A good friend of mine announced his decision to step down from the position as President of Alliance Quebec, Quebec’s “Anglo” community’s ombudsman. Frankly he’s had enough.
Brent Tyler is a hero amongst heros. Not to the mealy-mouthed perhaps, but certainly to people who care about their rights.
In an age where it’s nearly impossible to find someone who is brave, selfless, determined and capable, Brent Tyler stands out as one of the very few.
So does his beautiful wife Veronica, who has had to endure no shortage of misery because of Brent’s commitment to truth, justice and the pursuit of equal rights for all.
In North America, where rights are protected in written constitutions, Quebec and Canada stand out; not because they are paragons of virtue where rights are concerned, but to the contrary. Ottawa and Quebec pick and choose where and how individual rights are to be allocated.
In the province of Quebec, the unrestricted use of the English language is against the law. PERIOD!
Canada’s racist language laws within Quebec have so seriously damaged the Quebec English and Ethnic populations, that a once vibrant English/Ethnic community is no longer a political factor. And is only a shadow of its former self.
I imagine, that within another generation, Montreal’s ever shrinking English language community will be nothing more than a floundering minority in a sea of Ethnic French speakers.
Several stood against all odds to protect the rights of all people to be equal and visible. But mostly, they stood alone.
The late Allan Singer, an English Montreal vendor of business stationary supplies, was the first to defy Quebec’s racist language laws, all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
His view was simple. This is a free country. Therefore, I am free to advertise and display in the language of my choice.
In a “normal” society, Singer would have been right. But Quebec within Canada is anything but normal.
Instead of being treated as a hero by the English speaking community for standing up, he was virtually shunned and written off as a crank and trouble maker. Singer died knowing he did the right thing, but also knowing that his fight never received the support it deserved.
A few others stepped into the breach to publicly fight for equality. Some of the names which come to mind off the top include: Keith Henderson, Don Donderi and Brent Tyler. Many others also gave their time and money. But most just stood by and watched.
Worse than those who just watched, or who didn’t even care enough to watch, were the Anglo appeasers and elitists willing to make deals with racists.
And even worse than the appeasers was the English Language media, with the exception of the Suburban Newspaper and CIQC Radio-AM 600. At least these two media stood for equal rights and visibility. It’s too bad that CIQC no longer exists.
But for the rest of Montreal’s English language media – they were more a part of the problem than they were a part of the solution.
To the Montreal Gazette, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (radio and television) and CJAD Radio, the unconditional advocates of freedom of choice and full equality were constantly referred to as EXTREMISTS and HARDLINERS.
In my own case as the leader of the Quebec Political Action Committee, I was called both of these things, and was routinely compared to Separatists and Quebecois racists; the likes of Gilles Rheaume and Raymond Villeneuve.
Rheaume’s claim to fame, besides being a former president of the nationalist St Jean Baptist Society, is that he once walked to Quebec City where he urinated on the statute of British General James Wolfe, who defeated French General Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. Other than that . . . ?
Raymond Villeneuve is a convicted murderer and FLQ TERRORIST from the 1960’s. Villeneuve has lived on welfare for much of the time since he was released from prison. And his current claim to fame is his hate-filled flyer which tells his sick followers how to amongst other things – hate and harm the Maudit Anglais (damned English).
Brent Tyler was the last man standing in this losing battle for equal rights in Quebec. Finally, even he could no longer stomach the grind to protect the rights of Quebec’s minorities while the majority of these minorities wouldn’t lift a finger to help even themselves.
Brent has three Supreme Court cases pending for March, all of which focus on the rights of children and their parents to decide upon their right to chose the language of education in Quebec.
Brent Tyler will follow through in his commitment to these children and their families, as he always does. But even here, the forces are aligned against him.
You would think that the Federal government would be in favor of Brent’s cases at the Supreme Court, since it deals with the Rights of children to be educated in the language of their parents’ choice, guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and the United Nations Right of the Child.
But it isn’t so.
Canada has filed papers to be an intervener to oppose Brent Tyler. So has the Ontario government and about a dozen others. Brent is facing the Supreme Court of Canada, and all of these highly paid, all-powerful interveners by himself.
What a guy!
If Brent loses his case, it will mean that Canada has indeed two legal sets of rights: one for children in Quebec, and another for children in the rest of Canada. It will also mean that Quebec can be legally unilingual, while the rest of Canada must continue to move inextricably towards official bilingualism.
I hope that Brent wins for many reasons. But based upon the idiocy of the Canadian Supreme Courts previous decisions concerning Constitutionally guaranteed Rights and Quebec, I believe that it is very doubtful they will rule in Brent’s favor.
About a year ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on behalf of Quebec’s labor laws, which in the Court’s own words violated Canada’s Charter of Rights in terms of the freedom of mobility and freedom of association. According the geniuses of the Supreme Court of Canada, they ruled the way they did because of the “unique character of Quebec”.
Wasn’t the recognition of Quebec’s “unique character” defeated 3 times starting with the Meech Lake Accord, then with the Charlottetown Referendum and finally with the stillborn Calgary Declaration?
Based upon the history of the Supreme Court vis a vis Quebec, I don’t hold out to much hope for Brent to win his cases. The cards have already been stacked against him, and when the dealing starts, the aces will be dealt off the bottom.
I see the day in the not too distant future when the rest of Canada will say: who needs this crap? And good people like Brent Tyler will also say: who needs this crap?
And then there will be no one who cares enough to give a damn. And when that happens, the only word in French the rest of Canada will need to know in negotiations with Quebec – will be BONJOUR.
And perhaps merci pour la visite.