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May 2011

District 2 Info Meeting is Monday, June 6

A Côte Saint-Luc District 2 information meeting will take place on Monday, June 6  (7:30 p.m.) at City Hall (5801 Cavendish Boulevard). I created this initiative when I was first elected in the fall of 2005 as a way to maintain closer relations with constituents and talk mainly about issues related to the surrounding neighbourhood. Since then a number of other councillors have done the same thing.

Officials from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, Public Works, Engineering and Councillor Steven Erdelyi will be on hand to speak and respond to questions on a variety of important issues. This includes an update on what is planned for Rembrandt Park and outdoor tennis in the community; the Cavendish-Kildare intersection; traffic and safety matters; cleanliness of the streets, parks and sidewalks; how to lodge a complaint with public works; plans for a new town house development on Marc Chagall Avenue; the Beth Chabad Community Centre; the Cavendish Mall housing development; and the new Aquatic and Community Centre. Councillor Erdelyi is responsible for the public  works portfolio

District 2 encompasses Merrimac, Rembrandt., Kildare  (betwen Rembrandt and Marc Chagall), Sir Walter Scott,  Ilan Ramon, Marc Chagall, Mackle  (between Cavendish and Brandeis),  Cavendish Mall, Cavendish (Manoir Montefiore, Manoir Camelia, L’Excelsior) and Honoré-de-Balzac. For more information, call (514) 485-6945 or email mcohen@cotesaintluc.org.


CSL Public Works Week Carnival a real education

The annual Côte Saint-Luc Public Works Week Carnival took place on May 22 and hundreds turned out to this event which combines education and a whole lot of fun. Congratulations to Beatrice Newman, Oriana Familiar, Councillor Steven Erdelyi and the rest of their  team for a job well done, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen and I even pitched in by shovelling some composting material into one of the many yellow bags being given  out to the public. See the picture below.

CompostBagsMikeGJ This event was originally scheduled to occur a week earlier, but Mother Nature rained on  that parade and we had to postpone. Weather conditions were perfect o n this day. A donation to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation gave  kids access to real vehicles, inflatable games, face painting/tattoos, flower planting, arts and crafts, fun and games and more.

There were tours of the Public Works Yard on a buggy, a barbecue, balloons TCBY, cotton candy and snow-cones, face painting and tattoos, fllower planting, arts and crafts, demonstrations  and Eco-Action Day. Everyone on hand got to learn more about recycling and organic waste collection and received free garden compost.  For the kids  there was a zero-waste lunch , an environmental trivia games and an  inflatable enchanted forest . Used bikes were baccepted on behalf of SOS Vélo. 


The Directors Showband and FRESH Entertainment to anchor CSL Canada Day

As the co-chair with Councillor Allan J. Levine of the 2011 Canada Day festivities at Pierre Elliott Trudeau  Park in Côte Saint-Luc on Friday, July 1 I am thrilled to announce that we have secured  the services of two of the city’s hottest musical entities: The Directors Showband  from the Golden Globe Award winning motion picture Barney’s Version and FRESH Entertainment

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The Directors  are an electrifying, unparalleled and highly entertaining 11-piece Show band led by vocalists Tony Picciuto (Tenor) and Randi Katz (Alto, Soprano). Accompanied by guitar, bass, drums, two keyboards, trumpet, two saxophones and a disc jockey, The Directors have captivated audiences all throughout Canada and the United States. Their set list provides a wide variety of Top 40, 70's, 80's, 90's, R&B, soul, funk, Motown, Dance, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Disco, Standards, Rock n’ Roll, Tangos, Cha-Chas, Captivating Duets, and Classic Ballads. Italian, French, Hebrew, and Spanish repertoires provided.

See their impressive video:

 

FRESH Entertainment is owned and operated by Côte Saint-Luc native Mike Goldfarb. His team of deejays, animators and dancers will really get the crowd going this Canada Day with exciting contests and great music.
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Dan Laxer of CJAD will be back as emcee. Stay tuned for many more details to come. We have a great team from the Parks and Recreation Department, including Director David Taveroff, Harold Cammy and Brad Horner. They are working hard to carry out the many wishes of the co-chairs and members of council.

 


Sun. May 15: CSL Spring Fair Postponed; Garage Sale goes rain or shine

With a non-stop forecast of heavy rain, the City of Côte Saint-Luc has postponed its annual Spring Fair of Sunday, May 15. The Public Works Carnival and Public Safety Day display will now move  to Sunday, May 22. However, the popular garage sale under the covered Confederation Annex of Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park is still on. Here are the details.


