Speech to Canadians for Language Fairness
The greatest issue facing Canada in generations to come, that is – if Canada is even to survive intact as a country– is the manner in which we all are to live in this country, together.
Let me explain:
Strange, isn’t it, but the huge error in the creation of Canada, as we can see it now, in hindsight, in the clear light of modern technology of this new age of the telephone, fax, internet, the automobile, and the airplane, is that in 1867, when the British Mother of Parliaments created our dominion, Canada was considered to be so large a territory as to be essentially
un-governable by their nineteenth century standards of the British Isles, that the legislators at Westminster in London added on an extra level of government to the British model in order to make Canada manageable.
So came into being Canadian provinces – a political boundary not in use then, and still do they not exist now, in the British system.
As a result, Canada was created in a so-called federal model, under a formula of division of powers in 1867 terms, that the then legislators felt would ease the inherent problems of the excessively large distances, and other unique features of Canada.
While we can understand why it happened, living with the results, these many years later, should make legislators so much more respectful of the implications of their work, which can cause chaos for many years to come.
Had we known the full implications of the massive changes the Charter of Rights would impose on Canadian life, I wonder if the results have been what the legislators originally intended?
Now, I do want to talk to you for a moment about complicity, a word that certainly conjures up a negative connotation, especially when used in conjunction with Quebec’s infamous language and sign laws, which I am not alone in considering to be illegal, although the Supreme court of Canada, in their wisdom, evidently does not.
Both the intent and the spirit of these language laws are counter to the Canadian constitution of 1867, which provided entrenched constitutional rights for Quebec and French Canada, as well as entrenched rights for English speaking Quebecers.
Now, contrary to what too many people think, because for the most part,
they have never actually read the text of the Quebec sign law, signs in English or another language are perfectly legal for use on store fronts, or on exterior signs provided that French is significantly predominant to the second language.
But clearly, at this time, Quebec law does permit the use of English on signs.
Likewise, contrary to most common thought, it is perfectly legal for signs placed inside business establishments in Quebec to be in English, as well as in the French language.
Let no merchant or anyone else tell you that it is not legal to place any signs in the English language. That information is completely false. Just read the law!
But most large corporations, and indeed, many merchants have become so complicit with the intent of the French Language Act, and the ill-tempered spirit of Bill 101, that they provide no English signage at all, either exterior or interior.
PetroCanada, Shell, Esso, Second Cup, Tacobell, Burger King, almost all of Canada’s banks–want me to name them–? Bell Canada, a wonderfully worst offender! The Bay, MacDonald’s, and oh so many supermarkets and pharmacies and others, provide absolutely no English signage at all, in most cases, and I will be pleased to stand corrected in any example where I am shown to be wrong, wherein I named names, and I will be happy to apologize.
And that list is only by glaring example; it is by no means complete, and I offered it only to demonstrate to you how widespread the complicity extends.
Collaborators, I call them…collaborators in the worst implied sense of that word!
In Chicoutimi or La Pacatiere, or probably Joliette, I would have no problem with the absence of English text, because so few English speakers, if any, still live in those communities, but certainly in what I would consider to be the west end of Quebec, where in excess of a million and a half Anglophones and Allophones live and work, that these merchants should be so complicit with the heinous nationalist and separatist cause of Quebec by their full co-operation and complicity, is unthinkable, unacceptable, and downright un-respectful.
Not only have these companies become compliant with the enemy, to our adversary’s greatest pleasure and satisfaction, because it incorrectly proves to the nationalists that they were justified in the intent of their illicit language and sign restrictions, in the first place.
Certainly, a simple law requiring, at minimum, French lettering of equal size on all signs, would probably have served the purpose, and would have been quite acceptable.
But Equality, please be assured, was not, and certainly is not, the intention of the Quebec nationalist exercise.
