First Published: In Struggle! No. 207, June 3, 1980
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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Final results of the Declaration campaign: 60,395 people signed the Declaration for the Absolute Equality of Languages and Nations. Approximately 10,000 signatures have been gathered since January 1980, half of them in English Canada. This was only half of the goal set (20,000 signatures between January and June), but this is due to the fact that most of our time and work went into the referendum campaign – the ’spoil-your-ballot’ campaign in Quebec and the campaign to defend Quebec’s right to self-determination in English Canada.
The bourgeois media systematically boycotted all mention of the Declaration. Nevertheless, the Declaration campaign has had growing influence in the working-class and popular movements and among oppressed minorities.
In Ontario, for instance, 405 people at an anti-nuclear demonstration signed the Declaration. In Western Canada, a car caravan collected 128 signatures in a Pakistani and East Indian community. Native people were also contacted in the framework of the campaign. An Inuit recently sent us a Declaration filled with signatures.
The Declaration also helped score some points against the chauvinist People to People petition. When the People to People backers came to Montreal on April 11 to proclaim their love for the people of Quebec, (they were greeted by defenders of another, much more significant petition – a petition that defends the rights of nations and national minorities. The People to People campaign was ultimately a dismal failure, despite heavy funding by the big public and private monopolies.
60,395 signatures: that’s a lot. These signatures must not be filed away and forgotten. Many capitalists want to overhaul the Constitution. More than 60,000 people have said publicly that they do not want to see any discrimination or privileges for any nation at the expense of another. On the contrary, they are demanding the equality of languages and nations in Canada. We will have to remind Canadian and Quebec capitalists of this during the constitutional conferences that will certainly be held in the next while.
Although the Declaration campaign is over, the struggle for the recognition of the equality of languages and nations in Canada goes on!