The following is a letter I have just sent to the Montreal Gazette concerning their coverage of me at the Affiliation Quebec meeting held at Ruby Foos, March 2, 2008.
I fully intend to pursue this matter with one of Canada’s Human Rights Commissions, who in the past have championed causes that were not nearly as black and white as is this intentional character assassination against me.
How does one go about setting the record straight, when a large citywide newspaper publishes incorrect, misleading and prejudicial information as if it was fact?
In the Montreal Gazette articles published in print and on the Internet (Monday March 2nd and March 3rd 2008), they called thugs armed with sticks who attacked elderly people at a Montreal English rights gathering a “French Rights Group”.
When in fact, the only right this group of thugs were demanding, was the right to shut-up a peaceful gathering of English speakers, whose intent was to hear a few speeches addressing their predicament in French only Quebec.
At the same time, the Montreal Gazette labeled me a “Militant Anglo Rights Activist”.
I need an explanation, since I have never-ever advocated or condoned anything that resembles violence or discrimination against anyone in any of my Equal Rights endeavors in Quebec or the rest of Canada.
When I read the Montreal Gazette, the term Militant is generally used to describe Palestinians who murder Jews?
Is that the category the Montreal Gazette wants to put me in?
Why would the Montreal Gazette call armed violent thugs, whose ONLY purpose was to shut-down a democratic assembly of individuals at a political meeting a French Rights Group, and me a Militant, with all the negative connotation this word carries?
The Montreal Gazette also stated that I once made a claim that the retailers, the English media and the government of Quebec were engaged in a conspiracy to suppress the English language.
The Montreal Gazette statement and the way their claim was phrased, makes me look like a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist. A kook if you will.
The truth; is that I called a well attended press conference (attended by the Montreal Gazette) in April of 1996, to make the “fact” known to the English media that a “deal” was made between Claude Ryan of the governing Liberal Party of Quebec and major retailers in 1993.
The deal was that the liberals would pass Bill 86, allowing for restricted uses of English on commercial retail signs, while the merchants in attendance at this meeting promised not to use it.
This was told to me directly by Jonathan Eaton of the now bankrupt Eaton’s company, when he was fearful that QPAC (Quebec Political Action Committee) had his family store in our sights for protests and boycotts.
His very words to me in front of a witness were:
“Why Eaton’s? We all agreed to the deal.” And then he told me about the deal.
The English media refused to investigate my claim or run the story.
After a considerable amount of time passed, the Montreal Gazette finally did run a story confirming what I had said long before. If the Montreal Gazette can’t call this a conspiracy, what would they call it?
More to the point: Why would the Montreal Gazette, 12 years after the fact, on March 2 and March 3, 2008, publish it as if I made it all up, when in fact, the Montreal Gazette did a story about it?
The Montreal Gazette also claimed that I was at the Affiliation Quebec event looking to raise money for my campaign. Not true.
Other than to diminish the reason for my presence at this event, I can think of no other reason why the Montreal Gazette would publish this. In fact, I donated $250 to Affiliation Quebec, and turned down money people wanted to give me.
Finally, it might not seem like a big thing to the Montreal Gazette, but nothing is bigger than accuracy in reporting when it comes to trusting the media.
The Montreal Gazette article claimed that I left Quebec 10 years ago. In fact, Anne and I left Quebec 8 years ago, which the Montreal Gazette should have known, since a reporter from the Montreal Gazette came to our property in St Lazare, and ran a story on us leaving the province for Ontario.
If the Montreal Gazette can’t get a simple fact like this right, how could anyone trust this newspaper when publishing anything?
I personally believe that coverage in the Montreal Gazette concerning my presence at this Affiliation Quebec event was far more about demeaning and defaming me, than it was about honestly portraying the event.
What redress can I find to balance the damage the Montreal Gazette has done to my reputation, since the Montreal Gazette’s sister newspaper the National Post, which is widely read throughout Canada and worldwide on the Internet, also picked-up much of this dishonest story, publishing it as fact?
More to the point: Other publications, Radio stations and television broadcasters across Canada ran this story as the Montreal Gazette portrayed it. And what about the damage done to my reputation by vast exposure over the Internet, because of these published untruths?
If The Montreal Gazette can do this to me, they can do this to anyone.
This isn’t about freedom of speech or freedom of the press. This isn’t even about the right to have a journalistic opinion. It is all about defamation of character. It’s about using an enormous information vehicle to disseminate innuendo and lies.
And this is not right.
I wonder if this something a Human Rights Commission would be interested in? Perhaps we’ll find out.
END OF LETTER
If we are going to have any chance of making a difference in our lives vis a vis WINNING BACK CANADA, this is the type of obstacle we will have to overcome.
You can help.
Please store every bit of information the Montreal Gazette and other media ran concerning my participation at the March 2nd Affiliation meeting.
I have been informed that the Montreal Gazette has already altered some of what they posted on their Web Site. This will only make it worse for them.
We’re all in this together. To read more about what I stand for, and how you can help, please click on the red link just below my signature.
Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov