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August 2016

New Drop-In Program for Older Adults inaugurated in Côte Saint-Luc

The new Drop-In Program for Older Adults was inaugurated on August 29 at the  Côte Saint-Luc Parks and Recreation Department, right next door to our Aquatic and Community Centre (ACC).

This program will provide a respite for the caregivers of seniors, many of whom suffer from dementia. The program is operated by staff from the Cummings Centre in space provided by  Côte Saint-Luc, and with $390,913 in financial support over three years from the government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.

The creation of the program was also made possible with the assistance of the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montreal (West-Central Montreal Health), the Caregiver Network and the Town of Hampstead.

Members of Council with Anthony Housefather and David Birnbaum.

Liberal Member of Parliament for Mount Royal Anthony Housefather first got involved in this issue last fall when he was still the mayor of Côte Saint-Luc.  Upon being elected to federal office he began working the partners to make this program a reality.

“There are days in people’s lives when you appreciate why you went into public service,” stated Anthony Housefather. “This is one of them. It just like the building next door – the ACC.  It shows how three levels of government, a non-profit organization and a health board can create something concrete for our community.”

David Birnbaum repeated the often used phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child.” He went on to say how “in the 21st century it will take an entire community to take care of our seniors.”

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein served as the host for the ceremony. Other speakers include Cummings Centre President Arlene Feigelman, Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg and West-Central Montreal Health Board President and CEO Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg.

Sharing the joy of the seniors and their families.

It was a pleasure to join some of the families who will enjoy this new locale. There were lots of smiles to go around and a nice big chocolate cake shared by all. Congratulations to Cornelia Ziga and her staff at the Parks and Recreation Department for all of the work they did to make this happen. See this CTV report.

Later on the same day MNA Birnbaum welcomed the recent injection of $22.2 million to support the autonomy of seniors across Québec.  The announcement by Health Minister Gaétan Barrette will support services aimed at helping seniors remain at home as long as possible.

‘’As the MNA for a riding with the largest proportion of seniors in Québec, I am particularly encouraged to know that our government is increasing its investments in seniors’ autonomy,” Birnbaum noted. “Since our government was elected in April 2014, we have invested close to $138 million in home-care support. ’’

This increased aid will be designated to domestic-help services delivered by social-economy enterprises and cooperatives. The beneficiaries will be seniors and the caregivers. The anticipated increase represents approximately 600 000 additional hours for services such as for house-cleaning, preparation of meals, errands and clothes-cleaning. One such domestic-help social economy to be touched by the measure is Clean Sweepers - Coup de balai, Inc., located in the D’Arcy-McGee riding. Clean Sweepers’ mission is to provide quality domestic aid services and create sustainable employment. “This is a good step forward, one that will make our services more accessible,” said Director Bruce Cameron. Clean Sweepers is located on Queen-Mary Road.  Those seniors that are not currently receiving hours from their CLSC can directly contact Clean Sweepers at 514-484-4266 to arrange for services to be provided.

More than 300 people attend our benefit concert for the Cats Committee

How proud am I of the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC), a group I helped established six years ago? Very much so.

We are a small group of volunteers, dedicated to Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt. Few communities on the island of Montreal have such an entity. While the city provides us with an annual grant of $5,000, we need more to fulfil our mission. There are veterinarian bills to pay and supplies to purchase. So a year into our existence we decided to start doing some fundraising. Our biggest event is a concert we present featuring the extraordinary Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Milo.

Josephand MikMac
Larissa Macmac and Joseph Milo.

For our fifth annual concert on August 23 at the Syd Wise Auditorium of the Marymount Adult Education Centre, more than 300 people were in attendance. A Bouquet of Classics: The Music We All Love was the theme. Net proceeds plus funds collected via donations and purchases through our bake sale – spearheaded by Fern Collier-Pereira – gave us the boost we needed to keep doing our job. In fact the money received from the latter goes to a new fund which will enable us to purchase cat food for those who feed outdoor community cats year-round.

