Friday, April 23, 2010

Howard Galganov- The Empire Strikes Back!

There's little doubt that if an evil Anglophone Empire seeking to assimilate and enslave Francophone Canadians actually exists, Howard Galganov would be the movement's Darth Vader.

Invoking his very name sends shudders down the spine of ardent Quebec nationalists and his unabashed and cruel attacks on Quebec and French language nationalism elicits waves of fear and hatred among his enemies.

Now that Mordechai Richler has passed, Galganov has assumed the title of the most hated Anglophone by French language nationalists and may outrank Lord Durham and General Amherst as the ultimate, all-time Anglophone rogue.

For those of you unfamiliar with Howard, he is the uber English activist who battled all forms of restrictions placed on English rights in Quebec. His mantra was so caustic and extreme that the majority of English members of the media and intelligentsia distanced themselves from him, lest they too, be perceived to be as virulently anti-French. Anglo voters have rejected him massively at the polls in both Ontario and Quebec when Galganov has run for office, perhaps underlining that Anglos are not the rednecks made out to be by the nationalists.

After years of fighting a losing battle and after countless death threats, he finally packed it in and moved out of Quebec to Eastern Ontario about ten years ago.

Today, Mr Galganov continues to militate for English language rights as well as conservative causes through his website.

His most recent undertaking, the production and distribution of an inflammatory pamphlet has sent French language militants flying into a fit of rage and may be just about the nastiest stunt he has ever pulled.

The issue concerns the small township of Russel in eastern Ontario that has a large population of Franco-Ontarians. The town passed a bylaw making bilingual signage compulsory, to which Galganov is deeply opposed.

His rationale for opposing the bylaw is that it violates the concept of free speech and the precept that people should be free to erect signs in the language of their choice, be it English, French or Swahili. LINK

His fight over the issue with Mayor Ken Hill has degenerated into a legal battle that is spiralling out of control, with neither the mayor nor Mr. Galganov willing to give an inch.

A resident wrote an open letter addressing Mr. Galganov, to a local newspaper- La Nouvelle;
"Discussing your pamphlet with friends, we came to the conclusion that one of the problems is due to the fact that Mr. Hill and you have, unfortunately, a lot in common. Both of you want to win at all costs without consideration of the incurring expenses that residents of Russell will bear, because of your stubbornness."  Link
Now the pamphlet itself is truly a clever work of art. If Mr. Galganov tried harder to inflame emotions, he couldn't have done a better job. Using his experience in the advertising business, he created a cover page that was sure to evoke the strongest of reaction.

He mischievously gives the impression that the pamphlet is a recipe book for the destruction of the culture of Franco Ontarians, but a closer look at the fine print placed between the much larger first and third phrase changes the meaning completely.

There's no doubt that his intention was to enrage French language militants and he has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

The pamphlet posits that bilingualism is the first step to French assimilation and thus Francophones should also rally against the bilingual sign bylaw.

Where have we heard this argument before?

In Quebec, of course.
Mr. Galganov has cleverly borrowed an argument, right out of the handbook of French language zealots, who also advance the notion that  bilingual signs in Quebec are a force of assimilation.
Ironically, when the battleground shifts to Ontario,  these same militants argue in favour of bilingual signs because in Ontario, it is a force for the preservation of the French language.
No contradiction there, I guess?

At any rate the pamphlet had it's desired effect, with one of Quebec's leading language militants, Gilles Rhéaume of the La ligue québécoise contre la francophobie canadienne (Quebec league against Canadian Francophopia) planning to complain to no less an august body than the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)  Link

It is perhaps understandable that Francophones  remain touchy, Mr Galganov appears to have gone well over the edge these last two years, starting with the odious campaign to boycott French-owned stores. That campaign also got to Mr. Rhéaume and he also filed a complaint to the United Nations, but so far, received no response.

Its a bit sad to see Mr Galganov go off the rails so badly, the idea of a boycott based on language, race, religion or ethnicity should be even more objectionable to Mr. Galganov, considering that ancestors were subject to much the same treatment.

