Here is a contrast of two Ontario Theme Parks separated by about an hour’s drive and a light year of differences.
First, there is the French ONLY L’Echo du’n peuple (echoes of the people) located about 45 minutes East of Ottawa along highway 417, that just recently declared an inability to stay open because of a lack of funding.
Basically, L’Echo d’un peuple is flat broke.
I wrote in my last editorial (August 20, 2008) that L’Echo d’un peuple closed its doors only three weeks after receiving a $225,000 gift from Ontario’s taxpayers.
In reality, the French ONLY Theme Park received the government check in April 2008.
The photo of the check ceremony between Ronald Caza, the President of the Park’s Board of Directors, and the local Provincial Member of Parliament Jean Marc Lalonde who presented it, was published in the Russell Villager in their July 2, 2008 issue, giving the impression that the time frame between accepting the check and closing down was just a few weeks.
In reality, it was a span of five months between accepting the check and closing down, which is enough of a spread in time for the French ONLY Park to ‘legitimately’ lose that money.
I write legitimately with tongue in cheek, since it has ONLY lost money from the day it opened, including one bankruptcy.
Therefore, any question of impropriety concerning the $225,000 is no longer up in the air. But that does not explain why this French ONLY Theme Park with all sorts of public money from municipal, provincial and federal sources, couldn’t continue to exist. Impropriety comes in many guises.
But that’s the way it seems to be with far too many French ONLY initiatives that are financed with public money. There is a whole lot of demand, with very little accountability.
Explanations for the French ONLY Theme Park’s failure range from:
1 – The weather was awful this summer.
2 – The 400th Quebec City Celebration siphoned off visitors.
3 – The Economy was so bad that French families just stayed away.
4 – English speaking people never bothered to visit.
About an hour or so away is Upper Canada Village that had a super tourist season in spite of all the same hardships quoted by the French ONLY L’Echo du’n peuple Theme Park.
Why did Upper Canada Village do well enough not to have to close its doors, while the French ONLY Theme Park was such a failure?
First off, the French ONLY Theme Park was just that – FRENCH ONLY.
Considering how many French speakers there are compared to English speakers, this type of linguistic marketing strategy is real dumb, especially with public money.
I visited their Web Site (echodunpeuple.ca/index.php) and saw no buttons that said click here for English.
On the other hand, when you visit the Upper Canada Village Web Site, there’s a choice between English and French buttons located smack-dab in the middle of their Home Page.
At the French ONLY Theme Park, there was no expectation that anyone would be speaking English, since this Park was ONLY about the French culture.
At the Upper Canada Theme Park, all visitors can expect to be serviced in English or French.
There’s also a little matter of quality between the exhibits and price.
The French ONLY Theme Park is all about French indoctrination. Upper Canada Village is all about the overall history of how all people lived a couple of hundred years ago.
Upper Canada Village is also a full day’s outing that has something for everyone, unlike the French ONLY Theme Park that is more of an open show that lasts a couple of hours.
There is also a little matter of cost. Upper Canada Village costs a fraction of what the French ONLY Theme Park charged, and offers a ton more for the money.
So, what does that say about this French ONLY Theme Park other than fiasco? It says that without public financing, this Theme Park would never have gotten off the ground, nor should it have.
This is just one of many examples of how our tax dollars (mostly English) are being used to promote a language and a culture that EXCLUDES us.
We are paying for French ONLY healthcare clinics that refuse to give medical services to English people (Centre de sante Communautaire de l’Estrie in Cornwall).
We are underwriting the French educational system that has segregated school busses disallowing English children from sharing the busses (Alexandria).
And now we have French communities in Ontario pushing bylaws that make it illegal for us to have English ONLY signs.
WHERE DOES IT STOP?
It won’t stop if we stick to the status quo. That’s a guarantee. The only way we can win back our majority rights is to get a strong public voice that will be heard not just in Parliament, but also from Coast to Coast, and from the far North to the US Border.
I am asking you to help me become your voice.
To learn more about what I stand for and how you can help, please click on the red link just below my signature.
Together: LET’S WIN BACK CANADA!
Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov.