Since Howard Galganov (a first cousin) became a political activist, people
keep asking us, "Are your related to that Howard Galganov? What do you
think of what he's doing and what's happening there?"
The truth is that I don't expect my opinion will boost my popularity.
Still, it is my opinion and contrary to what many Quebecers believe, I am
entitled to it and to express it. I am aware that I am probably more
radical in my view than Howard but I admire him for standing for his
Until June of 1991 we lived as English speaking Montrealers. When we
married I was a confirmed, dyed-in-the-wool Montrealer who believed there
would never be a reason good enough to leave. In the early '70s, when
Levesque led the Parti Quebecois to power, I believed that Montreal was
the greatest city and things could never be so bad as to cause me to want
to leave. In 1991, I was gainfully employed and Yvonne was offered a
good job with the Universite de Laval in Quebec City. It was at this
point that I decided that I wanted to leave Quebec. We decided to move
to the Ottawa region.
The question is, "What precipitated this change of heart?" In our
lives there was, and is, a growing intolerance for hate and racism.
During the latter part of the 1970s we ran a printing and commercial
design firm. Through this period we saw a period of ever-increasing
poverty in Montreal. With this poverty came more intolerance and hate.
This hate was based, primarily, on language.
It is my opinion that irrational hate may be defined as hate based on
race (colour and/or country of origin and/or ancestry) religion and/or
language. There is simply no room for this in my life, however, this
is precisely the problem (as I perceive it) in Quebec.
Just as there is nobody who will change my mind - I realize that I could
not have (and will not be able to) change the minds of those who believe
in their inate right to be the rulers of a society - people who
refuse to recognize that they were not the first people there
(that natives were there long before them) and that majority rules politics,
not controls people and their ideologies. It is my contention that the
separatist Quebecer is a person who consciously ignores any fact that
does not suite his/her end. I choose not to live in a society that
entrenches, in law, subjegation of any identifiable or non-identifiable
Since I believe that discussion is fruitless when you are dealing with
people who believe "selectively" I chose to try life outside of Quebec.
As a consequence of that belief, it is my opinion that, while I am still
hopeful, I do not truly believe that Howard Galganov will actually
succeed. Howard's tactics, passive by comparison to the extremism of the
early 70's separatists, will only serve to harden those that
choose not to recognize the truth. It is my belief that,
ultimately, one of a few things must happen; Canada must be dismantled
and reassembled as a union of independent states, Quebec must be given
full independence without the benefits of Canada (I simply don't believe
in rewarding selfishness) or Quebec must accept that it is a part of a
thing greater than itself.
Unfortunately, while Yvonne remains moderately more hopeful than
myself, I feel that if Canada does not accede to Quebec's will, the worst
As to some recent comments on Howard's activities by our "politicians",
"If the economy is so important and his activities will only hurt the
whole population - then why was this not a concern when companies
started leaving Quebec in the 70's?" - Or have the Pequists forgotten
Sun Life and Cadbury-Schweppes-Powel? If they are having such a hard
time remembering Montreal of days gone by - they need only take a drive
down the 401 and watch the sides of the road to see all the companies
that were head officed in Quebec.
On more recent comments by Quebec politicians on Howard's activities,
I personally know of no associations with any radical Jewish (or
non-Jewish - religion should not even be at issue) organizations that he
has had. If I subsequently learn that he had any association with the
Jewish Defence League (JDL) I would not, personally, belittle him for
it. Nobody ever stood up for me when I was being attacked on the streets
of Montreal because someone "suspected" I was a Jew.
I cannot help but draw attention to M. Rheaume's recently expressed
opinion on English being spoken too much on the streets of Montreal (The
Montreal Gazette September 11, 1996), I absolutely believe there is
no difference between him (based on this comment) and the fascists of
Germany of the 1930's. It does not bother me that it so unpopular to
express this parallel. I think it is a fair comparison. I only wonder
what his final solution for the English of Montreal is.
All this said, I have enjoyed the conversation of many French
Canadians both in person and on the internet. I am simply not interested
in sillyness and bigotry. I don't believe that all Quebecers feel as M.
Rheaume. I do believe that the biggest problem is the Government of
Quebec - whether it is Liberal or Pequist, I do not believe that either
party are true federalists. I also feel that if the politicians were
more honest with their constituents about transfer payments to Quebec,
Quebecers might feel differently about their place here.
Finally, I would like to reiterate that I hope Howard is
successful and I hope Quebec stays within Canada. I also hope
that Canadians in general recognize that Quebec is important to the
make-up of this country. As a Canadian, I would like to see this country
stay in tact, however, I don't believe (as I did not when I lived in
Quebec) that Quebec is deserving of special status. It is a partner in a
great country. It is not the most important part, it is an
equally important part.
With the release of M. [Jacques] Parizeau's memoires, it has come to
light that he was less than honest about his intentions as it pertains to
"negotiating" the break-up of Canada. This comes as no surprise
to me. Can I really be the only one who isn't surprised to have
confirmation that he is a liar?