We, English speaking citizens of Canada and Quebec, ourselves, have become complicit by not complaining, requesting, cajoling, demanding, asking, writing, telephoning, and if necessary, actually taking our business elsewhere to those merchants and firms, which at least will give us the minimum of respect that is available under the nasty laws enacted to harm us, and to send us away, as more than six hundred thousand already have left the Province of Quebec, with their progeny, their education, their skills, and their money. And they are still leaving!
The best way to handle this regrettable sign situation is to very courteously ask to see the manager or owner, express concern over the oversight of failing to respectfully serve their English language customers in their own language; and if responded to in what may be considered an unacceptable, hostile, or untruthful manner, to quietly offer the mantra:
No English- No Business. Then, leave…But DO follow up!
If you wish to assist in the correct re-education of recalcitrant merchants, permit me to direct you to the website of the Office Quebecois de la Langue Anglaise,
a rather cute play on words if I may say so, which you will find on the web at: www.oqla.org.
The intrinsic problem, however, is really much larger, because when the customer went into that store in the first place, all they really wanted to do was to buy a newspaper or a new pair of socks.
Essentially, if we at AffiliationQuebec are suffering the difficult and slow growing pains of expanding a new grassroots movement, and in getting Quebecers to join and support our entitled, Canadian rights political party, more so because it speaks and acts on their behalf, how are we going to educate them to stand up, and to defend their imperiled language and other rights?
So at this point, the big question to be asked about why I drove all the way to Ottawa to speak with you this cold evening, is why so few of the million and a half and more– of minority and Anglophone Quebecers– have so far signed up as members of AffiliationQuebec, which incidentally I am happy to tell you, is imminently about to be declared by the Director General of Elections Quebec, as one of the 15 official Quebec political parties. In case you are curious, another eight are pending.
Friends, I am here in Ottawa this evening, talking with you at Canadians for Language Fairness, exactly because you are passionate about being Canadian, and passionate about your rights in respect to language.
And so too, we hope, are the 500 odd members of AffiliationQuebec, 500 and slowly but surely growing each day as the message of our existence continues to spread outwards, passionate about their rights, passionate about being Quebecers, and above all, passionate about being Canadian.
Our common enemies are the nationalists of Quebec, who believe, in error, that only they belong in Quebec, that only they are entitled to inhabit and populate the great and significant province of Quebec.
Remember, they are the ‘Quebecois Nation’, as Prime Minister Harper has so generously anointed them, while he remains silent about the million and a half and more, minority, Allophone, and Anglophone Quebecers, who have been denied some of their basic rights.
The Quebec nationalists live their lie very passionately – – so passionately in fact, that media, in general, and Federal Political parties have bought into the Quebec Nationalist lie, with the end result that Ottawa has been obsessed and totally committed to transform a whole country into an unattainable bilingual nation, so that French Canada can claim some unintended equality.
Quebec nationalists know what THEY want!
But WE have lost the ability to inspire in all Canadians, and across this country, the passion of what WE WANT, if indeed, we even know what it is we want.
In Canada, our leading politicians suffer from far too much use of rhetoric, absolutely excessive amounts of bullshit, and unfortunately, only rare moments of truly inspired leadership.
It is not that the leaders, governments and courts do NOT recognize that there are problems.
It IS, however and regretfully, that they choose to subjugate Canada’s once constitutionally enshrined principles to what they now call “a higher social purpose”, whatever that might mean, even though it sure beats me!
Ladies and gentlemen, have you walked on the streets of our large and small cities, and looked around? Canada has evolved into a great multi-cultural, and multi-racial country.
Who will guide these many newcomers and our youth to share our love and pride of living in this great country — admare usque admare – a land extending from sea to sea— from Atlantic to Pacific, from the long and wide American border, high up to the North Pole?
Why have those in leadership permitted us to be divided, so that so many of us live as fractured Canadians?
Why are we not encouraged to cherish all regions of our wonderful country, to see it as a whole country, belonging to each and everyone of US, — not as a blueberry pie to be divided and devoured?
So much have we lost the passion, or perhaps we never had the passion, that Canada’s north, precious for so many reasons, is now in question.
