The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have since 2005, adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A History Lesson for Paul Martin about the FLQ

We had no intention of writing about Michaelle Jean. Since her and her husband's close associations with Quebec separatists was revealed, so much has been written about them that we figured there wasn't anything we could add.

That changed on Tuesday.

On Tuesday we got mad.

On Tuesday, radio host Roy Green, who is filling in for vacationing Charles Adler, read an email from a Winnipeg man named Bruce Vallance. It was chilling. And for the first time we understood why all decent citizens in the country oppose the appointment of Michaelle Jean.

The debate over Jean's suitability to be Governor General, and Paul Martin's spectacularly bad judgement, has been oh-so-Canadian. Academic. Scholarly. All about "sovereignists" ( that polite word for separatists) and their attraction for the Quebec political and social elite.But Bruce Vallance reminds us about what is missing from that debate, that something we all knew was there but couldn't put our fingers on it until now.

Here's that email that Adler read on August 17th although he apparently did not mention it came from a Winnipegger;


I visited the site and watched the film clip. To say that I'm offended is to understate the case. The people she is cavorting, laughing and toasting with are some of the same people who tried to kill me.

During the FLQ crisis I was stationed at Canadian Forces HQ in Ottawa. The bomb they placed outside of my office window was meant to kill those in the room and I suppose make a statement.

They succeeded only too well The lady they killed was not only a co-worker, but also a friend.

After I picked myself up off the floor some thirty feet from where I was standing I saw my friend laying on the floor. I remember kneeling in a pool of her blood trying desperately to staunch the flow. Her eyes seemed to be pleading for me to help her.

This tiny middle aged French Canadian single mother of two who had been so happy. She had been talking for several days about her up coming vacation. The first in twenty years. Now she lay struggling to breath through her torn throat. Desperately I tried to staunch the flow of blood. I watched as the light in her eyes slowly dimmed and then disappeared. Here was a grown man and soldier kneeling in the welter of her blood crying like a baby as I cradled her in my arms.

My next conscious memory was lying on an operating table as a young doctor probed my back and side for glass. He continuously apologized for the pain, but explained that he couldn't anaesthetize me because I had to be able to tell him when he pressed on a shard of glass. It took 43 stitched to close my wounds. I still occasionally have pieces of glass surface.

Am I offended? You bet I am offended. This appointment is an insult to me and to Pierre La Porte and most importantly to Jean D'Arc St Germaine.

Paul Martin has insulted all of Canada including the people of Quebec.


This should be printed on the front page of every newspaper in the country. It should be in bold print in the front page of the Winnipeg Free Press so that Paul Martin couldn't help but read it during his stay in Winnipeg.

Compare this message with that weasely statement issued by Michaelle Jean which was so carefully crafted by spin doctors that it, more than anything, confirmed the worst innuendo about her. Is there a soul in Canada that's not convinced that she and her loving husband voted to break up Canada the first chance they got?

But that's not the point.

After reading this message Canadian's understand viscerally that the debate over Michaelle Jean's suitability to be Governor General isn't about her consorting with separatists.

It's about consorting with terrorists.


Before we continue here is a brief history of the terror brought to our country by the FLQ.

Wilfred Vincent O'Neil was the first to die at the hands of the FLQ. Wilfred Vincent O'Neil, 65, was a night watchman at an army recruiting centre in Montreal. He died April 20, 1963, when a terrorist bomb blew up in his face. He was one month away from his pension.

On April 19, 1964, some of the FLQ raided a gun shop in Montreal for weapons. They murdered store manager Leslie MacWilliams, 56. Has Michaelle Jean ever toasted Mr.MacWilliams' memory?

The FLQ sent a bomb to La Grande, a Quebec shoe manufacturer, to show their solidarity with the union that was having some troubles with management. Therese Morin, 64, the secretary to the general manager was killed when it exploded in the office May 5, 1965. She had just returned from lunch. Will we see a Lafond documentary about innocent Quebecers like her murdered by his pals?

Mrs. St. Germaine, 50, was third to die at the hands of the terrorists. She was an operator in the communications centre. Two others were injured. Bruce Vallance was one of the survivors.The FLQ terrorists were reportedly shocked and ashamed by the death of watchman O'Neil. They didn't want to kill innocents. But as the years went on, they grew hardened by the carnage.

Canada recoiled in 1963 when Sgt. Major Walter Leja, 42, had both hands blown off as he was trying to defuse the last of three FLQ bombs in a mailbox in the Westmount region of Montreal. The bombers were just warming up.

In 1966 a manifesto " Revolutionary Strategy and the Role of the Avant-Garde", prepared by the FLQ laid out a strategy of bank robberies, bombings and kidnappings leading to a Marxist revolution.

3 years later they were well into their plan when they placed a bomb in the visitors gallery of the Montreal Stock Exchange in the midst of 300 people. 27 were injured, and amazingly no one died. By then the FLQ wasn't even trying to minimize casualties.

By June, 1970, the FLQ was planning the kidnapping of foreign diplomats. Plots against the U.S. consul and the Israeli consul were broken up. The British diplomat Robert Cross was kidnapped; he was rescued. And finally Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte was kidnapped and murdered--and the government finally stopped their reign of terror.

Canadians instinctively understand that terrorists must be shunned and fought, not toasted and discussed and "understood".

So the Jean's are separatist sympathizers. They are attracted to the bad boys. That's 'terrorist chic" a term coined when the leftists flocked to the Black Panthers in the Sixties.

But while they like the sexual stimulation of being around real terrorists, and they like the intellectual stimulation of the debate over separatism, they can't grasp the way real people view terrorists, with anger and disgust.

It's that disconnect that disqualifies them from any valid rationale that they somehow will be "warmed to" by Manitobans or anyone else in this country, despite what Mr. Dithers told the Free Press today in their warm and fuzzy exclusive.

The Free Press should have challenged him immediately. Would we send an Ambassador to Israel who toasted and partied with Abdel Aziz Rantisi (the head of Hamas before Israel killed him) ?

Now compare that expected reaction, to the emotions felt by a generation who were victims of the terror, who remembers what the FLQ were, what they did, what they tried to achieve, and how unrepentant they are.

Need we remind you that the murder of Mme. Jean D'arc St Germaine remains unsolved, and there is no statute of limitations on murder.

Perhaps the PM can prevail on his appointee to at least tell the RCMP what her dinner guests might have said about the good old days, that could lead to the solving of this case and to justice.

Then we could have confidence in the judgement of Mr. Martin and in the integrity of the people he is trying to tell us all, represent the best about Canada.

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