After establishing the Task Force in Linguistic Policy Colin Standish founded the federalist and language rights centred Canadian Party of Quebec | Photo: Rob TaussigColin Standish – Constitutional scholar and lawyer is the energetic founder and leader of the Canadian Party of Quebec Peter Kerr August 12, 2022 2631 Colin Standish is optimistic that the Canadian Party of Quebec (CaPQ) will win seats and be present in Quebec’s National Assembly when it resumes after the October 3rd provincial election. Colin is the Canadian Party of Quebec’s founding leader, dedicated to protecting the rights not only of English-speaking Quebecers, but of people from all language groups, ethnic backgrounds and religions. “Rights are rights are rights!” is the party’s first foundational principle. Colin Standish is a 9th generation Eastern Townshipper. “Our family were Loyalists who came North after the American War of Independence. In fact, relative Captain Myles Standish was one of the soldiers and settlers who came over on The Mayflower. Our family cultivated the original apple orchards in what is now the Rougemont area, where our family cemetery is still among the apple trees.” Colin adds, “It’s especially hurtful to see our heritage, like millions of other Quebecers, dismissed by François Legault’s Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ,) government, the Parti Québecois (PQ) and Québec Solidaire (QS). Growing up in Cookshire, in the Eastern Townships, in the aftermath of Bill 101, Quebec’s first restrictive language law, Colin remembers a grafitti written in literal cement his century-old elementary school’s wall; “Va chier les anglais!” The most polite translation would be ‘Go to hell you English!’ (You English go f_cK yourselves!) Colin ruefully adds; “The odd part is that nobody removed it for years.” In researching Colin’s background, I learned that he already had quite the resume and keen interest in politics, both as an organizer and as a candidate before founding the Canadian Party of Quebec. “When I was in university, I knew that I wanted a career in politics,” Colin stated early in our conversation. Colin has studied constitutional law at Osgoode Hall Law School and Université Laval, and he is a newly minted lawyer. Colin attended Bishop’s College School (BCS) in Lennoxville, where he was a decorated N.C.O. in the Cadet Corps. and a Prefect. While attending Queen’s University in Kingston, he worked for Peter Milliken, then Speaker of the House of Commons. He was also the President of the Liberal Association at Queen’s, a Party Leader in the Model Parliament., and the co-Chair of the Model United Nations. Standish is keenly interested in history, fueled partly from his family’s deep roots in the Townships, as well as his grandfather’s experience in WW II. As a member of the Canadian forces defending Hong Kong, his grandfather, alongside two thousand other Canadians was captured when the defenders were overrun by the Japanese on Christmas Day, 1941. His grandfather and fellow servicemen spent the remainder of the war in a prisoner of war (POW) camp in deplorable conditions, working 16-hour days on marginal rice diets. His grandfather was entrusted by his fellow soldiers to fairly ration rice for the starving men; and by the Japanese to lead his fellow prisoners and work crews. This seemingly impossible balancing act, alongside battlefield courage, led him to be awarded the D.C.M., the second highest award for gallantry in the British Empire, after being considered for a Victoria Cross. To this day, Colin carries a photo of his grandfather and two other emaciated men, taken when they were liberated. It’s a reminder of the bravery and fortitude that these men exhibited as proud Canadian servicemen. Colin is named for his grandfather, Colin Alden Standish. With a longtime interest in politics, Colin recently launched the Canadian Party of Quebec in Montreal to offer an alternative for Quebec Anglophones, Francophones,Allophones and the Indiginous Photo: Rob Taussig During one of his campaign videos, Colin states that the CAQ government Bills 21 and 96, passed with the pre-emptive use of the notwithstanding clauses, do not reflect the type of Canada that hundreds of thousands of Canadian men and women fought for in the last century. In 2015, Colin sought the federal Liberal nomination election in the Compton-Stanstead riding of the Townships, but was unsuccessful, despite having recruited the most members. Stung by the defeat and needing to get a job to pay off student loans, he secured an interview shortly thereafter in Toronto with a company in the financial services sector. He did not get that job – but fate intervened on two fronts. While in Toronto and visiting with friends, Colin met a woman that he had previously known at Queen’s University. This time – a romance sparked immediately. “In addition to us falling in love, I eventually found