Like many of the leaders of the independence and French language  movement, Mr. Galganov is imbued with an exaggerated sense of  righteousness and self-importance and has no qualms about reeking havoc and pain in the name of an extremist cause.

Mr. Galganov has degenerated into a sad caricature, as ridiculous as Mr. Rhéame.

When I think about him, I'm reminded of that scene where a heroic old war veteran, revered by all, is interviewed by a reporter on his 100th birthday and lets loose a stream of racist invective, much to the humiliation of family members.

Perhaps Mr. Galganov was once relevant, today he's a dangerous humiliation.


  1. This is why I advocate for territorial unilingualism. The Franco-Ontarian community and its accompanying problems would have been avoided. What's curious here is that Quebec passes laws for French exclusively and Ontario here is insisting on French inclusiveness. There is no free choice.

  2. "His rationale for opposing the bylaw is that it violates the concept of free speech and the precept that people should be free to erect signs in the language of their choice, be it English, French or Swahili."

    How does this make him a "dangerous humiliation"? I'm not opposed to public documents and services being offered in both official languages, but legislating signage is a violation of free speech. It's bad enough that we have it imposed on us in Quebec!

    The bloated self-importance and cultural disdain with which French first zealots treat all other cultures that share this home with them has gone far enough. If I want to post a sign in pig latin anywhere in this country I should not be prevented from doing so by anyone, especially a minority that uses its regional majority in Quebec to create a subculture of individuals who are systematically denied the rights guaranteed to them by this country.
    The Franco-Ontarians who are embroiled in this argument should be given the same answer we receive daily and frequently makes its appearance on this blog as well, 'if you don't like it, move!'

  3. Galganov's attempts to "unilingalize" Ontario are no different than the attempts made by some organizations in Quebec "unilingalize" Quebec by recourse to the judicial and legal system. The Mouvement Montréal Français published its "platform" this week, and the first point of their "platform" is "Débilinguiser les institutions publiques et faire respecter le droit de travailler en français".

    The justification:

    "La Loi 101 n’a pas été conçue contre le bilinguisme individuel, mais contre le bilinguisme institutionnel. Elle visait à faire du français non pas l’une des langues officielles, mais plutôt la seule langue officielle du Québec."

    In other words, what Montrealers want or are willing to live with are of no importance. What is important is what's written on a piece of paper and deposed in the "national assembly".

    Although Galganov and the MMF clowns are made of the same clay, Galganov did not start this thing. His actions are a reaction. In a way, he is a victim of the radical environment he lived in. Quebec nationalist radicals radicalized him. Which, of course, does not excuse this recent idiotic campaign of his in Ontario.

    Exacting revenge is no way to go. The way to go is to transcend above all this nonsense and let go, especially now that he lives in an English-speaking province with a French minority that can't threaten his rights.

  4. Huh? How can you villainize Howard Galganov? Apparently standing up for basic human rights and fighting the racist and xenophobic acts of the Quebecois makes you a biggot. Certainly he can be very blunt and states things the way they are, when others are too cowardly to, but to paint him as a villain? Come on...if anything, he's the LAST and ONLY person to try and stop the Quebecois nationalists from committing acts of ethnic cleansing in Canada. Right now it's soft ethnic cleansing, but trust me, if unchallenged, it will turn into regular ethnic cleansing with violence and killing one day soon. Mr. Galganov is the only one with enough courage to try and stop them before it's too late!

    And speaking of the Quebecois separatist nationalists, they're a danger. They're as seething with anger and hate as any member of the KKK. It shocks me everyday when I see the stuff they pull and Canadians turn a blind eye. There's a difference between freedom of speech and out right racism. The Quebecois have crossed the line. I'm surprised the 101 crosses placed at the site of the English super hospital weren't burning crosses.

    No wonder he left Quebec. If you try and stand up for people's rights here in Quebec, it gets you insults, threats of violence and a defamation of your character. Someone needs to stand up to these biggots and racists, and I don't see anyone but Howard Galganov doing it.

    If he's Darth Vader, the Parti Quebecois is the Emperor.

  5. "Perhaps Mr. Galganov was once relevant, today he's a dangerous humiliation."