It is safe to say that most of the people in the audience were there to hear good music. As I said in my address, if only a few of those individuals step forward to help us then it will be a plus for us. I must say that over the last couple of years, different people have joined our team and truly made a difference. Diane Liebling is the heart and sole of our committee. She oversees the most difficult task of trapping the homeless community cats we find, often fostering them in her own garage. As I saw the large gathering around the bake sale at intermission, with Fern and committee members working so hard, I felt very very proud,

Volunteers oversee the successful Bake Sale.

Councillor Sam Goldbloom once again co-chaired the concert with me. Sam and I are the only pet owners on council and he adores his Mr. Darcy as much as I love my Cleopatra. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein has been very supportive of our cause. So has his predecessor, present-day Mount Royal Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather. Both gentleman spoke at the start of our program, as did Elisabeth Prass. She runs D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum’s office. David, following the lead of his predecessor Lawrence Bergman, provides us with an annual donation of $500.

Mr. Birnbaum could not attend because he was sitting in a Parliamentary Commission in Quebec City. But Ms. Prass explained how Mr. Birnbaum has been proud to report to his colleague, the provincial Minister of Agriculture, that  Côte Saint-Luc is a leader in the welfare of cats and humanitarian practices towards pets. “In the spirit of this, in December of last year, our Liberal government was proud to adopt Bill 54, the Animal Welfare and Safety Act, which legislates for the better protection of animals and defines them as sentient beings with biological needs, rather than as objects,” she explained. “Our government's goal with this ground-breaking legislation is to better protect pets and ensure humanitarian treatment of animals raised for food production.”

Alexandra Cohen served as our emcee and opened up with two songs, Corner of the Sky from the Broadway show Pippin and Life is a Cabaret from the Broadway classic Cabaret. 

The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra are nothing less than outstanding. This year some members also presented superb solo performances. Founded in 2006 by conductor Milo and his wife Lucy Ravinsky,  this one of a kind orchestra is composed of 55 musicians: about 80 percent of its members are from 15 countries around the world, while the remaining 20 percent are natives of Montreal who successfully facilitated the integration of the newcomers. They have been rehearsing at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall for many years

Anna Levitina, Rami Negev and Sean O'Brien.

I could have listened to them all night. The first half was dominated by classics. After intermission we heard many Broadway tunes from the likes of The Lion King, West Side Story and Phantom of the Opera. Every year Joseph surprises us with something dedicated to cats. Sean O’Brien, Anna Levitina and photographer Rami Negev belted out Everybody Wants to Be a Cat from the Aristocrats. It was a feel good way to conclude proceedings. We all left truly happy, very much looking forward to doing the same thing next August.

Nutrience Pet Food by Hagen served as a sponsor as did Expedia Cruises, which even set up an information kiosk. The latter had a lot of traffic.  Scotiabank Cavendish generously donated some door prizes. I thank them for supporting us.

Thank you to Alvin Fishman, who steered the ship on logistics from day one and went the extra mile on the day of the concert with Mo Giobbi; to Harold Cammy, while on a well-deserved break, always gets things started for us by booking the auditorium and getting ticket sales going; to Regine Banon, who takes care of printing the tickets, overseeing our flyers/programs and all publicity related to the event (this year she went the extra mile and came to video tape); to Lisa Milner, who keeps us regularly up to date on crucial sales at the library; and of course Marymount Adult Education Centre head caretaker Michel Leblanc who stays after work to ensure to oversee the crucial component of sound.

There are so many people on our committee I can single out, from Rebecca Katz who oversees our Facebook page and takes care of our hotline to young Liz Brenhouse who fosters and socializes cats in her own bedroom and seeks homes for them. True cat lovers exist in our community and I want to meet more of them.

We received a lot of media coverage leading up to the concert. You can review it all here.

Harvard Business School Alumni profiles CSL District 2 resident Stanley Diamond

10 AUG 2016


Helping families find their roots through the world’s largest database of Jewish vital record indexes
Re: Mark Diamond (MBA 1978); John Boone (MBA 1958)
by Jill Radsken

Photography by Owen Egan

Stanley Diamond (MBA 1958) was thinking about the health of future generations of his family when he went searching for records of his relatives in Poland. Prompted by the diagnosis of his nephew, Mark Diamond (MBA 1978), as a carrier of the beta thalassemia trait, Diamond says he “wanted to warn other members of the family whom I knew, and those I had yet to find” about their chance of inheriting the serious blood disorder.

