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Société

On civil conservatism/ The restraint of reason over illiberal license.

Par Beryl Wajsman le 7 avril 2015

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThere are core belies of personal civil conservatism that drive my social activism and journalistic advocacy. Foremost amongst them is my concern that many of the approaches of  today’s inappropriately named liberalism have supported the proposition that the state has an undisputed authority to impose a framework of imperatives that not only delineate and define how we should live but who we should be.  Social engineering as statist faith has become too ingrained and is increasingly seen as central to “progressive” government doctrine. In today’s “liberalism,” Individual expression is to be moderated and sublimated to the supposed greatest good for the greatest number. 

Alana's plea

Par Beryl Wajsman le 30 mars 2015

Although Mayor Copeman has already received a longer and far more detailed letter from Ms. Ronald, the following is an abridged and edited version, with Ms. Ronald’s permission, for the purpose of publication. It is a story of her trials and tribulations with the city's social housing bureaucracy. It raises critical issues of the tragedy of what our seniors on fixed incomes have to go through. They, who built our society, suffer needlessly because our governments have not met their fiduciary responsibility to assure that pensions are sustainable. By 2020, some 30% of Montreal's non-francophone population will be seniors. Close to 40% will have no other source of income than government pensions which are below poverty levels of $19,000 for a single individual. There is no more vital issue on the agenda of social justice than to right the wrongs to the most vulnerable among us. Former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty wanted to start increasing pensions two years ago. It is time to begin. 

Be Careful, your views could affect your will

Par Jordan Turner le 9 mars 2015

turner_jordan.jpgTwo weeks ago, a story that received limited press should have sent shockwaves throughout the legal establishment and to anyone who has prepared a last will and testament.   Ontario, Judge C.A Gilmore rejected the will of the late Rector Emanuel Spence who bequeathed his entire estate to only one of his two daughters as the judge believed his motivations were racist. As such, the Judge set a controversial precedent where the thoughts and views of the deceased, and not the recipient of the inheritance, was determined to be detrimental to public policy and warranted the complete nullification of his will.

New income security coalition unites left and right

Par Joel Ceausu le 16 février 2015

Ceausu_Joel.jpgFew things unite the right and left in Canada, Tim Hortons and hockey notwithstanding, but a not-so-radical idea might be one of them.
Mention “guaranteed income” and most people think “handout.” But there’s a lot more to it, says Jonathan Brun, spokesperson for the Basic Income Canada Network and co-founder of Revenue de base Quebec, working to get Canada to adopt a basic income scheme.
“It appeals to everyone because it addresses the burgeoning government bureaucracy and maintains a solid social safety net while changing the way government transfers wealth between taxpayers.”

Doing good is just not good enough!

Par P.A. Sévigny le 16 février 2015

Sevigny_PA_bw.jpgDuring last week’s hour-long lecture in Westmount’s Atwater Library, Matthew Pearce once again reminded his audience why charity must be more than “...just a soup kitchen and a bed.” 

“Shelters were originally conceived as an emergency option and not as permanent housing for the destitute,” said Pearce. “So our goal is not to warehouse people but to help as many as we can to re-integrate back into society. Our ultimate mission is to end homelessness as we know it.”

Time for compassion and coherence in welfare

Par Beryl Wajsman le 16 février 2015

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThe Couillard administration is taking a look at revising welfare. It is in the context of the general austerity plan. It has been made clear that there will be some nominal cuts. This is the wrong policy. It punishes the vulnerable, perpetuates a system that does not work and cannot achieve any economic or social benefits. It is time for compassion and coherence in our welfare policies. 

Our social security system – pensions and welfare – have been compromised for generations by governments taking in what were in fact trust monies – deducted from all of us at source - and using them for general purposes.

“Counter-productive” Groups denounce welfare reform

Par Joel Ceausu le 3 février 2015

Ceausu_Joel.jpg“There’s still time,” says Clement Citeya of the Comité des Personnes Assistées Sociales de Pointe-Saint-Charles (CPAS). Still time that is, for the province to reconsider its welfare reforms that the groups calls counter-productive and shows “shocking contempt for welfare recipients and are based on a false understanding of the welfare system.” Quebec is applying its austerity belt cinching to welfare rolls as well, affecting many of the nearly half-million Quebecers receiving social assistance.
CPAS along with Côte-des-Neiges based Project Genesis and other groups held a press conference last week to denounce the changes and Employment Minister François Blais’ “spreading false ideas rather than dealing with real social assistance issues.”