Quebec Finance Minister charms CSL Senior Men's Club

As the chairman of the provincial Liberal government caucus and a long time D’Arcy McGee Member of the National Assembly, Lawrence Bergman continues to demonstrate the valuable influence he has. Last week he arranged for Premier Jean Charest to attend and speak at the annual Yom Hashoah commemoration at Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation in Côte Saint-Luc. On May 9, he brought Minister of Finance and Revenue Raymond Bachand to address a packed room of the Côte Saint-Luc Senior Men’s Club.

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I had the good fortune of spending some time and chatting with Bachand a few weeks ago when we met at the Centaur Theatre for a showing of Schwartz’s The Musical.  I joined Mayor Anthony Housefather, Bergman and Senior Men’s Club President Sidney Margles in welcoming Bachand when he arrived at the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre.

“I sent a few friends of mine to see Schwartz’s” he told me.

Bachand is  one smart cookie.  A lawyer by profession, he also has a doctorate of administration from  the Université de Montréal and an MBA from Harvard University.

An assistant professor at École des hautes études commerciales de Montréal (1972-1977), he entered the world of politics as the chief of staff for the Minister of Labour and Manpower (1977-1979), then as special secretary in the Office of Premier René Lévesque (1979-1981). In the early 1980s, he embarked upon his business career, first as vice-president of Métro-Richelieu (1981-1989), then as vice-president of Culinar (1990-1993), first vice-president (1994-1997) and president and CEO (1997-2001) of the Fonds de solidarité de la FTQ and president and CEO of Secor Conseil (2002-2005). Throughout this period, he sat on numerous boards of directors.
Despite his many professional activities,   Bachand finds the time for community and cultural involvement, working with organizations such as  Fondation Jules et Paul-Émile-Léger, Fondation de la Tolérance, Fondation Charles-Bruneau and Oxfam-Québec. He chairs Carbone 14 (Usine C) and the advisory group on Montréal’s first cultural policy.

Elected MNA for Outremont in a by-election in December 2005, he was re-elected in the general elections of 2007 and 2008. He headed the ministère du Développement économique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation from February 2006 to June 2009, and the ministère du Tourisme from April  2007 to December 2008. In April 2009, the Ppremier appointed him Minister of  Finance, a position he still occupies. In August 2010, he was also entrusted with the ministère du Revenu.

BachandBillTaylor As Bachand made his way to our second floor headquarters for Seniors (soon to be moved to our new Aquatic and Community Centre), he came upon 90 year Bill Taylor (left). It seems the elevator leading to the room was broken and Bill can no longer climb stairs.  Bachand stopped to talk to Bill and answer a few of his questions. He also stopped to talk to Tamar Lewis (below) , who had a personal photo to present

Bergman referred to Margles as a close friend of his for more than  50 years now. He then presented Margles with a $1,000 cheque from the Quebec government for the Men’s Club. “We will not use this for the elevator,” Margles quipped,  noting that we are a tenant in the Centre.

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Bergman then introduced Bachand, whom he credited with assisting on three important files in the riding: the saving of our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program; the millions of dollars of support from the government for the Aquatic Community Centre which is being funded by the Quebec and Canadian governments and Côte Saint-Luc;  and another substantial contribution to the construction of Pavillion K of the Jewish General Hospital which will focus on patients requiring emergency treatment, surgery, or intensive, coronary, or neonatal intensive care.

“For Pavillion K I was originally told I had a half hour to discuss our role with the premier,” Bergman recalled. “When  I walked into his office, who was sitting there but my good friend Raymond Bachand. Now I  knew I would be successful. And I was.”

Bergman also recalls going to Israel with Bachand and sharing in the experience of visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum. “I can only describe with one word and that is a mensch,” Bergman said, referring to the Yiddish translation for  “a person of integrity and honour.

Bachand captivated the audience with a power point presentation on the Quebec economy and left time to answer questions. “Our five-year financial framework will stay in place,” he commented.  “We are going back to a balanced budget, we are going to control our debt. But we are doing so while protecting health and education. That’s a choice we’ve made in Quebec,”

In March Bachand tabled  a "stay the course" budget, meaning he intends to keep on the path toward eliminating the provincial deficit by 2013-2014. “The  Quebec economy is going well,” he assured us. “During the recession we were very active in providing financial support to good companies and stepped in with guaranteed bank loans. As a result we created an additional 60,000 jobs. If we had done nothing, by 2013-2014 we would have had a $12 billion deficit.”

If Charest were to retire before the end of his mandate, many are touting Bachand as a possible successor to lead the Liberal Party and the province.


CSL holds annual VE Day commemoration

Côte Saint-Luc is fortunate to have a very active group of war veterans. The Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch #97 has indeed lost many members over the last few years. I can think of a few of my own constituents like Kek Rosenblatt and Joe Blumer.  I remembered these gentleman today, not to mention their longtime leader Robert Feldstein, as we gathered at Veteran’s Park to commemorate VE Day.

