CFN – Some members of the local language rights group Language Fairness for ALL (LFA) spent a cold, wet Sunday afternoon at Place du Canada, in Montreal Quebec, supporting the Quebec Office of the English Language Unity Rally Against Discrimination.
Upon arrival, the situation was quite intimidating, as 50 or so Quebec police had formed a human shield between two groups of people. Around 200 supporters were peacefully demonstrating, most carrying Canadian flags. In contrast there were also around 40 non-supporters, including a Pro-Separatist Group of young people wearing “red squares” & the Quebecois Patriotic Militant accompanied by it’s founder, Serge Provost, who were antagonizing the crowd chanting, “FLQ, SOS”. I was warned to avoid the ones dressed in camouflage as they were militia & could potentially be dangerous.
Prior to the police involvement, a QOEL member, Antoinette Mercurio, was attacked by young women. Mercurio stated, ” a young girl grabbed my hair from behind and jerked my neck”.
LFA was welcomed by members of the QOEL, including leaders and organizers Hugo Shebbeare & Jimmy Kay. Initially, President of LFA Christopher Cameron was a little taken aback when Mr. Kay presented him with a Quebec flag by planting it on his chest. After some tense moments, Mr.Kay told Chris he was a proud Canadian & Quebecer too. The two men found common ground & united in the demonstration. Originally, this rally was created to denounce the removal of the Canadian flag from Quebec’s National Assembly following the Parti Quebecois recent election victory and it quickly morphed into something greater; a rally to unite Quebecers against political segregation, language discrimination and especially any kind of violence.
Earlier in the day, Beryl Wajsman, Editor of The Suburban, gave an inspirational speech to the crowd, speaking of the “politics of division” that many believe now define the politics of Quebec.
“When you demonize and marginalize minorities-whether because of language, or religion, or creed or ethnicity,” said Wajsman, “…you validate prejudice.”
Sadly, Wajsman’s speech was interrupted by what some described as “anarchists” with loud chanting & disruptive behaviors. Never-the-less, the speech continued and the crowd loved it!
He finished his speech by saying, “Many of us were born here, others arrived to choose freedom. We live here and this is the land where our peoples are buried. We’re not going anywhere. J’y suis, j’y reste.”
A young woman caught my eye wearing a hand made red t-shirt reading 101 with a large X through it and “Help Us” underneath. This woman is a Canadian just like I, although I am from Ontario and she from Quebec. We both fight oppression & discrimination through language. A true democracy would have no place for language laws and together we will fight to end this language apartheid. This is why Language Fairness for ALL chose to travel to Quebec & HELP our fellow Canadians. As Thomas Jefferson so eloquently stated,” If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it; he is obligated to do so.”
The rally ended with the crowd uniting together in a circle, holding hands and singing O’Canada.
I am proud to have joined in this momentous event, knowing I helped my fellow Canadians fight language discrimination.
Lady with red hair is Antoinette Mercurio.
Below is some footage LFA shot at the rally.
Article submitted by Debbie Cameron of Language Fairness for All.
Everyone has to fight for what they believe in. Stella mentioned that the job market is highly competitive and that is so true. There are too few jobs to go around and the interviews can sometimes make you feel kind of awkward and make you feel that you are not wanted. There are many things that employers are looking for and one of the things that they are looking for is how you fit in. Another thing is how you look. Another thing is your credentials. A person can go on and on on this topic.
Cory, I certainly agree with you on the French issue but I couldn’t disagree more strongly on the issue of Mr. Obama. I don’t believe this forum is the best place to “get right into it” so to speak but, I do feel it is necessary to at least set the record straight about a few details. Yes, it is true that Obama is NOT the – be all and end all – (Neither party is all that great over there) But, the FACT that there was no real change has MUCH MORE to do with the FACT that the Republicans (And those stupid tea party arses) did everything they could to continually block any real efforts that Obama put forth. They were not about to give one single inch and, as you are likely aware, in government even the president CANNOT just do what he wants to do on his own. He would have needed them to meet in the middle and THEY DID NOT even budge. One example: Those “Bush” tax cuts for the upper class are something that most agree MUST go… Even many of the rich. But they didn’t and still don’t appear to want to let them go. And you, as a working class person should be able to see right through those Republicans and how they are for the rich. I also believe that there was “some” elements involving Obama’s race involved in all of that as well (which is really sad considering) but, that’s again, another story. One last thing. The media over there (similar to the media everywhere but to a larger extent there it seems) are inept and, completely corporately bought and sold. Even a popular Republican pundant came out to say Obama accomplished many things that he didn’t get proper credit for in the media.
