Well I have been for sometime now over stories I read in print media or hear on radio and TV. I’m sure many of you, like myself, feel helpless to deal with the numerous “faits accomplis” we are recipients of every day. To what do I refer? Well let’s see (and obviously this column cannot possibly enable me to enumerate all the examples out there that make me grind my teeth).

Our streets. While still in terrible condition all over our city, I read that Montreal will be spending $28 million to overhaul Viger Square, and this is just one park! Of course the project will take a projected 18 months to complete, which may be the slowest time the city or province has taken to spend $28 million on non-urgent projects. I could be mistaken, but usually we see much larger amounts spent far more quickly, but between you and me, I’d rather see parks beautification put on the back burner and get to the real spending, much needed paving of the “damn” streets! And all this comes with the destruction (not relocation) of a 1983 sculpture by Charles Daudelin. The family of the artist is none too happy to say the least. Wonder if the sculpture was donated or did we pay for it? Why not auction it off instead of destroying it and put proceeds into necessary projects?

By the way, this project is part of the preparations for the 375th Anniversary of the founding of Montreal, so the Square will be lovely but the streets will still look like bomb zones. Logical? Methinks not. Perhaps we should change the event slogan to the 375th Anniversary of the Floundering of Montreal.

The Senate Fiasco. Next on my hit parade. The government spent $30 million-plus to “uncover” $1,000,000 of mismanaged expenses by our illustrious (read infamous) Senators.

Let’s just pack up the entire bunch and use the room for parties. 35 million+ Canadians could travel to Ottawa and enjoy 1 free meal per year and we still wouldn’t come close to the monetary waste this entity creates annually, it isn’t called “The Red Chamber” for nothing. After all, the financial statements are audited by KPMG. We are now seeing how well that worked. Just take a gander at the March 2014 Table of Expenses – $102.7 million. How many Egg McMuffins would that buy? About 35 million!

City of Montreal Budget. Have you ever taken a few minutes (that’s about all you’ll be able to handle) and Google Montreal’s Annual Budget? There is one link to “Operating Budget at a Glance” (I thought it was a joke as the first 4 pages are blank) which is more than enough time to know one needs a few higher learning degrees to decipher the document. Perhaps this is why it is only meant to be glanced at. Suffice it to say, our property taxes of $3.4 BILLION, fund 69.7% of the city administration.

I had to laugh when I saw the two search results I Googled, both dated November 26, 2014:

– City of Montreal Cuts Spending

+

– Taxes and Spending up in Montreal’s 2015 Budget.

That’s “politician speak” for talking out of both sides of your mouth at the same time.

Well, onto the next peeve before I run out of column space.

Renaming for Dead People. Like flowers, I believe you should get them while alive instead of at the grave, but that’s just me. I am fed up on behalf of people and businesses who have to change all their mailing addresses, signage and letterhead whenever some politician decides Mr./Mrs. XYZ should have a street named after them. I say “NO” to these ideas simply due to the cost involved for all the changes having to be made as a result, not to mention our tax dollars spent on new streets signs, especially if it is a long street!

There is such a simple and more cost effective way to honour a dead politician (or a really important person) while not forcing citizens to pay for the pleasure of being on the renamed street.

As is being done to honour Mordecai “Duddy” Richler, a gazebo is being rechristened The Mordecai Richler Pavillon – no address/signage/letterhead expense necessary for any citizen.

Are you mad as hell yet?

I believe I have already run out of room for this month, but I had wanted so much to touch on:

  • Qatar World Cup and FIFA
  • Constant Conservative barrages regarding: Trudeau’s inexperience; How old was Harper when he became Prime Minister? (Hint: Trudeau is 43, Harper was 46.)
  • The “Speech Police”, as if we didn’t already have too many is the other group I’d do away with in a heartbeat.

But those will have to wait for another time, if other topics don’t take their place by then. Let me know what bugs you.

In the meantime, please be safe this summer, watch your children at the pool, don’t leave your pets in the hot car even for five minutes (try wearing a fur coat in a closed car in 90 degrees + temperature) and enjoy every minute of these summer days and nights.

Me Hammerschmid is a practicing Family Law Attorney since 1982 and Senior Partner at Hammerschmid & Associates, 1 Westmount Square, Suite 1290; and a founding and current member (past Secretary for 28 years) of the Family Law Association of Quebec. She can be reached at 514-846-1013 or hammerschmid@vif.ca. Inquiries treated confidentially.
A frequent guest inn CBC TV/Radio, CTV and CJAD on Family Law; Me Hammerschmid is a monthly guest with Dr. Laurie Betito on CJAD’s Passion, on the last Thursday of each month.

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