Ask the Hammer

Always, for the last column of the year, it is a struggle to pick one topic. On the one hand it is the Holiday Season, so the column should inspire joy, warm thoughts, generosity, family, planning for the next year, and the like. But on the other hand, look at what we all had to live through this past year, which is more comparable to hard thoughts, belt tightening (while watching politicians frivolously waste our money) in-laws and exs, and finally shock and anger.

So with all that in mind, I felt it apropos to breakdown this column into sections I found of interest or those which angered me the most. See if any hit home for you or make your own lists.

  1. The Pit Bull Debacle

I have written twice on this topic since September, but it bears mention that I am greatly saddened by the December 1st Court of Appeal decision to lift “some” of the suspensions regarding the Coderre Animal Bylaw. The only positive spin I can put on this issue at this time is that the City of Montreal had to agree not to euthanize any dogs, including Pit Bulls; to allow adoptions of Pit Bulls (albeit to destinations outside of Montreal); to allow recovery of your dog if it escapes; and most importantly, to permit dogs not to have to wear muzzles at home! As if anyone in their right mind thinks this clause was okay in the first place!

The merits of the case will be heard sometime in 2017 and the Coalition for the Protection and Safety of People and Canines [CPSPC] will institute their own recourse against this horridly drafted Bylaw.  They need funding so please visit and support the Velvet Hearts Association on Facebook in the quest to revamp the Bylaw into one which makes sense for all.

  1. Hatred Has to Stop

Between the bucolic vitriol of the US Presidential campaign, the extreme right and left wing worldwide political parties coming to power and invoking hatred and exclusionism as a platform agenda, the mere fact that the multitudes seem to be okay with all that demonstrates we are living in very scary times, and swinging back to rationality may be a distant utopian dream.

“Man is the only animal of which I am thoroughly and cravenly afraid”

George Bernard Shaw

  1. Political Correctness Needs to Chill!

More and more we see overkill based on political correctness, past or newly minted.  Since when did every word out of the mouth or in print have to not offend anyone. Get over yourselves those who chant down speeches, complain about the use of words which for centuries have been used without offending anyone. Learn to “listen” to different points of view instead of prohibiting discourse. Of course you don’t have to agree with the speaker or writer, but at least open up to debate the issues which can only occur when divergent opinions can be put forward.  Stifling words was only good for Archie Bunker in “All in the Family”.

Wars were fought to protect the very Freedom of Speech which many seem now ready to forego.  Instead mobs should take heed of these words:

“I might disagree with your opinion, but I am

willing to give my life for your right to express it”


  1. Bans R Us

Be it peanuts, black face, Muslims, clown costumes, male nouns, burkas and niqabs, English, Pit Bulls, or the myriad of other bans being foisted upon society as of late, soon we will all have to become Agoraphobics to avoid everything being banned. (Although some of the recent laws want to give inspectors the right to enter your home!)

When did the right of the many to act or speak freely become subjugated to the right of the few?  An age old question for sure and one whose answer swings back and forth over the generations from Me Me to Us Us and back again.


Draw your own and contemplate how you want your 2017 to start and end.

Municipal elections next Fall will give us the right to perhaps rein in unlimited spending without true oversight (I love it when Government entities refuse to disclose their budgets and internal expenses of how they use our money, don’t you?)

In the meantime, don’t sweat the holidays. They will be what they are. Be kind to yourself and those around you. Get off your social media tools for an hour a day to appreciate those around you, in person!

Me. Hammerschmid has practiced Family Law since 1982; Senior Partner at Hammerschmid & Associates; founding & current member of Family Law Association of Quebec (past Secretary for 28 years). Inquiries treated confidentially: 514-846-1013 or [email protected] © 2016 Linda Hammerschmid 

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