a job, through a relative, running the legal department of a recruitment firm on Bay Street.” So Colin’s Toronto trip did work out well after all. “I felt guilty about leaving Quebec, but quickly learned that I was not alone. During my time in Toronto, I came to realize that I have 30+ relatives living in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). By comparison, I have just one distant relative in Montreal.” “In February of 2020, my spouse and I were vacationing in Thailand when COVID-19 started to take off. We rushed back to Toronto – only to learn that with everything shutting down, we were both laid off.” “We came back to the Townships. I had attended law school at the Université Laval to ensure that I could be fluently bilingual. It was hard! I spent a lot of time with a dictionary. There is the French Proficiency which non-Francophones had to pass in order obtain their law degree in Quebec. I was delayed a year and a half from receiving my degree before I passed, despite completing my courses and being Editor of the Law Review.” In the spring of 2021, in response to the soon to be tabled Bill 96, and the Government of Canada’s White Paper on Official Languages (precursor to Bill C-32 and eventually C-13) that aimed to reduce the status of English in Quebec, Colin formed a group of like-minded and politically astute people who are motivated to protect and defend language rights. They established the Task Force on Linguistic Policy (Task Force). “English Quebecers are the largest bilingual community in Canada. We choose to live, work, and raise our families here, but we do not accept being discriminated against for who we are.” – Task Force on Linguistic Policy “We have a good group of concerned citizens; people like Gerry Cutting of the Townshippers’ Association, lawyer Brent Tyler and former Equality Party Leader Keith Henderson. We brought in some of the best minds with experience and historical knowledge of Quebec’s linguistic situation – as well as a keen understanding of how it affected Francophones as well as Anglophones and other ethnic minorities. In addition to Quebec’s increasingly restrictive language laws, we were concerned about the federal government’s acquiescence to language hardliners, namely its unwillingness to speak up for the 1.2 million-strong official language minority community in Quebec.” The ‘Task Force’ has made a wealth of information available on its website. “In a relatively small population centered in the Townships, we have over a thousand members who have collectively donated over $30,000. We have members from the Lower North Shore all the way to Gatineau.” The Task Force has been able to debunk some long-held myths about the Francophone and Anglophone communities, including the popular notion that English speakers earn more. In fact – it’s the opposite. Quebec Anglophones earn less than their Francophone counterparts. In Ontario, Franco-Ontarians earn an average of $6,000 more per year than English-speaking Ontarians. (www.protectourrights.ca) With the Quebec Liberal Party’s (QLP) recent plunge in the opinion polls, based partly on its ambiguous position on Bill 96 and votes in the Assembly and amendments in committee (CEGEP course requirements) (Note: A Liberal government would keep Bill 96 in place, with some modifications), there is a political vacuum to be filled. Many Anglophone and ethnic minority voters feel abandoned by the Liberals, and want a party that will defend their interests in the National Assembly. Attempting to strike while the iron was still hot, Standish and some of his Task Force colleagues decided to put their beliefs into practice – initially by forming the Exploratory Committee On political Options (ExComm) to test the political waters, and then by starting a political party and fielding candidates. (At the time of writing the Canadian Party of Quebec has named eight candidates.) On June 20, 2022, at the McGill faculty Club, Colin Standish announced the Canadian Party of Quebec’s official launch with himself as leader and the party’s intent to field candidates in the upcoming October 3rd Quebec Election. The CaPQ will offer Quebecers an unapologetically federalist, rights-centered option that promotes bilingualism, freedom of choice in education and rapprochement between French and English-speaking Quebecers. In his inaugural address as a political party leader, Colin stated; “The Canadian Party of Quebec offers a new blueprint for post-Quiet Revolution Quebec. This is a party for all Quebecers, people from the Pontiac to the Gaspé, Kuujjuaq to the Chateauguay Valley, Montrealers and Townshippers, English-speakers and French-speakers. We offer a new paradigm for language, identity, governance and prosperity for all Quebecers. We envision a society where old divisions recede, where our languages are respected and celebrated; a Quebec that reclaims its role as a guiding light