In the many years that I’ve taken an interest in the language battle, many people have asked how or why the French-speakers (though in the minority) have managed to become so powerful? An observant reader has given us the answer. They didn’t become powerful by doing nothing. J. V. Andrew, in his researches for his books, had revealed the existence of a movement known as La Patente or the Order of Jacques Cartier:
Talk of secret handshakes is often thought of for Freemasons, and also has a mention in the bible as a technical handshake. They can be used as a greeting, to show membership or even at what level of a group a person is. We even see comedian / actor Will Smith using a complex series of hand gestures in Prince of Bel Air TV shows and music videos. But there was a secret society operating in Canada from 1926 to 1965 that modeled themselves from Freemasonry and included a secret handshake. Unlike freemasonry though, all aspects of this next group were private and hidden, even from wives.
Commands were formed in Ottawa, Manitoba, New Brunswick, New England and Quebec that Priest Francois Xavier Barrette, Albert Menard and a small group of French Canadian civil servants formed in secret. New members were accepted but had to be approached by members first. At the peak it seems there were 11,000 members, 504 local groups within 1,140 communities, all to promote interests or concerns of the French, both public and in the private sector.
This all sounds like fiction, however the Order of Jacques - Cartier ( La Patente)was very real. The main letters patent has been dissolved, but groups like Richelieu International and caisses populaires de l’Ontario still exist today. The association candienne-francaise de l’Ontario (1910).does predate the Order of Jacques-Cartier.
So for those English-speakers who are impatient with the efforts of those of us who are attempting to bring justice to the unilingual English-speakers of Canada, please bear in mind that our struggles are not for nothing. At this point, our mission is tobring awareness of the plight of the unilingual English-speakers by seeking out and circulating items of interest to inform our readers of what’s happening around us. What our readers are willing to do to help us is entirely up to them. I realise that there are still people (especially public servants) who are scared of doing or saying anything in public because they know that there will be reprisals from their French-speaking bosses or even from English-speaking bosses who have embraced the policy of Official Bilingualism, a policy that clearly favours native French-speakers.
Following the interesting item on La Patente is an article that shows how ridiculous the advocates for the French language has become. This is an article from Yellowknife about how a French-speaker is escaping justice because he insists on a French trial and as there were insufficient French-speakers in Yellowknife, the French judge declared a mistrial. This man has been allowed to go free on other occasions too, on the same excuse. I’ve also heard that in New Brunswick, many cases have been dismissed because the arresting police did not address the offenders in their language of choice. So, the French-speaking Canadians have found a way out of escaping justice - all they have to do is demand to be arrested or have their cases heard in French in most parts of Canada where there are only a handful of French-speakers and voila!!! They’re free!!! In Quebec, an English-speaker could not claim the same benefit, could he/she? In New Brunswick, Matthew Glenn, President of the Anglo Society, was assaulted by a French activist from Quebec. The case was heard totally in French and Matthew was not defended even by a policeman who saw the assault. The assailant got away Scot free!!!
Frustrating? Yes!!! So what are we willing to do about it? We have added a Comments Section on our web site and if you have some suggestions to make, please feel free to do so. In your submission, please indicate that you want your comments or ideas posted on the web site: www.languagefairness.ca or www.languagefairness.net
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Judge declares mistrial ... - National Post
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With principled opposition to Bill 14, French elites do the Québécois proud - National Post
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