The other day, I received a letter from a young bilingual French Quebecer who called himself a former Separatist. He was very disillusioned with the Separatist mind-set.
This is my response to him.
Thank you for writing to me. And in spite of your worries about your ability to write well in English, your letter is clear and to the point, which is far more than I can say for many English speakers who can not communicate as well in their own language.
As a matter of fact; I receive no shortage of e-mails that criticize me for my inability to write properly in the English language. So don’t worry.
I have been accused of being anti-French and against the French language. I have also been accused of being a racist. My accusers have included ne’er-do-wells who live on welfare, and individuals who are well known in the French milieu. What they share in common is their disdain for me and their ignorance of who I am and what I stand for.
It is much easier to demonize your opponent, than it is to debate him (her) when you are defending an embarrassing position. Therefore; making me out to be something that I am not was a relatively successful tactic on the part of the ethnocentric Quebecois nationalists who had no other option.
I remember one (of many) live television interview on CBMT, when the host asked me if I was indeed racist against French Quebecers. Before saying no, I asked him this question: “Do you think it is racist of Le Devoir, La Presse and Le Journal de Montreal to constantly refer to me in their stories as the Anglo Juif”?
The interviewer was taken totally by surprise.
But before he could answer, I asked him yet another question. “What would your reaction be if the rest of Canada referred to Lucien Bouchard as the Quebecois Catholic”?
Then I said: “Please tell me, who is the racist – me or the French media, since I have never made a reference to anyone’s religion or cultural heritage?”
I ended this portion of the conversation with: “If you believe that it is racist for me to defend my right to be visible and equal in my own country, then there is no debate.
The Quebecois definition of racist seems unique to Quebec nationalism. For me, racism is about attacking a person, not for his political and social beliefs, but rather for his religious and cultural background. In this regard, I am not in any way a racist. Nor have I ever made any racist remarks.
I never missed an opportunity to be a guest on a French interview: radio, televison or print. Nor did I ever back away from a live debate in the French language. I even participated on the sensationalist French televison show “Black-out”, which was so successful, that the producers wanted me to come back to do an episode on an issue that had nothing whatsoever to do with politics. I thanked them for the invitation and declined.
It is not normal for a society to make every effort possible to erase the history of a vibrant community within that society. But this is exactly what French Quebec has done to the English.
It is a shame that English names have been removed from street signs such as Dorchester to Rene Levesque, and have been altered from institutions created by the English speakers. It is also a crime against decency, that the use of the English language has been made illegal in most circumstances in Quebec.
And if Quebec wants to talk about discrimination, less than 1% of the Quebec civil service employs “Anglophones”. This isn’t normal where non Quebecois French residents number almost one fifth (20%) of the total population.
In the long run, Quebec’s campaign to demean and diminish the English speaking community is a huge mistake (to the detriment of Quebec) on various levels.
Since the beginning of Quebec’s war on the English language, specifically with the passage of Bourassa’s Bill 22, as many as half a million English speakers have left Quebec, taking with them their talent, education, enthusiasm and money.
Toronto, is what Toronto is today, simply because of Quebec’s “racist” language policies.
Quebec politicians (like all politicians) lie. But in Quebec’s case, they’re trying to sell a dream of sovereignty based upon a lie. The lie is that Canada profits far more from Quebec, than Quebec profits from the rest of Canada. Nothing could possibly be further from the truth.
In truth, Canada would do far better without Quebec. Quebec is like a money-pit that could never be filled, no matter how much “federal” money is poured inside.
Don’t you think it’s a bit strange that Canada spends more than a BILLION dollars a year on the official languages act, which exists only to promote French in the rest of Canada, while Quebec spends MILLIONS on language police to make certain that Canada’s other official language (English) stays unseen?
I am best known for my position as a federalist. I am not. I am equally well known for my position as an English language rights activist. I am not.
What I am, is a Canadian who is fed up with a double standard that treats one province one way, while the rest of the country is treated differently. I am not pleased that Quebec, which takes so much out of Confederation, while giving back less than little, plays such a prominent role in the direction of Canada.
In fact, Quebec is in a minus reciprocal position when federal contributions are measured. Studies will show that Quebec’s economy and GDP are not only stagnant, but in contraction. Take away the enormous amount of federal largesse to Quebec, and Quebec is bankrupt.
Without federal money, Bombardier would not exist, nor would the South-shore space program, or Air Canada and Via Rail’s head offices in Montreal, to illustrate just a few.
It is sadly remarkable that a province which was once the best in Canada, is now amongst the least desirable. I live in a small French Ontario town less than an hour from the West Island of Montreal, which allows me to benefit from the best of both worlds.
