, he delivered his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” address in Rudolph Wilde Platz facing the then recently constructed Berlin Wall. 

From 14 to 41: The “Charter’s” other danger

Par Beryl Wajsman le 19 novembre 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgIt is clear to any objective observer that the PQ's "Values" proposal goes too far for nothing other than political opportunism. The old politics of appeal to division and discord. The spectre of "les autres." There is no justification for it in hospitals, social services and anywhere else where laws are not made, interpreted, enforced, and where impressionable young minds are not affected.

Reasonable people can argue that the imposition of laity in legislatures, courts, security authorities and public schools has a long and accepted tradition in liberal democracies.

FATIMA HOUDA-PÉPIN IS ONE OF OUR MOST COURAGEOUS LEGISLATORS

Par Beryl Wajsman le 14 novembre 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgFatima Houda-Pepin`s letter has caused much debate today. That debate is driven - as happens too often in our public discourse - by a lack of facts and intellectual rigour. Houda-Pepin is one of our most courageous legislators. Let us not forget that it was she who introduced the motion in the National Assembly - unanimously adopted some years ago - against allowing Sharia Law any role in our civil family law system as demanded by certain fundamentalist religious elements in Quebec at the time. She withstood much menace for for that courage. But she spared Quebec the 18-month battle that Ontario went through. People should read past the headlines. Including many reporters. 

Lisée, Drapeau and Montreal`s special status

Par Beryl Wajsman le 15 octobre 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgOne of the reasons that the nationalist narrative in Quebec gained currency over the past forty years – particularly with young Francophones – is that our history is not known. People buy into whatever version of history the nationalists sell, particularly the skewed version of Francophones  having been victims of imperialists in their own native land when in fact their very presence here is as much the product of European imperialism as the Anglophone presence. History matters. And not just because, as Santayana wrote, `Those who forget it are bound to repeat it.” It matters because Its perversion is used as a political tool. Particularly in a jurisdiction with North America`s highest high school dropout rate.

Montreal can work. Let’s just do it! Part 1

Par Beryl Wajsman le 6 octobre 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgDespite the allegations brought forth at the Charbonneau Commission and the arrests from UPAC, and the never-ending record tax increases, the solutions to Montreal’s challenges are not that complicated. What is complicated, as it is in all matters human and political, is that candidates for office – and the bureaucrats already in – must muster the courage and resolve to commit themselves to speaking hard truths to the people; to entrenched vested interests and most of all to themselves.

"Breaking Quebec” –The Marois malaise

Par Beryl Wajsman le 6 octobre 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThe hit cable series “Breaking Bad” ended its five year run this past weekend. But we have another up here. It’s called “Breaking Quebec” starring Pauline Marois.

Amidst the stark battles over Bill 14 and the Values Charter, sight has been lost of the broader malaise of the Marois administration. And frankly, some anger should be kept in reserve by demonstrators to make their voices heard on it.

Why special status would work

Par Beryl Wajsman le 25 septembre 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThere has been considerable public confusion on what special status for Montreal would actually mean ever since last week's release of the CRITIQ commissioned IPSOS poll demonstrated a dramatic 76% support for the idea among francophones and anglophones alike living on the island of Montreal. The most common misconception is that special status is equated with partition or some other form of division from Quebec. That is not the case. Indeed if it was, special status would not work. Special status is an idea whose time may have come precisely because it would be a boon for both the metropolis and the province.

The “Values Charter”: A different perspective

Par Beryl Wajsman le 9 septembre 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgLet’s put aside for a few moments all the pros and cons of the PQ’s proposed “Values Charter.” Enough has been written, with sufficient passion, on all sides. But what has not been sufficiently debated, even by those who favor this proposal, are the optical, tactical and legal errors of its presentation.  We need to say something about that now.
It is important to look at these errors because even the fiercest opponents of the PQ have generally given it credit for knowing how to manipulate its agenda even if it sometimes did so on the edges of reason and regulation. The handling of this “values” issue has been so absurdly managed, that reasonable people may question the fundamental motives behind it.

Not The Time To Let Our Guard Down

Par Beryl Wajsman le 7 septembre 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgAs heartening as it was to hear that Premier Marois realizes that passage of Bill 14 is now unlikely and that it may well die in committee, we would caution that this is not the moment to let down our guard. We can indulge in cautious optimism, but we must keep up the pressure. One thing that we can be happy about. Engagement works and community matters! Decisions can be influenced. But you can’t leave it up to the few. The few can’t defend the many alone forever. But events of the past ten months culminating in the Premier’s statement prove that the few can succeed with the help of us all.

The day hope lived "Today we commemorate, tomorrow we agitate!"

Par Beryl Wajsman le 27 août 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgOn this day  fifty years ago, America witnessed the largest public manifestation for the dignity of mankind it had ever seen. The March  on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, led by The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw 250,000 people descend on the Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Black and white, men and women, old and young, all faiths and all creeds. On that day we heard Dr. King deliver what is arguably the greatest piece of oratory in the English language. "I have a dream!" he thundered. And we all dreamt the same dream. No one -  even if they were a child - who saw or heard it was left unmoved or unchanged. The words and the spirit swept us up on gossamer wings. 

The Ellingtons:Weaving a tapestry of iconic music and social witness

Par Beryl Wajsman le 20 août 2013

ellingtons.jpgOver the years, I have found that serendipity should never be dismissed. It often produces the most remarkable surprises. And signals paths forward.
Several months ago I was invited to speak at a celebration of Rev. Darryl Gray’s thirty years in ministry. Soon after I spoke, an elegant woman shared memories of her encounters with “The Rev.” Her style and eloquence were from another era, and the applause after she spoke was so loud that I only heard the last syllable of her name. “Ton.” 

Enough! We have a right to be human!

Par Beryl Wajsman le 13 août 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgTwo weeks ago it was a student sitting on the grass. Last week a woman putting out her garbage two hours early. Next week someone will throw a cigarette butt or candy wrapper on the road. What connects all these incidents? Massive fines that go up to $692 per incident that many cannot afford to pay. This has to stop!



The right to be let alone

Par Beryl Wajsman le 30 juillet 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgAs we enter what we hope is a quiet period in Quebec’s political landscape, it is time to reflect on the turbulence we have gone through over the past eight months. Pastagate, Pastrygate, Spoongate and all the other “gates.” But what is the common thread that binds all these egregious violations of private prerogative? What was the most injurious prejudice to our social contract? It was the constant and unceasing violations of the central right of free people everywhere that Justice Brandeis declared in the quote above. The right of every individual to be let alone.

Megantic - Let's focus on what's really important!

Par Beryl Wajsman le 12 juillet 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgWhenever a tragedy happens, there seems to be a default question. Who's to blame? Though that's critical, might we suggest a new default question. How can we help?
We seem to be mature enough to ask that second question whenever there are tragedies caused by nature's fate. But when tragedies happen through error, we almost need reassurance that something - anything - will be done to avoid it happening again. But there is no assurance of that. That's why the word "accident" is still in the dictionary. 

My Canada Includes Quebec

Par Beryl Wajsman le 2 juillet 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThere has been a troubling undercurrent recently by some in the non-francophone communities that proposes that one is either a Canadian or a Quebecois. This proposition is historically inaccurate, morally reprehensible and patently hateful. It evidences a rejection of our history, an ignorance of our laws and a disdain for the truth. My Canada includes Quebec!
It includes Quebec not merely as a physical territory, but as a moral patrimony. A patrimony which if lost, would leave Canadian values bereft of the best of us.

The Meaghan Moran Affair: Reaping a poisonous whirlwind

Par Beryl Wajsman le 28 juin 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgSo young Meaghan Moran, a 17-year-old part-time employee at a South Shore IGA supermarket, has become the latest victim in the ongoing babel about protecting French language and culture in Quebec. And yes we meant to spell babel just that way. Read on. Because this time it's different.
It's different because Meaghan is a victim not of some snooping inspector or some "denonciation anonyme," but of a store supervisor who told her that Quebec law did not allow her to speak anything but French even in the employees' room of the workplace, and that in any case if anything other than French was allowed "ghettos" would be created among the employees. Rubbish of course.