Pretty sad when one can point to a study that shows, “people that watch Fox news know less about the world around them than people who watch no news at all.”
The message didn’t really get out but there was “some” positive “change.” And seriously. Look at the lies and the mess that Bush got the world into with Iraq. Did we really want a party in charge that would stoop to such lows over there yet again. Seriously, with the deep hole Bush and his crew put the US in, does anyone REALLY BELIEVE that four years would have been enough to fix it, EVEN WITH the participation of the “other side” to a larger degree. I don’t think so.
Cory…..I agree 100% on your comments about Obama. He is not the answer to America’s woes…….thinking their economy will only get worse under his leadership….which he lacks.
As for Marois, I never thought she would win nor did I want her to. Like Obama, she is not the answer for Quebec’s woes, even though she seems to be changing her tune somewhat about seperation. A good leader should not be partisan. That type of leadership creates division.
Our country has always been a peaceful one. That being said, when fascist groups start popping up, that is when troubles begin. Ontarians do not want trouble, nor do we like trouble makers. We are unique and want to remain that way.
Let Quebec deal with their own problems. Do we want to become like them? I would hope not. So why support them especially that they are never happy.
As for what is going on here about language, it is a big to do about nothing. It is all about one man, because of his radical activist views lost an election. This man has a grudge against the french and this country……whether you agree or not, is irrelevant to me and many others. The proof is in the pudding as they say……..he just can’t stop nor help himself.
Supposing you were in another country and all signs were in a language that you did not know. Would you not eat while you were there because you can’t read the sign? Who the h#ll cares
what is on the sign…….it is so absurd.
Now let’s come closer to home……..if the stores in Cornwall are asked to have bilingual signs, wouldn’t it be up to the business owners themselves to get together as a professional group and have the matter rescinded. It’s not up to Galganov and his gang………it’s none of his business. Didn’t Walmart, Future Shop and other stores in Quebec not fight their own battle about signage? Did they need the head chief and bottle washer galgnov to show them the way……..ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!
Like I said…….when fascists groups start to pop up….then the trouble begins.
stellabystarlight November 11, 2012 at 9:12 am
” As for what is going on here about language, it is a big to do about nothing. It is all about one man, because of his radical activist views lost an election.”
This not about one person its about many,many discriminated individuals the latest is Heather Villeaneave ,language is not superior to education,as it should be considered an asset.
” .if the stores in Cornwall are asked to have bilingual signs, wouldn’t it be up to the business owners themselves to get together as a professional group and have the matter rescinded. It’s not up to Galganov and his gang………it’s none of his business.”
Once again sweetheart your wrong it is up to the citizens to approach the community like the French advocates approach the community ,so are the French advocates addressing the community wrong as well?
Or is what not good for the goose as with the gander?
Hi Stella, a simply yes or no question to you this glorious Sunday morning.
Would you support a by law in Cornwall that states that the owners of any commercial entity have 100% control over what is on their signs? IE that they have complete control to post their sign either bilingual, multi-lingual, or in any single language they wish?
Remember this is a yes or no question 🙂
Administration…I think you may have shut her up!!!
Well that’s interesting Stella…. 🙂
Jamie…….you said it was a yes or no answer but now I have something to add lol
That is why so many people find this language thing foolish…..IT DOES NOT MATTER TO MOST WHAT LANGUAGE A SIGN IS WRITTEN IN. It really makes no difference, it doesn’t change a thing nor does it benefit anyone. When one complains about our tax dollars……hogwash. The gov decides where our tax dollars go……..PERIOD!! If the funds alloted to french language is discontinued, does it mean we will benefit…..absolutely not. To keep fighting the language issue and using tax dollars as an excuse to push one’s agenda is absurd.