    I tend to disagree big time with that conclusion.

    I have been in contact with Howard for 8 years now and we had heated debates but never I sense francophobia nor ethnic racism from that guy. On the contrary, there is a profound sense of justice and equality in Howard's speeches.

    It's really worthwhile reading and hearing his radio shows on

  6. @Anonymous,

    "There's a difference between freedom of speech and out right racism."

    There is indeed but to me, it's not to the government to judge, it's to people to make up their own minds on it.

    Don't forget that government censorship is ALWAYS the beginning of all government abuse. Take bill 101 for instance and take it as freedom of speech censorship, that is the main reason why I oppose it.

    Indeed, I oppose any and every government censorship. As long as hate groups are exposed and contained, there isn't much they can do in a free democratic society.

  7. As for Gilles Rhéaume, his organism against francophobia is bogus and has virtually no members besides him.

    He has been president of the SSJB, is a notory anglophobe ethnocentric quebecois nationalist and separatist and what does someone who wants to break up a country has to care about the fate of franco-ontarian people?

    To compare Howard Galganov to him is being ill-informed and definitely biased, I thought the Editor could do a better job than the Gazette at this but nonetheless, I find it a little disappointing on your behalf and thought you could do a better job at comparing facts instead of being brainwashed by conventional media propaganda and agendas.

  8. "Exacting revenge is no way to go. The way to go is to transcend above all this nonsense and let go, especially now that he lives in an English-speaking province with a French minority that can't threaten his rights."

    Same kind of argumentation than in the case of the burqa and niqab.

    Never forget that in Canada, we live in a regime where it is always the tirany of the minority that wins and all court cases are paid with hard earn tax dollars of the majority.

  9. It is so good to see so many people who understand what Howard is doing - he's using irony in the colourful brochure and is using it very effectively. Remember, he did not start the fight - the Russell Township did. Mayor Ken Hill thinks that no one would have the courage to oppose the bill. Well, both Howard and Jean-Serge Brisson did and the case will be a land-mark case to establish that Freedom of Speech & Expression is still alive in Canada. No business should be forced to post signs in any particular language - that is between the business owner and his customers. Kim

  10. I think this fellow is fantastic. I may not completely agree with him, but I believe it is wonderful when people become unhinged. It is what keeps life interesting and is in stark contrast to the predictable and politically correct anglophones I usually meet in Montreal. Good for him.

  11. "It is what keeps life interesting and is in stark contrast to the predictable and politically correct anglophones I usually meet in Montreal."

    Galganov is too radical for my taste, but I do agree that many Anglophones in Montreal are too complacent. It's either that they are intimidated, or that they bought the nonsense that's been sold to them for many years. My guess is that they are intimidated and prefer not to stir up shit, especially given that the Francophones are very sensitive on the subject of language.

    There is a blog by an Anglo Montrealer who calls himself Fagstein, and he is a prime example of this complecency. I remember a few months ago him wishing Le Devoir a happy 100th year anniversary. Le Devoir - the nationalist rag that has been shitting on Fagstein's people for 10 decades.

    I think the best way is to go is to respect Quebec's French majority (respect is essential), while at the same time to be able to recognise nationalist excesses and stand up to nationalist radicals when they cross the line. It's kind of a tightrope that all non-Francophone Montrealers have to walk every day of their lives.

    Btw, Sugar Sammy was on Tout Le Monde En Parle last night. A Montrealer of Indian descent, born and raised in Cote des Neiges, a "child of bill 101" fluent in 4 languages (English, French, Punjabi, Hindi) - a true face of modern day Montreal. He made the unilingual Francophone separatist hosts (Guy Lepage, Danny Turcotte) look like fossils from a museum of natural history. The vibrant, open minded, multilingual, cosmopolitan guy, next to a pair of sad separatist clowns. It was fun to watch and the best part was - Sammy didn't hold back like some Fagstein. When asked what he thinks of Bill 101, he said it was good for him in the end (he learned French), but it is harmful to many Francophones in the regions who do not get to learn English.

    Galganov is a fossil too, like Turcotte and Lepage. Sugar Sammy is what Quebec and Canada is all about today. At least the big cities, anyways.

  12. @adski,

    "Galganov is a fossil too, like Turcotte and Lepage."

    Qu'est-ce que tu en sais? Vous êtes le juge ultime de ceux qui sont fossiles et ceux qui sont modernes?

    C'est une opinion comme une autre mais basée sur aucun fait concret, difficile d'admettre que notre opinion de départ était erronée.

  13. Re: "His mantra was so caustic and extreme that the majority of English members of the media and intelligentsia distanced themselves from him, lest they too, be perceived to be as virulently anti-French."

    I hate to burst your bubble but Galganov fought for Anglo rights and "the media and intelligentsia" think with their hearts and not with their heads. Listen to the message very carefully re what happened/happens in Ontario and stop attacking the messenger, if you can not comprehend the message.

  14. Galganov is the Bizarro Jacques Parizeau - both lovingly unhinged and brutally honest. Having said that, I'd probably rather sit down for a beer with Galganov.

  15. This is an answer from the horse's mouth by Galganov himself to this very article:

    Great, entertaining and funny, listen to the musical intro and ending as well. Best regards,


  16. Your sentence:

    "Mr. Galganov is imbued with an exaggerated sense of righteousness and self-importance and has no qualms about reeking havoc and pain in the name of an extremist cause."

    Did you know that "reeking havoc" should be "wreaking havoc"? If you are the Editor of the Gazette, writing in an English newspaper, don't you think that you should know how to spell such a common word? Kim

  17. Wow... hypocrisy is thy name Quebec! It's fine when Quebec does it but not "ok" if Ontario does it. How is it necessary for discriminatory language laws (Bill 101) to be invoked to "save French from assimilation by declaring a Province, unilingually French? Yet, in the same breath with a straight face, state that bilingualism will save the French from assimilation?

    Galgonov has my vote and confidence!!!!!!!!

    Colleen McIntosh

  18. Have to say if Howard Galgonov was running for Prime Minister, he would have a majority! Nonetheless, completely concur with his suggestions of Quebec or French boycott..hit them where it hurts...their wallets.

    Refuse all services, industry, tourism and products from they learn to assimilate promptly and voluntarily, on their own volition, afterall!!!!!

    Hank and Beth Glenn

  19. Hey, if Howard Galganov has pissed off the separatists in Quebec...GOOD for him!!!!!!!! Obviously, his message must be right and on target for English Canada, to overturn the power and authority of a linguistic minority who is well funded and very powerful.

    So, in saying that completely agree to a boycott of all Quebec and it's business or exports. Shouldn't take too long before they get the message that it's bad karma to piss off and discriminate against a huge majority of Canadians, just because they are English! As in all business you cater to your target this case, it's the English!

    Am sure that they will "accommodate" the English to save their bottom line...wait and see. Can't be soon enough for me!

    Liz Galleon

  20. Way to go, Howard...if, it's inflamed a lunatic linguistic fringe group...that's awesome! Shouldn't give the separatists a forum to spew their bile, anyway!

    Love the idea of a financial boycott of all things Quebec...if, English Canadians want their Country, rights, language and culture back...they should jump on board the English train, NOW...before it leaves the track forever!

    Thank you, Mr. Galgonov for fighting for OUR language...the language of Canada and the World!!

    Sincerely...Tom and Edna

  21. To Hank & Beth Glen, Tom & Edna, Liz Galleon and Anonymous.(or whoever you are)
    Thank you for deeming my blog so important that you have salted it with pro Howard comments.
    No problem.

    Next time when you bomb the comments section, don't send them in within a few minutes,so early in the morning, if you want pass as real. Also change up the content a little. Your effort gets an "F"

  22. Alot of bile on this site, that's for sure...not entirely convinced it's the commentors, personally!

    Point that the posters are making is that Howard Galganov is to be commended not scorned. But hey, it's your blog, do what you want with it. I happen to agree with the majority of comments in support of Mr. Galganov. As to your opinions, not so much!!!

