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July 2013

Distinguished District 2 resident Howard Liebman represents Liberal MP Cotler with honour

It is a pleasure to have many distinguished residents in District 2. Among them is Howard Liebman, the dedicated chief of staff to Mount Royal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler. On the occasion of his 40th birthday, he wrote this excellent piece in The Montreal Gazette.

The Leap From Corporate Law to Public Service


MONTREAL - On Sunday I turned 40 surrounded by my wife, children and family. It is a milestone that coincided with another important marker in my life - the eve of my 10th year of public service as chief of staff to Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler. As I celebrate the two events, I find myself reflecting on how rewarding and fulfilling public service is.


I was recruited from my downtown law practice by Mr. Cotler, then the federal justice minister, for what was slated to be a leave of absence of a year, or maybe two. Entering the public sector from the world of corporate law was more than a small adjustment, and not without frustrations at the pace at which government moves. But I dove in.

Unlike many senior staff members for MPs, I am based not in the bubble of Ottawa but in the heart of Mount-Royal, a riding that I have called home since birth. One of my roles is as an ombudsman: I act daily as an advocate for individuals and groups in the riding who are petitioning government for redress of grievance. The areas are diverse: from immigration to industry, taxation to transport, and much more in between. No two days are alike. It is a privilege to be called upon by one's own neighbours and community to touch a life, to try make it better. Yet there are times I am left scratching my head - such as when someone's pressing inquiry is not responded to in a timely fashion.

Just this month, for example, a visitor to Canada was able to attend a family wedding in Montreal not thanks to the entry visa he had dutifully applied for five months ago, but at the discretion of a border agent - on the eve of the wedding. It was a happy ending, but was preceded by months of angst. (And the day after the wedding, an email arrived at my office saying it would take about 18 months for the visa.) Thanks to the work that Mr. Cotler does in the areas of justice and human rights, I have been engaged in public diplomacy both locally and in all four corners of the world. (Though heaven forbid that I should come home from a wintertime trip to the Southern Hemisphere with a bit of colour; my family would never let me hear the end of it. It is hard enough to convince them that travels to faraway places like Singapore or Argentina, sometimes for only two days at a time, meeting heads of government and the like, is "work.")

Especially memorable have been two visits to South Africa, where I took part in meetings with the South African parliament's justice committee, that country's human-rights commissioner, and cabinet ministers on issues of common cause to our two countries. I have also taken part in work on the continuing search for Middle East peace, meeting leaders, opinion-makers and stakeholders in the region. But how humbling an experience it was to land back in Canada after one of those trips and be sent - along with the federal justice minister - for secondary customs inspection! (Yes, it really happened.) Ditto for extra security checks at the airport. No red carpet here.

As I turn 40, anchored by a supportive family, and reflect on my chosen path of public service over the more lucrative private sector, I consider myself incredibly fortunate for all that I have been able to learn and to contribute. It gives me renewed energy and dedication for continuing to strive - in Mount-Royal and far beyond - for a better and more just tomorrow.

Howard Liebman is a Montreal lawyer, husband and father of three boys. He is chief of staff to Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler.

CSL Mayor Housefather wins seven medals at Maccabiah Games

Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather (pictured poolside below) has been proudly representing Canada at the Maccabiah Games (a.k.a. the Jewish Olympics) in Israel. As a member of the Canadian master's swim team, he has won seven medals : five silvers in the 100 and 400  metre butterfly, the 50 metre backstroke, open water and  the medley relay .  He also captured a bronze in the 200 metre freestyle while being part of relay team which also captured a bronze.


“My times have been generally very good and very pleased,” said the mayor, who missed a gold by four tenths of a second in the 400 metre freestyle.

The final  tally from the pool is eight medals (five individual silvers, one individual bronze and two relay bronze. Clearly the mayor is Canada’s answer to Michael Phelps.  “Our team manager believes this was the most medals won by a Canadian in the games so far so very pleased,” the mayor added.

Here is some more Maccabiah Games news:

Gold in Metula: It was a golden day for Canadian Men's Hockey. The Men's Junior team won their gold medal match over USA 3-2, while the Canadian Men's Open Team won their gold medal game 7-1 over Team USA. Canadians Men's Open Captain Adam Henrich was named player of the tournament on the Mens Open side, while Canadian Junior goaltender Mark Michaels was named player of the tournament on the junior side.

