Not long after the October 30, 1995 Quebec referendum to separate Quebec from Canada, I founded the Quebec Political Action Committee (QPAC) with several friends.
The purposes of QPAC was to take-on ethnocentric Quebecois nationalists face to face, and expose them for being the cultural racists they were and still are.
QPAC had nothing whatsoever to do with Canadian national unity since I believed then, and I believe now, that national unity is meaningless unless all people within Canada are treated equally from coast to coast.
When it came to doing battle for Equal Rights we held nothing back.
If it was within the law we did it. If it meant enduring hateful reprisals from the Quebec government and others I didn’t care. If it meant that my wife, horses, dog, cats and myself had to live with armed bodyguards 24/7, on and off for months and years at a time because of threats, so be it.
I led too many street demonstrations and rallies to count, that turned-out thousands of chanting English speakers who demanded their rights to be equal and visible. We boycotted stores that wouldn’t post English signs or provide English literature and information.
In effect, QPAC went to war against government sponsored ethnocentric Quebecois bigotry against its English-speaking minority.
What I discovered as QPAC became more engaged and successful in its many battles against ethnocentric Quebecois nationalism, was that the real enemy was us. We could fight French Quebecois racism. But we couldn’t fight the enemy within.
It became obvious that with every QPAC success, we were pilloried in the ENGLISH media and amongst English speaking elitists. Especially amongst English speaking politicians who depended upon the Quebec and federal governments for privileged political positions.
Fighting our own (Anglos) proved to be a far more difficult and implacable battle than fighting the ethnocentric Quebecois nationalists. The English-speaking enemy within did their very best to portray people such as myself as extremists and hardliners.
What was most frustrating – was that most of the Anglo sell-outs really thought they were doing the right thing. But the same could be said about Neville Chamberlain who sold out Czechoslovakia to appease Adolf Hitler.
It took no time at all for us to realize that it was the combination of Anglo sell-outs, appeasers and Quislings who were most responsible for the mess Quebec’s English speakers found themselves in.
This forced us to change our focus and fight for Equal Rights on two fronts.
We never stopped hammering the ethnocentric Quebecois nationalists and their allies in Quebec and Ottawa. But we also hammered the English press just as hard for being willing accomplices to the detriment of Equal Rights, causing the invisibility of the English-speaking community within Quebec.
We pounded the Montreal Gazette, CJAD radio and all other English media who sold-us-out in the name of “preserving the social peace”. They were more the reason for the decline of the English community in Montreal than all of Quebec’s racist language laws combined.
The immortal words of French writer Emile Zola, who pointed a finger at the French army and government in the “Dreyfus Affair” – “J’accuse!” is no less appropriate to the English media and Anglo elitists who were, and continue to be willing dupes and the ultimate enemies of Quebec’s English-speaking population.
Of the many things QPAC did to infuriate our foes, and beat them into submission, none worked better than shining a bright light upon those who refused to show their English customers even a modicum of respect by posting English signs, even when the law permitted the use of those signs.
QPAC “outed” stores in English areas that would not post signs in English. We boycotted and picketed stores. We even ran ads naming stores that would not show their English-speaking clientele respect.
But nothing worked nearly as well as our boycott flier.
QPAC published a flier with 1001 names of stores that did not have English signs, or enough English signs to show respect to their English-speaking clientele, and then distributed this flier by Canada Post to all the households in the general areas where those stores were located.
Before the mailing was fully distributed, QPAC was inundated with phone calls from merchants begging to be taken off the list. Some store owners called to threaten us with legal action for putting their names on the list.
To them – I said: “bring it on!”
What could possibly be better for QPAC and worse for the stupid store owner who wanted to publicly fight for his “right” to insult his English-speaking clientele by refusing to post English signs where the law says you can?
Needless to say, no one sued QPAC. And everyone on the list was quick to put up English signs.
It was very difficult to continue this fabulous campaign because of the cost of publishing and distribution through Canada Post. It was also a full-time job for someone to maintain and update the list. So we stopped in the hope that one published list would be enough.
But now, with the Internet and all the new technologies that were not available to us at that time a decade ago, a boycott list is easy to create, a snap to maintain, and only a click-away from disseminating worldwide.
Gary Shapiro is a very successful Montreal businessperson who has been in the fight for national unity for as long as I was involved in the fight for Equal Rights. The difference is, he’s still in Quebec, and he still wants to carry-on the battle from within. This time his focus is Equal Rights.
AND HE’S USING THE INTERNET!
Gary has created a boycott Web Site (www.oqla.org) that names names. His Web Site is a spin on the Quebecois language police officially known as: “l’Office de la langue francaise” meaning: the office of the French language. Shapiro’s Web Site is: “Office quebecois de la langue anglaise”. I bet you can do the translation.
Visit Shapiro’s Web Site. Send a link of his Web Site to everyone you know. And if you see a national retail name on the boycott list, boycott that national chain where you live. Call the retailer in your neighborhood and at their head office and tell them that you don’t appreciate their company policy that discriminates against English visibility within Quebec.
Tell them that you won’t buy products from a company that participates in racism against English speakers within Quebec. Tell them that they will see your money only after English-speaking Quebecers see the English language on the signs in their Quebec stores.
And send Gary Shapiro an email. I’m sure he’ll be happy to know that he has support right across North America.
That’s right – Right across North America.
There’s no reason why my American readers can’t help the English speaking community within Quebec, by letting the American retail chains that operate within Quebec know that they are not happy with their participation in anti-English racism.
Visit www.oqla.org and get involved.
GOOD ON YOU GARY SHAPIRO!
As always, I thank you for your reading Galganov Dot Com, and for your support. Please spread the word.
Best regards . . . Howard Galganov