Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Part 3... Dialogue with B.C. Liberal Candidate – Dan Veniez – Slammed Shut!!

Before addressing the rest of Dan Veniez’s comments (listed at the end of this post), please know - I waited for some kind of acknowledgment and/or reply, to the ‘issues’, I'd raised re: his first eight sections of his ‘point of view’.
I was puzzled and still am, by his ‘change of tone’ , that seemed to totally contradict – his very empathic initial response, to my charges of "Ethnic Cleansing" etc... Ex: first letter from Dan Veniez included: “........My family was deeply impacted in many ways that I cannot begin to adequately convey. We weren’t alone. We felt like interlopers in our own city and province much of the time. Sometimes, we felt singularly targeted because we spoke English at home and went to English schools. I remember my father asking where all the leaders had gone to protect us from what he believed – with a lot of justification – was institutionalized discrimination at the hands of language “zealots”, as he called them. So, I get it, Didi. And I know all too well what you felt and feel. The Quebec economy suffered a prolonged and devastating decline. It still hasn’t recovered, and arguably, never will, in relative terms.....” (see Part 1...for full text)

I waited for a reply that never came even going to the length of posting this link on his Facebook Page .
The next thing I knew, without a word, without warning – Dan Veniez had un-friended me on Facebook! That's why the rest of his points (in blue below) have not yet been given my attention.

I did though, send him a couple of Facebook emails asking why he bumped me etc... Note** Although he no longer accepts me as a “Friend on Facebook”... he has NOT let his potential voters know – he slammed the door shut – on ‘discussing this crucial issue’. He did leave... my posts ‘praising his courage etc... for all to see on his FB wall! Since then – he’s gone even further... and now, if anyone wants to join his Liberal Party FB page.... it looks like it won’t be as easy as – every other candidate makes it. If you are NOT an approved FB friend - even taking a look at his political FB wall – is impossible ! At least it is to me. I have to assume ... the “guts” he professes to have ... are not “gutsy” at all.

Here’s the FB email correspondence that confirmed the “dialogue was closed”. I’ll let you decide for yourself – if this is the Liberal candidate B.C. needs. (Note** I am a Liberal Party Member)

May 28 - I sent Dan a FB message asking if he'd bumped me off his FB page:

Dan Veniez May 28 at 3:50pm Report
Yes. My daughter did that, Didi. She and my wife are very upset buy the anger and deep bitterness in your posts and attacks. I encourage and value reasonable debate and conversation. But your attacks are over the top and over the line.

Didi May 28 at 5:04pm
What attacks are you or they referring to Dan? And where am I being unreasonable? If you or anyone was that upset - then why on earth didn't you write me and let me know what was upsetting them and I certainly would have discussed what I posted and tried to post the facts with more tenderness. I did publicaly post on your FB page - that this was NOT personal and that the conversation may get heated.

You invited this conversation - both on your Candidacy Facebook Page and specifically noted its importance and - in your letters to me. My tone most certainly did NOT change - or increase. And isn't that what a discussion is all about Dan, especially one as meaningful to so very many people of Quebec and B.C?

You have chosen to become a public figure - running for office in B.C. representing MY Party and I'm corresponding with YOU the Candidate - not your wife or daughter. Nor do I imagine anyone on your Facebook Page or anywhere else dealing with you in your PUBLIC Political Professional Life, would fathom that what they may or may not say or who may say it, is determined by your wife or daughter - making decisions on your behalf? And please let them know - this is not personal - it's part of the 'job description of a candidate and elected members.

So I respectfully ask you to point out what parts of my replies were untrue and/or offensive and I will be more than happy to post a PUBLIC APOLOGY to both You and your Family and to anyone else out there that felt likewise: on Bull Bullet on Facebook and anywhere else you would like me to post my apology on.

PS: The deep bitterness is something shared by multitudes of other faithful Liberals who stopped voting Dan and as you know is: Pain and heartbreak manifesting as bitterness to ones who are not experiencing it - and as you yourself told me you too had experienced - the same pain and heartbreak being experienced by the many Liberals who stopped voting for the Party. The attacks are what concerns me - the ones over the top - and I trust you will let me know what they are.

