On Sunday, December 16, 2001; I, along with about a hundred other people attended an Equality Party luncheon which featured three components. The event was held at Bill Wong’s Chinese restaurant on Decarie Boulevard in Montreal.
First: was a discussion for the wording an oath of allegiance to Canada’s flag, which by the way currently does not exist. The oath that is. The flag exists, even though I have no idea what it stands for.
Second: was a series of speeches delivered by Keith Henderson, leader of the Equality Party. Brent Tyler, lawyer and president of Alliance Quebec. Kristian Gravenor, a writer with the Montreal Weekly, The Mirror. And finally myself.
Third: while the speeches were being delivered, everyone bellied up to the buffet table, filled a plate, came back to their seats and ate while they listened.
All in all, it was a pleasant enough way to spend a Sunday afternoon with friends and people, with whom one shares a common interest. But, in a different way, it was also unpleasant.
It was sad to be sitting through speeches we have all heard before. A thousand times. Once again I heard people getting angry over the same old things we have all been getting angry over since Bill 22 and then Bill 101. And yet, Canada is still living in an ethnocentric Québécois cultural time-warp. With no respite in sight.
The faces at the luncheon were the same faces I have seen at all the events over the many years; whether they were staged by QPAC, The Equality Party, The Quebec Committee For Canada, The Special Committee For Canada, CEVESPA; etcetera. The problem, is that there are no new faces. In fact; the faces are not only getting fewer, they are also looking more and more tired with every passing event.
It is a terrible pity on all these people who have really been deserted by our federal government. And have nowhere left to turn, other than to each other for strength and hope. Canada has provided an enormous disservice to its citizens, especially to those ageing faces who won’t give up the fight, for what should be their inalienable right to be equal citizens anywhere in this country.
Ed Binder, who in his own rights is quite an excellent editorialist, summed up the day quite well. He said: “It shouldn’t be us swearing an oath of allegiance to the Canadian flag, as much as it should be the politicians swearing an oath of allegiance to the Canadian people”.
The way things are going; with the USA dictating terms concerning our border security, talk of a common US dollar which could become Canada’s official currency, and even hints of a common immigration policy. Our future oath of allegiance to the flag might already have been written with no mention of Canada in it.
And it will be Canada’s very own fault.