Sociétéhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/topic/4fraDare 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 -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 -0400CULTURAL APPROPRIATION IS A CROCKhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1658http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1658Washington, DC - Sometimes one is impressed over the trivial pursuits of injustice collectors.  (One of) the latest “viewings with alarm” has been the contretemps over “cultural appropriation.”The intimation appears to be that the “culture” of a specific group is itself the equivalent of patent-protected material, and that nobody is permitted to act in a manner that reflects another member/group of society.It is hard to imagine anything more absurd.  History and society advance by the spread of ideas, inventions, and associated technology.  Culture, not just biology, is constantly evolving.  Otherwise, my Chinese mother-in-law would never have been permitted to read Shakespeare as a child.  Or members of First Nations to use rifles while traveling on snow mobiles.  David T. JonesSun, 28 May 2017 23:44:00 -0400Are we living in the 2nd or 3rd dimension now?http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1647http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1647This past weekend I went to a party. It was an amazing celebration for a couple of friends’ birthdays. There was a dj, lights, and a photo booth. There were balloons, fabulous decorations and candies for the loot bag. The party was filled with festive people talking, sharing and celebrating the birthdays. It was a happy time to share with friends.There were so many people engaged. However, the children at this party were faced downward, unaffected. They were all engaged with their mobile phones. They were messaging, surfing, emailing, instagramming, and snapchatting. What I noticed most is that they were not interacting with their friends. They were not dancing or paying attention to the actual party. They were virtually removed and living in their two dimensional world.Suzanne Reisler LitwinTue, 28 Feb 2017 18:24:00 -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 -0500Marcus Aurelius and his Meditationshttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1639http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1639It is difficult to write this little piece. My chest bursts with the desire to weep for sudden memory, uninvited shame, and long regret. Making myself write it, well, that is an exercise Aurelius would have demanded of me. So I will try to be a good Stoic. In his way. I first read Aurelius in Gorsebrook School Elementary when the principal, Mr.Moser read a little journal which I put up on the blackboard each morning before school. That would be in Grade 6 and I was twelve.Prof. Peter MarchSun, 15 Jan 2017 23:52:00 -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 -0500Au revoir, Le Mas des Oliviershttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1630http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1630There are restaurants around Montreal that were anchors of my youth, all gone but certainly not forgotten by those of a certain age. I remember lunches at the Brown Derby with my best friend, Bernie Hyams, dinner at Pumpernick’s after my grade school graduation, watching Magic Tom at the Beaver Club at the Queen Elizabeth hotel, and the list goes on.  These restaurants were gathering places for clients of many generations, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, and they mingled in these locales as if they were public squares.  Le Mas des Oliviers on Bishop was one of those restaurants where the business community mixed with politicians and notables at lunch and dinner, and for forty years owner Jacques Muller and his crew served them timeless French cuisine in a ground level location that mixed Norman Conquest décor with Quebec charm and grace.Robert PresserSat, 29 Oct 2016 14:49:00 -0400Random thoughts of a non-dog owner (In no particular order)http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1623http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1623I am neither a dog lover or hater. I cried when Old Yeller died. Underdog was one of my childhood heroes.But when I am invited to your house please have a person, and not your dog, answer the door. I do not like being pawed, barked at and sniffed in my nether regions in your vestibule, prior to be granted free passage into your home. I won’t object if you try to sniff me.Please do not expect me to go onto the road so your dog can remain in the passing lane of the sidewalk. Do not assume that I wish to interact with your dog when out on my evening stroll. I will engage and babble in baby talk  If I want to have some dog time.Dr, Mark GrossmanMon, 19 Sep 2016 13:29:00 -0400Message to Millenialshttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1622http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1622I'm so glad that I was born in 1961. I am a product of my time. A time of rebellion against a raging war in Vietnam. A time of loving love and wanting peace - but really wanting it. Meaning it. Woodstock and the free love movement. Colors and nature and coke ads where they wanted us all to teach the "world to sing".When Bell wanted us to "reach out and touch someone." When there were four movies that we watched each year on one televisio. -(The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, It's a wonderful Life) - and it wasn't an HD big screen. You may have even had rabbit ears on top of that television for better reception. (For the millenials, you can google "rabbit ears.")Jill SalomonMon, 19 Sep 2016 13:23:00 -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 -0400THE TRIUMPH OF THE NOSEY PARKERhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1618http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1618Washington, DC ~ Politics is now in the phase of “let it all hang out” and, if there is reluctance to such exposure, rip it out of the recalcitrant.Thus the endless clarion calls for politicians to release their federal tax returns.  Ostensibly, these demands are couched in dulcet “good government” terms designed to reveal whether certain financial claims by a candidate are accurate or that income is honestly obtained.  “Transparency” is the new buzz word.In truth these demands are hypocritical and self serving.  