“Bourassa believed in unity: ex-aide”. This is the headline which was published in the Montreal Gazette Saturday, March 23, 2002, in reference to the late Robert Bourassa, Premier of the Province of Quebec.
From the above headline: one would have to deduce that Bourassa was a federalist. But in reality; according to Bourassa’s former Chief Constitutional Advisor, Jean-Claude Rivest, who is currently a Canadian Senator:
“There was no real mystery in his politics,” Rivest said. “He was for Quebec staying in Canada because it was to the advantage of Quebecers.”
This is a direct quote from the same Gazette article. Does this sound like a man who actually cared anything about Canada, much less federalism?
The Montreal Gazette is a media travesty, rife with misleading headlines and slants which distort history. In terms of honest journalism, which might in itself be an oxymoron, the Montreal Gazette ranks high in being one of the most disingenuous major North American City newspapers.
This is not to say that many of the Montreal Gazette journalists are incompetent or dishonest. Many of those who write for the Montreal Gazette are tremendous. It is primarily their editorial and feature writers who leave a great deal to be desired. Especially when it comes to writing about Quebec.
Robert Bourassa was a Québécois Nationalist who favored staying within Canada as a “Distinct Society”, because it was a good deal financially for Quebec. And as a matter of fact and record, Robert Bourassa was a Québécois ethnocentric racist who passed three draconian language laws.
First: Bill 22, established French as the only language of education within the province of Quebec for all immigrant and French children, including children from the rest of Canada.
It was mandated in Bill 101, that all INELIGIBLE children would have to attend French school, or pass a written English language proficiency exam in order to gain entrance to an English or bilingual education.
The result, was that families were torn apart, where one child was sent to English school, because he/she was able to measure-up, and siblings to French schools, because they could not. This was classic Robert Bourassa.
Second: Bill 178, over-ruled a Supreme Court judgement allowing for English signs. Bill 178 suspended the rights and civil liberties of all Quebecers in terms of having the right to post commercial signs in any language other than French. Even alongside the French language.
And to make certain that everyone knew how far Bourassa was prepared to go to “defend” French language rights. He publicly BRAGGED about being the only Quebec Premier to ever suspend civil rights and liberties of the English, in the defense of the French language.
Third: Bill 86, mandated that English and other languages were legal on signs as long as they were “collectively” half the size, or half the number of the signs appearing in the French language.
Bourassa changed the language laws, not out of any conviction for equal rights and civil liberties. But; rather, because the United Nations ruled against Canada for Quebec’s racist language laws.
Also: Bourassa’s invocation of Bill 178 was coming up for renewal, and this time, if he repeated such a draconian act, it very well might have caused serious social and political unrest from the English speaking community. This would have meant a huge loss in Liberal contributions and an even greater number of “Anglos” leaving the province with their skills, money and jobs than who were already gone or on their way.
Bourassa understood how far he could push, before he pushed too far. And playing the minorities for patsies, especially the English, was a finely honed science for Bourassa. He know what he could get away with, and when to back off.
To defend Bourassa’s racist policies whenever he was challenged; his mantra, was that he had no other choice but to preserve the “social peace”. As if displaying English commercial signs along-side French signs would result in a civil war.
To suggest anything less about Bourassa, other than he was a racist, as the Montreal Gazette continues to ignore, is nothing short of a distortion of history and an outright lie.
If the Montreal Gazette wants to know why so many English speaking families and their children have left Quebec, and are continuing to leave Quebec; all they have to do is read their own newspaper.
If the truth can not be found in Montreal’s most important English language media, it will be hard to find it anywhere. And, if the beset upon minorities within Quebec, feel that there is no where to turn for truth and support, they will leave. As they have done, and are continuing to do.
For the life of me, I can not understand why the Montreal Gazette, chooses to rewrite history to favor the people and events which have done so much harm to the English speaking and Ethnic communities of Quebec.
It serves no positive purpose to anyone except the ethnocentric Québécois nationalists.
Dear Howard, I can empathize with your loss of Michael. My son-in-law took his life in Feb., 1984, leaving my daughter and a three and four-year-old daughter & son. Instilling the right values is either taught or learned the hard way. Some never learn. May more and more have the courage to stand for right and truth. You are a beacon for liberty and the values that will restore our nations one person at a time. Keep up the good work.
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