By Glenn J. Nashen
D’Arcy McGee Member of the National Assembly David Birnbaum welcomed a crowd of supporters to the Gelber Conference Centre earlier this week as part of a fundraiser to kick off his re-election campaign.
The location of the event east of the Decarie Boulevard signifies the changing electoral boundary in the upcoming provincial elections. The riding of D’Arcy McGee will expand beyond its traditional territory of Cote Saint-Luc, Hampstead and Snowdon West. Newly included in the riding will be a substantial area stretching to Cote des Neiges Road bordered by Cote Saint-Catherine to the south and the CP Railway to the north of Vezina.
Speaking with his customary eloquence and grace Birnbaum said that, “there is only one party in the National Assembly that truly represents all Quebecers,” giving examples of how the CAQ and PQ have not stood up for minority communities. The CAQ has indicated its position on immigrants which runs contrary to the belief of so many of Birnbaum’s constituents and, “the PQ still has its Article 1 that speaks of Quebec without Canada.”
Mitch Garber was the special guest speaker. Chairman of the Board of the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil, Garber was recently named as Chairman of a new organization, Invest in Canada, which is focused on streamlining and encouraging investment in Canada. He is also the co-founder of Ceasar’s Entertainment, a world-leading game development company. Closer to home, Garber attended Bialik High School and McGill University.
Mitch Garber has never forgotten his roots and always speaks proudly of his community and his love of Montreal, Quebec, and Canada.
“Mitch and his wife Anne-Marie are doing so much to bridge the gaps between our linguistic communities, between our Jewish community and all over Quebec, with frankness of warmth and compassion,” said Birnbaum.
Speaking about his passion for business and baseball, Garber took care not to make any partisan pronouncements, although it was clear that his support for David Birnbaum was genuine and sincere.
My wife, Dr. Judy Hagshi and I were pleased to show our support for David. I worked closely with him in my capacity as a City Councillor. David’s keen interest in matters affecting municipal life and provincial matters are evident. If he, and his very able staff of Chris and Elizabeth, could do anything to assist his constituents, they would do so with pleasure.
What’s more, I was always impressed in his interest in the larger Jewish community and its public establishments, following in the footsteps of Lawrence Bergman, his predecessor. David was front and centre in speaking up in the National Assembly on Yom Hashoah, as was Bergman.
He also went out of his way, literally, in showing great interest in the advancement of the Jewish General Hospital, where I work in public relations on behalf of the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal health network. The JGH is located in Mount Royal riding, which never stopped David (or Lawrence Bergman before him) from doing whatever he could to help out on any file, along with his neighboring MNA, Pierre Arcand.
As happenstance would have it, with the redrawing of the electoral map, the JGH will, in fact, be in the new D’Arcy McGee boundaries come October 1st.
We may not agree on every single issue but that doesn’t diminish David’s strong support of his riding and constituents. And we may not agree with all of his party’s platform but that doesn’t take away from their strong handling of the economy and their clear position on Quebec’s place in a united Canada. In David words, “that’s much more than we can say about the competition.”
I look forward to challenging David on issues of importance to me such as English-language rights, pre-hospital emergency medical care, public safety and the promotion of electric vehicles and other green initiatives. I know he will always give me an ear and bring my concerns to the seat of power in Quebec City.