National Newswatch

Lawyer for Quebec couple urges court to act against ultra-Orthodox schools

Feb 19 2020 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — Ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools operating north of Montreal are illegal and their religious curriculum for boys is so onerous the students have little time to study anything else, a lawyer told a Montreal courtroom on Wednesday. Bruce Johnston, who is representing an ex-Hasidic couple in their claim that the province and ultra-Orthodox schools in Boisbriand, Que., failed to ensure they […]

Hasidic education official tells trial Talmudic education rigorous

Feb 17 2020 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — The head of a Jewish home-schooling association took umbrage in court Monday with the accusation his ultra-Orthodox community fails to properly educate its boys, claiming Talmudic studies are rigorous and prepare a young man for any possible career. For a young Hasidic man who finishes this "rigorous" Talmudic education, Abraham Ekstein told Superior Court Justice Martin Castonguay, "nothing […]

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

Feb 16 2020 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — The recent killing of a 22-year-old woman in Quebec has focused renewed attention on Canada's prostitution laws, which critics say are applied irregularly across the country and only make sex work more dangerous. People connected to the industry say the Jan. 22 death of Marylene Levesque in a suburban Quebec City hotel has exposed hypocrisy in the way the law is […]

Quebecois couple on quarantined cruise ship in Japan test positive for coronavirus

Feb 15 2020 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — An elderly Quebecois couple from Gatineau, Que., aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, their daughter said on Saturday. Diane, 73, and Bernard Menard, 75, are confined to their cabin and awaiting transportation by ambulance to a military hospital where they will be kept in isolation until they no […]

School board association could fight Quebec’s education bill, with federal help

Feb 8 2020 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — QUEBEC — The association representing Quebec's English-language school boards has been granted federal money to challenge a major Quebec education-reform bill, its vice-president says, days after its largest member renounced similar money under criticism from Premier Francois Legault. "The decision to actually engage in a court challenge will be taken in the next week or so, […]

Quebec premier says returns will fly high with $30-million airship investment

Feb 5 2020 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault is dismissing naysayers who are accusing his government of wasting $30 million on a company that wants to build giant airships to transport heavy cargo around the province's far north. The Journal de Montreal reported Tuesday that the previous Liberal government had rejected the project as too risky. That led the opposition to suggest someone at the province's investment arm must have […]

Taxpayer group reveals 43,000 Quebec public sector workers earn $100,000 or more

Feb 4 2020 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — Quebec's hydro utility, the city of Montreal and McGill University are among the public bodies in the province that employ the most people earning six-figure salaries, according to a study published Tuesday by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. The data reveals that at least 43,469 provincial and municipal government employees earn more than $100,000 annually, costing taxpayers roughly $5.3 billion, says the […]

Montrealers battle over reasons why their booming city is plagued by empty storefronts

Feb 2 2020 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — On the corner of Montreal's historic St-Laurent Blvd. and trendy St-Viateur Street — known for the 24-hour St-Viateur Bagel Shop — lies an empty storefront that has become a symbol of the city's retail woes. And Danny Lavy, co-owner of the company that owns the building, has joined a list of real estate players fingered as neighbourhood […]

Funding for women’s group under review after call for ban on man-woman relationships

Jan 28 2020 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — The Quebec government says it will re-evaluate the $120,000 annual public funding it gives to the province's biggest women's federation after its president suggested that heterosexual relationships should be banned. Gabrielle Bouchard, president of the Federation des femmes du Quebec, made the controversial comment Tuesday on Twitter, before issuing an apology on Facebook and during televised […]

‘There are many degrees of hate’: Quebec blogger takes on far right

Jan 26 2020 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — Far-right group La Meute was once seen as a growing threat in Quebec, with members marching by the hundreds through city streets against what they claimed was the creeping "Islamization" of society. But La Meute — or The Pack — began to implode just a few years after it was created in 2015. By 2019, its signature wolf-paw symbol had practically […]

‘Sorry to rain on their parade’: Bloc wants to slow down new NAFTA ratification

Jan 21 2020 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — The Bloc Quebecois plans to stand in the way of a fast-track adoption of the new trade deal between Canada, the United States and Mexico. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday he wants to approve the updated North American free-trade agreement quickly, adding that he plans to table legislation to ratify it next week. But Bloc […]

Former Montreal mayor can keep $268K severance despite fraud conviction: judge

Jan 20 2020 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — Disgraced former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum can keep the $268,000 he received from the city after resigning from office, despite a conviction for fraud against the government, Quebec Superior Court ruled Monday. Applebaum is legally entitled to the taxpayer cash because new rules punishing elected officials convicted of crimes went into effect after he broke the law and received his severance package, Justice […]

Will claims of illegal party financing sink Charest’s hopes of political comeback?

Jan 18 2020 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — While former Quebec premier Jean Charest mulls a leadership bid for the Conservative Party of Canada, recently unsealed police warrants have given his political opponents plenty of ammunition. Charest, Quebec premier from 2003-12, and before that a federal cabinet minister and leader of the Progressive Conservatives, is seen as a well-known, experienced, bilingual and talented politician who […]

Montreal airport refuellers strike, but labour board orders union back to table

Dec 31 2019 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — Workers in charge of refuelling planes at two Montreal airports went on strike Tuesday morning, prompting the city's airport authority to warn of possible flight delays. Hours later, the Canada Industrial Relations Board allowed workers to maintain their strike, but ordered their union immediately back to the negotiating table. Roughly 100 employees with Swissport Canada, the only supplier of fuel […]