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 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 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 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 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.
Par Father John Walsh le 3 janvier 2014
We 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?
Par Pierre Brassard le 3 janvier 2014
Le 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.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 17 décembre 2013
Last 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.”
Par Beryl Wajsman le 3 décembre 2013
Minister 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.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 19 novembre 2013
It 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.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 14 novembre 2013
Fatima 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.
Par Louise V. Labrecque le 10 novembre 2013
Nul 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.
Par David T. Jones le 3 novembre 2013
Washington, 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.
Par Philippe Roy le 28 octobre 2013
In 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.
Par Claude Garcia le 25 octobre 2013
Le 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.
Par Sharman Yarnell le 16 octobre 2013
A 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.
Par Alan Hustak le 15 octobre 2013
Visit 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.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 15 octobre 2013
One 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.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 6 octobre 2013
Despite 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.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 6 octobre 2013
The 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.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 25 septembre 2013
There 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.
Par Pierre Brassard le 15 septembre 2013
Depuis plusieurs annees, le deploiement et l’installation de divers groupes islamistes au Canada et au Quebec suscitent des interrogations qui sont plus que legitimes.Cependant, il devrait y avoirdes principes forts pour nous guider comme« societe ouverte » pour y faire face avec encore plus de maturite. Invitation donc a un travail de longue haleine.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 9 septembre 2013
Let’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.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 7 septembre 2013
As 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.
Par Hon. Gerry Weiner le 23 août 2013
Most readers will recall the extensive coverage of the steps the Stephen Harper government took in launching the reform of Canada’s immigration system. There have also been a plethora of news stories about the critical need to finance the repair and modernization of deteriorating local infrastructure in Canada.. While these stories may seem unconnected, using innovative strategies to achieve the former may actually help solve the latter.
Examples of crumbling municipal infrastructure are becoming almost daily occurrences throughout Canada.
Par Dylan Jones le 15 août 2013
The legalization of marijuana is our generation’s answer to the prohibition of alcohol. Although the true rate of marijuana use among North American adults varies depending on who’s asking, it is generally accepted that a substantial portion of the population uses, has used or will use marijuana at some point. A good indicator of this is the recent decisions by the Washington and Colorado electorates to legalize marijuana in those states. Marijuana is also legal in Portugal, Uruguay and the Netherlands. Despite its high usage, legislators around the world and here in Canada have clung to the notion that marijuana should remain illegal. Their position is outdated and must change.
Par Beryl Wajsman le 13 août 2013
Two 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!
Par Beryl Wajsman le 30 juillet 2013
As 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.
Par John Parisella le 12 juillet 2013
In the past few days, U.S. media networks have been reporting on the tragic events in Lac Mégantic, Québec, where a runaway, unmanned train carrying crude oil from North Dakota (73 wagons) barreled through a quiet tourist village of 6,000 inhabitants, derailed and exploded, leaving devastation in its trail. At the time of this writing, the entire downtown area had been decimated—15 people are reported dead and close to 40 missing. This will surely rank among the most heartbreaking tragedies in Canadian history. The events have since galvanized Canadians from coast to coast to offer heartfelt encouragement to the tiny village of Lac Mégantic and its inhabitants who are coping with this unspeakable horror.