Urgent Plea to Our Neighbours: Vote for Positive Change

Lire cet article en français "Appel urgent à nos voisins: votez pour un changement positif"

Lacerte taunting a Hassid. May 2013

Lacerte taunting a Hassid. May 2013

OutremontHassid.com was established with one goal: to open dialogue and promote understanding between the Hassidim and our neighbours. However, we currently feel compelled to poke our nose into local politics only because the stakes are so high. With the upcoming municipal elections (Nov. 3), there exists the very real possibility of losing any form of understanding we have gained through this site.

There are concerns, disagreements and issues between the Hassidic community and our neighbours. In this we are no different than any other neighborhood where two different cultures living side by side. But ask yourself: how can these issues be resolved? Must we endure hate campaigns? Must our community be demonized? Or can our recent experience and participation in open and respectful dialogue become the new normal? You know the answer.

Running for Outremont bourough council  are two independent candidates, Celine Forget (Joseph-Beubien district) and Pierre Lacerte (Claude-Ryan district) who are responsible for creating the current atmosphere of animosity towards the Hassidic community in Outremont. If they win – and especially if the two of them win – we fear a real regression into a constant state of conflict.

How Celine Forget and Pierre Lacerte resolve issues:

Lawsuits: Mme Forget has dragged the Borough of Outremont through a number of lawsuits in the past years, beginning with the Eruv case in 2001 and ending most recently with the Munchas Elozor synagogue. These suits, have cost the borough hundreds of thousands of taxpayers dollars. Is this really how we want to resolve conflicts? By dragging each other through the courts?.

Forget hounding a hassidic family. Oct 31, 2010

Forget hounding a hassidic family. Oct 31, 2010

Forget hounding hassidim with her camera. May 13, 2008

Forget hounding hassidim with her camera. May 13, 2008

Lacerte doing 'his thing' at the Mile End Library gathering last June

Lacerte doing ‘his thing’ at the Mile End Library gathering last June

By-laws: Mme Forget and Mr. Lacerte have persuaded Outremont’s council to institute a handful or so of by-laws tailored to cause difficulty to the Hassidic community. These bylaws, designed specifically to curtail Hassidic practices, exist no where else – not in the Plateau, not in the rest of the world.

Rejecting Dialogue: Mme Forget has repeatedly flatly rejected an invitation by Hassidic women to open a dialogue with women from the community.

Reaching out and over: Both Lacerte and Forget have been seen by dozens of people campaigning door to door and skipping the Hassidic doors clearly marked by its mezuzahs. Yet both have had the audacity to claim that they will represent ALL their constituents.

There is more. But the above alone amply illustrates that they have zero interest in reaching out, solving issues, or creating real community. Conflict is the name of their game.

Let’s see who is offering solutions

The only party that has prioritized inter-community relations in Outremont is Projet Montreal. No other party or candidate has even made it an item or talked to us about it with such conviction. Projet’s borough mayoral candidate, Étienne Coutu, announced in July that this will be one the most import issues to resolve once he’s elected. This is clearly stated on their official platform here.

Projet’s choice of a real Hassidic candidate, Mindy Pollak, goes a long way to show the they are dead serious about RESOLVING issues, not instigating them. Mme Pollak’s work in Friends of Hutchison and on the Outremont comité for intercultural relations proves she is committed, experienced, and already successful. Her campaign has been positive and full of energy. We see that everyone – francophone, anglophone, Hassidic – is rallying to her side. And why? Because people know real and intelligent change when they see it.

We count ourselves extremely fortunate to be able to make a real choice on November 3rd. Étienne Coutu, Philipe Tomlinson, Mindy Pollak and the rest of the Projet Montréal team are a breath of fresh air. We urge all our neighbours of Outremont to choose the candidates that will bring about respect and harmony, not those who have proven themselves to do otherwise.

No one wants another four years of dysfunction, hate and conflict.

26 comments (21 comments in English, 5 comments in French)

Pour lire ou poster un commentaires en français allez à "Appel urgent à nos voisins: votez pour un changement positif"

Please Note: Comments on each post match the posts language so that the conversation flows smoothly.

  1. isaaca
    October 29, 2013

    I don’t agree to urge the population to vote for Projet Montreal. Although you have capable candidates running for council seats, unfortunately the leader, M. Bergeron is misguided anti cars, silly tramway ideas and has been a very negative influence on business in the Plateau.

    • yanki
      October 30, 2013

      isaac: this article doesnt mention anything about Bergeron, its all about the local Outremont team. The big mayor has no input in the local Outremont politics

      • William Raillant-Clark
        October 30, 2013

        The party is officially called Projet Montreal – Équipe Bergeron, and it’s called that for a reason. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. I say vote for Mindy but forget the rest of them. Here is a great list of the top ten things that Bergeron has ever said. I think it should be enough to convince anyone that these people are not suitable for politics.

    • Daniel
      October 30, 2013

      Business on the Plateau is doing as well as it ever has done; commercial vacancy rates are down, employment is up. Beyond that the Projet Montreal administration paid off the debt it inherited in 2009 and built up the reserves that had been reduced to zero by the previous administration.
      It is misinformed propaganda, promoted by a few merchants, to pretend otherwise.

    • Shaw Katz
      October 31, 2013

      Utter propagandistic nonsense. I live in the Plateau and it’s never been doing better, I ADORE what Projet has done here, it’s truly incredible. As for Mr. Bergeron, he himself drives, though he uses Communauto. He is not “anti” car as if there’s some personal vendetta against it, simply “pro” urban quality of life which prioritizes residents. By raising quality of life in urban nieghbourhoods you convince families to stay in town rather than flee to the suburbs, and also begin to change mentalities and habits by offering people first-class public transit – like the tramway, for instance, FAR from a “silly” idea, but rather one which has been a stunning success for 25 years across Europe, and has completely revitalized and revolutionized life in city centres (away from the car, towards the human).

      There IS a planet warming after all, and at a terrifyingly rapid pace. Only Mr. Bergeron is serious about doing something about it. The entire platform revolves around it.

    • Chantal
      October 31, 2013

      isaaca: Bergeron is not misguided. He’s an idealist, with a vision for Montreal. When’s the last time this city had that in a leader? When’s the last time you took the metro? For parents with carriages, little kids, and elderly people, the metro is not very accessible. As it is, the metro is at capacity in terms of passengers. We need another option.

      Did you know that many streets in the Plateau (where I live) were dangerous for kids on their way to school? This was a huge problem in the neighbourhood. The parents and the Projet administration worked together to make the streets safer for our kids and it worked!

      Like you say, in Outremont, they should vote for the local councillors, who will have the biggest impact on their lives.

  2. I agree that electing Pierre Lacerte and Céline Forget as Borough Councilors would be a disgrace for Outremont! Your community needs to make sure that Lacerte and Forget does not get elected. Équipe Conservons Outremont is the only team with 100% long time resident of Outremont that knows well the borough and want to make a better living for EVERYONE in Outremont. Équipe Conservons Outremont is definitely the team to beat in Outremont, everyone is attacking us! You need to vote for a open-minded person that as actually a chance to beat Celine Forget at the election. The Bouthillier family (my mother side) as been in Outremont forever (5 brothers and sister with kids that lives here like I do) and we are very active in the community. I have talked with M. Tomlinson on a couple of occasion and he is a great guy, but if you vote for him, you will split the vote and Céline Forget might have a chance to be elected. As a citizen of Outremont, I am ashamed to have Céline Forget as an elected representative and this is why I decided to run against her. The choice is yours, but your community has the next 4 years in your hands.


    • Michel
      October 30, 2013

      I would love to vote for Mindy or Philippe, but I agree with Bertrand, the goal is to kick Forget and Lacerte out and, realistically, ‘Conservons Outremont’ is in a better position to win. Let us not split the vote.

      • Robert L
        October 30, 2013

        Michel, voting Conservons might just as well split the vote, judging by this article, the hasidic community will probably come out for Mindy and Philippe maybe even Coutu, dont you think they have strong voting numbers in Claude Ryan and Joseph Beaubien.
        Cinq Mars is a nice person but now she is part of the problem cause she let it fester so long.