The pen or the Kalashnikov- your choice

Par Stephanie Azran le 18 janvier 2015

Azran_Stephanie.jpgLast week, #Je SuisCharlie became the anthem of artists, journalists and citizens who refused to back down in the face of violence.
12 people died in the attacks in Paris and several more French citizens were killed in the days following. In the initial affront, gunmen with Kalashnikovs went into the building during an editorial meeting and opened fire. On writers, editors, citizens of France who may have taken things too far, but for a real purpose.
This isn't the first time the magazine has been under fire- literally. It was firebombed in 2011 for publishing an edition poking fun at Mohammed and Islamic law. Writers and the editor-in-chief were and are used to receiving death threats. Even after requests from the French government to temper their satire, the magazine refused. 

Aujourd'hui, nous sommes tous Charlie ... et nous sommes tous juifs

Par Beryl Wajsman le 11 janvier 2015

je_suis_charlie_01.jpgLes lombrics se sont glissés hors de leurs repaires une fois de plus dans une attaque brutale et barbare envers la liberté en massacrant des dizaines dans les bureaux de journal français «Charlie Hebdo». Des satires sur l'islamisme et les islamistes constituaient le «crime» du journal. D'ailleurs, il avait été incendié en 2011 pour la republication des caricatures de Mahomet. Ce faisant, ils ont ensuite ciblé des Juifs dans un marché cacher appelé Hyper Cacher. Le «crime» des Juifs était tout simplement d'être juif. Notons toutes les fois où la liberté et les Juifs ont été ciblés pour les mêmes raisons et par les mêmes ennemis.

Je Suis Charlie

Par Father John Walsh le 8 janvier 2015

father_walsh.jpgThe world must stand up for freedom, freedom of expression; freedom, pure and simple!  History has proven that the denial of freedom is the greatest obstacle to our development as human beings.  The greatest freedom we have is to seek the truth.  Truth will make you free.  What is the truth about Je Suis Charlie?
Although we seek truth that is absolute and therefore self-evident, truth is not absolute, it is relative to the events and circumstances in which we seek the truth.  It is not situational but must be situated in the time and space in which truth is sought after.  In the case of Charlie Hebdo, people use their pens as satirists and draw cartoons lampooning people and events in depictions that may be considered extreme to wake people up who otherwise would be very content to live with the status quo.  

Today we are all "Charlie Hebdo"

Par Beryl Wajsman le 7 janvier 2015

charlie.JPGThe nightcrawlers have slithered out of their lairs once again in a brutal and barbarous attack on freedom butchering dozens in the offices of France's press icon of satire "Charlie Hebdo." The paper's "crime" was satirizing Islamists and Islamism. It had been firebombed in 2011 for republishing the Mohammed cartoons. Now, it is once again the duty of all free people to gather bold resolve and  expose, denounce and destroy the vermin who perpetrate such horror so that we can rid our society of their pestilence. We can have victory over terror and we can have victory despite the terror. We can build communities of conscience that  -  together – will overcome the mightiest wellsprings of hatred and oppression. Because together people find courage. But we must all have the courage – even the audacity - to take the first step. Silence is not an option. 

Denis Delaney 1933-2014

Par Alan Hustak le 26 décembre 2014

Denis_delaney.jpgDenis Delaney was a free spirit an entertained and storyteller whose vivid imagination and homespun poetry celebrated the long since vanished Irish slum neighbourhood of  Griffintown.  A impish character in his own right, Delaney died Sunday, a week after his 81st birthday. “He was wonderful. He was Griffintown’s leading cheerleader,” said author Patricia Burns, who profiled Delaney in her book, The Shamrock and The Sheild. “He was such a loving,  giving person, whose enthusiasm for the community was infectious. He used to write such wonderful stories, but Denis being Denis, you never knew where the truth began or ended.”

The Concordia BDS experience When does anti-Zionism become anti-Semitism?