Because Canada has failed to adequately exert its sovereignty over our expansive north, as our Federal government has equally failed to exert its indivisible sovereignty over its constituent province of Quebec.
Is Newfoundland, Alberta or British Columbia next to follow the very real threats of Quebec nationalists, whose
goals and intent remain undiminished, despite incorrect rumors of their early demise.
The question of dividing any part of La Belle France, jolly Old England, or our Yankee American neighbor to the south, is both unthinkable and illegal.
So what makes Canada so wonderfully liberal, and pseudo-democratic that the separatist movement, which in another time would clearly have constituted an expression of national treason,
has been permitted to grow this unthinkable concept, so that it shakes the very foundation of our nation, as it has been permitted to fester for so long.
Which brings me back full circle to where I started from at the beginning of this talk… remember, when I asked how we are to live in this country together if Canada is to survive as one nation?
For there seem to be several different sets of rules in place, depending on which region or which interest group is involved.
For Canada’s aboriginal peoples, depending on where in the country they live, and at what stage the government is at in so generously giving away massive amounts of territory, not to forget various treaties in respect to self-government.
Special circumstances for “some” are evidently and obviously in order.
And if I am to understand it correctly, some aboriginals appear to have different rights from the rest of us when it comes to crossing the U.S. border, and to paying taxes.
Alberta, the oil people, definitely live in a special tax haven land of their own out there, while the rest of us wonder if there will be any oil and gas left for us in cold winters to come, after it is all committed to be shipped south to the Americans, or west to China.
And, thank God for potash, Saskatchewan!
Don’t forget about Ontario, my friends, the land of the new unemployed – We told you that free trade in the auto business would not last forever, but you would not listen.
And please do watch out for those pesky language and hospital problems Howard Galganov warned you about, here in eastern Ontario. Not only did you watch it unfold in Quebec, but now, you too, will graphically live through the experience in Ontario as well.
Let us pray you are destined to survive it, because I am not all that sure that we will, in Quebec.
Nationalist aspirations in La Bell Province have been so successful that French Canada will have little to lose “going for it” in Ontario.
We have seen this picture show before.
And what about these new and different deals for offshore oil and gas in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia?
I stupidly thought that ‘offshore’ meant ‘belonging to Canada’.
Where is the National Energy policy when you need it?
Everybody in this country either has his own deal, or seems to be in the process of negotiating his own deal.
Will it ever end? And where will it ever end? And when will we all live in this country under the same rules, at the same time, together?
And until we all do, there is little hope that Canada can reach the limitless potential we once thought it possessed.
With all the regional quests for influence, power, other people’s money, and recognition, not only those foreign to us, but Canadians as well, could not be faulted for thinking that we all did not live in the same country.
And the unfortunate fact is that in the euphoric state of a “perverted sense of reality”, which folks on and near the Hill, here in Ottawa, seem to live under most of the time, there seems to be little recognition that Quebec really has separated itself from Canada some time ago.
But Messrs. Harper & Dion either do not know about it yet, or they do not have the balls to admit it. In either event, Canadians are paying for it Big-time.
Until and unless official bilingualism is restored to Quebec, which the Government of Canada has failed to do, and does not appear likely to do anytime soon, it is time to declare official bilingualism in Canada to be DEAD, and to fire and disband the unbelievably costly and non-performing office of the Commission of Official Languages, which like the gun registry, and the human resources debacle, certainly serves as one of Canada’s greatest ever, and perhaps most costly scandals.
I fully admit that Canada is a country of two official languages—Translation: Canadian citizens are entitled to be served by their Federal Government in their choice of the English or French language, but that does not mean that they must be served by a bilingual public service.
Border officials and other specified public serving Government employees in New Brunswick, Quebec, and eastern Ontario, as a matter of practicability, should be bilingual.
But if you are inquiring about a tax problem, social insurance number, or a pension cheque, English speakers need to be served in English, and French speakers need to be served in French.
