Petition: Allow Our Youth To Celebrate Purim Safely and Peacefully

Lire cet article en français "Pétition : permettre à notre jeunesse de célébrer Pourim en toute sécurité et au calme"

A Hassidic teen on a unicycle in Outremont. Seen in the background is a mini-bus currently banned in Outremont - Purim 2003

A Hassidic teen on a unicycle in Outremont. Seen in the background is a mini-bus currently banned in Outremont - Purim 2003

Editors Note: The following petition was submitted to Outremont’s borough council on March 3, 2014, along with 240 signatures of Outremont citizens. At the same council meeting Councillor Mindy Pollak raised a motion that would allow the use of all kinds of minibuses during the Purim holiday. Unfortunately the motion was not supported by the rest of the council and it fell thru.

Letter to the Outremont Borough Council
February 28, 2014


First of all, congratulations on your election to the Borough Council of Outremont.

As you may be aware, the Jewish holiday of Purim is on March 15-16 this year. It is the most joyous of all our holidays, and is a highlight for both children and adults.

We would like to invite you to participate in our celebration. It would be our pleasure to welcome you and show you how we celebrate this holiday.

In addition, we would like to request that a solution be adopted at the March council meeting so that our boys can enjoy the holiday as well.

Please consider that 25% of Outremont’s population that celebrates this holiday is affected by the Borough’s strict interpretation of the A0-20 autobus ban. This stance, taken by the Borough of Outremont since 2009, considering some minibuses as regular autobuses, has greatly hampered the Purim celebration of our youth – the some 300 boys aged 13-16 – that have been using these minibuses for over 20 years to go around on Purim raising money for charity.

Please take into consideration that this ban – which was adopted in 2003 by the Borough of Outremont – was originally intended to ban only autobuses – “intercity” buses – and not any kind of minibus.

Please take into consideration that if the strict interpretation of the bylaw is to be followed, and only smaller minibuses are rented, it will significantly increase the number of buses on the streets of Outremont. It will cause undue financial burden of over $5000 per year for the schools. And most importantly according to the SPVM the minibuses used up on-till now are the safest mode to transport the boys on Purim.

Also, please ask yourselves, does the small number of complaints received over the course of all those years (a handful or so, as related by the SPVM) justify restricting an entire community of thousands?

We believe it is of utmost importance to find a permanent solution for this issue, and we understand that this requires a lot time to review, but till then, for this year Purim we ask you to please put a temporary hold on the rigorous application the Borough’s strict interpretation of the bylaw and allow ALL types of minibuses to be used until a permanent solution is found.

Please find attached the signatures of over 200 Outremont residents supporting this request.

Should you require further details, more information, or would like to discuss this in person; we are available to meet you at your convenience.

Jacob Karmel
553 av. Outremont

9 comments (4 comments in English, 5 comments in French)

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  1. Peggy Burns
    March 4, 2014


  2. Heidi Ganz
    March 5, 2014

    Its utterly ridiculous how the Outremont Borough council constantly repeats its mantra… “its the law, we cant change it” … as if we’re talking about some holy un-touchable constitution…. when the whole original AO-20 bylaw banning buses was enacted by Stephane Harbour in 2003 to deliberately stifle the single Hassidic intercity city bus used by the community to commute between Montreal-NY. Its no secret, its public info, right here:

    I understand that big charter buses are unwanted, I also can’t take the fumes, but MINIBUSES????? like the one in the above picture? Is it really so hard to put a clear definition in the by-law that ALL minibuses are permitted, regardless if it has double the wheels in back or not? Is really so hard???? by-laws are constantly being changed and amended…. especially when we’re talking about a by-law tailored to target the Hassidic community.

  3. Elizabeth Ball
    March 5, 2014

    Heidi Ganz, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I, and my friends and family, agree with you 100 percent. Let’s hope if we push the council hard enough and support Mindy as much as possible, that such discriminatory by laws will eventually be changed.
    I wish a happy Purim to all!
    In solidarity,
    Elizabeth Ball and family

  4. Gordon Martin
    March 6, 2014

    A clear case of prejudice encouraged by one or two loud-mouthed bigots! Strangely , they don’t condemn trucks, double-parked, unloading goods to the nearby shops on Hutchison.