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Bill 60 "Destructive Legislation". Quebec's Anglocatholics Want It Scrapped

Par Alan Hustak le 16 janvier 2014

Hustak_Alan_bw.jpgThe 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.

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. 

Where Is Virtue Ethics In The Quebec Charter Of Values?

Par Father John Walsh le 3 janvier 2014

father_walsh.jpgWe are hard-wired to be happy.  What we want most is a good life.  What does make people happy? In the World Happiness Report of 2013 Jeffrey Sachs offers a very thoughtful chapter entitled, Restoring Virtue Ethics In The Quest For Happiness.  He presents differing views on how happiness is achieved.  He writes that virtue ethics, the ethical dimensionleading to happiness is the most often overlooked in any discussion about well-being. Where is virtue ethics in the Quebec Charter of Values? 


La Charte : nationalisme identitaire, ou denationalisme républicain? On doit choisir

Par Pierre Brassard le 3 janvier 2014

generic.jpgLe ministre et depute du Parti Quebecois de Jonquiere Sylvain Gaudreault est un personnage special dans la faune politique. Fierde ses origines acadiennes et bon serviteur envers sa formation politique qui l’a vue naitre, M. Gaudreault obeit bien aux consignes pequistes. Son sens du devoir politique peut cependant reveler des postures surprenantes. Surtout a la lumiere du debat sur la Charte des valeurs.


2014 : année d’incertitudes, de menaces et d’espoir

Par Amb. Freddy Eytan le 2 janvier 2014

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJerusalem, Israël - Le gouvernement Netanyahou se trouve aujourd’hui dans l’obligation de prendre des décisions graves pour assurer la sécurité d'Israël. Nous ne pouvons plus demeurer indifférents devant toutes les turbulences qui secouent notre région comme d’ailleurs nous ne pouvons être étrangers à la solution du problème palestinien. L’inaction et l’immobilisme risquent toujours d’aggraver les dangers, et ainsi, pour pouvoir garantir notre défense nous devrions changer à la fois de stratégie et de tactique.
Depuis l’effondrement de l’Empire ottoman, le Moyen-Orient demeure un foyer de crises permanentes, de conflits à répétitions, de coups d’Etat et d’interventions étrangères.

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 Christmas letter

Par Father John Walsh le 23 décembre 2013

father_walsh.jpgChristmas reminds us that many people cannot find a room in the Inn.  They are left out in the cold because we failed to invite them into -  not our home because there isn’t room for all of them -  but we could open our hearts to them. S rely there is enough room in our hearts for them.
It is truly amazing that when those who are out in the cold come out of the cold and into the warmth of our hearts, everyone is speaking the language of love and everyone understands each other. The many colors of their skin form a rainbow to celebrate the end of prejudice and hate.

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.” 

Rouhani’s Nuclear Deal is Old Wine in a New Bottle

Par Rouba al-Fattal le 16 décembre 2013

Al-Fatal_Ruba.jpgLost in Translation, seems to be a fitting title to describe the discrepancy between the Iranian and American understanding of the nuclear deal. On 24 November, an interim agreement was signed in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany). The White House published a ‘fact sheet’ on the agreement a day before the text of the pact was officially released, and the Iranian government also published its translated version of the pact. The American version claims that the agreement ‘halts the progress of Iran’s nuclear program’; while the Iranian version states that the US ‘concurs with Iran’s right to a nuclear energy’. Even on technicalities the two versions seem to clash that the only thing they seem to agree on is to disagree.

Raise a Million, Save The Sun

Par Alan Hustak le 12 décembre 2013

IMG_1604_s.jpgThe Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has launched a million dollar fund-raising campaign to acquire the monumental  Chihuly glass sculpture entitled The Sun, which enchanted thousands of people this summer when it was mounted on the steps of the museum’s  Hornstein pavilion.   The work has been moved inside to the atrium  of the Jean-Noel Desmarais  pavilion across the street.  The dazzling sculpture is more than 4  metres  in diameter, with 1,200  shimmering rays of  yellow  tendrils  accented with elements of blue and red. The sculpture takes four days to assemble. It was the focal point of last summer’s  Chihuly exhibition, Utterly Breathtaking.

