The old guard has largely retired or scaled back their involvement, there is a limit to the time and effort any one individual can contribute to voluntary community service and the effective shelf life of those who served us so well, has clearly passed beyond the expiry date.
The political vacuum that exists in the federalist community has been filled is by the Liberal Party, which while not sovereigntist, has largely abandoned the fight to preserve English language rights, coldly calculating that the votes in our community aren't there to justify the political capital.
This reality is exacerbated by the fact that the Liberals know that without a viable option, federalists will vote for them, the choice obviously the lesser of three evils.
But was the Equality Party a worthwhile endeavour back when our numbers were more numerous and when we had the demographic weight to send four members to the National Assembly?
It remains true that the party imploded under the weight of divergent opinions and never attained any sort of effectiveness, that is the unfortunate truth that the Anglo community recognized and thus moved on.
The problem of the old Equality Party is that it saw itself and acted as an established political party, something that it could never be and thus was doomed to failure.
But I do believe that a reborn Equality party can become relevant if it recognizes what it must become, given the limited size it can attain based on the demographic reality.
And so I'd like to use this last post of the year to discuss the concept.
FULL DISCLOSURE:To that end, I am writing this piece in an effort to see if there is a basis of support in our community, without which we can go no further.
I've been asked to offer some advice, perhaps get involved with a small group of people who are contemplating just that, the rebirth of the Equality party.
Here are five reasons why I believe federalists should support an Equality Party 2.0.
1) Our community remains leaderless. There is nobody who speaks for real Quebec federalists on any official or semi-official basis.
2) Although the chances of electing more than one or two members is slim, it is not insignificant. Look at the impact that Amir Khadir had on the National Assembly sitting as the lone member of Quebec solidaire.
3) Without pushback, our community will be nickel and dimed to death. The threat to remove bilingual status from our towns is no hollow threat. To our fragile community, it means the beginning of the end of English as a fact in Quebec.
4) For better or worse, public funding for political parties is coming and even if the Equality party doesn't elect anyone, it can be the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of dollars, based on a per vote subsidy.
This money can be used to mount constitutional challenges and to purchase advertising to defend our cause.
Can you imagine the effect of the Equality Party picketing Pauline Marois at her recent speaking engagement in New York?And so we need to abandon the traditional political tactics that had but one goal, that of electing members to the National Assembly. It is not necessary for our purposes.
Just five people carrying placards and handing out flyers in front of the St. Regis hotel would have rocked Quebec and rained on the separatist parade. The fiction of a Premier having the support of Quebecers would be utterly dashed and the separatist government, so deathly afraid of bad publicity in the US, would be put on notice that trifling with our rights will have consequences.
The entire operation of sending demonstrators to New York would have cost under $1,000, but it takes organization.
The Equality Party will give spokesman and demonstrators legitimacy, and a soapbox to speak to Quebecers, Canadians and Americans under the auspices of a political party that has members.
5) For those of you who think an Equality Party will be necessarily ineffective, I beg to differ. Using the Press, social media and clever tactics, our effect can be massive.
Our goal is to effect political change and so, electing members to the Assembly, while a nice side benefit, is not the be all and end all.
We can do much more outside Parliament, where no matter how many members we elect, our effectiveness is limited by the rules of the game..
And so we need to create our own game, with our own rules. Here is but one example of direct political action that can be effective.
An Equality Party can embark on a campaign to implore those in the RoC to demand that Ottawa tie Equalization payments to the preservation of English language rights in Quebec, specifically through the Official Language Act, which could be modified to force towns and cities to provide bilingual services when the English or French minority reaches 10%, or better still, a modification that allows towns and cities to declare themselves bilingual based on a majority vote in town council.
Unfortunately, it has come down to this..... political action.
I can think of dozens of other things we can do that can be effective, but I don't want to give away the playbook.
We need to organize, this time thinking outside the box.
I want to remind you all about the success of the pea-fart Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste, which punches way above its weight, imposing a separatist influence on Quebec politics beyond its demographic weight.
I believe that a renewed Equality Party 2.0 which focuses on fighting for our rights using smart tactics will be incredibly effective.
We don't have to do anything illegal like the students, it is not our way.
Our belief in law, order and good government is too ingrained in us to proceed on the wrong side of the law, but that doesn't mean we can't fight.
We can can set up legal committees, organize letter-writing campaigns, lobby federal politicians across Canada, prepare strategic advertising campaigns and organize small, yet powerfully effective demonstrations, as I described above.
We don't need to take our message to Quebec City, we need to take it to New York, Toronto, Washington and Ottawa.
By acting strategically, we can bring pressure on those who wish to see our community destroyed, even if our numbers are relatively small.
Until Quebec linguicists understand that there will be a financial cost attached to their persecution of our community, there can be no gains.
So let's be creative, we have nothing to lose.
I propose a party where activist members, not the leaders, are the ones doing the heavy lifting.
If all the energy of readers of this one blog went into an organized defence of our community, we would already be seeing the fruits of our efforts.
I bet reading this, you've all got tons of ideas bubbling in your head. Ideas that don't cost a lot or need a lot of manpower.
Ideas that can and will effect a change of attitude.
Let us remember what the separatists always tell us, that is, that there are over 300 million anglos around us.
If we can't think of what to do with that support, we are not worthy of preserving our language and culture in Quebec.
I ask readers to use the comment section to voice your opinion.
Can this project be viable?
Are you willing to help?
A special plea to those who read this blog but don't comment. Isn't it time to get involved? How about one small comment to have your position known.
Honestly if we can't speak out in the comments section here, it augers poorly for the project.
Please speak up now.
For too long our community has been systematically punched around by language militants and separatist forces that have visited body blow after body blow on our community. They have done so with impunity and without riposte.
It's time for that to change. Time for us to throw a spanner in the grand separatist design.
As Mike Tyson said;
"Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth"
It's time for our community to get off the ropes and fight back.
Readers, this is my take on the re-establishment of the Equality Party and I'm sure some of you might agree with me while others might have a different idea, so let's hear from you.
I going to leave this piece open until the New Year and consequently, this is my last post of 2012. I shall return on Wednesday, January 2, 2013.
I await your reactions in the comment section......
To everyone reading this blog, friend or foe, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
To those Christians of Russian, Greek, Armenian origin, or otherwise Orthodox Christian origin, who will be celebrating Christmas on January 6th or 7th, I wish you all a Happy New Year first and then a Merry Christmas!
A very special year-end thanks to my wife for correcting my many typos and repairing faulty sentence construction, as well as acting as a the fact-checker of last resort. (Yes dear, Guy Turcotte did kill two, not three children.)
A very special thanks goes out to the prolific
...all the best!