It’s Not About Language – It’s Always Been About Rights

In a free and equitable society, one can not elevate oneself by standing on the back of others to do it.

I have changed my mind and will speak at a Language Fairness meeting this coming Tuesday, February 15, 2005 at 7:30pm at the Ottawa Citizen Building just off Greenbank, on the South Side of Highway 417.

The focus of my speech will be EQUALITY, MINORITY RIGHTS and a NEW BEGINNING FOR CANADA.

Without equality and minority rights shared by all people, Democracy is meaningless. It would be nothing more than Animal Farm where all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal.

Canada’s many language laws fly in the face of equality and minority rights. In Quebec, Bill 101 and its predecessor Bill 22 stole the right of minorities to enjoy their freedom to be visibly equal and unique.

These horrible racist laws have forced the minorities within Quebec from expressing themselves in the manner and language of their communities. And that’s anathema to what any Charter of rights should and must represent.

In Quebec, like Animal Farm, it is fine with the provincial and federal governments for minorities to be EQUAL, just as long as the Quebec majority is more equal. How can a government go about creating a successful pluralistic society where everyone is encouraged to grow and flourish, when everyone is not treated equally?

These series of language (cultural) laws have done nothing for Canada, other than to divide its people. And they have done nothing for the province of Quebec, other than to ensure that Quebec remains a chronic welfare state.

And now this sick mind-set has reached rural Ontario in Clarence/Rockland where their Town Council has passed a bylaw forcing all new commercial signs to be equally bilingual to be enforced by their own language police.

I fully support the right of all people to express themselves in the language(s) of their choice. But that’s as far as it should go.

Let French speakers post unilingual French signs in downtown Toronto if that is what they want to do. But don’t tell me that French Only Signs must be accompanied by a sign in the English language, any more than an English Sign must be accompanied by French.

In a free and equitable society, one can not elevate oneself by standing on the back of others to do it.

Since the days of Lester B Pearson and subsequent Liberal leaders, the likes of Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Jean Chretien, Canada has forgotten and abandoned the essence that once-upon-a-time made us believe that we would be the country of the 20th and 21st centuries.

It’s now time to get that essence back.

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