These three Letters of the Day published on July the 29th in the National Post have strucked a nerve inside me. I always perceived myself as a sovereignist but considering the context of the international scene these days, it is definitely not the time to envision such thing while our very survival as free individuals is in jeopardy. There are things much more important right now that have to be taken care of. When the fate of mankind is secure, when nuclear Armageddon has been avoided and when totalitarianism, for the most part, has been neutralized, then we will have plenty of time to decide if Quebec should be inside or outside Canada or what kind of political organization is best. First things first. Normally, I don’t blog this kind of subjects because it doesn’t fall into my editorial line, but I couldn’t resist.
The three letters have been presented in response to an article by Barbara Kay, in which she calmly and quietly presents the context of a real-estate transaction, i.e. the purchase or her house. In 1976, the Quebec market was good for buyers with all those Anglo-Quebecers leaving Montreal following the victory of the Parti Québécois. The first response published, from Michael Lawrence, Hudson, Que., presents statistics on the migration of anglophones. Apparently this nice fellow had the decency to stay in Quebec after 1976, although the city of Hudson can hardly be characterized as a Quebecois town. In effect, it has nothing to do with, for example, the neighbourhood of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve but much more with the West Island in terms of atmosphere and wealth. The second response, from Ted Hassall, Niagara Falls, Ont, is more interesting for our purpose. He says among other things that « the PQ’s draconian language laws made anglos feel like second-class citizens », and that he is happy to « live in places without punishing language laws », speaking probably about the wonderful town of Niagara Falls that he has adopted after the murder of Minister Pierre Laporte. The third, from Denis Walsh, Vancouver, B.C., is even more revealing. Mr Walsh left Quebec in 1976 when the PQ got elected.
These letters are examples of pure racism and I want to thank the National Post for having them published. You see, all these people who left the Province after or around 1976 could have chosen to stay and to adapt to the new circumstances. But they couldn’t because of their lazyness, and because of their contempt and hatred for what we, the French-Canadians, are. If they had stayed, it would have meant for them having to learn at least the basic framework of the French language and speak it once in a while. But they couldn’t do just that because it would have meant for them to get down to the levels of the inferiors, again that’s us, the French-Canadians, and speak their language. Because, let’s face it here, anglo-saxons in generals experience much difficulty when it is time to deal with other cultures. Cultures are all welcomed and celebrated…as long as everybody speaks English. Try not to speak English in the United States in a workplace, in a goverment building or to a policeman. There are no laws on official languages there. Also, the skinhead movement with its White Power ideology originates from the United Kingdom. It embodies the anglo-saxon sentiment of superiority at its purest and we can see expressions of it throughout the world in numerous places.
For example, for decades after the official end of slavery in the U.S. Black people have been forced to take separate buses and use separate toilets because the White people, supposedly superior, couldn’t bear to sit or pee next to a black man. That’s exactly what happened in Quebec before and after 1976. Some people couldn’t live with the idea of having to speak the language of the « inferior » and « less evolved » French-Canadians, so they decided to leave the Province and go to a French-Canadian and French-language free zone of this great country.
Personally, I grew up in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, the most unilingual area of the Province. As soon as I got to Montreal as a young adult, I learned English and Spanish, and also began to learn some German. You see, even as a sovereignist and a stronger defender of the French language, I always tried to respect other cultures. I have never been a bigot, in terms of religions, language, culture or anything else. It saddens me to see that it is not everybody who has the same capacity and desire to create bonds with other communities and cultures. These people who left Quebec in 1976 are just pure and unadulterated racists, there are no other words for that. For an Anglo-Canadian, refusing to speak French in Quebec as the same symbolical meaning as for an American to refuse to sit next to a black man in a bus. Generally speaking, I would say that besides a few bigots on both sides, the two communities in Montreal get along rather well, thanks to these Anglo-Quebecers, who contrary to the others, decided to stay in 1976 and adapted, people like you, Barbara Kay. I am glad that it turned out good for you and your family. As for those who decided to leave, I’m just glad they did. The lesser the bigots are, the better I feel.