in Canada and North America — culturally progressive, bilingual, and innovative.” During our conversation, Colin stated; “Acquiescence is no longer an option for our community. I see the removal of our rights as a moral issue. It’s time that we challenged the myths, lies and the political pabulum that the CAQ and other Quebec nationalist politicians are feeding to the public.” Continuing, Colin adds; “François Legault is slicing and dicing the population based on ethnicity.” The not-so-subtle message is that anyone who isn’t a true francophone is a second-class Quebecer. “Bill 96 will fundamentally change the way we live. The government’s objective is to eventually extinguish the English-language in Quebec. The government now has the right to enter a business and seize documents on the presumption that there is too much English. They can seize your personal and work-issued phone. Will our youth be able to obtain the required French Proficiency so that they can go to McGill, Concordia, or another university in the province?” “Bill 96 will fundamentally change the way we live. The government’s objective is to eventually extinguish the English-language in Quebec.” – Colin Standish “A majority (50 of 89) of Quebec’s bilingual municipalities will lose their bilingual designation. Established law firms will likely move big contract work to offices in Toronto or New York. It is unlikely that large Canadian or American companies will sign a French-only contract for multi-million-dollar agreements.” Standish believes that The Canadian Party of Quebec is the only party that offers voters a federalist, bilingual political option – a clear alternative to the existing Quebec political parties, including the Quebec Liberals. As proof that his party is not a group of so-called ‘angryphones’, Colin noted that three of the first five official CaPQ candidates named on July 19 were successful, bilingual francophone business people. As for his own campaign, Colin is eagerly awaiting for the writ to drop. Having selected the Liberal fortress of Westmount-St. Louis, Standish has moved to the riding and rented a condo in the Old Port to better acquaint himself with voters. “I enjoy talking to people I’ve never met and visiting parts of Montreal and the province where I’ve never been. I’m getting the same message from voters wherever I go – that they’re dissatisfied and don’t like the CAQ’s and QLP’s use of wedge politics based on ethnicity.” For my part, I’ve interviewed several politicians in my years as owner of The Montrealer. Colin Standish strikes me as knowledgeable, whip-smart, and he possesses a genuine respect for previous generations and their contributions to make Canada one of the best countries in the world. His ‘voice’ is refreshing, and to date he is attracting hi-calibre candidates. He has selected the Westmount–St. Louis riding for his own candidacy. For more information about the Task Force on Linguistic Policy, please visit: www.protectourrights.ca. For the Canadian Party of Quebec: www.canadianpartyquebec.com Six Foundational Principles of the Canadian Party of Quebec A more detailed description is available on the party’s website: https://canadianpartyquebec.com Principle 1: Rights are Rights are Rights The Party pledges unconditional, unequivocal opposition to Quebec’s Law 21, Law 40 and Bill 96. It will vigorously advocate for the rescinding or withdrawal of these laws/bills and their equivalents. Principle 2: Respecting the Integrity of the Canadian Constitution Principle 3: Bilingualism The Party is committed to symmetrical Canadian bilingualism, the guarantee of full linguistic rights for the two recognized official language minorities of Canada: The English-speaking minority of the Province of Quebec, and the French-speaking minority living outside Quebec. Principle 4: Educational Choice Every Quebec resident, regardless of mother tongue, has the inalienable right to educational choice from daycare to CEGEP and university studies. It believes that a parent and/or guardian should have the right, where numbers warrant, to send their children to the school of their choosing, regardless of country of origin, Canadian province of origin, or mother tongue. Principle 5: Prosperity for all Quebecers The Party believes that Quebec’s socio-economic prosperity depends on eliminating state-driven discrimination against its residents. The Party supports open markets, free enterprise, and Quebec’s engagement in the global economy. It will also address Quebecers’ cost-of-living, income security, and labour market fairness concerns Principle 6: Rapprochement and Reconciliation The Party believes in Quebecers’ unity of purpose and social cohesion. As such, it asserts that all Quebecers, be they Canadian citizens, permanent residents or new arrivals, deserve fair and equitable treatment before the law. Related
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