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February 2016

Brownstein campaign for mayor picks up steam

Côte Saint-Luc mayoral candidate Mitchell Brownstein has formally launched a robust campaign in advance of the April 10 by-election to fill the void left when Anthony Housefather resigned in order to become the Liberal Member of Parliament for Mount Royal.

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Brownstein looks over his nomination papers.

Brownstein formally resigned as city councillor for District 7 in order to allow for concurrent by-elections for both his seat and the office of mayor. Last Friday, February 27, he filed his nomination papers at City Hall with almost 2,000 signatures which represents about 10 percent of the electorate. Soon after, he and seven teams of 30 volunteers hit the streets to put up his very colourful campaign posters which now dot the city. Brochures are now being delivered to every door in Côte Saint-Luc while a door to door campaign which began weeks ago continues at a steady pace, as do regular speaking engagements.

“Although I only needed a small number of signatures, I have used the opportunity of going door to door over the last month to collect added signatures,” said the Brownstein. “I intend to continue to reach out to as many of the 34,000 residents as possible. This is just the beginning of my campaign to become a mayor who is a friend to the entire community. Even though I do not currently have an opponent I want to make sure to let Côte Saint-Luc residents know that I will always be accessible and available. I will continue to do so throughout my mandate, just as I did for the past 25 years as a city councillor.

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Councillor Steven Erdelyi sorts out some election posters.

Brownstein is supported by the entire city council, as well as Housefather and such well known local personalities as former MNA Lawrence Bergman, former Councillors Joe Panunto, Harold Greenspon, Richard Schwartz and Isadore Goldberg and businessmen Gerry Weinstein, Jean Alloul, Ariel Sabbah and Jack Dym. A lawyer by profession, Brownstein was first elected in 1990 and has been at the forefront of many important issues facing Côte Saint-Luc, Quebec and Canada. The happily married father of three has held the portfolios of Public Works and Parks and Recreation, introduced the Fun Card providing access to CSL recreational facilities at an annual nominal fee, and established the Cöte Saint Luc Dramatic Society. He actively participates in the programs and facilities the city has to offer regularly swimming in our pools and acting in the Dramatic Society productions.

The Mayoralty election is scheduled for April 10 and the Brownstein team intends to keep working for every vote.

For more information go to You can also follow his campaign on Facebook.

The last resident leaves Manoire Montefiore

Manoire Montefiore, the upscale and beautifully maintained seniors residence located at the corner of Cavendish Boulevard and Mackle Road, has shut its doors less than a year after the owners, Réseau Selection, made the official announcement. At the time they indicated it could take as long as 18 months to ensure that the residents all found new homes.

MontefioreAs the city councillor for the district I was advised today by André Grégoire of Réseau Selection that the process of relocation has concluded. Eighty-five of the residents have moved to another Réseau Selection property - likely Le Waldorf on Côte Saint-Luc Road -while 15 percent went elsewhere.

Grégoire says that each resident and their family was given individual counselling in terms of selecting a new place to live as well as getting compensation equivalent to three months of rent to assist with the relocation costs.

The building is now up for sale. Unless it remains a senior residence, any change in vocation will have to come to council for a zoning change. It will be interesting to see what transpires.

There were only 65 units occupied at the Montefiore at the time of last year`s announcement to close; the average was 90. This means they were operating at about 50 percent capacity. 

Manoire Montefiore opened in 1989. In my 10 plus years as a city councillor I made many visits there to attend events and speak to the residents. It was always such a pleasure.

Another successful winter carnival is in the books

My memories of the Côte Saint-Luc Winter Carnival go back  some 50 years (yep I am 53) when I grew up on Wentworth Avenue. At the time Wentworth Park (now Kirwan Park) was the hub of activities organized by our Recreation Department and I looked forward all year to seeing the different mascot, taffy in the snow, athletic competition, fun and games and loads of people. 

With the Dahan brothers and one of the mascots.

I got to relive that experience as a parent a number of years ago, but today as a city councillor the kid in me still enjoys a day at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park for some winter fun.

