Taking it to the Supreme Court: Battle over Language Rights kicked up a few Notches by Don Smith

The Supreme Court of Canada (the court of last resort)

– On Saturday, at his sprawling Maple Ponds Equestrian Centre in Williamstown, human rights activist Howard Galganov and his wife Anne hosted a bbq lunch, rally and fundraiser. About 100 invited guests from places such as Cornwall and area, Ottawa, Toronto, Timmins, Montreal, and further afield, enjoyed the burgers, sausages, salads and desserts over conversation. They also received an update on the battle for freedom of expression in Canada.

Galganov rallied the troops with his words: “This campaign has become invigorated … we’re no longer playing defence; we’re playing offence. We’re not going to wait for yet another law to come and take away our rights … We have choices in life and they’re simple. It’s fight or flight. … Don’t allow anyone to ever tell you that you’re a racist or a bigot or anti-French because you’re standing up for your rights to be a majority. … We are 96% of the population and it’s time that we behaved like 96% of the (Ontario) population.”

Galganov was quick to point out that he’s not advocating any kind of a witch hunt and that this isn’t a battle between English and French. He reiterated his previous promise never to support a discriminatory Bill 101 type of law here in Ontario. Identifying the source of the issue, Galganov pointed out that: “There is a small group of Franco activists who are going to do whatever they can to usurp our rights.” It has been noted that, in Cornwall, La Société pour la Promotion du Bilinguisme has been going door to door advising business people of their “obligations under the law.”

He addressed the topic of the recent court ruling in Ontario’s Russell Township and outlined a plan of action to counter it. A group of French language activists in Ontario’s Russell Township (a community of 15,000 near Ottawa) was unsatisfied that only 70% of local commercial establishments displayed bilingual signs (in unilingual English Ontario), so they lobbied municipal Council to force the issue. Amid great controversy, Council passed a by-law by a vote of 3-2, which requires all new exterior commercial signs to be English/French bilingual, with the size and style of lettering being identical in both languages. Seeing this as an unnecessary infringement, two area residents challenged the bylaw. The owner of a radiator repair shop, Jean-Serge Brisson is fully bilingual, but chose to erect a sign that displayed the business name in English and its services in French. Howard Galganov, a bilingual Anglophone had posted a sign only in English. In 2010 the Superior Court of Justice ruled against both men. Subsequently the Court of Appeal ruled that the bylaw does indeed violate citizens’ Charter rights to freedom of expression. Quoting the Supreme Court of Canada, the Appeal court stated that: “Freedom consists in an absence of compulsion.” Incredibly the Appeal court went on to say that the violation was reasonable and justified.

Galganov Dot Com Inc and the Ottawa based Canadians for Language Fairness have joined forces to spearhead a Supreme Court challenge to the Ontario Court of Appeal decision which permits the violation of Non-Francophone Charter rights. The challenge will be on the basis that, by forcing people to use the language of others, the ruling violates section 2b of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which was created to guarantee freedom of expression.

Other planned activities include a campaign whereby full colour glossy brochures are being delivered to businesses in small town Ontario, educating them on the extent to which minority French language rights have trampled on the rights of those functioning in another language in Ontario and possibly soon in the rest of Canada. Here’s a snapshot from the brochure which invites others to join in funding the court battle.

Part of an attractive new brochure being distributed to small town Ontario businesses

Guests included some members of the allied language rights groups: Canadians for Language Fairness and the local Language Fairness for All as well as some politicians and political candidates. Many “ordinary folk” came out to show their support as well.

Bryan McGillis, Mayor of South Stormont, was in attendance. He agreed to explore the legal implications closely, and may opt to seek the support of his Council to pass a resolution guaranteeing that South Stormont will never introduce a bylaw that takes away from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Further, should South Stormont pass such a bylaw, McGillis will table a motion that the municipality propose to other municipalities that they adopt a similar stance.

The video clip below is included as part of a DVD package which is being promoted by Canadians for Language Fairness as a “how we got into this mess” brief explanation.

Being a gracious host, as part of the gathering Galganov invited guests to enjoy five miles of groomed trails including a picnic area in the pines. Some even got to view it aboard his Kubota and wagons – a ride which rivals many a midway, but cannot be purchased at any price!

The kids (young and not so young) loved the motorized trail ride.


Cornwall Free News


  1. Semantics has swayed many. OK, as you point out, English or French in Federal court or Parliment is in the Charter, that is a long way from mom & pop corner store being required to provide service in any language and certainly does not make us a bilingual country.