Men's Volleyball: In the gold medal game in Modi'in, Canada fell to Israel in straight sets (3-0). The guys fought hard, but in the end the U-21 team (for the most part) from Israel was just too strong. The pro-Canadian crowd - our rugby, Jr. girls volleyball, Jr. boys baseball teams and hundreds of other Canadians were in attendance — definitely showed their support with chants of CA-NA-DA filling the gym throughout the match. The team's showing was the best finish by a Canadian men's volleyball team in Maccabiah Games history.

Master's Tennis: The wins kept coming for Canada on the tennis courts yesterday. In Masters Singles, Sherry Buller finished off her Russian opponent to set herself up with a Gold medal match on Sunday. Bram Faber dominated his match and will go for Gold on Sunday as well. In Mixed Doubles, Sherry Buller was at it again and did not disappoint. She and her partner Adam Fisher won 2 consecutive matches to bring home another Gold medal for Canada.

Silver on the Diamond. After an epic win against Israel in the semi-finals the day before, Canada's Junior Boys Baseball team came up short against USA in the gold medal game losing 9-0. The boys had a great tournament and the crowd at yesterday's game was definitely proud of their silver medal accomplishment.

Soccer Update: The Open Women's team rebounded from its tough loss on Thursday against Israel with a resounding 7-0 win over Germany. For complete soccer results, check out
Cricket: Canada matched up against Great Britain yesterday in their second last round robin game. They came out hitting well, but in the end, lost the contest 102-101 and Great Britain had 10 wickets in hand. Canada's last round robin game is on Sunday against India and the outcome will determine whether or not they will be playing for a medal on Monday.

Basketball Update: On Friday, many of our hoops team hit the court. Here are there results: U16 Boys beat Brazil 44-42; Master's Men's team fell to USA 80-75; and Open Men's team lost to Israel 110-75. Our Open Women's team will play for Bronze eitherSunday or Monday (yet to be determined).


CSL Golf Classic a fabulous event showcasing Meadowbrook

Councillor Sam Goldbloom and I were once again proud to co-chair the city's annual Golf Outing at Meadowbrook on July 9. It was sponsored by Yeh!Yogurt and Café, the growing self-serve yogurt chained owned by CSL natives Jon (below with me)  and Marvin Gurman.


This year we renamed the event the Côte Saint-Luc Golf Classic and planted the seed for  an extraordinary new format which we really expect to take off in 2014. Whereas this nine-hole event has been traditionally geared towards seniors, it is now open to all golfers in the community. We had a Seniors/Occasional Golfer category and another for Prestige/Alumni.

Alvin Fishman of our Parks and Recreation Department did  a superb job overseeing every aspect of this event, from registering players to collecting an endless array of doorprizes. The latter is always a highlight of our program. Councillors Goldbloom and I gave a few out via the "Let's Make a Deal" format at our luncheon banquet. We asked people to show certain items, be it a watch or an US dollar bill, to be eligible to win everthing from  movie tickets to food from CSL Kosher on Westminster. Some significant grand prizes, including a three wheel portable gold caddy valued at $150 to a free week at a tennis camp valued at $250, were given out via a special quiz moderated by our brilliant Mayor Anthony Housefather.


Let me first talk about the golfing. It was a gorgeous day, something which is not a regular occurrence this summer.  Folks began teeing off at 6:45 a.m. at Meadowbrook, which we all know is invaluable greenspace in our community. Next year I will ask Les Amis de Meadowbrook to register a foursome.    I had the wonderful opportunity to golf with CSL Men's Club president Sidney Margles, outgoing Police Station 9 Commander Sylvain Bissonnette (he will be heading the station on the other side of the course in Lachine), Police Station 9 Lt. J.P. Theoret and our friend Marco who runs the Café Aqua at our Aquatic and Community Centre (ACC) . The latter two are really superb golfers. Marco actually uses a putter on virtually every shot. Sid knows the game well, hitting the links year-round. Commander Bissonnette and I golf once a year -at this event.  I do not keep score when I golf, but I sure do have lots of fun. Being part of this event also reminds me what a jewel we have in Meadowbrook. This is one gorgeous property which we must protect from development. As you will notice we actually had a fivesome, pictured above.


