Ilan Ramon Crescent

Lawrence Bergman served his constituents with style; Welcome David Birnbaum

Soon after Quebec Premier Pauline Marois called an election for April 7, the province’s de facto Minister of Jewish Affairs announced that he was retiring. Lawrence Bergman, the Member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy McGee, surprised many by stepping aside. His successor is David Birnbaum, the executive director of the Quebec English School Boards Association and a former executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Quebec Region.

Lawrence Bergman


It was only last fall that Bergman was formally nominated for the next election at a gala affair at the Adath Israel Congregation in Hampstead, where he served as president prior to becoming the local MNA in 1994.There was no indication that Bergman would leave politics. Then again, we expected a December election at the time which never came to be.

Over the last two weeks new Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard has already seen a number of his elder statesmen resign before the election call. It started last summer when former Finance Minister Raymond Bachand retired in Outremont and continued last week with news that three other veterans would not run. Bergman supported Bachand in the party leadership race, not Couillard, leaving some to believe that may have played a role in his departure. He is 73 years old, so if the Liberals or PQ won a majority government he would have seen himself stay in office until the age of 77.

Bergman’s career highlight was being named Minister of Revenue during then Premier Jean Charest’s government in 2003. He did not retain his cabinet seat in 2007 and 2008 victories, but did grab the prestigious post of chairman of the government caucus. This gave him invaluable daily access to members of cabinet. When Bachand announced millions of dollars worth of funding for the Jewish General Hospital, he credited Bergman with aggressively pursuing him at every turn.

Early in his parliamentary career Bergman had the National Assembly recognize Yom Hashoah, something that became a regular occurrence. He constantly spoke out against acts of anti-Semitism and stood up for municipalities and organizations in his predominantly Jewish constituency. There was rarely a community event he missed, always the ultimate politician shaking hands and remembering everyone’s name.

In Côte Saint-Luc we will always be grateful for his successful efforts in saving our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) after our city demerged from Montreal. When I asked for his support for our CSL Cats Committee he not only attended our annual fundraising concert, but made a generous contribution to our cause.

Bergman was present at every community event we held. In recent years he has been accompanied his lady friend, Vivian. Early on his mandate, Bergman`s wife Monica died of cancer. He was alone for a long time until he connected with Vivian who was by his side for every political event. Now, as he told a press conference, he will have more time for her, his two sons and their spouses and his grandchildren.

David Birnbaum


I have know Birnbaum for over 30 years. We met when I was covering meetings of the former Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal for The Suburban. At the time he served as their information officer. We maintained contact during our various incarnations. He served as the executive director of Alliance Quebec and then went to work for a private public relations firm.  I was with the Canadian Jewish Congress in 1999, having spent 11 years there. The head office was moving to Ottawa and I wanted to stay here so I did some networking. Birnbaum was among the people I called. He connected me with the English Montreal School Board and set the wheels in motion for the job I have held since that time, as communications and marketing specialist. Ironically, a few months later, Canadian Jewish Congress let me know they needed a new executive director for Quebec. I, in turn, recommended Birnbaum. He got the job, but eventually took the  top post at the Quebec English Montreal School Boards Association where he was a strong voice for the anglophone community. At this precarious time in our history, he is the right man to represent at the provincial level.

See Glenn J. Nashen's blog for a very fitting tribute.


Ilan Ramon home significantly damaged in fire

A fire broke out at a home on Ilan Ramon Crescent in Côte Saint-Luc’s District 2  in the early evening of January 11.  No one was hurt and the fire department arrived in time to ensure that the fire was contained and then extinguished.  Neighbours applauded the efforts and professionalism of the Montreal firefighters who arrived within four minutes of the call to 911.

The cause was reportedly a heating pad left on in  the master bedroom, which shorted,  created a spark and caused the mattress to catch fire. Due to the intense heat of the fire, the sprinkler system was triggered  and released more than enough water to keep the fire at bay. That is the good  news. The water damage has devastated the property and fears are that the majority of the home will need to be gutted and redone.  Most of  the family’s possessions have been damaged by the fire or the water.  


