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August 2014

2014 Cat's Meow concert raises funds and provides great entertainment

I was proud to steer the ship once again for the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee's (CSLCC) third summer fundraising concert , held on Tuesday, August 26 at the former Wagar High School.The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra were outstanding. Ditto for soprano Brigitte O' Halleran and singer Alexandra Cohen, who doubled as emcee. Thanks to Councillor Sam Goldbloom for serving as co-chair with me, to event coordinator Alvin Fishman for his tireless work, Communications and Public Affairs Manager Regine Banon for taking care of publicity needs and a cast of many more.

Orchestraperforms 1)
Joseph Milo and his orchestra take a bow. (Rami Negev photo)

We had a crowd of more than 350 people on hand. Funds raised went towards our CSLCC Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program and our partner organization Educhat, run by the extraordinary Shelley Schecter.

The Music We Love: Best of the Classics – the Cat’s Meow was the theme. We began with a tribute to the late Mayor Bernard Lang, who was a member of our committee and a true cat lover. His wife Miriam, son David and grandson Dylan accepted our special certificate of merit. Miriam confided to me that her family continues to feed homeless cats. Mayor Anthony Housefather, whom along with members of council has been very supportive of our group, gave words of welcome.

Lang Award
Sam Goldbloom, Anthony Housefather, Dylan Lang, Miriam Lang, David Lang and Mike Cohen. (Rami Negev photo)

Our newly elected Liberal MNA for D'Arcy McGee David Birnbaum was unable to attend,but he did send a nice message which Councillor Goldbloom read. "As member of the National Assembly, I am proud to support this event," he stated. "I’ve been pleased to discuss Côte Saint-Luc’s visionary approach to animal welfare with my colleague Pierre Paradis, Ministre de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation, with a view to having other municipalities follow your fine example. I expect that cats across Côte Saint-Luc will be proudly purring along to the beautiful music you are about to hear!"

Mr. Birnbaum has informed us that a $500 donation from his office will be directed towards the CSLCC, a tradition started by his predecessor Lawrence Bergman. Via District 2 resident Howard Liebman, we also received encouraging words from Mount Royal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, who tabled animal protection motions in the House of Commons recently.

Lily Percs and  a nice delegation from her Women's Group (Chomedy Branch) of  Stamp out Violence attended, with transportation provided by Preferance Motor Coach.

DianeAward_9867 (1)
Mike Cohen, Sam Goldbloom, Diane Liebling and Shelley Schecter. (Rami Negev photo)

Our most worthy honouree this year was Diane Liebling, one of the key players in the CSLCC. She has virtually given up the use of her own family garage - her family members park outdoors even on frigid winter days– so that space can be made available for homeless cats. Diane fosters these cats; in many cases she  has fallen so deeply in love that she has adopted. Shelley Shecter often says : “If only we could clone Diane.”  Diane Liebling has saved the lives of countless cats in CSL. She is a model for all of us.  We presented her with a certificate and a nice gift donated by Norm Zimmerman of Steve's Music Store.

There are many feral cats in the community. The CSLCC’s team of volunteers sets out to trap as many as possible, have them sterilized and then adopted or returned to the spot where they were originally found. The committee has also rescued a number of kittens and found homes for them. The city’s first ever cat licensing bylaw was adopted last year and we have already seen some success from it.

The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra (MWSO) was founded in 2006 by conductor Milo and his wife Lucy Ravinsky. This one of a kind orchestra was formed when it was discovered that a great pool of professional musicians, recently immigrated to Montreal, had no opportunity to make use of their valuable talent in their new home. The MWSO was created, not only to provide these new Canadians with the opportunity to engage in their main passion; making beautiful music in an orchestral setting, but to give them back the professional dignity they had enjoyed in their homelands and most especially, to share their wonderful talents with the music lovers of Montreal. They are a treasure and we remain lucky to have them.

