I’m willing to give credit where credit is due: For better or worse, Howard Galganov has single-handedly debunked the notion distance makes the heart grow fonder. He’s been out of Quebec language politics for a while now, and I haven’t missed him one bit.
But just in case I ever find myself getting nostalgic for his goofy antics, I’ll keep this article in my back pocket to remind me why Montreal (and any other city/province/galaxy) is better off without him.
Galganov’s latest campaign has him focused on Russell, Ontario, a small town of 14,000 about a half-hour’s drive outside Ottawa. Canada’s resident “angryphone” is peeved because officials in Russell, a town he doesn’t even live in, have mandated that all new businesses who set up shop there would have to put up bilingual signage. (For what it’s worth, Russell’s population is almost evenly split between native Anglophones and Francophones, with a majority speaking both French and English.)
So what does Galganov do? He organizes a boycott of all Francophone-run businesses in the town (and begs for donations on his website to pay for the flyers). This past Monday, 300 of Galganov’s fellow rednecks showed up at a public meeting to taunt Francophones, shout at town councillors, and greet officials with Nazi salutes before police intervened to prevent fights from breaking out.
Running people out of a town he doesn’t live in for the sole reason they speak a language he loathes is apparently how Galganov plans to “win back Canada.” Here’s hoping he’s as successful as ever.