23 June 2011

Neil Cameron on Claude Ryan

On Tony's comment about Claude Ryan, I have a mixture of agreement and disagreemetn.

he played the hard man in the provincial Liberal Cabinet meeting responding to the Supreme Court decision of December 15, 1988.

He held the actual Cabinet post as chief language cop.

But by the same token, he greatly annoyed the PQ thereafter by LIMITING arguable applications of Bill 101 over the following four years, and readily supported the admittedly inadequate restoration on signs.

As for anglo rights, he saw himself, and was certainly seen by both Pequistes and by the quite extreme nationalists found in the Liberal party itself, as a man with one foot in one camp and one in the other.

He could better be described as indifferent or blind to the full implications of language-discrimina tion nationalism, which he undoubtedly believed in as an alternative to real Quebec separation. He wa

he put through the law that somewhat reduced the full extremity of Bill 178 - which, as you correctly note, he himself had supported at the end of 1988 - he commented to me that 'it was now posssible to restore some balance'.

In the late '80s, early '90s he appeared on one of those Montreal anglo radio talk shows like Joe Cannon and he said something to the effect: well, the anglos abandoned me when I was the leader of the Liberals so why should I look after their interests?

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