Eight years ago on October 30 ,1995, the culmination of years of appeasement to ethnocentric Quebecois nationalists almost destroyed Canada in Quebec’s referendum to Separate from Canada.
During Mulroney’s first campaign to win the Prime Minister’s office in 1984, Mulroney brought into his fold a slick, egomaniac, Quebec Nationalist from Quebec’s Separatist polluted Lac St Jean area, who had a twisted sense of history and a seriously distorted hateful view of English speaking Canadians. His name was Lucien Bouchard.
Bouchard was brought on-board by Mulroney, for Mulroney to win the Quebecois nationalist vote in the upcoming federal election, which Mulroney went on to win with a HUGE majority. A majority he would have won even without Bouchard’s Quebecois nationalists.
Nonetheless, Mulroney’s political Russian Roulette carried an enormous price which nearly destroyed Canada 11 years later on October 30, 1995.
Canada was saved only by the grass roots English and French federalists, with the help of some Quebecois nationalists who were too insecure to make the plunge towards the separation of Quebec from Canada.
Canada won the referendum, but only by a whisper because of the worst pro-Canada campaign imaginable, put on by Prime Minister Jean Chretien and his Liberals.
After the federalists squeaked to victory with less than a 1% margin, the battle for Canada really became engaged. But not by Ottawa or our politicians, but rather by grass root English organizations which sprung up throughout the Province, doing what the federal government failed to do.
These self-financed and self-organized ad hoc groups held meetings wherever people would gather in hotel ballrooms and private homes; all of which challenged the ethnocentric Quebecois nationalist propaganda.
At the same time, the ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE, federally funded Alliance Quebec, did its utmost to continue to play nice with the ethnocentric Quebecois Separatist pukes, carrying on their long held tradition of appeasement.
Alliance Quebec was not alone.
The English language media played the appeasement game as well, especially the CBC and Montreal Gazette. “Let’s make friends. Let’s not disturb the social peace. Let’s find out what the Quebecois want. Let’s make the Quebecois feel more comfortable in their own home. Let’s become (English) culturally invisible, so the Quebecois will only see themselves wherever they look within Quebec”.
Oh, and for good measure. Let’s make the rest of Canada MORE French.
Then came QPAC, the Quebec Political Action Committee founded by myself and two of my friends; Noah Salzman, one of Canada’s MOST creative ad guys, and Dr Manfred Rau of McGill University. Enough was enough.
Noah, Manfred and a host of friends sat at my home during the vote-counting of the October 30 referendum. Anne and I catered a party to celebrate what we were certain was going to be a federalist victory by a large margin.
But none of us touched the food as the results were reported, especially when Premier Parizeau, in a drunken stupor blamed “the Ethnic vote and money” for the Separatist loss. He then went on to say that the next time: “We’ll get our revenge”.
This was just too much for myself and Noah. As Noah left with the rest of our guests, I told him:”I’ll call you in the morning. We’re not going to sit around waiting for someone else to do something about this”.
Amongst the first words out of Anne’s (my wife) mouth after our guests left: “We’re selling. I’ve had enough”.
My response to Anne was simple: “We’ll leave when we want to. But until then, I’m going to kick the shit out of these guys”.
The next morning, Noah and I met to plan strategy. That afternoon, Manfred and I spoke about him joining our group. And within the next few days we started the process to incorporate QPAC.
We did exactly what we set out to do. First, we empowered the English community by giving them a target for their anger: English owned chain stores which refused to post any English in their signage.
On Thursday, April 18, 1996 at 6:00pm, QPAC staged the first of many large PRO-RIGHTS demonstrations, rallies and boycotts.
Well more than 5,000 angry members of the English community poured onto the West Island Fairview Shopping Center parking lot to show that they were ready to fight to be equal and visible.
Some of the largest French media, Journal de Montreal, RDI (French CBC Newsworld equivalent) and others claimed about 500 people showed up. The Montreal Gazette counted the number at around 2,500.
But, according to how the police laid out their measuring grid, we knew that there were well more than 5,000 people. And this didn’t include the thousands of people turned away at the barricaded exists off the Trans Canada Highway.
From Fairview, QPAC went on to literally kick the crap out of the Quebecois racists, laying waste at the same time to Alliance Quebec and the pandering English Media.
We beat the ethnocentric Quebecois nationalists on the streets, in the media and in the courts. We openly defied Quebec’s racist language laws and challenged the federal government and Chretien himself on Parliament Hill with a PRO-RIGHTS rally that attracted about 16,000 people on June 9, 1996.
On September 11, 1996, I had a private meeting in Washington with a member of Congress, Tom Campbell of Northern California, who immediately following our meeting which ended near midnight, laid to rest the Separatist myth that the USA would recognize a Separate Quebec with business as normal.
To a waiting scrum of reporters,the Congressman said everything to the contrary.
QPAC was described as a force of nature mowing down everything in its path. Our strategy was simple. Shine a BRIGHT LIGHT on all the losers. Stand up for EQUAL RIGHTS. And take it to the people.
We never backed off. QPAC did MORE to defeat the Separatists than any government agency or political party.
Without QPAC, Bouchard would have called a snap election which he would have easily won. He would then have launched a winning referendum.
But with QPAC constantly beating the Separatists at their own game, things didn’t look quite like the cake-walk the Separatists claimed leaving Canada was going to be.
Without QPAC, the English speaking people would have had no one to champion their cause. And without QPAC, the federal government would never have launched plan “B”.
This week, eight years later:
The Separatists and ethnocentric Quebecois nationalists are still up to their misery of making threats while defacing public property in English Montreal.
The language police are still attacking the last vestiges of the English language in Quebec.
And Quebec’s current Premier, Jean Charest has voted for legislation declaring Quebec to be a nation.
But all of that aside, the Quebec ethnocentric Separatist movement is but a shadow of its former self, and will never get what they want, the way they want it because of QPAC.
If I do nothing else in my life of any consequence, beating the ethnocentric Quebecois nationalists will be enough.
For me, October 30, 1995 is a fine day to remember. It was the beginning of my private little war for Canada.