Beryl Wajsman

Beryl Wajsman is President of the Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal editor-in-chief of The Suburban newspapers, and publisher of The Métropolitain.

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Most Recent Articles by Beryl Wajsman:

Private prerogative must trump public interference

Mar 20, 2012 — Beryl Wajsman

The controversy over Halal chicken slaughtering by Olymel has ballooned into a series of debates on everything from animal cruelty to unfair pricing to unreasonable accommodation . Yet all these miss the central point. If a society wants to be called free, it cannot take upon itself the right to dictate to a private enterprise - that asks nothing from the state - how it should conduct its business. That is not freedom. That is statism. The arrogance that our public officials and commentators take upon themselves to intervene in private prerogative is not only unjust, it is dangerous. It leads to a society where demonization becomes the goal and disinformation the tool.

Time for a nation of one piece

Mar 13, 2012 — Beryl Wajsman

A biographer of U.S. Supreme Court Justice and champion of civil liberties Louis D. Brandeis, once described him as a man with a “mind of one piece.” He took the phrase from Brandeis’ own teaching. The great jurist had tried to instill in his students, colleagues and indeed in public officials, the understanding that for the people to feel that their governors are dispensing justice there must be equity in the law. And for there to be equity there must be consistency. And for there to be consistency there must be reason. A holistic approach not only to the law, but to society as a whole. Reason, consistency, equity, justice.

After Shafia

Feb 12, 2012 — Beryl Wajsman

The Shafia verdict should have implications far beyond the deserved condemnations of the very concept of “honour” killings. Beyond even the condemnation of the terrible subjugation of women that is at the heart of that retrograde and oxymoronic phrase and the corpus of thought that gave it birth. And beyond any satisfaction people may have about the verdict. It should lead us straight to the heart of the matter: the absolute rejection of accomodation to any status for any religious law in Canada’s legal jurisdictions and the urgent need to reaffirm this nation’s dedication to the sovereignty of the individual over any collective.

A wake up call for Quebec

Feb 8, 2011 — Beryl Wajsman

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier’s weekend comments calling Bill 101 unnecessary are a clarion call of courage and candour. We should be rallying around those sentiments. Bernier spoke truth to myth and emerged as a new patron saint of reason. He should be lionized not vilified as he has been in much of the Quebec press. He has opened the door to a much needed debate on a heretofore taboo subject. It is a wake up call for this province and perhaps a last chance to turn Quebec toward the politics of respect, justice and equality.

The brutish temper of Quebec’s times

Dec 16, 2010 — Beryl Wajsman

Events in society are related. Sometimes not directly. Sometimes they just reflect the temper of the times. But it is for that very reason that those who affect that temper, those who hold high office, must be held to account when they have compromised the public discourse.

Calumny! The UN votes against Canada

Oct 13, 2010 — Beryl Wajsman

It did not take long for the chattering classes of the left to blame Canada’s failure to obtain a seat on the UN’s Security Council rotation on the Harper government’s principled support of Israel. The tsk-tsks could be heard from the editorial rooms of newspapers to the halls of academe.

Guard against blind justice in the shadow of life

Sep 7, 2010 — Beryl Wajsman

One is struck by why the euthanasia and assisted suicide issues are so important as to be brought forward at this time in Quebec’s history in a roving commission. It is to be hoped that it is because of compassion to reach new definitions in light of pleas from suffering people who wish to terminate their lives. However, reasonable people can be forgiven if they suspect that this issue is being pushed to set new standards to allow a bloated health-care system the right to decide when to terminate life. If there is even one scintilla of truth in that possibility then the whole exercise is venal and obscene.

Jerusalem is not the obstacle

Mar 19, 2010 — Beryl Wajsman

The current condemnations of Israel’s planned additions to the Ramat Shlomo neighbourhood demonstrate an appalling ignorance – feigned or real - regarding the accepted status of Jerusalem since Camp David through two American administrations; the context of American criticism in light of similar treatment recently meted out to democratic allies like Poland and the Czech Republic by the Obama administration; and the domestic political infighting in Israel that led to the unfortunate timing of the announcement and Netanyahu’s apology. Though I am by no means supportive of the entire settlement policy, too many politicians and commentators fail to point out the carnage Israel has suffered since its unilateral pullout from Gaza that put the lie to the “land as an obstacle to peace” argument. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan once wrote, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. No one is entitled to their own facts.”

