Urgent Plea to Our Neighbours: Vote for Positive Change
Lire cet article en français "Appel urgent à nos voisins: votez pour un changement positif"
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?.
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.