What has most impressed me is how all of the neighbours have banded together to assist this family, which may be homeless for some time. The lady of the house, for instance, works during the day and has asked if anyone can find a place for her mother to stay at that time. A number of offers have already come forward.

As one neighbor explained, this should serve as a reminder of the importance of regularly checking smoke detectors and update any fire extinguishers  in the home.  Talk to your family about the danger of fire and what to do if one occurs.  


Maisons Fleuries Contest Shows City Beauty

The Côte Saint-Luc City Hall  Council Chamber was filled to capacity on Monday November 1  for the annual Maisons Fleuries garden beautification contest  awards evening.  The city awards prizes to residents who create attractive green spaces with blossoming trees, flowers and shrubs. A panel of judges views the gardens and selects the winners and runners up based on various categories.

Councillors Allan J. Levine, Sam Goldbloom and former councillor Harold Greenspon co-chaired the contest and officiated at the ceremony. Director of Parks and Recreation David Taveroff was the master of ceremonies while the magnificent Edwin Brownell provided entertainment.

There were a number of award winners from District 2. Ilan Ramon Crescent neighbours Daniel J. Cohen and his wife Bonnie Roiter and Frank Palucci and his wife Sandra Cambone  came in first and second place respectively for single family and semi-detached homes in District 2. Bonnie and Frank are pictured below with me.  Le Rothchild on Mackle Road came in tops for highrise condos. The superb Seniors Garden, located off the parking lot of the Cavendish Mall, won an award and  president Sava Todorovic and his wife Martha received a well deserved special recognition award.BonnieFrank

I wish to salute all of our property owners who took the time to present such beautiful gardens. We know how much work it can be to create and maintain a garden and this contest our the city’s way of recognizing those efforts.

Residents were able to enter for consideration the garden of their single-family home, duplex or townhouse. All apartment buildings, commercial establishments and public buildings were automatically entered in the contest and were judged separately.  Judges assessed front gardens according to the cleanliness of the property, the appearance of plants and flowers and general landscaping.

The chairpersons of the Maisons Fleuries contest are Councillor Sam Goldbloom, Councillor Allan J. Levine and Harold Greenspon.


Kildare Road work completed and everything looks great

Short-term pain, for long-term gain. That is how I described the work that was carried out on Kildare Road during the month of July and completed in early August. Congratulations to everyone involved, specifically the city’s engineering department and the companies hired to carry out the work.

Two winters ago we had several water main breaks on Kildare Road. While the problems were repaired, it was clear we needed a more comprehensive solution. I gained the city council’s support to have this job moved up in the schedule at a cost of $426,000. Now that the work is completed the pipes shouldn't need to be repaired or replaced for approximately 50 years.Crosswalk SWSCOtt

There have been some bonuses added to this project. An additional $26,000 was secured to finally fix the stretch of pavement from Rembrandt to Cavendish. How many motorists justifiably complained about the bumpy road? Well, it is just perfect now.

We were also able to respond to the request from nearby residents to install a crosswalk and two stop signs at the corner of Kildare and Sir Walter Scott. I wish to thank Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, Mayor Anthony Housefather and Traffic Engineer Charles Senekal for their unconditional support on this matter. Charles, in fact, took part in two walkabouts with myself and residents of Ilan Ramon Crescent. Hats off to residents Lorne Lieberman and Boris Myschkowski who worked with me to keep this option open. This is a wonderful plus in the area of traffic safety in District 2.

I have been receiving a lot of warm comments from residents. Here is what Phil Matlin, a resident of Rembrandt Avenue and a new blogger (check out had to say.

"A little note to tell you that I think the job done recently on Kildare should be used as an example to all cities, towns, boroughs, especially the City Of Montreal on how to plan and coordinate projects such as these. This major work was done with almost no inconvenience to the residents, at least on the Rembrandt side where I live. Personally, I suffered absolutely no inconvenience. You, the council, mayor, engineering department and whom ever else was involved, deserve our highest praise, thanks and kudos for a job well done."