Diamond had been retired only a few years after a successful career in the global decorative-ceiling business when he started his quest. What started as an altruistic concern for his family, however, led to a second career as cofounder of Jewish Records Indexing–Poland, an online database that has helped families around the world document their ancestry and find relatives about whom they have never heard.

“It’s been an absolutely amazing journey. I had no idea of how this would take on a life of its own,” he says. “I hear incredible, heartwarming stories every week.”

First, the numbers: Since its launch, JRI-Poland has grown to include more than 5 million records (e.g., registrations of births, marriages, and deaths) from 550 towns in Poland. The index, now the largest online database of Jewish vital records, can help genealogists quickly trace family ancestry back many generations, often to the 1700s. The site has been particularly invaluable in connecting people with family who may have survived the Holocaust.

Diamond’s email inbox is filled with success stories that describe his efforts as “holy work” and “nothing short of a miracle.” One person wonders, “Do you have any idea how many lives you’ve changed?” Another researcher comments, “From medical history to people’s sense of self… We are all thankful for how much your work has touched our lives.” A woman from North Carolina, whose search of JRI-Poland led directly to cousins in Sweden, Hungary, Israel, and Canada, has told Diamond, “You changed my life.”

“People have found family they were never able to find, or never knew existed,” says Diamond. “My great-grandmother had her first child at age 17 and had twin boys at age 49. If you keep that in mind, you can see why it’s not always possible for cousins to find each other when their parents or grandparents emigrated to the United States, Argentina, or Israel.”

Extended family was always a source of fascination for Diamond, a Canadian native whose mom was one of 14 children and whose dad was one of seven. A semi-professional fastball player who played for the Canadian World Team, he was finishing college (McGill University) in 1954 when two HBS grads—David “Bud” Shefler and Norman J. Keesal (MBA 1952)—convinced him to delay his application to HBS and hired him for Red Comet, their decorative-ceiling business.

“My bosses said, ‘You’ll get in. You will have the background and experience,’” he recalls. “When my mom called to say the letter arrived, I jumped so high I hit the ceiling in the storeroom.”

At HBS, Diamond remembers studying cases with professors Thomas Raymond and C. Roland Christensen, who made learning “both fun and stimulating.” One of the lessons that helped him in business and in establishing JRI-Poland came from a course he learned about through his roommates, John Boone and Larry O’Hearn, who took Georges F. Doriot’s popular class on manufacturing.

“I didn’t take it, but everyone in the School knew what he preached: it was the idea that wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, whatever new idea you have, someone else is working on something similar. Think outside the box. Innovate and try and do something different,” Diamond explains.

Diamond brought this way of thinking back to Red Comet after graduating. Two years later, the business went bankrupt and he started a new company, Integrated Lighting Limited, with two other former employees.

“It was like being thrown in the deep end,” he recalls, of owning his first business. “I did everything: marketing, making sales, coordinating shipments, supervising, installation of the ceilings.”

In 1963, Diamond bought out his two partners, and later, merged with another company in order to free himself to pursue building global distribution. He renamed the entire operation Intalite.

“Within a month, I was on an airplane to Germany and Denmark setting up distribution,” he remembers. “American manufacturers of specialized ceilings were so insular at the time that it gave me carte blanche to quickly make inroads all over the world. By 1970, we had a factory in Holland serving Europe. In 1971, we started assembly plants in Australia and Japan.”

He visited more than 50 countries, including many in the Middle East to take advantage of the oil boom. Among his most elaborate projects was the Saddam Hussein Conference Palace in Baghdad, built for the Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement. When Iraq went to war with Iran, the conference moved to India and the palace sat unused until the United States destroyed it during the 1990–1991 Gulf War.