        • Bertrand Nepveu
          October 30, 2013

          I agree that in Claude-Ryan, the hassidic community as 30+ % of the vote, but it is only 10% in Joseph-Beaubien. 10% might be the difference between me and Céline Forget, but it is not enough for Tomlinson to win…

  3. Claire M.
    October 30, 2013

    Wonderful plea for sanity and forward-thinking! Thank you, kind people at Outremont-hasid.com!
    As to M. Nepveau and his idea of voting Conservons Outremont – does he think the rest of us are crazy? Mme Cinq-Mars is a nice lady but she has been completely UNABLE or UNWILLING to put a stop to Mme Forget and M Lacerte’s shenanigans. And now, her only message and her only platform for us voters is that we have to vote for her in order to “conservons” this borough. She has run a campaing of fear. M Nepveau I live in your riding but you have never come to my door. If you cared about Mme Forget these past few years, you would not have waited for an election before getting involved. Mindy Pollak and her Projet Team, on the other hand, have been active with Friends of Hutchison for a long time now. And they have been successful.

    I am happy for this post today because it is true – we need to all vote Projet Montreal and really “conservons” Outremont. Pour de vrai.

    • Bertrand Nepveu
      October 30, 2013

      Claire, j’ai fait du porte à porte presque tous les soirs depuis 6 semaines et j’ai vu presque 1000 personnes. P-e que vous n’étiez pas présente lorsque je suis passé dans votre rue. Notre programme est loin d’être seulement de conserver Outremont. C’est notre but premier, mais nous avons aussi beaucoup d’autres projets très concrets contrairement à d’autres partis. Voir http://conservonsoutremont.tumblr.com/programme

      Ce que je parlais dans mon post, est de faire un vote STRATÉGIQUE dans Joseph-Beaubien afin de bloquer la réélection de Céline Forget. Vous pouvez m’appeler au 514-572-2378 si vous voulez que l’on en discute. Chez Équipe Conservons Outremont, nous sommes 4 nouveaux conseillers d’arrondissements qui voulons améliorer les façons de faire à l’hôtel de ville, tout en ayant en place une mairesse d’expérience qui connait bien les dossiers et gère le budget d’une main de maitre.


      • Claire
        October 31, 2013

        M. Nepveau, brèf, tout le monde autour de moi va voter Projet – nous sommes des francophones et anglophones de souche de loin de n’importe quoi. La campagne de peur de Mme Cinq Mars nous a tous ecoeurré. That’s it that’s all. Pis, and let’s not forget it: Mme Cinq Mars n’a RIEN FAIT pour résoudre des problèmes communautaire. Alors, tu pense tu que je vais commencer à croix à ton discours. Non monsieur.

        • Bertrand Nepveu
          October 31, 2013

          Premièrement, c’est Nepveu et non Nepveau.

          Deuxièmement, ce n’est pas une campagne de peur. Selon la presse, 73% des Montréalais veulent réduire le nombre d’arrondissements. La Chambre de Commerce de Montréal, la CAQ, le rapport Léonard et Louise Harel de Vision Montréal/Coalition Montréal veulent réduire le nombre d’arrondissements. Projet Montréal veut réduire le nombre d’arrondissements. En plus, il y a une centralisation des pouvoirs à Montréal, ce qui nous enlève petit à petit le contrôle sur la qualité de nos services de proximité.

          Dans les prochaines années, il y aura une forte pression politique pour réduire le nombre d’arrondissements et nous sommes les mieux placés pour contrer cette menace.

          • David Daines
            October 31, 2013

            Nowhere in Projet’s program does it say anything about reducing the number of boroughs. If some want to claim that one single point about “encouraging boroughs to work together” is a slippery slope to annexation then that is really the textbook definition of a fear campaign.

          • Isabelle
            October 31, 2013

            M. Nepveu, votre mairesse n’est pas capable de faire campagne sur ses accomplissements les 4 (6) derniers années? Franchement la. Personne veut détruire l’arrondissement d’Outremont, mais on est d’accord qu’il faut regarder la gouvernance de Montréal.

            Comment vous faire confiance que vous être un meilleur conseiller que Forget?
            Dis moi exactement comment vous proposer de guérir ce qu’elle a fait mal les derniers années?