How Mandela Made a Difference

Par John Parisella le 10 décembre 2013

Parisella.pngThe tributes to Nelson Mandela will continue to pour in over the next few days, as dignitaries make their way to pay their final respects to the leader who did more to transform Africa than any other in recent memory. His life story is now becoming more familiar by the day, and the upcoming film about his life will only add to the remarkable achievements of the man called Madiba.
We in Canada have always had a special place in our hearts for Nelson Mandela.  The first country Mandela visited after his release from prison was Canada.  The prime minister of the day, Brian Mulroney, was the principal world leader pushing for sanctions against the white supremacist government of South Africa, which ultimately brought the downfall of apartheid.  

Remembering Mandela

Par l'Hon. Irwin Cotler le 10 décembre 2013

We are all, wherever we are, deeply saddened and profoundly pained at the passing of a great historical figure, Nelson Mandela – who endured 27 years in a South African prison and emerged not only to preside over the dismantling of apartheid, but, in fact, to make possible, as President, the establishment of a democratic, multiracial, free South Africa.
Mandela was the embodiment of the three great struggles of the 20th century: the long march toward freedom - as he put it - the march for democracy, and the march for equality. In a word, he was the metaphor and message for the struggle for human rights and human dignity in our time.

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.

The West and the Challenge of Democracy in Bangladesh

Par The Hon. David Kilgour le 2 décembre 2013

Kilgour_David_bw.jpgRecently , I had an opportunity to read the report of two respected Canadian Members of Parliament, Russ Hiebert and Joe Daniels, following their pre-election visit to Bangladesh with Antonio Vieira da Cruz of SADF’s Ottawa office. They met with a broad cross-section of religious leaders, journalists, lawyers, academics, former government and military officials, and representatives of civil society organizations. They heard differing perspectives on the role of the Anti-Corruption Commission, the International War Crimes Tribunal, the Awami League (AL), Bangladesh National Party (BNP), Jamaat-e-Islami, and other political parties on Bangladeshi hopes generally for a stable political future. 

JEAN LOUIS ROUX: 1923-2013 - Grand homme du Theatre

Par Alan Hustak le 29 novembre 2013

Jean-Louis_Roux.jpgJean-Louis Roux was a distingushed actor who was hounded out office as Quebec’s lieutenant-governor by Quebec nationalists within six months after he admitted he once wore a swastika in his teens while taking part in an anti-conscription demonstration during the Second World War. One of the founders of Montreal’s Theatre du Nouveau Monde  and former head of both the National Theatre School and The Canada Council for the Arts, Mr. Roux was also briefly a Canadian senator. “He was a great man of the theatre, an electrifying doyen,” recalled author Jan Martel.

Reading Room Remembers Richler

Par Alan Hustak le 29 novembre 2013

florence_and_jake.jpgAs children, Jacob Richler and his siblings weren’t allowed into their famous  father’s upstairs study when Mordecai Richler was pounding away at his typewriter writing his books or his satirical essays.   So when Jacob dedicated the Mordecai Richler Reading Room at Concordia University last week  the occasion brought back “happy memories of my father.” 
The room on the sixth floor of the McConnell  Building  is not, as some have suggested a replica or a re-creation  of Richler’s office  in the family  cottage at Lake Memphremagog. 

Dali Le Magnifique??

Par Louise V. Labrecque le 29 novembre 2013

Labrecque_Louise_bw.jpgDali moderne, – postmoderne avant son temps-,  se situe réellement dans ce continuum moderne, en marche sur un fil d’acier, – dire en équilibre serait exagéré, mais il tenta par son œuvre à libérer sa puissance créatrice de son narcissisme- en recherche incessante de points culminants s’imposant d’eux-mêmes. En ce sens, Dali ouvre la porte à tous les possibles, construit et déconstruit le genre avec son célèbre : «  le surréalisme, c’est moi! »


   

La victoire des ayatollahs à Genève

Par Amb. Freddy Eytan le 29 novembre 2013

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJerusalem - A Genève, l’Iran a été officieusement reconnue « puissance nucléaire ». Avec des sourires, des accolades hypocrites, face aux projecteurs, les grandes puissances ont remis à l’Iran les insignes de membre du club atomique. La victoire des ayatollahs est une injustice flagrante ! L’obscurantisme, la politique belliqueuse et haineuse font désormais partie de la diplomatie occidentale, celle de la politique de l’autruche. On accepte sans rougir la politique d’un Etat voyou et on offre à ce pays, membre des Nations unies, la capacité de détruire un autre Etat de l’Organisation, et la légitimité de mettre en péril la paix dans le monde.

Is the Iran Nuclear Deal a Positive Step?

Par John Parisella le 29 novembre 2013

Parisella.pngIt has been said that if Iran develops a nuclear bomb, the world will become more dangerous than at any time since the height of the Cold War. The interim accord between Iran, the five members of the UN Security Council and Germany is meant to address this fear. The accord sets specific and significant limitations on Iran’s nuclear capability and development (that is, to freeze Iran’s nuclear program) with UN inspections in return for some temporary sanction relief for the Iranian government. The six-month agreement is temporary and is intended to provide a foundation for a long-term settlement beyond this deadline.

OTHELLO: Climbs a slippery slope.

Par Alan Hustak le 27 novembre 2013

othello.jpgA word or two before you head out to see the Segal Centre’s production of Othello running until Dec. 1. It is only the third time the Segal has done Shakespeare, so one wonders why it decided to tackle what is arguably the most difficult play in the canon. It is certainly a stretch to suggest, as artistic producer Paul Flicker does in  the program that Othello  is a work that might foster intercultural understanding. Nor does it have anything to do with the Charter of Quebec values. Othello is a sexual tragedy, a story of twisted relationships that encompasses inter-racial marriage,  prejudice,  jealousy, calumny, insecurity and murder.

Où sont-ils? Que sont-ils devenus? Reviendront-ils un jour?

Par Alain-Michel Ayache le 21 novembre 2013

Ayache.jpgLorsque je regarde un peu dans le passé proche à la recherche d’un modèle à donner en exemple à mon fils dans quelques années, je me trouve avec la bouche bée car je n’en trouve pas! Oui! Les bonnes gens semblent avoir disparu et les hommes ou femmes politiques qui ont contribué à changer la vie de l’être humain et la perception de l’autre ne sont qu’un souvenir dans la mémoire des Baby-boomers.
Toute une génération qui a connu des héros avec toute la signification que peut porter cette appellation va bientôt devenir orpheline après la disparition – dans de nombreuses années, je l’espère – de ce dernier des dinosaures, symboles du courage et des causes justes et qui ont réussi à changer le monde… je parle bien entendu de Nelson Mandela. Après lui, plus personne…  ou y a-t-il encore un espoir de voir la relève?

The John F. Kennedy I Remember

Par John Parisella le 21 novembre 2013

Parisella.pngFifty years ago, I was entering university when a tragic event with worldwide repercussions occurred: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.  Many who lived through that day and the following three days can recall where they were, what they were doing and how they felt.
Besides the United States, Canadians probably felt the pain most vividly.  JFK had visited us earlier in his presidency and described us as neighbors, allies, partners, and friends.  No relationship was closer and more interdependent.   He had effectively seduced us on that visit.

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. 

Que Faire Maintenant?

Par Louise V. Labrecque le 10 novembre 2013

Labrecque_Louise_bw.jpgNul n’est prophete en son pays et les traditions ont la vie dure.  Notre temps salue des ruptures que l’ont dit  necessaires .  Or, je prefere, et de loin, saluer l’invention, la continuite des connaissances.  Il y a une zone grise qui s’exprime ainsi :  Sapere aude ! , soit  le message celebre des Lumieres : « ose penser par toi-meme !» ou « aie le courage de te servir de ton propre entendement! »  De plus, Pierre Bayle a ecrit sur le deracinement, ce qu’il exige de l’homme, a savoir le droit d’ « une conscience errante ».  Et de la on suppose le defi irreconciliable avec une racine identitaire.

Canada and the Commonwealth

Par David T. Jones le 3 novembre 2013

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - The decision by Prime Minister Harper to avoid the leaders meeting of the Commonwealth in Sri Lanka has unleashed the pack of media attack dogs.  The reaction is predictable but also pathetic.  While there is an implicit obligation of Opposition to oppose, the criticism has been over the top.
There has been a remarkably intense and palatably cynical critique that Harper is acting either hypocritically and/or for prospective political gain.
Harper has taken a reasoned decision, telegraphed far in advance.  To wit, he noted upwards of two years ago that unless Sri Lanka leadership improved its human rights performance in relation to the Tamil minority, he would not attend the conference.  They haven’t; he won’t.

Seeds: Monsanto Under The Microscope

Par Alan Hustak le 2 novembre 2013

petersen_as_schmeiser.jpgWho would have thought a play about canola, corn, soybeans and wheat could be so, uhm, damned entertaining and thought provoking. Seeds, AnnabelSoutar's docudrama at the Centaur until Nov. 24 is all about the perceived evils of Monsanto Inc., the international bio-tech seed monopoly,  and the meaning of life.

It is a complex, fast paced, three-hour experience which examines the “unintended consequences of genetically modified seeds.”

An Open Letter To Montreal`s New Mayor

Par Philippe Roy le 28 octobre 2013

Roy_Philippe.jpgIn just a few days, we will know the identity of Montreal’s new mayor. As such, the chosen person will be given a broad and impressive mandate. In the current political context, he or she will face numerous challenges and big expectations.
Beyond the many duties inherent in being mayor of Montreal, the new chief executive will assume the chair of the Montreal Agglomeration Council, which is responsible for organizing a wide range of services for the 1.8 million inhabitants of the 16 related Montreal Island municipalities.
It is in my role as mayor of one of the 16 Montreal Urban Agglomeration municipalities that I want to draw my future colleague’s attention to three issues with a significant impact on all who live on Montreal Island.

Montreal…meet Mumbai!

Par Robert Presser le 28 octobre 2013

Presser_Robert_new.jpgI write this on my way home from my second business trip to Mumbai in the past year.  When I visit a new country, I ask a lot of questions of those I meet about their daily lives, their opinions of their government, their perceived quality of the services they receive and their expectations for the future.  I also read the local papers.  At the end of this four-day trip I developed the following observations of similarities between our two cities.  Montrealers often joke that we are on the path to becoming a third-world city.  The reality is that we already share some remarkable traits with Mumbai.

Les impôts municipaux : prérogative des élus

Par Claude Garcia le 25 octobre 2013

Garcia_Claude.jpgLe salaire des employes des municipalites de plus de 25 000 habitants au Quebec est superieur de 18,6 % a celui des employes de l’administration provinciale. La remuneration globale (ce qui comprend , en plus, les benefices marginaux et autres avantages) est quant a elle 33,6 % plus elevee chez les travailleurs du secteur municipal que chez leurs homologues de la fonction publique provinciale. Cette situation ne date pas d’hier puisqu’on constate, depuis l’octroi du droit de greve aux employes de l’Etat, il y a une cinquantaine d’annees, une croissance continue de l’ecart entre la remuneration globale des employes municipaux et celle de leurs collegues provinciaux.

Salem: Museums, Culinary Trails and...Witches

Par Sharman Yarnell le 16 octobre 2013

Yarnell_Sharman_bw.jpgA drive into New England’s coastal area for the fall colours and a dose of history is just the thing - a history that is rather relevant when we consider what’s happening here in Quebec with the Marois government. People’s rights being taken from them, finger pointing, religious persecution - their rights of belief, rights of behavior, rights of thought, even - were summarily denounced, illegally declared criminal against all normally accepted laws of humanity and social behavior - and heavily paid for.

Korean NAvy vessels arrive in Montreal

Par Alan Hustak le 15 octobre 2013

IMG_1160.JPGVisit Commemorates 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean engagement

A South Korean destroyer and an auxiliary naval vessel arrived in Montreal Sunday as part of ceremonies being held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean engagement.  The  Roks Dae Jo Yeong and Roks Hwa Chen will be open to visitors in the Old Port until Wednesday, Oct. 16  The ships are on a round the world cruise and are visiting ports of call in 14 countries which sent troops to the Korean engagement.

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