Par Jonathan Mamane le 14 décembre 2014

mamane_jonathan.jpgAt the beginning of the semester a controversial anti-Israel referendum question was brought forward by the Concordia Student Union. As a result of the election, myself and numerous other anti-BDS Concordia undergraduate students, have been subjected to harassment, defamation, and public humiliation. In the short time period of the campaign, it was made evident that the initial purpose of the Israel boycott was an excuse for anti-Semitism.
Prior to the BDS campaign, the hostility between students was at an all time high. Opposition increased when CEO Andre-Marcel Baril formulated a question regarding the newly formed campaign. “Do you approve of the CSU supporting the Boycott, 

Jean Béliveau: The greatness of grace and grit

Par Beryl Wajsman le 10 décembre 2014

beliveau.JPGHow many words are always written when greatness passes. Yet they are all necessary, as much for the living to continue, as to honor the departed. Because it becomes personal. And as much as any man, Jean Béliveau was personal to all of us.
The memories flood back of watching his fluidity and grace as young children sitting next to our parents. Following his career of greatness that was nearly unparalleled, his achievements were almost markers of our lives. For almost two decades, Hockey Night in Canada was Hockey Night with Béliveau as much as anything else.

Remembrance and War

Par David T. Jones le 27 novembre 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington,DC - There is a special mythos to ending a war on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” that has clung to societal memories.
Some years it has been a grind-through-it event, when we were deeply engaged in other wars.  One doubts that in the midst of World War II there was much attention paid to “Armistice Day” when the Great War had proved only a precursor to another greater one.
And during my boyhood, U.S. citizens were still celebrating “V-E” and “V-J” day proclaiming the victories in Europe and against Japan. “Armistice” Day had not yet morphed into “Veterans” Day.

JFK: Why he matters still…

Par Beryl Wajsman le 27 novembre 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgToday is the fifty-first anniversary of the funeral of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States. Just over a half-century after his assassination, his hold on our imagination does not wane. It is important to reflect on the reasons why.
We live in a petty era colored by false pieties, moral relativism and obsequious pandering to the lowest common denominator. JFK matters to us still because he made courage tenable. Courage to be just. Courage to be compassionate. Courage to be dreamers. And he challenged all our resolves to make it so.

What Are You Doing Sunday?

Par Joel Ceausu le 30 octobre 2014

Ceausu_Joel.jpgYou’ve read the headlines. Here, in other papers, saw TV reports and heard it on the radio.
You get it; the game is stacked against English participation in school board elections. Unless you have a kid in English school, you should never have assumed you have the right to vote for English boards, because for years the English boards have been double-teamed: Names summarily yanked off English rolls by an electoral system designed to minimize the Anglo franchise, while language laws choke off enrolment.
Nice talk of collaboration, lobbying and consultations has not amounted to a hill of beans over the years. That’s not my opinion:

Corinne Kernan Sevigny 1924-2014

Par Alan Hustak le 4 octobre 2014

Clou_sevigny_01.jpgCorinne Sevigny, who died Friday, at the age of 90, was an indomitable character who was connected to pedigreed political families in both Canada and the United States. Her paternal grandfather, Francis Kernan was the first Roman Catholic to be elected to the United States Senate.  Her maternal grandfather, Sir Charles Fitzpatrick, was a former Quebec lieutenant governor and one of Louis Riel`s defence lawyers.  Raised in an atmosphere of privilege, she was a no-nonsense, powerhouse of a woman, who in the words of one friend, “is now in heaven, undoubtedly telling the angels what to do and how to do it.”

Robin, "we hardly knew ye..."

Par Beryl Wajsman le 13 août 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgIf he couldn't make it, who could? If he couldn't conquer the demons, how are we to cope? As much as his art touched the millions that loved him, these questions also explain why Robin Williams' suicide touches us all so poignantly.
Williams' battles with depression and substance abuse are well-known. But one does not have to be clinically depressed to empathize with the everyday demons so magnified in illness that Robin succumbed to. We all have them, and constantly battle them.

On appearances

Par Father John Walsh le 10 août 2014

father_walsh.jpgDo clothes make the woman or the man?  There are shocking and staggering fashion industry statistics.  There are over 7 billion people on this planet. If you count one number a second without stopping until you reach a billion, you’d be counting for 31 years, 259 days, 1 hours, 46minutes, and 40 seconds. If each person owned only one pair of pants, one shirt, and one jacket, that would be 21 billion articles of clothing. If you were to count each of those, one per second, it would take nearly 672 years. We spend more than a few dollars to keep up our appearance. 

Change In Scriptural Interpretation Is Inevitable

Par Father John Walsh le 26 juin 2014

father_walsh.jpgAll religious traditions are facing the same reality; we are struggling to emerge in a new way from a re-interpretation of our sacred texts.  Brian McLaren in his book "Everything must change" states the matter succinctly as "when the world’s biggest problems and the teachings of Jesus collide."
Have we experienced enough of the dog- eat-dog-world to know its futility?  Will we be content with a callous and cold world?  Hope may erupt when all our faith traditions are in compliment with each other and together we refuse to accept conflict and confrontation to resolve whatever differences we may face together.  