Below is a video of the entire evening, done by CSL Director of Public Affairs, Communications and IT Darryl Levine:


Thanks to all of our committee members, some of whom baked goods for an intermission fundraising sale and to the staff at the Marymount Adult Education Centre.  Principal Jacques Monfette, educational advisor Hipolito Corral and caretakers Michel Leblanc and Brenda Pion. Michel really performed  above and beyond the call of duty, serving as our de facto sound advisor.

From this evening we did get some new committee members. We also hope some folks heard our message and will consider adopting a cat. Diane has a few beauties looking for good homes right now.


How did a rooster finds his way into Côte Saint-Luc?

When I spotted Côte Saint-Luc Public Security agents Erwin Luden and Tony Labattaglia in their patrol cars on Merrimac Road in District 2 Sunday morning looking like they were on a stakeout I asked what all of the commotion was about.

"Which jusy helped capture a rooster on the loose," said Luden.

"We had to isolate the rooster until the SPCA arrived," added Labattaglia.

Reuben the Rooster on the Bialik grounds.

It turns out that the rooster was about to become a de facto mascot for Bialik High School when classes resumed this week. Communications and Marketing offical Brittany Witt had even named him Reuben the Rooster. But the SPCA was able to capture him safely and according to our Public Security team bring him somewhere safe to live.

I reached Maureen Baron, the head of school for Bialik and JPPS. "Reuben  was there for about three weeks," she explained. "Our Buildings and Grounds man found two kids about 10 years old poking around the bushes of the Bialik soccer field. When asked what they were doing they replied that they were looking for their chicken. Our employee thought they were kidding and told them to go look for their chicken elsewhere. And then a few days later Reuben was spotted."

Reuben reportedly dining daily on apples that fell from a tree on the Bialik property.

Aubrey Zelman, out walking his dog Teddy, told me that it was his niece who spotted Reuben running around near the homes on Merrimac. She called Public Security. Roosters love to crow of course. But as the city councillor for District 2, I did not receive any complaints of "cock-a-doodle-doo."  Zelman heard the news via his son Michael, who direct messaged him from London, England.

Public Security Officer Labattaglia approaches the rooster.


I hope Reuben will enjoy a leisurely life.

This is not Reuben, but possibly his relative.



Where do we stand on the current pension plan crisis?

Many of people have asked me what the city of Côte Saint-Luc's official position is on Bill 3, the Quebec government's Municipal Pension Plan legislation. The recent mob scene of protests at Montreal City Hall show that the anger of some of the unions has gotten out of control. Thus far, in our community, staff have not reacted in such a manner.

We are part of the Association of Suburban Municipalities. Here is their official position on Projet de loi 3 and the need to deal with one of the key issues that has contributed to the current pension crisis, this being the fact that municipal employee salaries are 18 percent greater  than those paid to provincial public sector employees and 38 percent more when we talk about total remuneration (salaries + fringe benefits).

Please see the press release below.

Download Press Release + Fact Sheet - Final

I talk X-Factor on the Peter Anthony Holder online radio show

I was always a huge fan of the Peter Anthony Holder Show on CJAD.  In fact, over the years I had the privilege of being a guest on a number of occasions. Well you can still hear Peter on his superb online program called The Stuph File. I was recently a guest to talk about my experience at a live taping of the X-Factor TV show in London, England. We squeezed in some talk about London in general and the Warner Brothers Studio Harry Potter Tour.  Click on the arrow below to hear my segment.

Click here and fast forward to the 42:18 mark.



The now former CSL resident Joel Lion departs as Israel Consul General

Côte Saint-Luc had a distinct honour the past three years as charismatic Joel Lion, the Israeli Consul General for Quebec and the Maritimes, chose our community to reside. He and his wife Rivka rented a home in CSL, which became the official residence.

Here is my blog on The Suburban Newspaper website about Mr. Lion and his thoughts on his term here.


Summer period adds up to more members at our library

The number of new members at the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library increased greatly during the month of July to 130. Circulation also was higher in most categories except AV material. Registration for the TD Summer Reading Club has also reached an all-time high. This year’s club has doubled registration from regular years, and has still surpassed the highest ever registration year (2010). Circulation of children’s books has gone from 7,525 in July 2013 to 8,205 in July 2014, a significant increase that may be due to the increased attention the Summer Reading Club program is bringing to the department and the library more generally.

