After much rhetoric and hoopla, the students of Western finally got to listen to the words of one Jacques Parizeau. There were many of those words. Yet, there were also ideas behind the usual political banter. To Parizeau's credit, he did what he came here to do; to communicate his ideas of separatism and politics to the students of Western and help bridge the chasm of misunderstanding between the federalist and separatist camps.
The "I am Canadian" rally failed to accomplish its goal; to make a strong showing of support for Canada and Canadian unity. Its organizers should be applauded for their efforts they expressed their passion in a positive manner. But, the projected number of 2000 supporters at the rally was grossly overstated. There seemed to be more media personal than protesters. Certainly, the rally showed the typically Canadian attitude to matters concerning Canadian unity; apathy.
Those in attendance for his speach displayed immense maturity in the respect afforded to Mr. Parizeau both during and after his talk. With the exception of some clearly aggressive questions, the audience treated its speaker with courtesy and attention. The presentation itself dispelled two important myths created by the federalist media: Mr. Parizeau does, in fact, speak perfect English and does not froth at the mouth while yelling insults at English Canada, instead he is a rather soft spoken and eloquent speaker who supports his arguments intelligently.
Let us not be mistaken, however. Mr. Parizeau still maintains support of an agenda that would destroy Canada as we know it. He is, after all, a politician. And after 27 years of fighting English Canada, a very good one. He deflected many of the questions poised to him. He used a wealth of information about Canadian history, the constitution and crimes against French Canada to pick apart federalist arguments. He also did an excellent job of convincing the audience of what a reasonable man he is, despite his quest to break up Canada, which many Canadians believe to be unreasonable.
In the days leading up to his speaking engagements, there was talk of showing Mr. Parizeau that his brand of politics was not welcome here, that Canada would always remain united because Canadians love their country so much. And then, when the time comes, only silence. Canadians should be very worried indeed when our only answer to a devoted and talented representative of the separatist camp, such as Mr. Parizeau, is apathy.