  2. Mike Bedard, your outburst is of the uniformed: “Untrue! $2.4 billion…is the cost of French schools across Canada and not “Official Bilingualism for French Advocacy!” – It is the cost of education for Elementary, Post Secondary, etc.”.

    Obviously, you did not bother to read the study itself that penned the cost at $2.4 billion (federal and provincial) and methodology used. It measured only the EXTRA COSTS of a second language —French—and not the extra costs of serving more individuals.

    Scott Reid, MP for Lanark, in his 1991 book “Lament of the Notion” calculated the cost of official bilingualism at $4 billion annually at the federal level alone.

    However, Keith Spicer, the Liberal and the first OL commissioner, in 1991 report had costs on bilingualism as high as $10 billion per year. I trust Spicer the most!



  3. Just went through one of your proofs.. I will quote

    “The annual cost of providing federal services in French as well as English was between $1.6 billion and $1.8 billion in 2006. While the cost is not very high in relation to the economy, it is still substantial and we should ensure that it is money well spent,” said François Vaillancourt, Université de Montréal economics professor and co-author of the study.

    I agree, and it says that it is has also included services in english…probably for anglo quebecker… GOOD.

    Your second link, went through it real fast, and it basically said the same thing.
    This study …It is a complement to a study published by the Fraser Institute, Official Language Policies at the Federal Level in Canada: Costs and Benefits in 2006, which estimated the that the total cost of federal bilingualism at $1.8 billion.
    I might have missed it…BUT where is your 8 billion or 4 billion a year.

  4. Hello Pete….thank you for posting the facts, for ALL to see. Having said that, it is certainly evident that the French have no intention of accepting the facts.

    Would have to say, that: “You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”.

    The French are not interested in the facts, on the subject of linguistic (English) discrimination and failed social engineering projects. The sacred cow called, Official Bilingualism (OB) has given the French minority, power and domination over the English majority.

    That’s the way, they like it…no matter that it’s morally or ethically wrong….as long as it’s in THEIR favour…it’s all good, apparently!


  5. Well Patrick ,
    I had not known you were a professional accountant .
    Oh 2006 stats Canada its 17 % is francophone.

    “Granted, la loi 101 had to be modified, but it still doesn’t hurt anglos in Québec. HECK, in five years Montreal will have a majority anglos.”

    Listen Daddy’s little separatist how can you honestly say it doesn’t hurt anglo’s -there is no freedom of speech -unless your french ,oh before the FLQ crisis and the repugnant language Laws Quebec put out -Montreal was largely English -thousands became political refugees and left from 1976-1981 over 90,000 fled the fascist regime.
    But that’s all right my little separatist you were not even a twinkle in daddy separatist eyes.

  6. Patrice,

    Scott Reid’s book “Lament for a Notion” and the Spicer Report on bilingualism were published in 1991, long before the internet era. Go to the library to read them.

  7. Lou ,
    well said and thanks -yes it is Jim Allan .

    Baby separatist
    It is 1.8 billion just federally ,there are many incurred cost outside of that amount-hence J.Allan estimate of 3.1 Trillion over 42 years payed for by the 83% population for the 17%.
    Can you explain why Ontario spends 1200% more on bilingualism than Quebec?
    Now if Quebec does not respect bilingualism why should the rest of Canada? – Bilingualism was implemented for Quebec; why don’t they implement it?

  8. Highlander kinda reminds me of a fisherman who always catches the biggest fish and describes it to a Tee….but, you never see the fish. Add it up yourself, 7.04 million francophones …34 million people…Ok I correct myself its not 21 % but, 20.5. Oh and highlander, we are in 2012 buddy. I don’t think I need any math lessons from anyone here. To complain about bilingualism that, according to pete’s post isn’t a substantial amount. (1 %)..is ludicrous.
    My good friend colleen is wrong on the facts again….mais comme le proverbe en français dit si bien….Un mouton en suit un autre

  9. @ concerned citizen 2. You are absolutely right. Mike mistook the loudness of the French Alexandria group as being proud Canadians when it was exactly what you said, “very loudly rude. and thank you for being brave enough to protest on that day. Wish I could have done the same…

  10. Ha ha, Patrice, it’s $10 billions annually. You cannot refute Keith Spicer, a Liberal, the first OL commissioner and the key figure in the promotion of bilingualism.

  11. To Concerned Citizen 2,

    Singing your national anthem in your mother tongue is never discraceful and much more diplomatic and professional then showing up (3 or 4 people total) with signs strapped all them looking like clowns!