As for local jobs…..there are only so many to go around and to put the blame solely on language, absurd again. As the article in the SF said, the CCH has hired an english person. I guess it is safe to say that the need for bilingual employees has levelled out, but yet again this is not a guarantee that all applicants will be hired. There is a lot more to hiring then meets the eye.
On that note dear Jamie…….have a lovely Sunday evening. **s**
Don’t you think there is more thing to be concerned about with all that is going on in the world today?
November 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm
“IT DOES NOT MATTER TO MOST WHAT LANGUAGE A SIGN IS WRITTEN IN. It really makes no difference, it doesn’t change a thing nor does it benefit anyone.”
So I guess we should remove all the bilingual signs on the Ontario highways -back to uni-lingual if it really means nothing right?
” If the funds alloted to french language is discontinued, does it mean we will benefit…..absolutely not. To keep fighting the language issue and using tax dollars as an excuse to push one’s agenda is absurd.”
Where is the said allotment for other languages -say Mohawk they are only 13000 in the area far more then francophones. besides they have been here for 10,000 years.
Its the french language advocates that use the public’s money to push for an agenda -yes your right it is absurd.
“Let Quebec deal with their own problems. Do we want to become like them? I would hope not”
That IS THE PROBLEM. We ARE becoming more “like them” every day. Drive around Quebec and what language do you see on EVERY sign? Dominant French
Then drive around many parts of Eastern Ontario. What language do you see on too many signs? French — IN ONTARIO
We DO NOT “want to become like them” (YOU’RE RIGHT for the first time) WE DO NOT WANT French everywhere and predominant.
Our own damn “main University in OTTAWA” is Freeekin French dominant.
What the hell is that all about.
This country is 97 % English. How can this be?
If only Quebec did deal with their own problems THERE in QUEBEC and not be attempting to push their problem (which is frenchification) outside of Quebec, no one would be paying one friken damn ounce of attention to Quebec at all. We have all resigned ourselves to the realization that they are fascists and want that problem.
Ontario and the ROC is English and we DON’T NEED a dominance of French. Can they not just be happy with French ONLY there in la belle province, since they have outlawed English there.
“Do we want to become like them? I WOULD HOPE NOT”
yorlik……..we don’t give a d@mn what goes on in Quebec……got that? This country has TWO OFFICIAL LANGUAGES…..FRENCH and english……got that? Of course we are going to see both languages on gov signs and elsewhere……HELLO!!!!!
Quebec is mostly french of course you are going to see french signs…..HELLO!!!!
Until this country decides otherwise and declares that this country will only have one official language……..you are going to have to live with it……….got that?
November 11, 2012 at 8:10 pm
“Quebec is mostly french of course you are going to see french signs…..HELLO!!!!”
Only french signs-HELLO!!!-20% anglophones
Ontario -96% English -wheres the English only signs -HELLO!!!
Ohhhh, of course… I got it now Stella. Shesh. Imagine that. After all your preaching, and ramming it down the throat, ignoring everything that which proves you wrong, badgering everyone and… We MUST NOT forget the incessant repeating and pounding home the mantra that Canada has two official languages, I finally get it.
When I drive around “mostly French” Quebec, I should see French signs.
when I drive around “mostly English” Ontario I should see French signs.
There ya go. Imagine that… It was just sitting right there in front of my eyes the whole time. Just like a great BIG sign but just couldn’t see it. Must have been all that ramming it down the throat talk about how it didn’t matter what is on signs that forced me to miss that one. But thank you so much for your insight. I feel so enlightened now, I believe I can actually sleep in tomorrow morning.
Oh and.. .Have a nice day eh
stellabystarlight November 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm
” That is why so many people find this language thing foolish…..IT DOES NOT MATTER TO MOST WHAT LANGUAGE A SIGN IS WRITTEN IN”
If that is so why would the big box stores in Quebec go to the expense of going to the courts to support their trademark signs?
Why implement a bylaw to force bilingual signs on private business in Russell and 3 other communities?