I am not in the least bit affected by Quebec language laws, high Quebec taxes and Quebec bureaucracy. But I still get to enjoy the benefits of my Quebec doctors (paid for by Ontario healthcare), and dine in many of the fine restaurants that have not yet closed.
It is incredible how many people from Quebec, specifically from the Montreal area are moving to this part of Ontario. More incredible are the amount of French Quebecers who are making the move. They too want to get away from high taxes and the bloated Quebec bureaucracy.
Many years ago, just after the Second World War, immigrants from Eastern and Western Europe flooded into North America, many came to Canada, and with them, they brought a zeal to succeed and a moral base that was not all that different from what already existed in Canada. Many of these immigrants came to Montreal.
My 4 grandparents came at the turn of the 20th century (from Russia) in the early days of the 1900’s. They didn’t speak the languages, nor did they understand the customs. But nonetheless, they worked hard, saved their money, obeyed the law, raised their families and contributed mightily to the well-being of the community where they lived (Montreal).
Things have changed enormously since my grandparents and post WW II immigrants came to Canada (Quebec). Europeans no longer want to come to Canada, and those who do, wind up either in Ontario, Alberta or British Columbia. Asians are coming to Canada, but they too want to locate in either Ontario or British Columbia.
So who’s coming to Quebec? French speakers from Moslem countries who want you to accept their culture, while they turn their collective back on yours. And when the opportunity presents itself, even they leave for Ontario.
My father and his brothers all went off to war to fight the Nazis. They all saw action. And they all came back. This is the type of commitment children from European parents made to their country, Canada.
At the same time, Quebec politicians and social icons such as Jean Drapeau, Camille Laurin, Lionel Groulx, and Adrien Arcand formed the Bloc Populaire, which was pro Fascist in support of the Vichy government of France, Mussolini of Italy and the Nazis of Germany.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau rode his motorcycle in the Quebec country-side dressed in a Nazi uniform (just for a laugh he later said), while people like my father and his brothers were laying their lives on the line in Europe, fighting against the people who stood for everything decent people were against.
Camillien Houde, Montreal’s mayor during the Second World War was arrested and interned for the duration of the war because of his support for Nazis, and because he exhorted French Quebecers to run and hide in the bush, rather than serve in the Canadian army, even though conscripts were not required to go overseas and fight.
J Edgar Hoover of the FBI wanted to either arrest or assassinate select Quebecers for aiding and abetting Nazi spies through the Vichy “embassy” located in Quebec. This is nothing to be proud of.
There is much about Quebec history that is never taught in the schools, other than how the English have been screwing French Quebec for centuries.
In a very sad way, Quebec nationalists remind me somewhat of the Palestinians, who also dedicate their lives to teaching their children lies and distortions. To every Palestinian child, Jews and Israelis are scum and the enemy of mankind. To every French Quebec child, the English have been screwing Quebec.
In the year 2000, I decided that fighting for my place in Quebec was no longer worth the effort and cost. So my wife and I moved. And now that we are living out of the forest, I can finally see the trees, and given my druthers, I would rather see Canada without Quebec, then Canada with Quebec and the never-ending demands.
Canada can not continue living with the burden of carrying a province of whiners and complainers. It is incredible how Lucien Bouchard was a Separatist, became a Federalist, once again became a Separatist, and now works for a Jewish/English law firm whose head-office, is in all reality, in Toronto.
It is equally amazing how Jean Lapierre was a Federalist Liberal in Ottawa, crossed the floor to become the co-founding partner of the Separatist Bloc Quebecois, left the Bloc Quebecois to become a Quebec nationalist talk-show host on CKAC, only to once again make the transition to become a once again Federalist for the Liberal Party of Canada.
You have to ask yourself these questions. Does Quebec stand for anything? Do Quebec leaders possess any integrity whatsoever?
I appreciate your letter to me, but I fear that your newfound sense of federalism is too late to make a difference. It is only a matter of time until the rest of Canada says enough of Quebec, and Quebec starts to collapse under its own bureaucratic, nationalistic and ethnocentric weight.
I have many French friends and business colleagues who are bright, energetic and major contributors to the well-being of their communities. Some once flirted and supported Quebec nationalism during their youth, much like you did, and today have a much better understanding of the real world. And like you, they have turned their backs on Quebecois ethnocentric nationalism.
Unfortunately however, they too, along with all Quebecers: English, Ethnic and French will pay a price for decades of lies and distortions. Everyone will suffer somewhat. It’s simply a matter of time.
But maybe I’m wrong, and people like you can reverse the direction of Quebec. That would be best.
Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov.