Calm Meeting at Manoir Roger Bernard

Sixty-two tenants attended the annual tenants’ association meeting at Manoir Roger Bernard in Pierrefonds on Tuesday afternoon, January 31. This is the association that tenant Daniel Palladini has been questioning in the last year. Palladini did attend the meeting, but he didn’t speak.

A budget with revenues of $17,426.55 and expenses of $18,383.14, was presented and unanimously approved, with questions and comments in English, French and some Chinese. Five officers, including the president, Carol Padulo, were acclaimed in their positions.

Members of the press were requested to remain in the hall during the meeting so that tenants could choose to close the door if discussions became heated, but that didn’t happen. Few people questioned the budget and one tenant tried to make a motion to pass it before the agenda for the meeting was accepted.

The most contentious question came from a tenant who asked how members could trust the figures in the budget.

“Administrators with the OMHM [Office Municipal d’Habitation du Montreal] audit the tenants’ association budget,” said meeting moderator, Stéphan Corriveau. Corriveau is a community organiser with the Féderation des locataires d’habitations à loyer modique du Quebec, which represents tenants in subsidized housing throughout Quebec. “This is normal and something that all associations in Quebec face.”

After that, the treasurer, Anne Belisle, spoke about the figures in detail. The two highest figures were more than $3,000 each: fees for six dinners and a grant of $17 per unit, minus fifty cents for insurance. The rest of the income consisted of fees for the community kitchen meals ($2 each for 400 meals), six dinners, two lunches, two brunches, trips, a craft sale and rental of space to Elections Canada.

Expenses included the cost of a new bingo machine, transportation for trips to Mont Tremblant and a sugar shack and kitchen expenses. The swimming pool is operated by a separate members’ association, so expenses for it were not mentioned.

“What difference from three years ago, when I was here last,” said Corriveau, after the meeting. “Three years ago, there were 100 people in the room, but the feeling wasn’t positive. The general trend now is positive. There are lots of activities, even beyond the ones that influenced the budget. People are involved. They have a good team here.”

Note: This article appeared in the West Island edition of the Suburban yesterday.

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OMHM Lawyer Objects to Court Delay for Senior Seeking Medical Treatment

On January 23, Marc Charland wrote a letter to the scheduling agent at the Quebec Rental Board asking him or her to ignore a January 18 letter from Daniel Palladini.

“En effet, il apparait que ladite lettre de M. Palladini, laquelle n’est aucunement corroboré par quelque pièce justificative, est tout à fait inadmissible et dilatoire,” [In fact, it appears that the aforementioned letter from M. Palladini, which is corroborated by no evidence, is completely inadmissible and dilatory.] wrote Charland in a letter signed by someone with the initials ‘KS’. “En consequence, nous vous prions de ne pas tenir compte de ladite lettre de M. Palladine et de fixer la continuation de l’audition le plus rapidement possible.” [Therefore, please pay no attention to the aforementioned letter by Mr. Palladini and set a date for the continuation of the hearing as soon as possible.]

Palladini is a 70-year-old facing eviction from the Manoir Bernard, a subsidized residence in Pierrefonds. Charland, a principle partner at Charland & Séguin in Montreal North, is representing the Office Municipal d’Habitation de Montreal (OMHM) in the case.

The two last saw each other on January 12th, when Commissioner Rosario Nobile charged them with agreeing to two specific dates for the hearing to continue.

Palladini’s letter, in which says that he will be out of the country until March 5, was addressed and faxed to M. Charland personally and copied to the Regie du Logement and Nobile.

Charland’s letter is addressed to the “Maitre des Roles” at the rental board. He did not send a copy to Palladini, who picked it up himself from the Regie when he went to get audio copies of four days of testimony that’s taken place in the hearing so far.

The move is the latest frustration for Palladini, who is trying to plan a trip to Cuba to have dental work and eyelid surgery done.

For three years, he’s combined medical treatment with a vacation in the sun. He says he pays less than half for the combination than he would have to pay for subsidized dental work at home.

“I’m exhausted and I want to have medical treatment at the same time,” said Palladini. “The lawyer has never contacted me. I spoke to him at this time last year when I rushed back from Cuba. I sent him a letter asking for a copy of the evidence and he said he’d give it to me when the hearing commenced. He gave Maitre Beauchamps (Palladini’s then-lawyer) a 40-page document at the beginning of the hearing and she’s supposed to represent me. This is not a typical landlord tenant squabble.”

(This article appeared in the West Island and city editions of the Suburban yesterday.)

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Autumn in the life of Louise Thérèse Lareau

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She  died in the fall of her 38th year, just after the leaves of Quebec turned colour then fell. The vibrant red of the maples formed a backdrop for the yellow leaves of the birch trees and the oranges of the oaks.

Twenty years earlier, Louise Thérèse Lareau married her husband Joseph. Together, the couple had ten children.

Three of them died before their mother did.

Louise Thérèse’s first son, baby Joseph died only a few weeks after he was born. 

Her next eldest child, a daughter named Marie-Reine, died in February, 1784, a week after she celebrated her eighth birthday and her parents celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary. She was the eldest of four children then, and one imagines that it was her responsibility to take care of the baby, Marie-Anne. The family celebrated Marie-Anne’s first Christmas just two months earlier.

By the end of February, the baby died too.

The family of six became a family of four: Louise Thérèse and her husband Joseph with their two daughters Josephe-Angelique and Marie-Thérèse.

The family somehow survived the rest of the winter. Spring arrived, and by the following autumn, Louise Thérèse was pregnant again. The birth of her second son, also named Joseph, cheered the family up in time for St. Patrick’s Day, 1785.

The couple had three more daughters and another son after that. All four children were born as the trees around them began displaying fall colours. Marie-Catherine was born on November 22, 1786; Charlotte came on October 4, 1788; Guillaume was born on September 22, 1792 and Marie-Victoire arrived on October 19, 1794.

Marie-Victoire’s birth was too much for Louise Thérèse. She died two weeks after the little girl was born.

The church did a census the following year, in 1795. It showed the rest of the family living on St. Georges Street in Faubourg St. Jean, the lower town of Quebec City. Joseph was a carpenter and their building was one of only a few on that street without a number. By then, three of the children–Josephe-Angelique, Marie-Therese and their second son Joseph–could receive communion with their father.

Note: This is a non-fiction version of a previous story about Louise Thérèse’s life.

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Twenty South West Montreal Businesses to be Recognized at Unio 2012

Representatives from 20 companies—five from each of the Lachine, Lasalle, Sud-ouest and Verdun boroughs——will take home trophies from the Soirée Reconnaissance Unio 2012 next month.

Unio 2012 will be held at Salle Grimaldi on Lapierre Street in LaSalle on Thursday, February 16. A cocktail begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by the award presentation at 7 p.m. and a “Replay The Beatles” show at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $75.

“Unio is Latin for uniting our strengths to achieve a goal,” says Gilles Dubien, directeur-general of the Chamber of Commerce of South West Montreal (CCISOM), which organizes the event to recognize business excellence every two years. “We are not only awarding companies who are members of the chambers, we are awarding companies who have accomplished something important in their boroughs.”

While the CCISOM organizes the event every two years, it does not select the winners. That’s left to local partners: the Centre local de développement – CLD Lachine, the Centre local de développement de Verdun, Développement économique LaSalle and the Regroupement économique et social du Sud-Ouest (RESO).

In the past, the event was run as though it were a local version of the Quebec-wide Concours les Mercuriades, a contest operated by the Quebec Federation of Chambers of Commerce. To be considered, businesses in various categories had to submit proposals that registered how they achieved excellence in their field.

Dubien says that while this year’s version remained open to members and non-members alike, the process was “modified to make it more accessible for the enterprises.” Two key changes took place: the timing was changed from a traditional late November date to February and companies were nominated for particular achievement instead of within a particular category.

Then each local development council set up an internal selection process to choose seven or eight winners.

The final company submissions were turned over to a four-person jury: Jacques Fortin from Développement économique LaSalle, Marc Cloutier from the CLD Verdun, Marc Beausoleil from RESO and Ghislain Dufour from CLD Lachine. Winners could be selected based on providing employment, financial investments, sustainable development, protecting the environment or any other appropriate marker of excellence. Jury members met in a series of meetings between October and after the holidays. They handed in their selections in January.

“I’ve been involved from the beginning of this project and the format we had this year was much better than before,” said LaSalle’s Fortin. “It’s never perfect, of course, but in past years, we might have lots of companies that fit the same category and few entrants in another category. This time, we could be very flexible to choose the high performing enterprises in whatever categories we chose. We’re very satisfied that these winners reflect the best practices in each of our boroughs.”

(This story appeared on page 3 of the January 25, 2012 city edition of The Suburban.)

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Two More Days Scheduled for Eviction Case: OMHM versus Daniel Palladini

Thirteen of the almost 200 seniors living in the Manoir Roger-Bernard low-income residence in Pierrefonds spent another day at Quebec Rental Board hearings in the Olympic Village last Thursday. They are attending hearings because the Office Municipal d’Habitation de Montréal (OMHM) is trying to evict resident Danny Palladini.

Several tenants, including Palladini, said they suffer from health problems related to stress from participating in the tribunal process. “I’ve been here five times, with lack of sleep,” said Lynda Bernard, in her testimony. “With this case and your aggression, I’m starting to have heart problems.”

Despite the tenants’ frustrations, at least two more days are scheduled for the case, which is among 575 OMHM tried at the tribunal last year. Most of the hearings concern non-payment of rent, but in this one, OMHM lawyer Marc Charland is trying to prove that Palladini continues to “disturb the peaceful enjoyment of other tenants in the residence.”

The previous owners of the residence, the Societe Immobiliere Lac St-Louis, brought a similar case against Palladini in 2008, but Commissioner Hélène Chicoyne did not approve an eviction then. Suburban reporter Ian Howarth documented the series of incidents that led to that first hearing and subsequent police charges in an article dated March 11, 2009. That process led Palladini to sign a section 810 peace bond to avoid criminal prosecution.

The current hearing began last January. Palladini describes the case as the latest attempt to discredit him by housing officials trying to avoid third-party audit of building finances. “They don’t like us asking pesky questions about financial operations in the residence,” he said. “There are no consequences after $900 goes missing from the till, but people like me are evicted because we complain.”

Most OMHM eviction hearings don’t have many witnesses, but the hearing room last Thursday was packed. The interest is due in part to a new citizen action group called “Coalition against the Intimidation of Senior Citizens,” which has taken up Palladini’s cause. “Too many people want seniors to sit back and shut up,” said Enza Martuccelli, a co-founder of the new group and director of national programs for the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism. “There’s a cultural bias against seniors who can’t be easily dismissed. This gentleman did nothing more than ask for an accounting and look what they’re doing to him.”

Group member Murray Levine, the founder of the Philanthopic Athletes Foundation, has set up a blog (http://whyevictdanny.wordpress.com/) to help build support for Palladini’s attempt to stay in his home.

On the blog, Francis Dupré, the son of former tenant Camille, wrote that it was clear from his father’s hearing years ago that Palladini would be targeted for eviction next. Rental board records confirm that Palladini did indeed serve as a witness for Camille Dupré in an eviction hearing on February 15, 2007. Dupré was evicted and died a year later.

(Note: This story appeared in the West Island and city editions of the Suburban yesterday.)

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