The fifth annual D’Arcy McGee National Assembly Citizenship Medals were awarded recently by MNA David Birnbaum during a ceremony at Côte St. Luc’s Aquatic and Community Centre.
On hand were Birnbaum, Côte St. Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and members of Côte St. Luc council, Meena Khan on behalf of Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather and former D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman, the latter one of three judges along with fellow former MNAs Robert Libman and Herbert Marx.
The winners were:
• Lilia Esguerra, a member of the Montreal Filipino community and one of the first Filipino teachers in the Quebec public school system, who was honoured as a “leading community educator,” and for helping to create the Ahmon Institute in partnership with the EMSB.
“Her institute has attracted and trained hundreds of Adult Education students, particularly in the fields of business and professional sales,” a medal ceremony statement says. “The majority of the students have been new Canadians, and the Institute has been a vital stepping stone for them on their path towards citizenship and success.”
Esguerra is also president of the Filipino Golden Agers Association.
• Dan Philip, president and founder of the Black Coalition of Quebec, for his “lifetime involvement in activism and social justice causes [reaching back] to the early 1970s.
“Over the past five decades and more, Dan has distinguished himself as a defender of society’s most vulnerable, raising his voice in instances of police abuse and against all instances of the violation of rights of all Quebecers,” the statement adds. “He was a leading political force in the anti-apartheid movement in the city and in the early 1980s, he joined with other social justice advocates in helping Haitian [taxi] drivers in their fight against discrimination and racism in the taxi industry.”
• Maximilien Polak, a longtime CSL resident, lawyer, judge of the Court of Quebec’s criminal and penal division, a two-term MNA for Sainte-Anne and a Commissioner for the former Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal.
“Maximilien Polak has built his impressive reputation for elected, professional and community knowledge on his wisdom, pragmatism, humanity and warmth,” the ceremony statement says.
Also in the audience were members of Polak’s family, including Michael Polak, Honourary Consul of the Netherlands. Maximilien Polak’s speech was largely a fond tribute to his late wife Celine Spier, who, among many other achievements, played an invaluable role in helping her husband get elected.
Philip also paid tribute to Polak, pointing out that they protested together for the release of then-imprisoned anti-apartheid activist and future South African president Nelson Mandela.
During last week’s conference, Seniors Action Québec once again proved that it’s determined to provide local seniors with the information they need about available resources that can provide them with the tools they need to confront and improve their quality of life. Aside from its title, the ‘Going Down the Yellow Brick Road’ conference was an informative and timely piece of work that had a lot to say about what seniors can expect when they must deal with the province’s R.A.M.Q. – its massive Régie d’Assurance Médicale du Québec. As geriatric health care issues continued to dominate the day’s discussion, Nurse Mary Sullivan talked about what happens to seniors after they begin to make their way through the city’s assorted senior health care resources.
“We look at everything,” said Mary Sullivan. “Mobility, skin integrity, nutrition, elimination, cognition...everything!” While positive and upbeat, Sullivan’s dry delivery made it obvious that every effort will be made to send you home in as good or better shape than you were when you were first seen in the hospital’s emergency room. “Keep moving, keep drinking, keep eating,” said Sullivan. “Keep on living!”
Following Dr. Wendy Chui’s short description of geriatric health care and what it means for senior citizens who are just getting used to the idea that they’re finally ‘older’ people, Montreal’s well-known Dr. Mitch Shulman told his audience to do whatever they could to stay out of the hospital’s emergency room. “Stay healthy,” he said. “Get some exercise, lose weight, don’t smoke, and eat at least four to five portions of fruits and vegetables per day.”While that sounds like pretty standard advice, Dr. Shulman also said that “...whatever you do, stay out of the hospital’s emergency room.”
As the acting director of Emergency Medicine at the (former) Royal Victoria Hospital, with extensive experience in emergency wards all over the city, Dr. Shulman was in a good position to explain what really goes on in the city’s over-worked and under-staffed emergency rooms. Aside from describing Montreal’s ambulance service “...as one of the worst in North America,” he went on to tell his audience that unless it’s a real emergency “...like a heart attack or a stroke,” it’s always a good idea to use the system’s alternatives instead of going to the hospital.
“Check out your local resources such as the local C.S.S.T and your local ‘Super’ clinics,” said Shulman. “They often have the resources you need that you won’t find in the hospital’s emergency ward.”While it’s always a good idea to put together a personal file with a list of all your allergies, your prescriptions, and any kind of personal information in case you must go to the hospital’s emergency ward, all three of the morning’s speakers said that it’s always a good idea to manage your own health and to remain as well and as happy as possible rather than wait for the stress and anxiety that defines a visit to the local hospital’s emergency ward.