Ilan Ramon Walkabout 2010 Looks at Traffic Safety and Parking

For the second year in a row Charles Senekal, the city of Côte Saint-Luc’s traffic engineer par excellence, joined me and a number of residents of Ilan Ramon Crescent for a walkabout to examine different traffic safety and parking options.


Ilan Ramon is almost a community itself, situated off Kildare Road and Sir Walter Scott. There are a lot of young families here and I am happy to say we remain in very close contact. I appreciate their interest in city affairs and they are always well represented at my District meetings. Boris Myschkowski and Frank Palucci are two residents in particular who let their different ideas flow.

Charles was good enough to stick around well past the end of his work day to walk the street.  He informed residents that new measures have been taken to prevent parking on curbs.  Some new “No Parking” signs have been added to Ilan Ramon and Sir Walter Scott to create clearer paths for vehicles. As a result of our consultation, Charles will be able to tighten restrictions a bit more in certain cases. Because of construction taking place at the Westwood Apartment Building garage on Kildare Road, many cars from there are parking overnight o n Sir Walter Scott and Ilan  Ramon. This should subside next week when we allow vehicles to park in the snow dump. The Ministry of the Environment has given us permission to do so. Once the need for these additional cars to find spaces subsides, we will limit parking on Sir Walter Scott to one side of the street on alternate days as presently the route is very narrow for large trucks to get through.



Major construction on Kildare Road, from Rembrandt to Merrimac, will commence on July 5 to replace the pipes. This job will take several weeks. Once completed we will install two stop signs at the corner of Sir Walter Scott and Kildare Road as well as a crosswalk. That is great news for families who cross the street often. This news has been very well received.
There were several other ideas which came forward which I will ask our Traffic Committee to take a look at.

Ilan Ramon Memorial

Late last fall I presided  over a brief ceremony to inaugurate a plaque  on Ilan Ramon Crescent about the man we named the street after. The late Ilan Ramon was an Israeli astronaut who tragically perished with his crew seven years ago. Now that the nice weather is upon us more people are taking walks and admiring this attractive plaque, which is on a stand. Today, as my family and I took a walk,  we noticed that someone had left a wreath there. What a nice initiative!

Wreath Ilan Ramon

Ceremony to remember Col. Ilan Ramon

Six years ago a new street was born in Côte Saint-Luc: Ilan Ramon Crescent. I am proud, as the city councillor for District 2, to have this street as part of my constituency. It is like a little shtetl. Virtually everyone knows their neighbours. There are lots of young families and the residents have a keen interest in municipal affairs.


While Côte Saint-Luc, then a borough of Montreal, did have a ceremony on June 26, 2005 with the family of the late Ilan Ramon on hand some residents contacted Councillor Dida Berku and myself about installing a plaque. I thought that was a great idea. In fact, as the city councillor responsible for toponymy, I have been working with our Public Affairs and Communications Department to develop a booklet providing the history of most of our street names.

On Nov. 15 we held a ceremony to unveil the plaque. Mayor Anthony Housefather was out of town on business, but I did have with me Councillors Berku, Allan J. Levine, Glenn J. Nashen and Steven Erdelyi. Avi Kimchi, a native of Israel, was on hand as were a few other residents of the street. Avi encouraged us to take this extra step with the installation of a plaque. I would like to thank Regine Banon and Darryl Levine from our Public Affairs and Communications Department. This plaque sits on a stand and has a photo of Ilan Ramon and the other astronauts who perished with him on February 1, 2003. There is a description of whom Ilan Ramon was, as well as his colleagues.

Councillor shared with us some inspiring words about Ilan Ramon, as did her husband Jacob Kincler (a native Israeli) and Councillors Levine and Nashen.

Ilan Ramon (1954-2003), colonel dans l’armée de l’air israélienne, et le premier astronaute israélien. Trouva la mort lorsque le vaisseau spatial Columbia s’écrasa lors de son retour sur terre le premier février 2003.

Ilan Ramon est né à Ramat-Hen et à grandi à Béersheva. En mille neuf cent quatra vingt quatre il acheva le cours de pilote, avec la mention "excellent" et commença son service actif dans l’armée de l’air comme pilote de combat. Au début de sa carrière dans l’armée de l’air, il pilota des avions "Mirage" et "Skyhook", et dans les années Quatra vingt dix, il fut parmi les premiers à partir aux Etats-Unis pour apprendre à piloter l’avion de combat F-Seize. En tant que pilote d’un F-Seize, il participa à de nombreuses opérations, parmi lesquelles l’attaque contre la centrale atomique en Irak.


Ilan Ramon took very seriously his role as the representative of Israel and the Jewish people in space. He carried with him a microfiche of the Bible given to him by president of Israel, a tiny Torah scroll given to a Holocaust survivor at a Nazi concentration camp and a small pencil drawing titled "Moon Landscape" by a boy killed at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Quite appropriately for our ceremony, two gentleman joined us with a Torah. Though Ramon was not particularly religious, he decided to eat kosher food in orbit, saying that he wanted "to respect all kinds of Jews all over the world." He died at the age of 48, when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon descent after a 16-day flight in space. He was married and the father of four children.


Sadly, on this day, we also paid homage to the eldest son of Ilan Ramon. Only a few months ago, Captain Asaf Ramon of the Israeli Air Force – who always said he wanted to become an astronaut like his father - was killed when his F-16 jet crashed over South Mount Hebron.

 See a brief video of the ceremony by clicking here.



Ilan Ramon Residents Pleased

Traffic engineer Charles Senekal and I  received a very nice message from Boris  Myschokowski (pictured below) of Ilan Ramon Crescent, recognizing the measures we have taken to maintain  traffic safety there.


Dear Mike and Charles,

I would like, on behalf of Ilan Ramon residents, to thank you for your intervention to affix new traffic signs on our block. These signs together with "slow down" painted on both curves on our block will most certainly help with slowing down traffic and ensure more safety for the numerous young children living on our block. For some time now, myself with a majority of residents on Ilan Ramon, have asked Mike Cohen and the city of CSL to consider different measures to increase the safety of children on our block and reduce traffic speed. By taking such measures, you demonstrate that you pay close attention to the needs of your constituents and we thank you for doing so.

Once again thank you Mike and Charles.

By this same occasion I congratulate Mike Cohen for being recently acclaimed to a second mandate as our district representative. I wish Mike Cohen and Charles Senekal from the CSL Traffic Engineering Dept. much success in their endeavours.



Note: On Sunday, November 15 at 11 a.m,. at the corner of Ilan Ramon and Sir Walter Scott Avenue, we will unveil a plaque honouring the memory of Colonel Ilan Ramon and the six other astronauts who perished aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003.

Traffic safety measures taken on Ilan Ramon Crescent

I have spent a lot of time working with residents of Ilan Ramon Crescent to try and come up with  different traffic  safety measures. Last May Traffic Engineer Charles Senekal joined  me for a walkabout with residents. A number of ideas were tossed around. I took my concerns to the city's Traffic Committee and while a request for a speed hump was not within the norm for streets of this nature, Charles and I put our heads together. A few days ago new "slow down" painted lettering and arrows were placed on both curves of Ilan Ramon. High visible signs will soon be added to the mix. Residents seem pleased with the initiative. In a few weeks we will be installing a special plaque to recognize the man whom this street was named after, the late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon.

Door to door begins on Ilan Ramon Crescent

Tonight I began my door to door campaign for the November 1, 2009 municipal elections. I chose to start on Ilan Ramon  Crescent. Resident Boris Myschkowski (pictured below welcoming me to his home)  was kind enough to join me, just as he did four years ago when overall I earned 92 percent of the vote in District 2. I have gotten to know most of the people who live on Ilan Ramon.  There are many young families.

BorisIlanRamon Ilan Ramon, of course, was named after the late Israeli astrononaut who died tragically on the Space Shuttle Columbia. Only recently I took a walkabout on Ilan Ramon with city engineer Charles Senekal and some residents to discuss ways in which we might be able to improve traffic safety.

Congratulations to resident Carmela Lieberman on her very recent marriage to Jarrod Grover. Carmela has been a dedicated volunteer for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Côte Saint-Luc. When  I knocked on the door of what is now her "former" home there were still family members and friends over celebrating.