If you have landed on this page, you are most likely looking for a home page of Howard
Galganov. We are sorry to disappoint you because, as far as we know, Howard does not have a
home page and YES we are related. In fact, to our knowledge, all Galganovs in North America
are related and they all originated from Montréal. To our international visitors, Howard
Galganov is a Québec resident who is fighting for the rights of the Québec English-speaking
minority (until further notice and to the best of our knowledge, Québec is still a province of
Canada). In Québec, the English speaking minority is referred to as the Anglophones, the French
speaking majority is called the Francophones. Those that have any mother tongue other than
English or French are called Allophones.
Like many English speaking Québecers, Mason and I left Québec. Mason likes to refer to himself
as a "telephone". I think he is right. Since we have been connected to the Internet our telephone
line has been constantly busy.
Since Howard has made our name so popular, Mason and I have not been able to deal with the
number of people who ask us about Québec. We have been arguing between ourselves about
whether we should make our own opinions known. Mason and I don't agree on all Québec issues
either. Mason who was born in Montréal, Québec, is very sentimental about Québec and,
actually, so am I. However, I am an immigrant to Canada or to put it in another way, I am a
naturalized Canadian and, according to Québec politics, an Allophone. While we are both
federalists and very sad about the state of Canadian nationalism, I, unlike Mason, believe that
Canada must stay a federation. This, to me, includes Québec. I am, to put it into simple terms,
unable to believe that Québec is a 'lost cause'. Because of our last name many people have
approached us to discuss Québec issues and, to my surprise, I have found that Canadians outside
Québec know very little about the Québec English speaking minority. Actually, I am shocked.
What really upsets me is that some Canadians believe it is OK for Québec to leave Canada. Let
me ask you what will happen to the English in Québec? Do you, or should you, care? Well, I
can't answer these questions for you, but I know that if there were as many English speaking
Canadians in Iraq as there are in Québec right now, you, as a Canadian, would probably be
concerned about their well being. Maybe this comparison is extreme but I am just trying to make
a point here. Certainly, Québec cannot be compared with Iraq but the comparison has some
validity because many Anglos in Québec feel oppressed. This is important because, after all, the
whole issue on both the Anglo and Francophone side is about feelings, emotions and perceptions.
Speaking as an immigrant to this country, I am surprised at how many Canadians are apathetic to
the plight of fellow Canadians. This includes the apathy towards poverty in Newfoundland and
the apathy and acceptance of the growth of sentiments of separation in the Western provinces.
What is wrong with us? Mason says I am a 'bleeding heart liberal' and, I guess, if this means
caring about my fellow Canadian, then he is right. I just think that many Canadians are so
influenced by the politicians that we have lost sight of the important issues. For example, nearly
every provincial government is screaming for more power with the implication that we no longer
need a federal union. Well, maybe we should all separate from each other. Then we wouldn't
need to care about each other any more. Sorry, I just can't help being cynical. Please, don't get
me wrong, I don't believe that increased government support is the answer, I just believe that if
we cared a little bit more about each other, we could solve many of our problems before they
become political issues, that is, we have to take more responsibility for OUR well being.
As long as we are talking about caring, let me make one thing very clear. French Canadians are
French speaking people living in Canada, which, as far as I know, makes them by all definitions
CANADIANS. They are not second class citizens, trouble makers or anything else you, in your
anger, want to call them. AND NO! While my first name is french, I am a non-Francophone.
It is my opinion that all this anger towards each other is based on lack of tolerance which is fueled
by provincial politicians who are trying to obtain more power. In a sense, what Québec
politicians are doing is nothing more and nothing less than what all the other provinces are trying
to do also. The difference here is that Québec is trying to leave Canada on the basis of language
and culture while the other provinces just haven't come up with good enough excuse to make
separation sound feasible. So... the other provinces are also trying to opt out of federalism by
saying that the concept of federalism is obsolete. Federalism, they tell Canadians, is a concept
that no longer fits into 'modern day' Canada. To me, this type of rhetoric is just not a good
enough reason to dismiss our Canadian responsibilities such as our federal debt.
On the other hand, is language really a good reason to separate? Think of Switzerland, how many
official languages does Switzerland have? Are they separating? I was raised in Northern
Germany and I can't understand the German spoken in Southern Germany. Should Germany
break up? Obviously not, they just reunited with Eastern Germany. How many countries are
really a country because of similarity in language? OR is this discussion on separation based on
our differences in culture? What is Canadian culture? Why does it not include French speaking
Canadians? I am an immigrant, which culture do I belong to? Am I distinct because I am an
"Allophone?" What about the Ukranian Canadians, are they distinct? Surely, the Canadian
aboriginal people must be distinct! Oh, don't forget the American draft dodgers who came to this
country because they didn't believe in the Vietnam war - now, they must be truly distinct. What
about the Canadians who were the original settlers, they are surely distinct. Are they are the
"real" Canadians?. Wait... weren't they french? Oh, of course, they are distinct. AND, certainly,
the people of Newfoundland are distinct, they must be because they speak an English the rest of
Canada doesn't understand. Oh well, here I go again... cynical!
I think I will stop right here because you know where this will end. I guess, I just want to add
one thought. Please ask yourself the question: Maybe, just maybe...could it be, of course I am
just speaking hypothetically... "Are we DISTINCTLY CANADIAN?"
Finally, I also believe that the time has come for Canadians to speak up and I salute Howard
Galganov for doing so. I am a little surprised, however, about how little of what Howard is
saying ends up in the newspapers across the country. If you live outside Québec realize that
Howard is on the front page of the Québec English newspaper almost daily. If you are one of the
people who criticize Howard because his words could expose our 'dirty laundry' please realize
that it is much easier to leave Québec than to stay behind and fight for what you believe. Also,
recognize that Howard would not have the support of the English in Québec if he did not
represent the sentiments of the majority of the Québec Anglophone. Anglos in Québec say that
Howard says what Anglophones in Québec have been thinking for a long time. I agree!
What Howard is doing takes a lot of courage and there is no doubt that there are some who are,
at this moment, looking for anything they can find on him to discredit him. Believe me, nothing
will remain holy about Howard's personal life. If and when this happens, remember that Howard
had the courage to speak. Do you?
There are many who believe that Howard's safety is in jeopardy. Imagine, we have come that far,
we have to worry about our safety when we speak our mind. How far must things go and how
long must this situation continue before we, as Canadians, say, "Enough is enough." Now, as the
true Canadian I am, I will do what Canadians do best, retreat into my sadness and ... keep quiet.
Oh Canada, who stands on guard for thee?
Note: The above comments represent my opinions and are written as a
response to the many
questions that I have been asked over the last couple of months. My comments, although initiated
by the fact that Howard and I carry the same last name, have nothing to do with Howard
Galganov's opinions. However, even though I have not had a discussion with Howard Galganov
for more than a decade, I want to wish him best of luck in all his endeavours. I hope that the
Galganovs still living in Québec are as strong and dedicated as Howard.