Our Library Express at the Aquatic and Community Centre (ACC) circulation increased by 17.2 percent  from July 2013. For the first time in many years, the Library organized two outdoor concerts in July for Summer in the City (one of which with Ranee Lee had to be held indoors on account of rain).

I am proud to be the city councillor responsible for Library and Culture.

Pétanque makes its debut at Rembrandt Park

There is something new at District 2's Rembrandt Park.

This week pétanque courts have made their debut. I saw a lot of  these during my recent visits to Paris and Nice.

Pétanque is an extremely simple game, just like horseshoes. There's a target, and you have to get as close to it as possible. What makes it so appealing, is that you can be way ahead for a while, yet lose a second later, or vice versa. Because nothing is decided until the last player plays the very last boule. If he or she moves the target ball or knocks an opponent ball out of the way, the layout of the boules - and thus your score - may change dramatically.

This game is for people  of any age, as strength or speed are not important. Pétanque evolved early this century from an old French bowl game (la boule Provencale), when one of the old champions, meanwhile suffering from arthritis and mourning his heydays, suggested there be no more running and jumping: everyone should throw the boules standing still, feet together, in a small starting circle. The old champion was back in the game! These days, on many market places in France, petanque is played day in, day out. While retirees are in the majority during weekdays, teenagers and everyone else who wants to unwind for a while will join them after school or work and on weekends.  

So we invite players of all ages to gather for games of pick-up pétanque. You must bring your own balls and jack.  If you are interested in participating in a league, contact François Marechal at or 514-996-8709.

See this video:





Sports Experts tour coming to Rembrandt Park this Sunday

New and experienced tennis players can get tips, improve their techniques, play games and win prizes at the Sports Experts Tour (Tournée Sports Experts) on Sunday, August 10 from 9 am to 11:30 am at District 2's Rembrandt Park (corner Kildare and Rembrandt).
The Sports Experts Tour, sponsored by Banque Nationale, is being held for the 21st year and once again visiting 70 communities across Quebec promoting tennis. This event is open to all players and levels from beginners to advanced, children, teens and adults can participate in this free event. Tips on technique, tricks, games, skills contest and many participation prizes are all part of this wonderful sporting event. In addition, participants will benefit from trying out new models of tennis products including Babolat, Diadora, Head and Wilson rackets. For more information about this event, please contact Alvin Fishman at or 514-485-6806 ext. 2012
“Tennis is a wonderful sport that you can play from age 5 to 105,” said Councillor Allan J. Levine, the council member responsible for the Côte Saint-Luc Tennis Club. “This event is a great way to introduce your kids to tennis. It’s a lot of fun for long-time tennis players, too.”
Tennis in Côte Saint-Luc 
Côte Saint-Luc is home to seven public tennis courts located at Rembrandt Park and at the newly refurbished Caldwell Tennis Courts situated on Caldwell Ave. The courts are open every day from May 11 to October 12, 2014. 
The two courts at Rembrandt Park (near Kildare Rd.) are free with a Côte Saint-Luc Fun Card. For non-residents or those residents without a Fun Card, court costs are $6 per person (or $5 per person age 17 and younger). To play at the Rembrandt Tennis Courts, a reservation is generally required. Call 514-485-8912 to reserve a court. 
The five courts adjacent to Caldwell Ave. (between Kildare Rd. and Mackle Rd.) were recently renovated. The courts are reserved for a summer tennis camp on weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm, and are open to the public from 5 pm to 11 pm everyday. Courts are generally open to the public on weekends from 7 am to 11 pm. They are free of charge and no reservations are needed. First come, first served.
Private city-operated clay tennis courts are located at the Côte Saint-Luc Tennis Club (8215 Guelph Rd.), which was founded in 1959. Membership to the club is required for use of those courts and memberships are available by calling 514-487-7862