Our Parks and Recreation Department really gets into the Winter Carnival spirit these days, with a week's worth of activities. It all began this year with the popular Valentine's Dance on February 13. That was followed by an outdoor PeeWee "A" hockey tournament throughout the week, an adult hockey tournament, public skating, figure skating, the Youth Hockey all-star game and finally the February 21 finale at the park and arena. There was a a free pancake breakfast sponsored by McDonald’s (Pierre Brunet Franchisee horse-drawn carriage rides, inflatable games , taffy on snow, tobogganing on the hill, face painting, ice sculpture activities and snow games. Representatives from 92.5 The Beat FM were on hand to play music. The weather was terrific for mid-February. At our Aquatic and Community Centre, there was even a Winter Carnival Swim Meet.  

Presenting our cheque to Manoir Ronald McDonald.

I joined Acting Mayor Dida Berku, Councillors Allan J. Levine (Winter Carnival Co-Chairman with Dida) and Ruth Kovac, Federal Liberal MP for Mount Royal Anthony Housefather, Quebec Liberal MNA for D'Arcy McGee David Birnbaum on the ice at the Moskovitch Arena to present trophies to the figure skating winners. Mayoral candidate and long-time city councillor Mitchell Brownstein was present all day. We presented a cheque for $6,500 to Manoire Ronald McDonald, the wonderful facility on Hudson Avenue in Côte des Neiges which provides a place to stay for out of towners caring for children requiring medical attention.  This has been one of our designated charities for years and one of the rooms in their building even has the Côte Saint-Luc name on it. Stay tuned for some exciting new regarding our next event with them.

Everyone had a blast!

A great time was held by all. Hats off to Councillor Levine  and Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Cornelia Ziga and her entire staff.


Josiane Ouaknine retires after 34 years of service

Good luck to District 2 resident Josiane Ouaknine, who is retiring as a Côte Saint-Luc municipal employee after 34 years of dedicated service.

Josiane celebrates retirement.
"I''ve known Josiane for as long as I've been with the city," commented Acting Mayor Dida Berku. "She is  very much a part of the fabric of the place and no matter where she worked she  made that department more sunny and bright.  Her smile and good nature were trademarks. We will miss her and we know the residents will  too."
Josiane has worked in many departments:  Finance,  Archives, Urban Planning, EMS, Public Safety, Purchasing, The  Aquatic and Community Centre and for the office of then Mayor and Council. In the latter capacity she was most helpful to  me. Over the last few years she has been the person to greet members of the public at City Hall, directing them to the right office as well as answering questions by phone.
I am happy to be her city councillor.

Good luck Josiane!


Update: Cavendish-Kildare intersection getting the right attention; green space on order for corner spot

First and foremost, a Task Group has been established once and for all to deal with the troubling intersection of Cavendish and Kildare. Preliminary discussions have focused on the safety of the intersection and a proposed  action plan. This  group is composed of council members, city administration as well as Montreal Police Department  representatives. Hats off to Councillor Glenn J. Nashen for moving this dossier forward and to staff Jordy Reichson and Charles Senekal for their support. This is something I have been pushing since the day I was first elected. We are presently awaiting data regarding  vehicle and pedestrian counts.  I am pleased to report that city council has allocated at least $500,000 to improve the intersection. This is from funds we received via the  gas tax. We hope to engage the services of a traffic consultant who would produce at least two options for us to consider.

Meanwhile, the  city has  engaged the firm Beaupré Associés for professional services for the construction of a park/public space on the northwest corner of Cavendish and Kildare. Work on the final plans is in progress and the project is scheduled for the summer of 2016. In order to protect the properties adjacent to this space, a temporary fence to serve as a pedestrian passage was installed from Park Place to Kildare.

I received news today that the new Shell gas station/car wash/Bonisoir location at the corner of Cavendish and Mackle, may not open until March 30. I will keep everyone posted.

Jewish People's and Peretz School (JPPS) is set to move into the Bialik High School building on Kildare Road on February 29.

