A ceremony was held at the August Côte St. Luc council meeting, during which residents Nikan Nassiraei, his mother Dr. Mehrnoosh Movahed, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and city council presented a $1,700 cheque to Karianne Robert of the The War Amps organization, which provides financial assistance to amputees. The funds were raised at a table organized by Dr. Movahed during CSL’s Canada Day event July 1. Nikan was born missing his right arm, says a city statement, and has been “part of the Child Amputee (CHAMP) program since he was one month old.”
According to Dan Philip — the leader of the city’s Black Coalition — the fact that the Superior Court is prepared to hear the Coalition’s class action lawsuit against the SPVM is important news because Philip believes the lawsuit will provide both the courts and the community with the opportunity to address what he described as “…the rampant abuse and profiling of the city’s minorities by the police.”
During a recent press conference, Black Coalition representative Max Stanley Bazin told the city’s media that the class-action lawsuit was justified by hundreds of assorted events during which residents were being subjected to assorted ‘racial profiling’ events on the part of the city’s SPVM. While several incidents have already made it into the front pages of the city’s media, Bazin said that this was “…just the tip of the iceberg,” and that local residents were being subjected to racial profiling incidents on a weekly – if not on a daily basis.
“In a way, this lawsuit will provide a voice for those who are never heard, and for those (concerned) who wish to seek – and find – justice in court.”
Based upon his recent decision, Superior Court justice André Provost authorized the Black Coalition’s lawsuit against the City of Montreal on behalf of any citizen who was arrested, detained or subject to any kind of racial profiling on the part of the SPVM between mid-August 2017 and January, 2019. In his ruling, Justice Provost hopes the lawsuit will address a long series of outstanding questions including whether the SPVM – and other civic representatives – acted in a discriminatory fashion and violated the rights of the plaintiffs who allege that they were unfairly targeted for detention and arrest because of their race.
According to court documents, the initial case was sparked by an incident that occurred in Old Montreal back in August, 2017, when Alexandre Lamontagne stepped out of a bar to have a look at his phone. Following a bit of eye contact with a passing policeman who went on to ask what he was doing, and if he had any questions, Lamontagne answered with an admittedly testy “What’s your problem?” Further discussions quickly ‘went south’ after which Lamontagne ended up being charged with a series of charges including (verbal) assault and obstruction of justice. Although CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) recorded the incident, it still took more than a year before the crown decided to drop all of the SPVM’s charges against Lamontagne.
While Philip agrees with Judge Provost when he said that the Coalition’s lawsuit will provide the city with an opportunity to address several questions about what he describe as the SPVM’s “...rampant abuse,” against the city’s minorities, Philip also said the lawsuit “...was a victory not only for Montreal’s Black community, but also for justice in Québec and Canada.”
A public consultation meeting regarding a proposed 10-storey apartment building to replace two 75-year-old affordable apartment buildings on Côte St. Luc Road took place until at least midnight Monday in a frequently fractious and angry atmosphere.
Tenants of 5781 and 5783 CSL Road have been protesting the proposed project, and residents of parallel Queen Mary Road are concerned that the building will block the sunlight. The developers say there will be no sunlight impact in the summer and winter, and there would be some shadows parts of the day in the spring and fall.
During the meeting, resident Raizel Candib, the former principal of Merton School, was one of many residents protesting the project and the process.
“A town is a community, not an exclusive club,” Candib told Mayor William Steinberg. “Is it only going to be a town of wealthy, or a town of middle-class people, where working-class people can live? Are we an exclusive club in Hampstead? I hope not.”
Steinberg said Hampstead is a community.
Developer Mitchell Abrahams was present to answer questions, and there were tense moments between him and some residents. Mayor William Steinberg stopped the meeting for a time when an angry resident protested loudly from the audience. “Morally, I am comfortable with the fact that there is going to be availability for [the tenants who may be evicted] in similar buildings at similar rents in similar locations— and I do the legwork to actually [find them], I’m not lazy,” Abrahams said at the meeting.