Respectfully and Sincerely

Dan Veniez May 28 at 7:17pm Report
The incendiary terms and words such as "Ethnic Cleansing", Bullshit", "Lies" , "no guts", "screaming at the screen", and many more.

They are too much and unnecessary. There are dialogues and then there are rants. I'm interested in dialogue.

You clearly have a point of view and experience. You have expressed it and I get it. I do too, and so do we all. I am in no way bitter about mine. They have made me - for good and bad - what I am today. On balance I think that`s pretty good.

I am a candidate running for office in a constituency in BC, Didi. We have serious issues to deal with in Canada. The one you are fighting are over 30 years old. We have all moved on. You have more rights living in Quebec to services and to speak your language than the french do anywhere in Canada. Same for Aboriginal Canadians.

Time for solutions. For positive energy and approach to issues like the one that clearly eats away at you. Time for reconciliation.
So, dialogue and conversation on issues that are relevant to our future, absolutely. But reliving past and living in bitterness, anger and even hate isn`t for me.
So, please scream at someone else if that`s what you want to do.
Because I am a `public figure`that doesn`t mean for a second that I have to condone or participate in unreasonable and hate-filled discussion. I won`t.

Didi May 28 at 10:31pm
First and foremost Dan.. You know very well, as does everyone else who has read the posts that the words: 'ethnic cleansing', bullshit, 'lies, no guts, and 'screaming at the screen' (I actually said: I'm holding myself back from screaming at the screen) do not even come close to the definition of incendiary terms. Come now. It may hurt to see them used to describe the situation in Quebec (trust me it hurts a hell of a lot more living it) and frankly it should offend you and any other person that believes in equal rights. It should offend you that it has been and is a part of our present culture in Quebec. That, cannot be denied. And you know very well that the words 'bullshit' and lies are used on a daily basis - and even 'no guts'- by pretty much every Politician in the country - far more often - than by me or the general public.
As for the many more... well you will just have to tell me what they are - and as i said, I'll be happy to 'finesse my dialogue' to suit your taste. I have no problem with that whatsoever.

But: As you said to me and on your Facebook Page: It's time someone has the 'guts' to discuss what has been denied discussion. And that YOU are the man who is going to do just that.

You also said very clearly on your FB page that it's time to discuss the "Language Issue in Quebec'. Therefore: Telling me here and now that it is a 30 year old issue and that it's NOT relevant is questionable, no?

I know you said, things became clear when Michael Ignatieff spoke about it in his book. What Michael Ignatieff ALSO said in his book was: that under no circumstances were people to confuse his words as meaning a citizen should be denied their LANGUAGE and freedom to live in it and work in it and enjoy equal rights! Those rights and our language to live in it and work in it and grow our culture right alongside our fellow French Canadians (as again Michael Ignatieff pointed out repeatedly in his books) is a FACT that is now denied us.

I'm sure you agree, that what is relevant to discussing the language issue: are the detailed points you raised - about the HISTORY of Quebec - and my detailed documented historical facts - in reply: that happen to contradict the unfounded - unproven accusations against the English that have damaged our country to no end. And I'm sure you agree that looking for, finding and discussing what the real truth is - is a responsibility to the voters that must be respected.

Unfortunately your belief that we have all moved on is not the case and is the primary topic of the discussion itself.

I agree wholeheartedly - it is time for solutions and for positive energy. I also KNOW that positive energy flows effortlessly when those (as you said) politically incorrect 'issues' are put on the table and discussed. If Dan - this issue only 'ate at me' I would have 'let it go' - decades ago. Nothing would have pleased me more.
I am too old to waste my time and energy on living anywhere but in the Present. And that is the foundation of this discussion and has been from the start. Therefore - aside from the terms you listed as incendiary - let me know which ones you find hate-filled and offensive - and as stated: I will offer a sincere and heart felt apology Publicly. Perhaps what I interpret as heated - you have unfortunately received as hate-filled. So let me know - please. It is certainly not my intent - nor has it ever been - to offend you. My 'heat' was always and only directed as myths and untruths that have been successful only in dividing the people of this country. My ONLY concern and always has been - in unity - the wonder of embracing each others differences - and of course in equality. I am assuming we are on the same page..