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Victory in Europe was celebrated across North America on   May 8,  1945 after Germany's unconditional surrender. In cities and towns across Canada, thousands of people turned out to express their joy and relief at the news. Religious services of thanksgiving were held and people celebrated with cheers and tickertape. Two earlier reports that the Germans had surrendered primed the populace for celebration. The first, on  April 28, was erroneous; the second, on the morning of  May 8, was merely premature.

The military surrender agreement for the German forces was signed in Rheims, France, at 2:41 Cam local time on  May 7, 1945 by Colonel General Gustav Jodl, the German army's chief of staff; Lt-Gen Walter Bedell Smith, chief of staff for the Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower; General Ivan Susloparov for the Soviet Union; and General François Sevez for France. Allied headquarters ordered the news to be withheld for 24 hours, although Germany announced the surrender.

The celebrating started across North America on  May 7, but subsided when people learned it had not been confirmed. When confirmation did come at 9 am EDT on   May  8, celebrations resumed, in many places even more fervently than the day before. Many cities had prepared for the announcement by ordering that liquor stores and drinking establishments be closed when the announcement came, but in Halifax and Dartmouth the celebrating got out of hand, resulting in the VE-Day Riots. Canada's third war in less than half a century was nearing its end. The atomic bomb and victory in the Pacific were only four months away.

In Côte Saint-Luc the weather could not have been nicer for our 2011 ceremony.  A nice crowd was on hand at Veteran’s Park, right next to City Hall. Mayor Anthony Housefather made a speech praising our veterans. Dignitaries representing different countries, associations, municipalities and even local police commander Sylvain Bissonnette laid wreaths.

We are so fortunate to have these war veterans still in our midst. Sadly, as the neverending war in Afghanistan shows us, this country will have war veterans for many, many years to come.


Quebec Premier Charest addresses Yom Hashoah commemoration in CSL

Quebec Premier Jean Charest (pictured)  made a surprise appearance at this year’s annual Montreal commemoration of Yom Hashoah May 1 at Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem in Côte Saint-Luc.

“In order to live in the hope of peace we must honour the victims of this horrifying period,” Charest told the gathering of more than 1,000 people. “Overall we must prevent such horror from ever happening again.”
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Premier Charest, pictured here with Israeli Consul Genera l Yoram  Elron at Yom Hashoah (photo courtesy of the Canadian Jewish News)

Charest alluded to D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman, chairman of the government caucus, who in 1999 sponsored a bill in the Quebec National Assembly which officially proclaimed a Yom Hashoah Day in Quebec City. It was approved by members of all parties. “Quebec’s representatives from all parties made this gesture so that the death of six million innocent men, women and children would never be forgotten. Montreal and Quebec would not be the society it is today without its Jewish community. I want to remind all Quebecers about our duty to remember.”
 
This year’s theme, The life that was, sought to portray all that was destroyed through Nazism and to highlight the consequences of discriminatory and racist policies which still today, can lead to genocide.  Organizers wanted the elements of the program to help the public understand life in Jewish communities before and during the Holocaust.
 
Six Holocaust survivors, symbolizing the six million victims of the Jewish genocide during World War II, lit memorial candles with second and third generation members of their families.  They  spoke through short video-clips: Ben Bicher talked about Jewish life in Belgium; Henry Gitelman  evoked images of Sabbath with his grandparents in Poland; Susan Arato, who attended a crafts school to become a stylist, told  about her family life; Charlotte Szyf  shared her memories of summers at the seashore in Poland; Dr. Emil Svarc, a young child when Yugoslavia (Croatia today) was occupied,  remembered how he enjoyed playing in the park with other children and Sarah Engelhard  shared her aunt’s advice.

The Bialik High School  Choir, conducted by Lorna Smith,  were  excellent as they sang a number of songs in Yiddish.  Marcel Tenenbaum and Jack Dym co-chaired the event. Israeli Consul General Yoram Elron, who only six weeks ago lost his eldest son to cancer, thanked the premier for attending and spoke about the importance of a Jewish State – something that did not exist during the Holocaust.

Yom Hashoah was organized  by the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre.

On May 3,  B'nai Brith Canada-Quebec will mark Yom Hashoah  with a memorial ceremony on the steps of Montreal City Hall.


“We believe that each individual victim of the Holocaust deserves to be honoured and remembered as each one of them was someone's mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, daughter or son,” says Heidi Open, director of the B’nai Brith Quebec Region office. “ It is those individuals who we hope to bring back to life for a moment in time as we read their names during the Yom Hashoah memorial ceremony and to ensure that the lessons and memory of the Holocaust are not forgotten.