In 1986, Diamond sold his interest in Intalite and worked for several years as a consultant for Construction Specialties, a manufacturer of specialized architectural products. At the same time, his nephew Mark brought him on board as an investor and marketing consultant in several high-tech startups, including Eicon Technologies, a Canadian maker of computer networking cards; Modular Visions Systems; and Gage Electronics, the first manufacturer of computer-based instrumentation.

In 1991, the need to find and warn family members of their genetic heritage prompted Diamond to concentrate on that pursuit. He attended his first international Jewish genealogy conference a year later, and started to build relationships in the genealogical world. Three years later, two colleagues with technical know-how implemented his idea for online Polish-Jewish records with a rudimentary search system. The turning point came soon after, when Diamond and another colleague persuaded the Polish State Archives to allow them to index his family’s ancestral town.

“Four months later, I went to Poland with a printout of our entire database of 40,000 record entries. The reaction of the archives’ director was one of great surprise. I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful to do this for all of Poland?’ He hesitatingly responded, ‘Let’s start small,’” Diamond recalls.

“In the next few years, we signed a formal agreement with the archives.” As activities grew, JRI-Poland formed an executive committee and Diamond took the helm as executive director.

An impassioned Diamond built JRI-Poland with a legion of dedicated volunteers (including Ruth, his wife of 50 years), in more than 15 countries, that has required of him a judiciousness well-honed at HBS.

“Volunteers cannot be fired, scolded, or criticized willy-nilly,” he says. “All the diplomatic tools I have acquired have become vital in managing JRI-Poland. Please and thank you are the most valuable words in my vocabulary.”

Marketing lessons learned at HBS also helped Diamond develop effective fundraising methods. Because records in Poland were kept on a town-by-town basis, he was able to create what he calls the “shtetl-specific” model, referring to the Yiddish term for a small Jewish town.

“We start by generating a surname frequency list,” he says. “In this way, we are able to appeal to the personal interests of an individual genealogist or researcher by revealing what records exist for his or her family in our database.”

Diamond’s own family tree now has 14,000 entries, but JRI-Poland’s work stretches beyond individual family historians like himself: it has provided research for the American television shows Finding Your Roots (PBS) and Who Do You Think You Are? (TLC). Diamond has coordinated research for legal inheritance cases as well as property recovery. In March, JRI-Poland enabled Guinness World Records to confirm Israel Kristal, a 112-year-old Holocaust survivor, as the world’s oldest man.

“He couldn’t produce a birth certificate, because the birth register from the town has not survived. But we found a birth protocol attached to his marriage banns showing he was born in 1903. It’s impossible to imagine, when this started, we would be called upon to produce proof to certify the oldest man in the world,” says Diamond, who, last December, was nominated for the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. “We’re at a point now, where we’re taken for granted, and I think that’s a testimonial to our success.”

L’Orchestre symphonique des musiciens du monde donnera un concert bénéfice au profit du Comité des chats de Côte Saint-Luc le 23 août

Le Comité des chats de Côte Saint-Luc (CCCSL) tiendra son concert de financement annuel le mardi 23 août à 19 h 30, à l’auditorium Syd Wise du Centre d’éducation des adultes Marymount, au 5785, avenue Parkhaven.

Le concert mettra en vedette les musiciens de l’Orchestre symphonique des musiciens du monde (, sous la direction de Joseph Milo. Certains membres de son orchestre interpréteront aussi des pièces en solo. Les fonds recueillis lors du concert A Bouquet of Classics: The Music We All Love seront versés au Programme du CCCSL.


« Ce concert bénéfice permet aux gens qui aiment les animaux de profiter d’une soirée de belle musique tout en contribuant à une bonne cause, a dit le maire Mitchell Brownstein. Voilà un autre exemple des mesures concrètes que prend la Ville pour faire la promotion des arts et de la culture dans la communauté. »

Les commanditaires officiels de la soirée sont le député libéral de D’Arcy McGee, David Birnbaum, et Nutrience Pet Food de Hagen.