Dan Veniez May 28 at 10:55pm Report
Didi - again - you have a point of view that is strongly held and perspective and opinions. I respect that. We all have the right to our own opinions, not our own facts. And I do indeed take deep offense to terms like "ethnic cleansing" this is context. And I do indeed find that incendiary. Only those who share your narrow point of view wouldn't. But terms like those are, and they also bear no resemblence whatsoever to facts.

There's no need to belabour this any more, Didi. You know where I stand. I know where you stand.

What I encourage is not for me to have an endless and futile exchange with you on this, but for us as Canadians to have a civil and tolerant conversation about this and many other issues that matter to us. Starting that conversation with accusations of racism and other things is not what I had in mind and is counter-productive. I have no interest in that. Your response to my email from yesterday underlined that for me.

Good luck and I hope you feel better about things in the future.

All the best,

Didi Miesen May 29 at 11:59am
Well Dan, You must have forgotten, my very first letter to you - filled throughout - with the words, Ethnic Cleansing and Racism and more..- with the Same tone - that you now - suddenly condemn as incendiary and offensive, and describe as, my 'narrow point of view???'

The very same words and tone - that instigated, 'Your' very welcoming and Warm response, to discuss the issue? and where you AGREED and went into detail over, 'the fear and shock you and your family - felt 'for years' when Rene Levesques won the election!

I suggest you re-read it Dan - because I didn't change one IOTA of the foundation of the 'discussion you welcomed - with open arms' !

Nowhere - did you - hint - or - state - you found - the terms I used as incendiary - hate filled - and/or offensive!

Your tone Dan - not mine - is the one that - underwent a drastic change - when I asked you - for some - ANY Proof - of the longstanding - hateful accusations - the separatists - nationalists etc... had been 'hurling' against the Anglophone community for centuries - and still do !

It was as though I was suddenly dialoguing with Dan the Separatist instead of Dan the Federalist - and/or two very different - personalities ! And YOU refused to acknowledge - or - address even ONE IOTA - of the documented historic proof - I presented - for discussion! What you did instead - was slam the door - and attack me instead. As is very obvious, for all to see - in your repeated - refusal to respond to my replies - with nothing other than - more 'incendiary attacks' on me. And you know very well that is not only 'offensive' - it is also - a long standing method used by the 'separatists and nationalists' to avoid any and all ' dialogue over the - very current and ongoing - 'language issue'.

Shame on you Dan. Shame on you.

Remainder of Dan’s list of belief’s ??... from letter 3.. Part 1
The timing was lucky for Canada. Had they not chosen to do that, the forces of change in Quebec would have likely met with a very different outcome. Trudeau was there to challenge and fight the more insidious elements of it. I don't know of any federal leader who could have. History would likely have turned out very different - and certainly not for the better.

What happened in Quebec was the result of the cumulative suppressing of an entire population for 100 years. Here's a proud people and culture enveloped in a sea of English without any protections for what it holds dear and feeling exploited and abused by a domineering and rich majority.

They felt under siege and they felt endangered as a culture, the core of which is found in the language. Same goes for most people.

It is sad and unfortunate that people like you - no less Canadian and Quebecois than anyone else - felt side-swiped and victimised by all of that.

But in the broad canvass of history, what happened was a release valve - a very peaceful one at that - that recalibrated the relationship between the so-called two solitudes. More importantly, I believe it led to Quebec being more tolerant, not less, and more open, not less. It also heralded in the unintended consequence of people across Canada speaking more french than ever before.

Here in BC, french is alive, well and a vibrant part of our community. It also is in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and points east. And I dare say that the anglo community in Montreal has changed, too. For the better.

I don't know of too many anglo's who aren't comfortable speaking french. So-called allophones speak three languages or more, interchangeable. It's really fantastic stuff. The fear and the bitterness, for the most part, I think, is gone or disappearing from the English community. On the whole, I think Quebec today is an infinitely healthier society than it was when the two of us were growing up.

Our society faces a variety of new and serious challenges for a very new age, Didi. We need all the help, energy and creativity we can get to address those, not - with all due respect to you and your heartfelt sentiments - fight the battles of the past.

Be well and please stay in touch.