They are emphasized by political opponents who suspect that published tax returns will provide further grist for derogatory attacks.David T. JonesFri, 19 Aug 2016 04:24:00 -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 -0400Elie Wiesel: "And now he belongs to the ages..."http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1609http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1609Elie Wiesel - child survivor of Auschwitz, renowned author, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and conscience of our time - has died. We shall not see his like again. He now belongs to the ages. I had to share my feelings at this sad moment with you all...The Book of Joshua tells us that, “…the Lord delivered up the Amorites… and he said Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; …And the sun stood still at mid-day, until the people avenged themselves upon their enemies.” I used those words in my eulogy at my father's funeral.Some seventy years ago, Elie Wiesel was a young man with no name, no hope, no future and was known only by a tattooed number.Beryl WajsmanSat, 02 Jul 2016 17:27:00 -0400Grand Prix in the "inspector state"http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1603http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1603We are a couple of weeks away from the Grand Prix coming to town. More than anything else Montreal stages, this event puts this city in front of the eyes of the world. And more than anything else Montreal stages, the Grand Prix week is responsible for up to 15% of annual revenues for many downtown stores, restaurants and bars. As we thought of what we will project this year, the images were very sad indeed.The construction and repair madness will shoot out scenes reminiscent of the rebuilding of Balkan cities. It's not just the mess that will embarass us, it's the seeming total lack of planning and coordination. Getting around will be a nightmare for the more than 100,000 visitors expected that week.Beryl WajsmanFri, 20 May 2016 15:59:00 -0400Gender and bathrooms: A tempest in a piss pothttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1602http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1602Washington, DC - For most of human existence and identifiable history, toilet facilities were wherever the urge struck one. The world was one’s toilet for those actions which could neither be delayed nor delegated. One memorable and illustrative little jingle went: “In days of old, when knights were bold, and toilets weren’t invented, they left their loads upon the roads and went away contented.” Chamber pots from standard dwellings were dumped on the streets (often just hurled from upper story windows). Creeks and rivers were open sewers.You were into relatively modern times before society recognized the close connection between sanitation and disease. And while there was an appreciation that clean water was a significant health benefit, it is still recognized primarily in “Western” civilization.David T. JonesMon, 09 May 2016 09:27:00 -0400Time to put the new prohibitionists on the runhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1600http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1600It seems that every day that politicians wake up in the morning they want to make some new prohibition on our personal adult choices. They make war on cars; prohibit English even where the law allows it; make controls on soft drinks and fast food; restrict outdoor smoking; demand politically correct language; outlaw fireplaces and totally ignore privacy, property and commerce rights. We say enough. It's time to put the new prohibitionists on the run.What sparked our ire this week was the controversy over the opening of the Jersey's Saloon bar on Sherbrooke St. in NDG.Beryl WajsmanMon, 02 May 2016 14:20:00 -0400First Bill 59, now Bill 74: Quebec's continuing problem with freedomhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1597http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1597We have written, sadly and far too often, of the institutions in Quebec that have sought to impose conformity and constraint on freedom of expression and freedom of choice. It is a systemic malady. Last year the Couillard government  proposed a law that would allow the Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC) to censor speech that promotes "fear of the other." The proposed law is Bill 59. Hearings are still ongoing, but national media and civil liberties groups have called it everything from a threat to free speech to pandering to Islamists. It has shamed Quebec and underscored once again Quebec's continuing problem with freedom.Beryl WajsmanMon, 11 Apr 2016 14:59:00 -0400Feminists should condemn the UN's Status of Women Commissionhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1596http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1596Usually I would say sit back, relax, and enjoy this piece. But instead, I must urge you to sit forward, tense up, and worry about the blatant hypocrisy, anti-Semitism, and double standards the United Nations has now placed on the state of Israel. On March 24, 2016, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) concluded its annual meeting by labelling Israel as the worst violator of women’s rights in the entire world. Despite pronouncing themselves as an intergovernmental organization that is “instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women,” one clearly should not judge an IO based on its mission statement. Kevin BudningMon, 04 Apr 2016 05:20:00 -0400Listen to the whisper of Godhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1584http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1584There is a current in history that is pushing us towards reconciliation and peace. Listen to the whisper of God everywhere. At Vatican II the whisper of God could be heard in the document Nostra Aetate when fundamental questions about our human existence were posed. Men expect from the various religions answers to the unsolved riddles of the human condition, which today, even as in former times, deeply stir the hearts of men: What is man? What is the meaning, the aim of our life? What is moral good, what is sin? Whence suffering and what purpose does it serve? Which is the road to true happiness?Father John WalshSun, 21 Feb 2016 17:10:00 -0500Knowing the price of everything but the value of very little. The tragedy of La Presse' closurehttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1576http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1576After 130 years, the daily La Presse has ceased weekday hard-copy publication reverting to its digital platform only. The Saturday edition will still be printed. This is a societal failure on multiple levels.Marshall McLuhan was right when he said that the "medium is the message." But part of a medium - and media - being effective, is that it must be "in your face." We cannot rely on people choosing to go to digital platforms to be informed if we want to keep a healthy democracy. The essence