On February 24, 2005, I published an editorial titled “The Anglo Quebec Appeasers Never Quit” (please see archives) in response to an editorial written by Jim Duff in the Suburban Newspaper.
Duff responded to my editorial with rancor.
Part of what he said was: Being an ex-Quebecer no longer gave me the right to have an opinion on Quebec’s language issues. He also said that it was better for English Montrealers to comply with French language laws and keep what nurses they still have.
I reminded Duff of the tens of thousands of Canadians who came to Montreal via plane, train, bus and automobile just days before the 1995 referendum from all over the country, simply to stand shoulder to shoulder to keep Canada together.
Had it not been for them at this massive rally, Duff and I would be having a much different debate.
Jim agreed to publish a shortened version of that editorial in the Wednesday (March 2, 2005) issue of the Suburban. Unfortunately though, this is not going to happen.
In an e-mail to me; Duff expressed his objection of my reference to Nazi Germany, and the mind-set of the appeasers at that time, compared to the mind-set of the current-day appeasers in Quebec.
He is also complained that my piece was unfocused and all over the board.
And he claimed that I never proved my point.
YOU BE THE JUDGE:
THE FOLLOWING IS THE WORD FOR WORD ARTICLE THAT DUFF WOULD NOT PUBLISH IN THE SUBURBAN NEWSPAPER:
Jim Duff of the Montreal Suburban Weekly Newspaper has been congratulating Quebec’s English Language Rights Advocacy group, “Alliance Quebec” in his recent editorial columns.
What has Duff so pleased with Alliance Quebec is their decision to help nurses whose first language is not French, pass the compulsory French language exam that allows them to work in the Quebec medical industry in English hospitals.
In Nazi Europe, there were no shortage of influential members of the Jewish community who insisted that Europe’s Jews must be more accommodating to the culture of their majorities. It only made sense to them to pander to anti-Semitism.
After-all, to demand equal rights invites a backlash from the majority, and only brave people would be willing to do that. Unfortunately though, brave people always seem to be in short supply, while cowards of the same community who shoot them down are aplenty.
Instead of fighting for absolute equal rights, these Jewish community leaders worked diligently to convince their coreligionists to accept their place in society as second class citizens.
The philosophy of most European, Canadian and American Jews during the pre Israel era was “Shah Shtill – Zug Gornisht” which is Yiddish for “Stay Quiet – Say Nothing”.
Quebec isn’t Nazi Germany. And French Quebecers are not the Gestapo. But the mind-set between standing up to be an equal citizen in all regards, compared to surrendering ones rights on the alter of appeasement is a worldwide commonality that can not be ignored.
At the Washington Holocaust Museum there is a wall dedicated to the “well meaning” European Jews who aided and abetted the Nazis through appeasement and acquiescence. Their names are recorded for all to see.
Along the linguistic time-line in Quebec, English language hospitals became bilingual hospitals, where a need to provide adequate French language communication became mandatory. And now, according to the Quebec government, there are no English language hospitals.
But it’s not just about hospitals, doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers. It’s about rights. It is about the rights of everyone to be equal. Canadians fought by the millions, were wounded by the hundreds of thousands, and died throughout the world in wars fought over rights.
And now we so cavalierly dismiss the lack of rights in Quebec as something normal. Edmond Burke wrote: “The only thing for the triumph of evil is for good man to do nothing”.
When people write that it is a good thing that an English Rights Advocacy Group, the likes of Alliance Quebec, decides to defend English rights by helping Quebec’s English minority loose more of its identity, it doesn’t take a great thinker to understand that this mind-set is far more a reason for the problems facing Quebec’s minority communities than it is the solution.
This newspaper (the Suburban) caters mostly to the Montreal Jewish community, which is the oldest (in average age) collective cultural community in North America, with a devastating lack of population replacement, simply because the Montreal Jewish community is leaving Quebec in droves, primarily because of Quebec’s language laws.
Montreal’s former Jewish community has given more to Montreal than any other cultural group ever. And now it is fading away into obscurity simply because we didn’t fight for our right to be equal.
I truly believe that Quebec has crossed the linguistic and cultural rubicon way back when the minority and majority communities didn’t stand together to fight racist language laws first imposed by Robert Bourassa with his Bill 22 in 1974.
By all statistics, Quebec is losing population while Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia can’t build homes and infrastructure fast enough to accommodate the enormous influx of new residents to their provinces.
It is indeed remarkable how so many people think that pandering to ethnocentric language laws by a supposedly pro English language group (Alliance Quebec) is a good thing, and a step in the right direction.
Here’s a news flash:
Anne and I live in a small (mostly French speaking) community just on the Ontario side of the boundary with Quebec, which is growing through Quebec emigration. But the Quebecers who are leaving Quebec to come to Ontario are not mostly the Anglos and Ethnics you’d expect. Some are. But most are French Quebecers who leave Quebec’s high taxes, poor social services, in-your-face bureaucrats, and its big brother philosophy for the greener pastures and clearer air of Ontario.
If Quebec continues to push its ethnocentric nationalism without opposition, Quebec will soon enough be a province completely devoid of the movers and shakers every society needs to be successful. And English/Ethnic Montrealers will be the first to pay the price.