Posted by: pafmurray | March 8, 2010

Op-Ed Submission

I just heard the news that Mayor Gerald Tremblay will soon be off to Haiti with the Governor General, to take a first hand look that the devastation, and get his photo in Montreal newspapers and on TV, so that he can again look like a caring human being.

At the February 8 Ville Marie Borough Council Meeting, I asked his Worship if he would create the Mayor of Montreal Charity Challenge and invite the 40,000+ participants of Velo Quebec’s events, to consider raising funds for the benefit of Haiti and other worthy causes.

Mayor Tremblay recalled that eight years prior that I had asked him to do essentially the same and that he had told me that he would speak to Velo Quebec and discuss their cooperating with charity.

He never did as promised, and a month ago explained that it was “due to a technicality”. He then told me to give my number to the clerk and advised that he would call me the following day.

This may come as a total shock to those reading this column, but a month later, Mayor Tremblay has yet live up to his promise.

What Mayor Tremblay does not know is that Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean is aware of my initiative, and has welcomed it.

I do hope that Mayor Tremblay learns as he views the destruction in Haiti that it would be a wise thing for him to do, to invite 40,000+ cyclists and possibly others to raise funds.

As an activist/fundraiser, I can honestly say that the number of Montreal municipal politicians that I have come across in the past eighteen years, that have impressed me with their hearts, and their level of intelligence, could fit quite comfortably inside a phone booth!

Quite frankly, when it comes to helping to increase philanthropy, in the worst place for it in Canada and the US, they deserve to hide their faces.

On many occasions we have heard that our soldiers have paid and continue to pay the supreme sacrifice, so that Canadians may be free.

It somehow feels nice to hear that our soldiers have not died in vain, but is that really the case?

On February 17, I stood outside of St. Laurent Borough Hall, peacefully with a sign that expressed my personal opinion about “our mayor”.

Within minutes, a police vehicle, with its lights flashing, was on the scene. Less than a minute later, three individuals exited the borough hall. I was advised by the borough that my opinion upon a sign broke a by-law, and was then advised by the police, that if I held that sign in St. Laurent again, I would be arrested.

Section 2 (b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (CCRF) states that as fundamental rights we all enjoy: “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press, and other media of expression.”

St. Laurent has been asked three times in writing, to advise what part of the by-law my opinion sign broke. Three times St. Laurent advised me to ask the police. Ask the police; when it was St. Laurent that advised me that I was breaking their by-law?

Under section 24 (1) of the CCRF “Anyone whose rights or freedoms as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied, may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.”

The hospital foundation that will receive what the court eventually awards in this matter (minus my expenses), will be very pleased and so will I!

On March 1st, I went to the Borough Council Meeting of Pierrefonds/Roxboro in order to ask a question. When I gave my street address, I was told “Mayor Worth does not allow non-residents to ask questions.”

I went over to a police officer and asked him to be a witness to the goings on. This time City Councilor Bertrand Ward told the officer that I had no right to ask a question, and had to go to city hall to do so!

Quebec law explicitly states that council meetings are public meetings and that anyone present may ask a question. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs wrote over a month ago, that the same applied to borough council meetings.

I emailed the law to Mayor Worth and all her councilors on March 1st. It is March 7 and I have not had the decency of a reply. Common decency dictates that when one makes a mistake, that they apologize without hesitation, and that should apply to politicians that break the law as well.

The sooner that our troops return home to Canada, the safer we will all be, from many of our municipal politicians.

Murray Levine, Founder, Philanthropic Athletes Foundation


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