    Whatever happened to dress attire and informational brochures with representatives on hand to answer questions! Possibly a small token…..such as a pin…lol……to show your support?

    I am not part of the richelieu group but admire their support of their language because they are fighting for something they believe in ……….. just like you!

    Re: Highlander,

    I am not part of any group as I have mentioned to you before. Everything you say I listen too and that sir is more than I can say for large majority you call “representation by population”!

    Again, you are correct there is an issue but you must be a smart enough man to realize my comment of:

    “The majority of people are smart enough to use common sense and respect each other! Bilinguals, Anglophones, Francophones are only separate by a lack of respect and common courtesy!”

    Is true!

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  12. You are the pot calling the kettle black Mr. Mike! LFA have always been a respectful group. You are just like the rest of the bullies and can’t see past your nose despite your face….is that how the saying goes? We were barely in the building and we were being bullied. It wasn’t just French singing of the anthem, it was over the top, over bearing. Whatever happened to 1/2 and 1/2 with the anthem, oh no that is not good enough! Just like the jobs that are being taken over here….ALL FRENCH. No way Mr. Businessman, wanna be a politician. You should have gotten a seat before you started cutting yourself off at the knees!!!

    Oh and by the way, unlike French interest groups that are GIVEN the money by us tax payers can afford to hand our fancy pins and brochures, we have to fight with our own pockets.

    Shame on you and your bigoted attitude. We see through you. I think many people will be buying their pool supplies elsewhere next year!

  13. Mike you said on Aug 26/2012
    This looks like a great case for a defamation/libel suit! This is why I say the LFA would be better off without the likes of such individuals as Galganov!

    The same thought defamation -are you corporately(legally) covered on this statement:
    Singing your national anthem in your mother tongue is never discraceful and much more diplomatic and professional then showing up (3 or 4 people total) with signs strapped all them looking like clowns!

    The very least its propaganda!

    Franco-phones are respected its not their issue but bad government policy .
    Once again mike its not a French /English issue-we respect both we fight BAD GOVERNMENT POLICY.

    We simply ask why government behaves in certain ways -we respect the rule of law in providing french services -but within the context of where numbers warrant -which was the initial intention of the french services language act .

    Numbers do not warrant 50%- in hospitals
    100% in health unit
    60%+ in federal government (local)
    70% local courts
    60+ service Ontario
    and many other government institutions
    French only institutions when all local services already provide bilingual services- this can only be termed segregation !
    When do we start having french only bathrooms or drinking fountains?
    Imagine if we had white only health clinic?-there is no difference !

    Welcome to Canada’s own cast system!

  14. Mike:
    Oh please tell me why Jean Lecompte of promotion of bilingualism yet he sits on several boards such as Lassemblie de francophone de L’Ontario that only encourage francophone rights .
    Is this not a conflict of interest ?
    or hypocrasy?

  15. Mike Bedard wrote “The majority of people are smart enough to use common sense and respect each other! Bilinguals, Anglophones, Francophones are only separate by a lack of respect and common courtesy!”

    The problem is not with the majority of the people, there are a very few people who have chosen to get government involved in changing society. People can accept change easier if logical reasons why are explained, the cost is minimul and if it can be put in place easily with few interuptions.

    In the mid 1800’s, the Scottish Galic language was plentiful. As society changed to more and more English, Galic lessened and even a Galic only newspaper folded with lack of readers. Laws and expense to promote English were not needed. Today, even with over 40 years of enshring rights and providing language instruction, a majority is still not learning another language or buying into the need.

  16. and the beat goes on I read.. well I was in hometown QC yesterday had an awesome day there and yes the menus at my little Francophone restaurants were the same one for Anglos and one for Francophones.. I was greeted with a hug as I was by my hairdresser who is French etc.. and all was well and both parties informed me that no they did not think QC would separate and they all were making fun of Pauline Marois.. so lighten up on the language folks as I do think we both can live and work together in harmony..
    Respect of each other goes a long way for all parties maybe this is one of he reasons I have always gotten along well with Francophone folks! ..

  17. @Jane Doe:
    Jane Doe wrote: “respect for each other goes a along way.”

    All I have to say is, Bill 101…

    And, as long as that exists,
    respect for the English in the “province” of Quebec = Zero.

  18. You are a simpleton, Mike, in thinking the problem is in lack of “respect”. We respect francophone individuals as we respect any human beings, but we REJECT the racist bilingualism POLICY that legislated francos into a superior caste and anglos into second class citizen.