"SPOONGATE!" - TIME TO DISSOLVE THE OQLF AND GET QUEBEC MOVING AGAIN

Par Beryl Wajsman le 22 juin 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgSo, now the barely legible words  "what's your mix" and "Sweet moosic" on the plastic spoons of Menchie's yogurt has drawn the attention of the OQLF language troopers.  The words are moulded into the plastic spoons in all 305 North American locations. They are barely legible because the spoons are all monotone.  But Menchie's has been told by an inspector that they may have violated Bill 101 and the issue was under investigation. Trouble is, only three of the locations are in Quebec and the spoons are produced at the franchise operator's American headquarters. That bit of  reason and sanity  has failed to move the guardians of  French purity.

THE MORGENTALER TRIALS: CLAUDE-ARMAND SHEPPARD AND THE SPIRIT OF LAW

Par Beryl Wajsman le 18 juin 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpg

Much has been written about  Morgentaler’s  acts and his convictions that affirmed collective dignity and individual freedom for all women in Canada. This is as it should be. This was  paramount.
But the legacy of the Morgentaler trials in Quebec was greater than that. We are affected by them to this very day. They were profiles in courage and conscience. Profiles of a doctor who challenged the  law of our land, and his lawyer - Claude-Armand Sheppard - who changed the life of our law.  And not enough has been written about that.

SPVM backs off as Globe Restaurant had not committed offence

Par Beryl Wajsman le 9 juin 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgWarrant issued based on resolved past infraction; entrapment to enforce arcane law existing only in Quebec may be in issue.
The recent seizure of the Globe Restaurant’s liquor supply, subsequently overturned in court just before the Grand Prix, did not stem from any offence. In fact, the Globe’s owners were not even presented with a copy of the warrant as mandated by law. It has also come to light that a previous incident in 2011 may have been the result of  possible police entrapment, a tactic condemned in numerous judicial decisions going all the way to the Supreme Court and grounds for a legal defense usually resulting in acquittal.

MONTRÉAL –PLUS LIBRE, PLUS JUSTE, PLUS RICHE A FREER, FAIRER, RICHER MONTRÉAL

Par Beryl Wajsman le 9 juin 2013

richermont_s.jpgIl vient un temps dans les affaires entre gouvernants et gouvernes ou chaque action de l’administration publique aiguise la mefiance du peuple et ou le defaut d’agir suscite sa colere. C’est la ou nous en sommes rendus a Montreal. Tout contrat social entre les citoyens et l’Etat demande une certaine cession par le peuple de sa liberte et de son tresor. Rien de plus. Le contrat social n’exige nullement l’abdication de nos prerogatives. Le contrat social ne permet pas l’imposition au public de fardeaux financiers additionnels sous la forme de penalites en guise de punition pour des services pour lesquels les contribuables paient deja des taxes, mais que leur impose la bureaucratie gemissante de l’administration publique. Montreal besoin un marteau pour un maire!

RFK: A ripple of hope

Par Beryl Wajsman le 9 juin 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThis past Thursday we commemorated the 45th anniversary of the assassination 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 the next day. For many of us who were coming to political maturity in that turbulent time, hope seemed to die with him.


Dare to dream! Thoughts on Commencement 2013

Par Beryl Wajsman le 9 juin 2013

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgSome of you will be graduating this month. You go forth at a time in history of great danger as well as great opportunity. You are surrounded by far too much sham and drudgery, but also by noble acts of selflessness and courage. So these thoughts go to the class of 2013.
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.


Editorial Staff

Beryl P. Wajsman

Redacteur en chef et Editeur

Alan Hustak

Senior Editor

Daniel Laprès

Redacteur-adjoint

Brigitte Garceau

Contributing Editor

Robert J. Galbraith

Photojournaliste

Roy Piberberg

Editorial Artwork

Mike Medeiros

Copy and Translation

Val Prudnikov

IT Director and Web Design

Editorial Contributors
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