After the golfing we all headed to the ACC for a luncheon catered by the Snowdon Deli. Tatyana Davidenkow joined us to play piano and she really added some wonderful ambience to the room. Sam, myself,  Mitchell Brownstein, Steven Erdelyi, and Allan Levine were the councillors who golfed. But at the luncheon, we were fully represented with Mayor Housefather and Councillors Glenn J. Nashen, Dida Berku and Ruth Kovac on hand. Howard Liebman, the dedicated chief of staff to Mount Royal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, joined us as did Jon  Gurman and special guest speaker Tony Marinaro from TSN 690 Radio (pictured above with Sam, myself, Alvin Fishman and Deb Trager accepting a gift).


Four trophies were handed out: Closest to the Pin on the 16th hole, female (Helen Zafran) and male (Beryl Peletz); and Longest Drive on the 17th hole, female (Pat Heller) and male (Michael Rabinovitch). They are pictured at the left with mayor, council and young Matthew Erdelyi.

Thanks to Parks and Recreation Director David Taveroff and the dynamic Deb Trager  for assisting us with a number of tasks and our volunteers, which this year included someone we can always count on in Toby Shulman. Rami Negev was on the course taking photos.

Marinaro, who hosts the Montreal Forum from 10 am to Noon weekdays and co-hosts the Intermission from Noon to 1 pm, is a great sports mind and top-notch public speaker. We were fortunate to be privy to his insight, particularly about the Montreal Canadiens.   


Our sponsor Jon Gurman gave a nice address as well, telling everyone how he and his brother and older sister were raised in an upper duplex on Melling Avenue. They went to local public school and played in the CSL sports leagues, building their business to one that know brings in annual revenue of more than $100 million.He was thrilled to bring a Yeh! Yogurt and Café to the Quartier Cavendish. He is pictured accepting a plaque from the mayor, Alvin and Deb.

A great time was had by all.

Steven and Matthew Erdelyi and Mayor Housefather.


Mayor Housefather and Howard Liebman.


Our delightful pianist.

Jon Gurman and his Yeh!Rarriri.

Another outstanding Canada Day in Côte Saint-Luc

Thus far, the summer of 2013 in these parts has just been horrible. Somehow, Canada Day festivities in the City of Côte Saint-Luc beat the rain - but barely. As our fireworks display was about to begin, light showers began to fall. The ceremony went on as planned and about 10 minutes after it concluded the sky opened up.

New Citizens

Thousands turned out for our always spectacular Canada Day celebrations at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park. Congratulations to event co-chairs, Councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac, and Parks and Recreation Director David Taveroff and his amazing team. Highlights of the event included a well appreciated live performance by Bowser and Blue and the induction of Jackie Robinson on the Human Rights Walkway.

Free pedal boat rides on Centennial Lake began at 1 pm. There was a model airplane show during the afternoon as well as inflatable games. Our traditional Canadian citizenship ceremony took place at 5 pm., presided over by Judge Barbara Seal. Howard Liebman represented Liberal MP for Mount Royal Irwin Cotler with his usual class.


Radio personalities Dan Laxer and Dr. Laurie Betito served as our emcees. Canada Day cupcakes were served, sponsored by Scotiabank Westminster. Food concessions were busy all night long, from Dizengoff Kosher and Dominos' Pizza to some yummy desert from Heidi Chenoy and her team from Yeh!Yogurt at Quartier Cavendish.

There was live music by HI-FI Showband, the Montreal West Operatic Society, and Raffi’s Accordion. CSL singer Alexandra Cohen performed  the national anthem just prior to the fireworks.


Children’s activities included a magic show, the children’s train, storytelling, glitter tattoos, arts and crafts, and more. Janine West of the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library had a display as well. Event sponsors included The Suburban, Canadian Heritage, Domino’s Pizza, RBC, Bureau En Gros, Quartier Cavendish, Scotiabank, Qualitifruits, MAAC, Century 21, and Universel Inc. D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA Lawrence Bergman joined us after arriving from Quebec City where the National Assembly adopted back to work legislation for construction workers. Mayor Anthony Housefather gave a spirited address.

Nobody does Canada Day like Côte Saint-Luc!!
















Cupcake distribution
















The Yeh! Yogurt team headed by Mitch Simon and Heidi Chenoy.



























Janine West and Councillor Sam Goldbloom.
















Councillor Glenn J. Nashen and his four year old son Jeremy.




















Lt.Col. Yaacov Perez (third from the right) from Israel and his family joined the celebrations.



Councillor Dida Berku and her mom.


Some fireworks.



The Hi Fi Showband.


One of the many blowup slides.