Verdun Spring Activities Bloom This Week

May 5, 2012

Verdun’s 21st Annual Green Space Clean-up takes place Saturday, May 5

Verdun’s beautification committee has organized several annual events designed to spruce the borough up in time for summer. Registration for garden and photo contests, sales of garden plants and sign-up for the green space clean-up began this week.

The annual green space and bike paths clean up and the tree, bush and compost pick up takes place on the first weekend in May.

“Canadian Tire is giving us boxes of flowers for the first 250 households who register for the garden contest,” says Karine Larrivée, who is in charge of committee activities.

Larrivée and her boss Normand Houle are the only borough members on an otherwise citizen-run committee that meets five times a year in addition to participating in all the events. Other members include Odette Harton, who is the president, Lucie Vaillancourt, Hélène Gamache, Walter Grandoni and Annie Toutiras. “These people all love Verdun,” said Larrivée. “Everything we do is to beautify the neighbourhood.”

Their most important activity is the 21st annual green space and bike paths clean-up, which takes place on the morning of Saturday May 5. Last year, the event attracted 600 people, 200 of whom cleaned up the shore of Nun’s Island, while the rest concentrated on the mainland and the bike path on the bridge.

“People usually come with their organizations or companies,” she said. “Last year, we had the Air Transat. This year, it’s the Yellow Pages on Nun’s Island.” [I participated for the last three years with SKIF-Montreal, which trains in Verdun.]

Citizens who purchase discounted plants from the community centres beginning this week will pick them up the following morning, May 6, at the Municipal Greenhouses, 7000 boulevard LaSalle, between 8:30 and 11 a.m. Larivée says that the committee added vines to the catalogue this year so that groups working to green their lanes can cover backyard fences.

Any Verdun citizen who brings a bag or bucket can also pick up some free compost from the St. Michel Environmental Complex at the same time. The Maison de l’Environnment, in Borough Hall, will be giving out compost the following weekend as well, says Larrivée.

Then in July, the embellishment committee will pre-select the boroughs most attractive gardens to be judged by author, broadcaster, publisher Julie Boudreau on July 18 and 19.

For more information, contact Verdun’s Direction de la culture, des sports, des loisirs et du développement social at 514 765-7150 or view the committee’s website at The site contains a list of all the activities, an on-line catalogue of the plants they’re selling, project outlines and a list of past and present committee members.

(Note: This article appeared in the Suburban City Edition, April 25, p 14.)

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Bill C-11 to Face Third Reading in the House Soon

Bill C-11, An Act to Amend Canada’s Copyright Act (la Loi modifiant la Loi sur le droit d’auteur) had its first reading in the House of Commons on September 29, 2011 and faces a third reading in the house very soon.

That means legislators will again have a chance to debate the merits of a bill that falls far short of what it needs to do. We have one more chance to make our points to our legislators.

Luckily, the latest bill gives photographers the same rights as other creators. That’s heading in the right direction. Now we have to give visual artists the same rights too.

In other ways, however, the concerns of creators like me remain largely ignored. Instead, this new bill amends the copyright act in a way that pleases businesses, educators, libraries, students and consumers in the futile aim to create a balance between all these interests.

That occurred in part because writers have been busy trying to adjust to enormous turmoil in the industry and fighting with those who use and commercialize our work and/or learning to commercialize it ourselves throughout the period since Canada signed the WIPO Treaty in 2005. Salaried commentators, including lawyers, professors, librarians and administrators got a virtual monopoly on the conversation.

Part of the turmoil occurred because writers launched four different class-action lawsuits against publishers beginning in 1999. They are: L’AJIQ contre Le Devoir; Robertson versus Thomson et al; Robertson versus Thomson et al II; and The Electronics Rights Defense Committee (ERDC) contre Southam Inc et al. The last of those lawsuits has just been settled.

Writers’ arguments against publishers became part of the conversation around copyright and that encouraged legislators to view themselves as moderators. This gave an opening for others trying to cut costs to make stronger cases.

The need to balance creation with use and commercialization shouldn’t be the goal of copyright.

Like patents, good copyright laws should provide incentive to create inventory. Creators need long gestation periods, flexible contract terms and the ability to share in the results of their labour, which often aren’t realized until decades after our works are produced.

We need to focus on those messages.

Failing that, we need to begin creating a new kind of conversation for the next round of amendments.


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