  1. Dan writes:

    "On the whole, I think Quebec today is an infinitely healthier society than it was when the two of us were growing up."

    That's one of the most frightening things I've ever read. I'm on a completely different planet than this guy.

    When I grew up (I was born in 1955) in Montreal (Snowden, Cote des Neiges, and St. Laurent areas) francophones, allophones, and anglophones all lived peacefully. It is only with the start of the language legislation (Bill 22) in 1974 that the Two Solitudes really withdrew into their own camps.

    I wonder where Dan was when Bill 101 was passed in 1977 and it seemed as though every third house in anglo neighbourhoods had "for sale" signs. Prior to this, we had freedom of choice in language of education; now we have segregation of children according to what certification their parents have with the right being handed down from generation to generation.

    And this is what Dan prefers?

    I don't want ANY part of whatever political party this guy is attached to.

  2. Oh my Phracking GOD, Dan Veniez, the Liberal Candidate seems to have swallowed the revisionist history Kool-aid with respect what has happened in the past generation. He has moved to BC and brain-washed himself into forgetting what happened, and is still going on today – actually it has gotten worse in the past two years particularly (as racism usually does during a recession, and subsequent struggle for reduced resources). Just listen to what PQ chief ‘swear allegiance to the FR language’ Pauline Marois was ranting about the other day – she wants a battle (!!!) o keep [discriminatory] Bill 104 in place, which was struck down as unconstitutional last year by the Supreme Court of Canada (which has several Francophones, thus nobody can claim it was a EN-Canada only decision).
    I am now considered an extremist, and frankly I do not care, I have been places and been deep into the QC government (as has Tony K. very well) – dans le guelle du lion on peut le dire. How many Anglophones were working at the Caisse de Dépôt in 2008 before the crisis: perhaps 6 or 7 out of about 900 employees and consultants? We are over a Million around Montreal, yet only that few were allowed in the Caisse to work…
    For the longest time, I was telling myself that it was perhaps something I did - but in the end (8 mths), I had documented every unwanted comment, every bit of verbal harassment, all the 'gestes', the access denied to do my job, the cut-offs while in meetings when referring to compliance with the law by Stephen Mandeville (early July 2008 departmental meeting) - and after departing the CDPQ, I filed complaints with many authorities, even the SQ. When the QC Human Rights Commission itself validated my complaint, after the six months it took for the Working Standards Commission (cnt.gouv.qc.ca) to validate also my psychological harassment complaint, I knew that something was seriously wrong with this province (as if all the rampant corruption wasn’t obvious anyway).
    As a person with French ancestry on one side of the family, that continues to speak French generation after generation for 1300 years since our invasion of France from Denmark (Norman conquest started with Normandy, before ENGLAND), and having been spat in my direction for my first name being ‘Hugo’ by BC’s rednecks who have much disdain for Francophones (resentment related to repetitive attempts at separation). The Rednecks simply stop at (from my experience) unwanted gestures such as just described, and never stopped me from doing my work or affected my job. In Quebec, and at the Caisse, I was harassed multiple times, and then had my job taken away outright for producing a report that clearly indicated an Internal Audit Failure. That report is now currently under publication ban, but eventually I will seek to have it released, once progress is made with respect to my status as Employee over Contractor at the LaCaisse.com
    I would sincerely like to see Dan’s reaction to my very recent story of racism within the heart of QC govt, and how he thinks the comment that I received on September 9th, 2008 on the seventh floor of the CDP Capitol building on 1000 place Riopelle, Montrea: ‘Tu vois, c’est facile à mettre dehors les Anglais’ by Yves Roy, and confirmed by the Vice President Rodrigue Lussier of the Plateformes Analytiques deparment at the time ‘Oui, ils [les Anglais] sont faciles,’ Both men are no longer at the CDP, no surprise there. On May 12th, the CDPs lawyer tried to get me to repeat this totally humiliating dialogue for a third time to which I refused. The Judge did not let him continue, and I think her for that because I mentioned that I would become physically agitated if he did not stop the vexatious behaviour – but then again, what would you expect from sovereigntists? Nothing more than cowardice and disgustingly unprofessional behaviour that I will never forget for the rest of my life and will seek to ensure no other Canadian ever has to endure.