Supreme Court reaffirms our "most comprehensive" of rights

Par Beryl Wajsman le 20 juin 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgSupreme Court reaffirms our "most comprehensive"of rights Internet privacy and due process protections strengthened.
Friday's unanimous Supreme Court decision in the Spencer case is not only a watershed in privacy rights but also reaffirms that due process is our paramount protection of liberty. The Court ruled that security authorities could not demand of internet service providers the identities and addresses of people unless a warrant was obtained first. It said that warrantless internet searches were "presumptively unreasonable." The Court stated that internet users have a right to,privacy pending a warrant. Yet violations of this basic civil right has been going on for years.

Coderre's right, QLB's wrong

Par Beryl Wajsman le 19 juin 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgIt's as simple as that. On multiple levels.

The Quebec Liquor Board has rejected a pilot project by the City of Montreal to extend bar hours until 6 a.m. It said the pilot project was   "likely to disturb public tranquility." The Agency further stated that, "A project such as this merits taking the time to reflect and to document its feasibility in light of similar experiences elsewhere in the world." 

A Pilgrimage Of Peace

Par Father John Walsh le 15 juin 2014

father_walsh.jpgThe road to peace in the Middle East has a new roadmap.  Pope Francis walked a road less travelled with his two friends from Buenos Aires, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, former rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, and Sheik Omar Abboud, a former secretary-general of the Islamic Center of Argentina. Francis was telling the world that he had been on the inter-faith road for a long time. What we have learned is that Pope Francis cannot be orchestrated.


Cop rage: police ticket 87 year-old $494 for crossing the street

Par P.A. Sévigny le 3 juin 2014

Sevigny_PA_bw.jpgLate last week, while on his way to an afternoon medical appointment, 87 year-old Sam Ferstman was given two tickets totalling $494 because he failed to see the pedestrian crosswalk on Ste. Catherine near the Stanley Street intersection.
“I could see that the light had changed so I (along with two or three other seniors) tried to move a little faster but just as I got to the edge of the sidewalk, this policeman grabbed me by the arm and pulled me aside ,” said Ferstman. “He was very rough and very rude and after he called me an old man (for the first time), he told me that this was going to cost me a lot of money.”

Bill 52: How about “living” with dignity? The dying is hard enough.

Par Beryl Wajsman le 26 mai 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgThe problem with prohibitionary law, is that when the prohibitions are lifted, a new set of problems can arise.  Government intervention in our privates lives and choices will always present such problems and dilemmas. And this is true with the re-introduced “Dying with dignity” Bill 52
The new Liberal government has brought forth this PQ legislation into the Assembly as one of its first orders of business. It will pass unanimously in all likelihood. But this question would never have arisen if all governments had stayed loyal to a fundamental principle of natural justice that personal moral choices by adults should be outside the purview of the state.

Benedict Vanier 1925-2014 A Spiritual Life

Par Alan Hustak le 20 mai 2014

benedict_vanier_01.jpgBenedict Vanier stood  tall,  head and shoulders above all the other  the Trappist  monks in his religious community  at l’Abbye Val Notre Dame in  St. Jean de Mantha.  The regal bearing came naturally. He   was  the   son of Canada’s devoutly catholic Governor-General Georges Vanier and his wife Pauline Archer. He   lived a life of contemplation in relative obscurity as a monk  and as a  priest for almost seven decades. Yet at his funeral on May 17, he was remembered as a genial spiritual advisor who was both pithy and profound. 

A prescription for healthcare

Par Beryl Wajsman le 16 mai 2014

Wajsman_Beryl_bw.jpgAs the new Couillard administration prepares its agendas, let’s put some pressure on to make sure it gets healthcare reforms right. Health Minister Barrette knows the score. He knows what needs to be done. We must press that the government to have the political will to do it.
As the super hospitals come close to opening, we must be honest as a society and realize that they cannot succeed. The plans were based on the thesis – a correct one - that most people can now be treated on an out-patient basis if enough equipment – enough as to quality and quantity – is obtained. People would do better.