    Sincerely, Colleen McIntosh

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  23. When the loyalists came to Canada they said that Quebec could keep their language they didn't say that they could keep their language and put it on all of Canada and then make theme pay for everything that they wanted from the rest of Canada. Thank you Howard and all that have fought so long against bilingualism. All they know how to do is take, take, take.

  24. Dear Editor/Writer:

    Your statement "Mr. Galganov has degenerated into a sad caricature, as ridiculous as Mr. Rhéaume" is in itself, a flaky analogy.

    Sorry, but no. Howard Galganov is hard-hitting and at times inflammatory, but he's thrown away far more class and generosity than Gilles Rhéaume will ever acquire if he lives another hundred years from today.

    Howard Galganov has raised money for womens' shelters, animal rights, Sun Youth and other charitable organizations. Has Gilles Rhéaume raised one red cent other than for his own anglophobic causes?

    Howard Galganov is NEITHER against the speaking or posting signs in French anywhere, unilingually or multilingually NOR is he against French language institutions anywhere. His beef is that Franco Ontario society is segregating itself from the English speakers, and communities are starting to FORCE bilingualism rather than letting the individual choose if he wants to offer bilingual services. That person's choice being taken away with legislative force IS a violation of civil liberties.

    IT IS A FACT that French schools and boards don't want English speaking children on their buses;

    IT IS A FACT that there is/was a clinic in Cornwall that refused to treat an English speaking person who entered their portals seeking medical attention. Worse yet, the Ontario Government sat with its thumb up its rectom when informed of this.

    IT IS A FACT that I heard on the national news several years ago of a long-serving, popular and well-liked English-speaking bus driver somewhere in Ontario was fired a year before his retirement because his knowledge of French was insufficient.

    IT IS A FACT that an immigrant who came to Quebec several years ago and opened a dépanneur (convenience store) with his own money, learned French, and was liked by his community, was shut down by the Office Québécois de la langue française because they felt his knowledge of French was insufficient, and they wanted him to hire a Francophone for no other reason than to oblige him to create a job at HIS expense. He couldn't afford to, so he was robbed of his livelihood. Crazy language zealots in Quebec.

    Howard Galganov is NOT out to shut ANY business down. It is the consumer's choice to boycott a business establishment or not; Howard Galganov's.

    Howard Galganov may be seen as loud, crass and bombastic, but, unlike Gilles Rhéaume and others of HIS ilk, he is NOT out to eliminate the use of French like Rhéaume is trying to do with English. Like him, love him or hate him, Galganov has done far more good in his community than Gilles Rhéaume will EVER do. Oh, and Howard Galganov doesn't make his point by walking hundreds of kilometres to pee on statues like M. Rhéaume.

  25. Never heard of 'Howard' before but it seems he was indeed a popular figure among French people.

  26. I am always disturbed when I see and hear outrageous anti-French commentary from the likes of Galganov, or even the recently formed anglo-rights groups. We SHOULD be fighting for true equality and we should be fighting for bilingualism in areas where businesses and services feel there are sufficient numbers to provide bilingual services. I would not expect to meet an English-speaking waitress in the Saguenay and I would not expect to find a French-speaking Dentist in Oakville. The Ontario-Quebec border regions (and obviously Montreal) have always been functionally bilingual and there is no reason to try to introduce laws that swing the pendulum one way or the other.

    Any attempt at intolerance by the English population would make us no better than the Gilles Rhéaumes and other zealots that we so detest. Galgonov's recent speech at the Equality Party 2.0's meeting did little to increase his, or the party's credibility in the community. Rather their loose-cannon attitudes are disturbing to many anglos and only serve to incite the French hardliners. I strongly object to giving the other side any ammunition for their failing arguments.

    1. Gerry:

      Can you please specify what "outrageous anti-French commentary" from Galganov, including his EP 2.0 speech, you are referring to?

    2. "I strongly object to giving the other side any ammunition for their failing arguments."

      Me too.

  27. Thank you very much for this article, it will come in really handy now that Galganov decided to rally in Montreal.

    Truly, the anglophones here are shooting themselves in the foot.


    I invite you and your adience to join me in denouncing this divisive sad clown.

  28. That's why Quebec independence is necessary to separate French from English, it's the only solution.