    If you are so respectful, Mike Bedard, why don’t you agree to REPEAL this disrespectful policy?

  19. you can say what you like edud but I have always gotten respect where ever I go in QC..DO YOU ACTUALLY GO TO QC AND TALK TO PEOPLE OR EAT IN QC.. Respect of yours gets respect in return in QC … I may not necessarily like bill 101 but I believe it was necessary…

  20. should read respect of others (meaning Francophones)

  21. PETTEE,
    ..not 10 billion but 2.4 billion.. provide proof.
    …and even if that ¨study was true¨.. if i used your 10 billion figure, of which its not true..bilingualism is only 4 percent of the annual budget…

  22. Patrick Boucher…have said it before. Look it up, yourself…it is not incumbent on us, to prove anything to you or your ilk .

    Look up the information or facts, yourself. There is an English expression: “Your Mother doesn’t live here, do it yourself!”.

    IF, you have proof to dispute it…please post same, otherwise…all I keep hearing is the sound of “crickets”.

  23. @Jane Doe
    If you follow my posts Jane you will know that I am half French Canadian myself. So, yes, I have been there. As a matter of fact, I grew up in Quebec. And, I’ll tell you this. When I was growing up in “the province” of Quebec with my French mother and my English father (before this bill 101 craziness which you call “necessary”) it was a great place. People got along and found ways to “make things work.” French and English would meet and fall in love, stores could advertise in whichever way they choose to and so on… Imagine all that without a law that told us what to do. Now, with your so called “necessary” bill 101, I cannot even go into that province. Sure, there are pockets of nice folk and restaurants like you speak of but, the sheer sense of little respect is tangible. No English on street signs etc etc etc… The sense of “French power” is palpable. There is a feeling of, we are French hear us roar. And, we will not revert to speaking English unless it is absolutely necessary. And, even then, maybe not. Which, by the way, are things that feel anything but inviting. I myself used to revert to speaking French now and again when I was there just as a sense of back and forth but now, the sense that I am being forced makes me not want to AT ALL.
    AND THAT my dear Jane Doe IS the MAJOR problem. I have said it before and I will say it again. As much as you folk think Bill 101 and things like that are “necessary” I say, hooey… Language and culture (you know those wonderful things that we all like about the French without being forced to) CANNOT be legislated. Language and culture cannot be forced by one group upon another group without doing two things.

    1) Turning those who are doing the forcing, into ego centric bullies. Power corrupts.
    2) Making those who are being forced feel inferior and feel like a repressed group who will always end up holding a grudge against having been forced.

    Culture has more to do with the way people interact, the food they eat (Ragu : -), the types of jokes they laugh about, the sense of community and religion they share and so on. Passing laws to protect those intangible things, if YOU REALLY think about it Jane, is totally absurd and will NEVER really work. It may appear to work at first but, in the end it will always fall flat and FAIL. And then, everyone is left at odds with each other just like we are beginning to see now in this country.
    Besides, and perhaps what may be the MORE IMPORTANT issue here is, how can all this be happening in a “province” within a country? I don’t see any other provinces calling themselves little “nations” and getting away with that. Things like the Bloc within the Federal government and a province going around making laws against its own citizens and the main language of the country within which it resides are unheard of and COMPLETELY DEFY LOGIC. I simply don’t know how it has been allowed to happen in the first place.
    I could go on but I like to try to be mindful and nice to our moderator 

  24. Highlander:

    Please don’t group with others as I have said before!

    I have one goal! To provide some critism that would possibly help the LFA! How, by providing valid arguments that may prepare them for a larger battle!

    I am not on the fence or on any paticular side: I am purely for the right thing! It’s hard to say you are for anything if don’t stand for something!

    I am just trying to get this group to cut out the BS and I am trying desperately to try and get them to fight for a reason!

    There cause is flawed unless their is a clearly expressed outcome! Fairness for all is too generic and the need to start with specific chagnes and then start to promote the changes they have made and the changes they would like to see!

    However, the “angle” lets say and comments have become too “Anti’French” and I know thats truely not what they want more so then Equality!

    However, to date that has not been truely displayed at all times!

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  25. Collean Macintoush
    All I’m saying is if your going to make some outrageous statement on figures and facts, i’m just asking for proof. TO prove me wrong of which you have yet to do. are you saying that I have to provide proof to your false accusations and affirmations… I can’t… I cant provide proof to untruths.