While not in my District, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park is a facility we all take great pride in. It is about to undergo substantial renovations. The city’s consultant, Stantec Experts‐conseils,  is finalizing the tender plans and specifications. The project includes the reconstruction of the pathways, the replacement of the lighting, new playground equipment, new landscaped areas and furniture, a new water feature and an upgrade to the electrical supply for special events. A call for tenders is planned for this month and the work is scheduled to start in the spring 2016. That means we will need to identify an alternative venue for Canada Day this year.

Brownstein makes its official and launches his campaign for CSL Mayor

My friend and colleague Mitchell Brownstein formally resigned as a city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc effective Monday, February 8 at 11:59 p.m.  in order to run for mayor and allow for a concurrent by-election  for his District 7 seat.

Mitchell made the announcement at the start of our monthly council meeting and received a standing ovation from the large crowd on hand. Former mayor Anthony Housefather, now our Liberal Member of Parliament, was among those in attendance.

Mitchell, wife Elaine, Anthony Housefather and supporters after his announcement.

 “As the only declared candidate for mayor who is supported by the entire city council of Côte Saint-Luc and Anthony Housefather,, I will be resigning as city councillor for District 7, ” declared  Councillor Brownstein. “ I am doing so despite not being required to resign until I file my nomination papers for mayor, which can only be done during the nomination period which will take place between February 26 to March 11. Although I would prefer to continue to serve and provide value to my fellow councillors for as long as possible, my early resignation will allow the City to have a concurrent by-election for District 7.  By holding the by-election for the new District 7 councillor at the same time as the by-election for mayor, the city will be spared the expense of holding two by-elections.  It will also allow our council to move forward as soon as possible with a new member of the team serving District 7.  This is the right thing to do.”

Councillor Brownstein   was first elected in 1990.  He has been an activist promoting issues of Canadian Unity, co-chairing the Côte Saint Luc Demerger Committee, advocating for Holocaust Remembrance, and opposing Bill 60, the PQ-proposed legislation on the charter of values.  He has held the portfolios of Public Works and Parks and Recreation, introduced the Fun Card providing access to CSL recreational facilities at an annual nominal fee, and established the Cöte Saint Luc Dramatic Society.  He actively participates in the programs and facilities the city has to offer regularly swimming in our pools and acting in the Dramatic Society productions.

Mitchell at the meeting

More than 25 years ago, when I was covering Côte Saint-Luc City Hall for the community media, I urged him to consider a run for office. I even approached then Councillor Eric Helfield, whom I know was ready to step down, to see if he'd endorse Mitchell as his successor. He agreed to do so.

Former mayor Housefather and our entire council have thrown our support behind Mitchell. He is unquestionably the right man for the job, having been involved in virtually every important dossier this city has dealt with over the past quarter century. Mitchell has pledged to lighten his load at the law firm he runs with his brother Herb (and where his son Andrew now works) in order to become a full-time mayor.

Thus far Mitchell Kujavsky is the only person who has declared his candidacy for the city council seat in District 7.

The election is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 10. Council got special permission from the Quebec government to delay the vote in order for Snowbirds to be able to take part.

For more information go to

MNA Birnbaum gets key post with Minister of Education

David Birnbaum, the Liberal  MNA for D’Arcy McGee, will be playing a key role with Quebec's new Minister of Education and Higher Education.

Premier Philippe Couillard has announced that Birnbaum will serve as a Parliamentary Assistant to Pierre Moreau as he navigates his way through the many challenges in this province related to primary, secondary and higher education.

"I am honored by the confidence that both the Premier and the Minister have expressed in assigning me these new and important responsibilities," Birnbaum said. "I hope that my years of experience in public education will help the Minister and our government successfully steer a course toward enhanced student welfare and success across Quebec.

David Birnbaum

In speaking to the nomination, Minister Moreau noted: "David's years of experience in advocating on behalf of English education will surely be an asset as we strive to enhance and support student success across Quebec. I look forward to involving David in working towards students’ success."

Of course the first hot potato will be upcoming hearings related to Bill 86, which if adopted will abolish future school board elections as they stand today. Elected school commissioners, just over a year into their mandate, could conceivably lose their jobs within 14 days of the passage of such a law.

Given the fact that I work for the English Montreal School Board, which has already strongly opposed  the proposed law and will present a brief on February 16,I will say no more on this subject.

Good luck to David!