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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 convictions!

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 group.

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 can happen.

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?

If you like to get a better understanding about Anglophone sentiments in Quebec, visit the home page of
The Montreal Gazette

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Posted April 14, 1998
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