  26. @ edudyorlik your post to Jane Doe was a very clear perfect message. Totally in agreement. I wasn’t born in Quebec nor do I have French family but I did have French friends and neighbours growing up and loved them dearly. Today I have to say that when I meet someone for the first time and they happen to be French speaking I have reservations. I don’t like the way I feel and I blame it entirely on this pushing and forcing of the French language. I have been a victim of unfair hiring practices so many times that I can’t help but blame it on that “one French person” I meet today. Something has to change.

  27. @Rosie RE:: August 29, 2012 at 9:44 pm – Post

    Well, thank you Rosie. And yes, you are right, “something has to change.” As far as I can see there are three main points that are completely beyond a sense of belief.

    1st – (and main one) How can we have gotten to a situation where by the majority uni-lingual English speaking people of this country (something like 90% vs 10% outside the “province” of Quebec) cannot run for the office of the Prime minister in their own country. How on EARTH can that be happening when we are the majority? There MUST be a way that translators can take on this task. This MUST be changed and no longer be accepted. It’s a COMPLETELY insane limitation on the majority population of a country. Think about it, everyone. How crazy is this? How can this be acceptable? No majority should accept this.

    2nd – How can our Federal politicians allow Canadians citizens living in “the province” of Quebec to be treated with such little respect. A Federal politician’s main job is to “protect the people” from foreign or domestic threat. Whether that threat be physical harm or from this kind of mistreatment of peoples constitutional rights within their own country. And that means
    — ALL the people — in his or her country. Not just a select few.

    3rd – It seems clear to me (and many people) that the majority of Quebecers really want nothing to do with the English language, the Canadian flag or, for that matter, just about anything Canadian. This is NOT something I am making up… There seems to be this sense from the French of —

    “shhhh, let’s not “directly” tell the English and the rest of Canada we don’t want any part of their language and what’s known as being “Canadian.” We’ll just continue to do as we please and they won’t even notice. And, even if they do notice, they won’t do much. After all, they’re not as vocal and in your face as we are. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to suck money from them cause lord knows we couldn’t afford to have what we have without them (YET) and we’ll continue to take their jobs and so on as well. They’ll never notice”

    — kind of thing going on…

    A visit to that “province” on St Jean day will illustrate this perfectly. Try bringing a tiny Canadian flag along with you if you’re not sure what i mean. Careful…

    Therefore, everyone should tell someone. Bring it up at the next card game, or school meeting or, on the bus, or anywhere. Talk to the person next to you in the supermarket or in the gym if you have to. Just continue to pass the word around. Sometimes all it takes is the right person with the right inspiration being told something they were unaware of and voila. A revolution. OK, maybe not a revolution but, at least people will start talking about it and it will become “a bigger more important issue” so to speak. It’s time we wake up and do like they do. If they don’t see enough French signs on the bus they complain. If their MP doesn’t have French letter head, they complain, and so on, and so on. The squeaky wheel…

  28. Hello edudyrolik and Rosie…wow, your posts are right on target…what else is there to say but kudos to you both!

    Edudyrolik, you are quite right the squeaky wheel has been loudly squeaking, so therefore getting greased. I say, it’s time for the English majority, to take a page out of the radical fringe minority’s book and PUSH back!

    Certainly, not suggesting that WE have to be as obnoxious, ignorant or arrogant…just a gentle nudge in the right direction by an overwhelmingly English majority will accomplish the same thing.

    Edudyrolik keep up the excellent postings…you won’t sway the bigots here, but you will help recruit more to OUR Cause, indeed!

    To my fellow posters…remember, we are not feeding the racist trolls, on this site:)

  29. Another brave Canadian citizen fighting against the ridicules fascist laws within the “province” of Quebec.



    And, for all of you (the Bouchers, the Stella’s and the Blue Birds, etc) on “that side” this is typical of how your side treats people who stand up to you. You threaten and use violence. That’s fine. We have the law on our side and we are growing in numbers. We will NOT be intimated any more. The tide is turning and just wait till you see how pitiful you and your ilk will look once the majority decide we have had enough. Vive le… oops I mean. Go P. Marois Go… 

  30. Well has a reply come back from the Supreme court or what is happening with all this?

  31. As you know supports bilingulism, the legal system works slowly.

    The Russell bylaw has gone through 2 levels of court with the second time acknowledging rights and freedoms have been infringed, but allowed because I guess Francophones are dying in the streets and need help. Do you know any Francophones who can not do things for themselves when left to with government “helping”?

    Business owners in the already affected townships (all 4) should be jumping up and down mad that THEIR rights are being affected by this as well.

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