« Il y a beaucoup de chats errants dans la communauté, explique Mike Cohen, conseiller municipal responsable de la protection des animaux dans la ville. L’équipe de bénévoles du CCCSL a pour objectif d’en attraper le plus grand nombre possible et de les faire stériliser, pour ensuite les donner en adoption ou les retourner à l’endroit où ils ont été trouvés. Le comité porte aussi secours aux chatons abandonnés en leur trouvant un foyer. Il y a quelques années, la Ville a adopté un règlement régissant l’octroi des licences pour chats. »

L’Orchestre symphonique des musiciens du monde (OSMM) a été fondé en 2006 par le chef Milo et son épouse Lucy Ravinsky. Cet orchestre unique en son genre regroupe 55 musiciens : environ 80 pour cent d’entre eux proviennent de 15 pays différents et 20 pour cent sont originaires de Montréal, ce qui a grandement facilité l’intégration des nouveaux venus. Les répétitions ont lieu à l’hôtel de ville de Côte Saint-Luc depuis plusieurs années et, dans le cadre d’une entente avec la ville, l’orchestre offre un concert bénéfice une fois l’an. Cette année, les bénéficiaires de cette initiative sont le Comité des chats de Côte Saint-Luc et Educhat.

Les billets sont présentement en vente à seulement 12 $ (taxes incluses) aux endroits suivants : au comptoir principal de la Bibliothèque publique Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc, (5851 boul. Cavendish), au Centre communautaire et aquatique de Côte Saint-Luc (5794, av. Parkhaven), et à l’Hôpital vétérinaire de Côte Saint-Luc (7930, chemin Baily). Aux deux premiers endroits, les paiements sont acceptés par carte de débit ou de crédit, ou comptant, mais seulement en argent comptant à l’Hôpital vétérinaire.

Les conseillers Mike Cohen et Sam Goldbloom, coprésidents de l’événement, précisent que de l’information sera disponible le soir du concert pour les personnes qui voudraient se joindre au comité ou adopter un chat. Une vente de pâtisseries se tiendra à l’entracte. Pour plus d’information, appeler au 514-485-6806, poste 2200 ou consulter

Our city council backs call for neutral packaging for tobacco products

In the City of Côte Saint-Luc, I am proud to say that I am part of an elected council where not the mayor or the eight other members smoke cigarettes. The same can be said for Liberal Mount Royal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather, who was our mayor

I detest cigarettes and I am proud of the measures our city has taken over the years, notably the late Councillor Eric Helfield’s groundbreaking anti-smoking bylaw in public places. I was a news reporter for The Suburban at the time.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why people smoke. It does seem less prevalent these days. None of my close friends or family smoke and thankfully it seems less popular among the youth of our society.

Tobacco is the most prevalent cause of sickness and avoidable death in Canada, killing approximately 37,000 people each year. In fact, the tobacco epidemic is caused by an industry that uses all means at its
disposal in order to render its products more attractive and its appearance less dangerous.

Packaging remains one of the most powerful promotional vehicles for tobacco products. The Federal Tobacco Control Strategy must be renewed between now and March of 2017 and Côte Saint-Luc City Council is backing a movement spearheaded by Montreal (Snowdon) Councillor Marvin Rotrand that the standardization of packaging must be one of the first measures deployed within the context of an approved strategy.


In conformity with the recommendation of World Health Organization, Australia, France, the United Kingdom and Ireland all adopted laws that demand neutral and standardized packaging for tobacco products and several other governments have also announced their intention to do so in the near future.

At our last Council meeting we formally requested that the Parliament of Canada legislate a demand for neutral and standardized packaging for tobacco products.

Neutral and standardized packaging will prohibit all the promotional elements of all tobacco products, including the use of colors, images, logos, slogans, distinctive policies and finishings. Only the name and brand shall be authorized and the health warnings shall remain present on the

The size and form of the packaging will be standardized, prohibiting therefore any specific formats such as slim and ultra-slim cigarette packages and which will result in reducing the size of the warning.

The motion was carried unanimously.

What to do about pit bulls and dangerous dogs in our community

While the Quebec government studies the issues of dangerous dogs and consults with municipalities, many of which have already implemented bans on pit bulls in particular, the City of Côte Saint-Luc is reinforcing an existing bylaw.