of a healthy democracy, where citizens are not lulled into passive acceptance of pandering political sound bites and fleeting electronic images so often manipulated on social media, is that they have a chance to be deeply informed. Without an educated populace we have only a pretense of liberty with the uninformed electing the unchallenged.Beryl WajsmanThu, 31 Dec 2015 14:16:00 -0500Health care or homicide?http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1567http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1567As Canada moves toward legalized assisted suicide starting in February, Quebec will jump the gun and become the first province to permit doctors to euthanize patients beginning next month. When Quebec’s Bill 52 takes effect on Dec. 10, physician-assisted suicide will be deemed an acceptable health-care option which doctors may offer to certain terminally ill patients. Still to be resolved, however, is the question of whether Quebec’s law conforms to the Criminal Code of Canada, which makes it illegal “to help a person commit suicide, whether suicide ensues or not.”Alan HustakSun, 08 Nov 2015 23:52:00 -0500Changes they 'r a comin'http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1565http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1565The powers that be have decided to modify, yet again, the Quebec Civil Code of Procedure [C.C.P.] which will come into effect January 1, 2016.  So it seemed only fitting to let you in on a few of the more important changes and new arrivals in the domain fondly known as Family Law. You should first be aware that every time a Government changes existing legislation, under the guise of making Justice more accessible and less costly, I shudder. Me.Linda HammerschmidSun, 01 Nov 2015 23:53:00 -0500"In our time..." 50 years agohttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1563http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1563Fifty years ago this week marks a dramatic turning point in relations between Catholics and Jews.   On Oct. 2 8, 1965,  Pope Paul VI  issued a ground breaking Vatican II declaration, Nostra Aetate (In our Time) which ordered Catholics “to enter with prudence and charity into discussions and collaboration”   with people of other religions, especially Jews . It represents  an  historic condemnation of anti-Semitism and  paved the way for ecumenical dialogue.  In particular,  it  rid the church liturgy of  its offensive language  which  for centuries had dismissed Jews as “perfidious."Alan HustakSun, 01 Nov 2015 23:45:00 -0500Ban the Bans!http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1560http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1560Stop it! Just stop it! It's getting out of control! It's getting to the point that we can't live our normal lives without someone, some place, somewhere telling us you can't do something. Smoking! Ok, I get it. It's bad for your health. For this reason I don't smoke. I won't smoke. I made that decision for myself. I don't  go to places where people smoke. That's my choice. But there are people who do enjoy smoking and that's their choice. Not mine, but theirs.Suzanne Reisler LitwinWed, 07 Oct 2015 17:04:00 -0400The Buonanotte Affair: Massimo Lecas and Quebec McCarthyismhttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1552http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1552Quebec seems always to be digging for new lows in its abuses of civil rights. In the latest instalment, the government is demanding that merchants enforce shunning of citizens. Yes you read it right. The Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (RACJ) is threatening to pull the liquor license of well known Restaurant Buonanotte unless its owner, Massimo Lecas, agrees to refuse service to a list of people the RACJ considers "undesireable." It's not the first time the RACJ has tried this. The other two times were also against Italian restaurants. Does the expression "ethnic profiling" resonate with anyone? What's next...blacklists to apartment owners and retailers not to rent or sell to those blacklisted?Beryl WajsmanFri, 14 Aug 2015 03:33:00 -0400WHAT IS POPE FRANCIS DOING?http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1551http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1551People are often happy to scratch the surface of discontent and see little victories that offer hope.  The major difficulty is that the problems created by any system require that the system be literally dismantled and sent to the sin bin, not the recycling bin.  The bishop of Rome, as he refers to himself, signed the encyclical Laudato si, on care for our common home, Francesco or simply Francis.  Why does Francis do what he does?  To the first question posed to him:  Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?  He answered, I am a sinner and he added that he wished it were a verb “mercying” him all the time. Father John WalshSun, 09 Aug 2015 19:02:00 -0400SHOULD I HAVE FLUNKED BECAUSE OF MY CLASS SIZE?http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1540http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1540Washington, DC - The classic teacher student ratio has been said to be “Socrates at one end of a log and the student at the other end.”Unfortunately, even in the time of Socrates, there were very few such teachers.  And today one suspects there are none.The educational bureaucratic effort is to get the most students taught by the fewest teachers.  They hope that the students learn something and the teachers do not walk away from the process.  Unionized teachers, however, seek to teach the fewest number of students with the shortest work day implicitly (if not explicitly) citing Socrates as an example.The U.S. educational process has seen an interesting evolution.David T. JonesTue, 23 Jun 2015 17:33:00 -0400A GLOBAL VILLAGE GATHERS ITS URBAN LEADERShttp://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1539http://themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1539The human being is a work in progress.  The human narrative is being re-written.  “Human” means many things to many people.  Hat’s off to Mayor Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal, for inviting 30 mayors of the cities of the world to a Summit in Montreal to address the theme, Living Together.  Humans living together.  No person is an island and communities are made up of diverse individuals from a variety of traditions, languages, cultures, religions, secularists and atheists.  Diversity is a treasure to be opened and shared by all humanity.  Diversity is ubiquitous.  Our streets and our neighborhoods are a microcosm of the diversity found in the entire world. Father John WalshTue, 23 Jun 2015 17:31:00 -0400