Rights and Democracy: Harper right to clean house

Jan 30, 2010 — Beryl Wajsman

Federal opposition calls for an inquiry into the Harper government’s supposedly negative influence on the Rights and Democracy organization are inappropriate, misguided and corrosive. Inappropriate because they smack of nothing more than a witch hunt seeking political profit off the death of R&D’s late President Rémy Beauregard who died recently of a heart attack. Misguided because they exhibit an appalling ignorance of the failings of R&D that this administration has tried to correct. Corrosive because they would demonize any attempt by any government to reform any media darling organization beloved of the salon liberal left that in fact too often supports groups around the world whose aims are inimical to free societies.

The earth ploughed out from under us

Jan 21, 2010 — Beryl Wajsman

In 1918 a young Andre Malraux was approached by a joyous friend of his father’s who invited him to come and celebrate the Armistice that ended the First World War. Malraux, the man who would pen the immortal “Man’s Fate” and “The Human Condition”, went with the family friend to the celebration.

Hard Times: What the aughts were about

Jan 16, 2010 — Beryl Wajsman

“See, I never heard that word ‘depression’ before. They would all just say ‘hard times’ to me. They still are.” ~Roger, a 14 year old boy from Chicago quoted in Studs Terkel’s “Hard Times”

Hard times. Our time. Couldn’t be a more appropriate sobriquet. And it’s not just about money being hard today. Because after the money gets a bit easy, the times are still going to be hard.

Of scans, profiles and freedoms

Jan 5, 2010 — Beryl Wajsman

“There is the superior right of freedom from fear. The reality is that we are in a war. A war which the west did not start or choose.”

Give citizens the benefit of the doubt

Dec 4, 2009 — Beryl Wajsman

The Quebec government’s response to the Duguay challenge on its speeding laws is wholly unacceptable. When Charles Duguay, a consulting engineer in the Eastern Townships, received a speeding ticket under the new rates he found them unconscionable. So do many of us. The ticket he got was $718 and 10 points. Under the old system it would have been $250 and 5 points. He decided to do something about it.

A season of conscience

Dec 4, 2009 — Beryl Wajsman

Many people deride the generosity of spirit and selflessness of action that pervades our civic life during this time of year. They call it hypocritical. A passing fancy. They should not do that.

Freedom is indivisible

Oct 29, 2009 — Beryl Wajsman

Whenever freedom’s indivisibility is violated, we are obligated to register our protest. Particularly when that violation occurs in our own backyards. And precisely when what we are defending is the sovereignty of individual choice. For the freedom to choose is the heart of a free society. It is the object lesson in the difference between liberty and tyranny.

Perfidy: the un and the goldstone libel

Oct 20, 2009 — Beryl Wajsman

“Every day at the U.N., on every side, we are assailed because we are a democracy. In the U.N. today there are in the range of several dozen democracies left; totalitarian regimes and assorted ancient and modern despotisms make up all the rest.

Iran - Anvil of Crisis

Sep 30, 2009 — Beryl Wajsman

Every now and then the world kicks us all in our lethargic posteriors and we have to wake up. We are in such a time now. The revelations last week that Iran may be some sixty days away from having the enriched uranium capacity to have nuclear weapons capability, led Presidents Obama and Sarkozy and Prime Minister Brown to raise the alarm at the Pittsburgh G-20. Fen Hampson, director of Ottawa’s Norman Patterson School of International Affairs and a man not given to hyperbole, stated on Sunday that the current confrontation can be paralleled with the thirteen days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sadly, the world had plenty of warning, and did nothing.

30 Canadian lawyers challenge biased UN Goldstone report

Sep 16, 2009 — Beryl Wajsman

Thirty Canadian lawyers are challenging the refusal of a U.N. investigator to step down from an inquiry on the recent Gaza conflict, arguing that London School of Economics professor Christine Chinkin’s participation on the panel — after she declared Israel guilty prior to seeing any evidence — “necessarily compromises the integrity of this inquiry and its report.”

The Big Green Lies

Aug 9, 2009 — Beryl Wajsman

In the movie Wall Street,  Michael Douglas’ character Gordon Gekko makes the point to his young protégé Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen, that the road to acceptance with many rich people lies in contributing money to zoos. There are many among the wealthy, Gekko said, who love animals far more than people.

No honour in murder

Aug 3, 2009 — Beryl Wajsman

We need to take a step back and think about the use of the term “honour killings”. It has been much in the news of late as the horror of the deaths of the Shafia sisters sinks in.