While bilingualism is to be encouraged, lauded, and perhaps even to be rewarded in public service, the concept of a fully bilingual public service for Canada from sea to sea is a concept that is absolutely unnecessary and patently absurd.
Just whom are we kidding anyway?
Let’s be blunt – the placating of Quebec nationalists and separatists just has not worked.
Has history not proven that appeasement as a policy never succeeds?
And all continued attempts to do so must absolutely be stopped. Sooner than later!
Now, how are we going to send that important message to all of the National political parties in Canada?
We have a common task in Canada; and that job is to energize a tired and disillusioned segment of our population that feels as if it has been disenfranchised, so that we may provide a rallying point, a beacon to guide all Canadians to a united, secure, and happier future.
Regretfully, that does not seem to be the vision of Stephen Harper or Stephane Dion.
And a great number of Canadians should be forgiven if they, too, are unclear as to the future of the country.
But one note to the Tory chief…. the route to unity, we suggest, is not by offering to Quebec, ‘autonomy within Canada’, as you promised ADQ leader Mario Dumont when you visited Quebec last November.
Once Quebec achieves what Mr. Harper offered, complete autonomy with-in Canada; I can pretty well assure you it won’t be long before you will see complete autonomy outside of Canada….
Keep it up Mr. Harper…If that is your plan, then there is not that much farther for you to go.
And while on the subject, did you note the press photos of the First Ministers at dinner at 24 Sussex Drive last Friday? All smiles were the Premiers as they enjoyed each other’s most pleasant company, with Jean Charest at the forefront.
If we were talking of China, Bosnia, Rwanda, or Congo, human rights would have been high on the agenda.
But there they were, happily and very cheerfully breaking bread with Jean Charest in the center of the festivities, Canada’s very own “leading rights abuser”, and the only subject on the table was the divvy-ing up of hard earned Canadian tax-payers cash—NOT in the very least the abrogated rights of one and a half million Canadians who live in Quebec.
It’s sufficient to get you mad enough to start a new political party!
The education of Canadians to be passionate about Canada is a daunting task.
The essential problem is that neither Mr. Harper nor Mr. Dion has a national plan other than achieving a majority government by bribing Quebec Nationalists for their votes and their Quebec seats, which will turn out to be very much at the expense of Canada as a whole.
So, you have to ask yourself a question…
What is so revolutionary and dangerous in being staunchly Canadian and standing for the restoration your illegally abrogated rights, that our message has been so clearly filtered by certain national and local media, in order to protect Quebecers and other Canadians from being informed of the existence of a new political party that could have the capacity of helping to alter the landscape of our nation’s future, sorely in need of a necessary dose of nation-saving passion.
If you think that I am suffering from paranoid delusions, look around at the media in this room covering this speech.
Exactly my point!
This is the message that dares not be heard. Was nothing in this message newsworthy?
My friends, I fear that under political leadership presently in place, that necessary dose of national passion certainly will not soon be forthcoming from present day Ottawa.
To all those who claim that the minorities and the Anglos of Quebec are isolated and in retreat, it is through the guidance and a slight editing of the words of the great and resolute Sir Winston Churchill, that the following might become our constant chant of response.
“We shall reclaim our rights in Quebec City and in Ottawa.
We shall proclaim our rights with growing confidence, and with growing strength in grass roots support, and in the mass media.
We shall defend our individual rights, and our right to be Canadian, whatever the cost may be.
We shall fight on the doorsteps, We shall fight in the meeting halls, We shall fight for our place in media, We shall fight in the Assemblee Nationale at Quebec, and in the Parliament of Canada. We will never surrender our rights, nor our right to be fully Canadian.
Passion, my friends…passion!
Only when Canadians regain and reclaim their passion for all of Canada… NOT only it’s regions, will the prediction attributed to Sir Wilfrid Laurier attain its intended force…. He is reputed to have said, referring to the last….
“This century belongs to Canada”.
Although I am riddled with doubt, I certainly do hope Laurier will be proven right!