|One of Hampstead's finest - on sale for just $4.9 million|
But it seems that the small town of very wealthy Anglos, 85% of them Jewish, finds itself in the spotlight for making a 'dreaded' religious accommodation.
To say that Hampstead is atypical of what we expect of a small town in Quebec to be, is bit of an understatement, its residents live blissful existence in a wealthy Anglophone oasis smack dab in the middle of the city.
How English is the town?
Well, the mayor cannot even speak French and it seems that the townsfolk are just fine with it, they've elected him twice.
The few residents that have French as a mother tongue (Sephardic Jews) may speak French at home, but it's English in the streets, while their children go to private English Hebrew schools.
|Hampstead, easy to miss on Montreal island!|
"A mainly Jewish Montreal suburb has raised hackles by instituting a noise ban for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.Of course the idea of making a religious accommodation is an anathema in Quebec, especially when it involves Jews or Muslims.
The town of Hampstead had already banned lawnmowers, pneumatic drills and other noise-makers on statutory holidays. But the council's decision to add Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to the law has made waves all the way to the provincial legislature." Read the rest of the story
The story is one of those that French language militants latch onto because it is representative, according to them, of the province falling under the influence of heathen religions and culture.
Two ministers have already weighed in on the issue, with Municipal Affairs Minister Laurent Lessard questioning whether the Hampstead regulation is legal.
"Kathleen Weil, the minister in charge of cultural communities, said she was "surprised" that Hampstead added Jewish holidays to its noise bylaw.I had a good laugh over the blowhard at the centre of the story, a Hampstead resident named Fred Chano, who told the QMI Agency that he's outraged.
"I've never seen a municipal noise law based on religion," she told reporters prior to question period." Same story
"I think the city has been taken over by religious extremists," he said. "It's a racist law."
And here is the jewel.
"Enough is enough," he said. "I'll cut my grass like everyone else does.
But you will be at a loss to find a lawn mower, that's what gardeners are for!!
Nope, there aren't too many residents riding on the back of a John Deere lawn mower in Hampstead, that's for sure!
At any rate, the whole story is another tempest in a teapot.
What the article cited above and every other article about the noise ban fails to mention is that the restriction also applies to Sundays and has for as long as residents can remember.
In a town that is almost completely Jewish, a gardener may use a lawn mower, a maintenance or construction worker can work inside or outside the house and make make noise on the Jewish Sabbath, but not the Christian Sunday!
And so the noise ban applies to fifty-two Sundays a year, plus Christmas and Easter, based on respect for the Christian religion, as opposed to the three days of Jewish holidays.
So isn't it interesting that nobody is challenging, or for that matter even mentioning, the Sunday ban on noise.
Julius Grey, a big shot Montreal lawyer who often defends Hasids and other underdogs in accommodation cases remains unsympathetic.
"But this idea of a Jewish city, no, I am against it," . "If someone wants to mow his lawn, I do not see how you could prevent it." said the lawyer, adding that one can not impose a holiday.
....Hmmm. what about Christmas and Easter?
In Quebec accommodations that favour Christians, like Christian civic holidays or the Crucifix on Mount Royal or above the Speaker's chair in Parliament, are not considered religious in nature, but rather a question of respecting the province's heritage.
Accommodation that favour Jews or Muslims, like a noise ban on Jewish holidays in an overwhelmingly Jewish town is a shocking abuse of the principle of a secular state.
It's really just another case of two-faced Quebec ethnic bashing.....