The age of the death of privacy

Par Jordan Turner le 5 mai 2014

Lost in the whole controversy over LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling is the complete and total disregard of privacy.   Although Mr. Sterling’s comments were despicable, racist, outdated and misguided, they were made in the privacy of his own home. He did not make any comments in a public form, whether it was online, in the media or in the streets.  Mr. Sterling was having a private conversation with his girlfriend in his home.  People will allude to the fact that Mr. Sterling has made controversial comments in the past regarding race, yet the firestorm that he is now facing, including a life ban from attending NBA games, a $2.5 million fine and will undoubtedly receive extensive pressure to sell the franchise, only occurred when a private conversation was secretly recorded. 

Faith and secularism after the election

Par Father John Walsh le 5 mai 2014

father_walsh.jpgIn many way we may be experiencing the end of the cultural wars that have marked Quebec politics and Québec life for the past many decades.  The recent proposal of a “Charter of values” was divisive of the population and the use or non-use of religious symbols in public institutions raised the ire of members of all religious communities and resulted in professionals in health and educational institutions publicly refusing to follow the demands of the Charter.
The reactions to the election of a Liberal majority government by pro-federalists is one of elation; the defeat of the PQ has sent the party members into a deep reflective mode questioning the very redefinition of the “raison d’être” of the party. 

She gave away millions. Liliane Stewart, philanthropist 1928-2014

Par Alan Hustak le 3 mai 2014

lilianestewart.jpgLiliane M. Stewart, the Montreal tobacco heiress who  endowed and supported several Montreal museums, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Château Ramezay  the Stewart Museum on Île Sainte-Hélène,  and as well as a number of hospitals died early Saturday, May 3.  She was 85. She was an intensely private, sometimes difficult woman, who carried on and expanded her husband’s philanthropic works.  Mrs. Stewart  refused to talk about herself or answer personal questions.  Once, when asked to furnish biographical material to a journalist she declined.  “Me, I am me,” she said. “That’s all you need to know.  I am a very private person.”

The Politics of Criminal Justice Pardons

Par Michael Ashby le 10 avril 2014

Is it ok to punish a criminal for the same crime twice. Recently, the Supreme Court of Canada said no, ruling that tougher parole-eligibility rules -applied retroactively - violated an offenders’ Charter rights in this respect. 

But what about punishing someone for crimes that were never committed in the first place? Would it be okay to judge a person based on allegations that could not be proven in court? 

Climate Change Claptrap

Par David T. Jones le 3 mars 2014

jones_david.jpgI too believe in climate change--absolutely.  I believe in global warming--and in global cooling--and in global “just the same.”  By definition “climate” changes every day, even every hour--just look at your daily weather forecast.  On a larger scale, climate has changed repeatedly over millennium; ice ages have come and passed.  Fifty years ago prognosticators mulled over a coming ice age (which didn’t). Climate will change again--over decades, centuries, and longer, given a wide variety of conditions, e.g., the sun is a variable star.  And the climate may, repeat may, be changing over a period of time so that the Earth becomes measurably warmer.  But living long enough to prove/disprove it is problematic.

Remembering Ryan

Par Alan Hustak le 18 février 2014

charest_mulroney.jpgFormer Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and former Quebec premier Jean Charest paid homage last week to Claude Ryan, one of Quebec’s last great Catholic intellectuals.
Ryan, who was a champion of asymmetrical federalism, often frustrated both Mulroney and Charest with his notion that Quebec required enhanced constitutional powers to promote the equality of the French-language throughout Canada.
But that didn’t stop either of them from reminiscing about him on the 10th anniversary of his death, and warmly remembering him as a great Canadian. 

Albert Camus: Le portrait d’un juste

Par Esther Benfredj le 6 février 2014

Benfredj_Esther.jpg« Chaque génération, sans doute, se croit vouée à refaire le monde. La mienne sait pourtant qu’elle ne le refera pas. Mais sa tâche est peut-être plus grande. Elle consiste à empêcher que le monde ne se défasse. » Lorsqu’Albert Camus prononce ces mots le 10 décembre 1957, il est à l’hotel de ville de Stockholm. Le prix Nobel de littérature vient de lui être décerné tandis que la guerre froide scinde le monde en deux blocs ennemis. Camus évoque alors la terrible condition des intellectuels condamnés à la censure dans les pays communistes d’Europe centrale et orientale.  C’est à Louis Germain, son instituteur de l’école communale, qu’il dédie son discours de Suède : Camus n’a jamais oublié cet homme qui lui avait transmis, dans sa jeunesse en Algérie, le goût des lettres. 


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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