          • Bertrand Nepveu
            October 31, 2013


            Le conseil de ville a été paralysé ces dernières années, car il y a eu une coalition Forget-Potvin-Nunès qui a empêché toute bonne entente interculturelle. Ce n’est pas pour rien que Mme Cinq-Mars ne se présente pas avec Potvin et Nunès dans son équipe. Un bon exemple de cela est ce qui arrivé au dernier conseil. Mme Forget avait fait une plainte à la sécurité publique car les enfants dans la cour d’école de Guy-Drummond étaient trop bruyants et l’école a reçu un constat d’infraction de 270$. Mme Cinq-Mars a proposé d’amender le règlement de bruits afin d’y exclure les cours d’école. Cinq-Mars et Moffatt on bien sûr voter POUR la modification au règlement tandis que Nunès-Potvin-Foret ont voté CONTRE. Ce n’est pas facile de gouverner quand il y a une coalition qui bloque des propositions constructives.

            Mme Forget est une personne intolérante. Pour ma part, j’ai eu la chance de beaucoup voyager et d’avoir des blondes qui venaient de communautés culturelles. Ceci qui m’a permis d’apprécier les différences des gens plutôt que d’en avoir peur.
            Je crois fermement que Outremont Hassid et Les Amis de la rue Hutchison sont la solution afin de créer les ponts nécessaires à un bon voisinage. Il faut aussi un conseil de ville qui travaille en harmonie avec tous les citoyens d’Outremont. Je vis à Outremont depuis 25 ans et je n’ai jamais eu de problème avec la communauté hassidique. J’ai même aidé un certain Ariel un hivers lorsque son camion était pris dans une ruelle. J’ai également eu des discussion avec Leo Kohn afin que l’on collabore dans le cadre de la compagnie que j’ai fondé.

            Bref, j’ai adoré le documentaire Shekinah et c’est le genre de film qui me donne espoir que nous puissions trouver des solutions constructives à nos modes de vie différents, mais combien enrichissants.


          • Dave T
            October 31, 2013

            M. Nepveu,

            Regarding Mme. Nunes, I’m very sorry but you have the facts absolutely wrong, I have been to many council meetings and Mme. Nunes was the only counselor standing up to our Hassidic neighbors, on many by-laws she was the only one voting in favor of peace and harmony… and this issue regarding the noise level, she may have had her reasons for not voting along with Mme. Cinq-mars, does not mean anything regarding her capabilities to represent her constituents with honesty and dignity.

            And frankly, Mme. Cinq-mars has no leadership skills, besides tolerating hate against the Hassidic community she has done nothing to stop it, to stand up against Forget and Co. to say once and for all “our city will not be your platform to promote your hate driven agenda”, it is time we see real leadership in our own Borough.

  4. Bertrand Nepveu
    October 31, 2013


    They clearly say that they want 65 elected officials in Montreal. You need by law to have 5 elected officials per borough. So, 65 / 5 = 13 boroughs. That would mean going from 19 to 13. They want to ask all Montrealers which one they want to keep. If that happens, since we are only 24K Outremontais out of 1.7M Montrealers and the second smallest borough, Montrealers will tell us to be annexed to either PMR or CDN.

    Please see : http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1183639/richard-bergeron-tient-a-rappeler-que-les-modifications-a-la-gouvernance-montrealaise-seront-determinees-par-les-montrealais

  5. Aharon
    October 31, 2013

    this is a comment that I wrote on Pierre Lacerte’s website.
    Aharon on 31/10/2013 at 21:42 said:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Interesting that you’ve never come knocking on my door to discuss my concerns.
    Could it be that it’s because I have a Mezuzah on my door? Did you at all try to talk to your Hasidic neighbors? As an elected official, you’ll be the representative of ALL your constituents, even the Hasidic ones. Wouldn’t it make sense that you at least knock on their doors just like you knocked on the Non Hasidic ones?

  6. Bertrand Nepveu
    November 5, 2013

    Let’s hope that Mindy and Céline can work together and create a real bridge.

    If not, we have to make sure that EVERYONE IN OUTREMONT knows what kind of person they elected.

    I was really surprised that a lot of people voted for Mme Cinq-Mars AND Céline Forget (poor me). Those persons don’t know how hateful, uncooperative and abrasive she is. Forget didn’t even want to shake hands with Cinq-Mars during the campaign. How can a same person vote for both ?!? We need to inform the population or we already lost the battle.