Our most recent bylaw regarding dangerous dogs was adopted in 2009. In the wake of a series of high-profile dog attacks, our Public Safety Department has sent letters to current owners of pit bulls in our community that we have on record, asking that they be muzzled. This will be extended to other dogs we deem to be potentially dangerous.A

Alanna Devine of the Montreal SPCA has let me know how she feels about the issue."Breed specific legislation is ineffective, unenforceable and unfair," she noted. "It doesn’t do anything to make communities safer and punishes responsible dog owners who happen to have dogs that look a specific way. Even with grandfather clauses,  many adoptable dogs and puppies in shelters will be condemned to death because there will be nowhere for them to go. They won’t be able to be adopted because of the way that they look."

According to our present bylaw, a "dangerous dog" means: a dog which has a propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack, bite, threaten, or injure, with or without provocation, any persons, property or other animals; with or without provocation or physical injury, attacks, bites, or threatens any person, property; a domestic animal that has been trained for dog fighting or to attack upon a command . In the event that the owner and/or custodian of a dangerous dog fails to comply with the obligation to muzzle the animal when on any public property throughout the city of Côte Saint-Luc, he shall be liable to a fine.

Pit BullIs this strong enough?  I do not think so, given recent events. This is why we really need the government to step in. As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I know how it must feel for someone who has a pet they love, only to be threatened to have it taken away via legislation. Several municipalities do have laws on the books banning pit bulls. However, they are not the only breeds that pose a threat. We will wait to see what the Quebec government decides for that will impact on our future actions. An advisory group, though, does not appear to pushing for a pit bull ban according to this report. In the meantime, I wish to urge the owners of dogs considered to be dangerous to please use a muzzle.

Again, Alanna commented: "Responsible dog owners who happen to have a dog that looks a certain way end up being harassed and discriminated against – and forcing dogs to have muzzles reinforces the false notion that these dogs are somehow ‘dangerous’ – which is scientifically untrue."

The City of Laval wants Ottawa to make changes to the Criminal Code of Canada to create uniform rules across the country to deal with the problem of dangerous dogs. Right now, it's possible to charge owners of dogs who attack people with criminal negligence, but it rarely happens. Laval Mayor Marc Demers said that the article in the Criminal Code dealing with criminal negligence should be amended to make specific reference to the responsibilities of dog owners."We would like the federal government to do its homework, so it would be all across Canada the same thing, it won't change from city to city," Demers told CBC News."That way, across the country, if you bring up your dog to be vicious so he may attack somebody, you are responsible for that."

In recent weeks we have had some disturbing incidents in our own community. At one park, three people with large dogs (a pit bull, a rottweiler and another breed ) were approached by a Public Security agent and asked to leave the premises with the dogs. The owner responded that her dogs were trained to attack on command and loosened her grip on the leash. Fearing for his safety, the agent called immediately for police back-up who arrived, handcuffed the woman in the back of the police car and pointed a Taser at one of the men. Police declarations were filled out and we believe charges were filed against one or all of the individuals involved.

Meanwhile, we had a pit bull attack when the dog escaped from a ground floor apartment and attacked a pug. The dog in question already had a muzzle order in place. Public Security and police were on scene. We issued tickets and the police pressed criminal negligence charges against the owner.

As of January 1, 2017, any dog on a list of banned breeds in Quebec City will be prohibited. Anyone caught with a banned dog will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offence. The City of Montreal is working to come up with a uniform set of rules regarding "dangerous dogs" across its 19 boroughs, but won't say if it's leaning toward an all-out ban on any particular breed. Here is a recent TV report.

In Ontario a pit bull ban was proposed in 2004 after a number of cases in which people were badly injured in pit bull attacks. It was passed in 2005. "The legislation bans pit bulls in Ontario, places restrictions on existing pit bulls, and toughens the penalties for the owners of any dog that poses a danger to the public," Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General says on its website.

The legislation, called the Dog Owners' Liability Act, defines a pit bull as a pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier or any dog "that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar.