By Peter B. Bailey – The New Life Poet

When I was on the board of directors of the Negro Community Centre in the 1990s, I believed that the N.C.C could be saved. However, looking back I realized that there was nothing that the English-speaking Black community could have done that would save the N.C.C.
The death of the one-time historic institution was a small part of an ongoing conspiracy to force every English speaking person –Black or white – out of Quebec.
For the last four decades, every Quebec government regardless of the party in power has worked diligently to force Anglos out of Quebec. 700,000 English-speaking people have already been forced out of Quebec making it the largest forced mass migration in Canadian history.
There were two studies done by McGill University in the 1990s; the results showed that no matter how well educated you one is, and no matter how well one spoke (or speaks) French, if your last name is English the possibility of getting a good job in Quebec is virtually impossible.
The tactics and strategy they used are as follows: use the threat of separation from Canada to cause English businesses to flee the province; implement oppressive language laws that are being used as an instrument of hate that caused massive unemployment among the English-speaking population, especially Black English speaking people who at the best of times have difficulty finding employment due to racism; close as many English-speaking institutions as possible, such as schools, hospitals, legal aid offices, CLSCs, welfare offices, community centres, community groups that help the poor etc.
They accomplish this by reducing or cutting funding, then the government literally allows buildings to crumble, such as the case of the Negro Community Centre, and will be the case with the Empress Theater on Sherbrooke Street in N.D.G.
The next thing the Quebec government does is making corrupt deals with condo developers; they achieve two things by doing this. One, they degrade the English speaking community, (2) they fill their pockets with ‘corruption’ money. Furthermore, the city of Montreal is just as bigoted, racist and corrupt as the provincial government, (3) another tactic used is to divide and conquer by bringing in French-speaking Blacks from Haiti and Africa, taking funding away from English speaking Black people and giving it to the French speaking Black people who are much more likely to join separatist political parties and vote for them.
The logic behind the government’s strategy is that if they can force enough English speaking people out of Quebec they can win their referendum and separate from Canada. The other reason is that they hate English-speaking people for historical reasons and want to make their lives as miserable as possible, eventually forcing them out.
The death of the Negro Community Centre should be a wake up call for Black English speaking; however, my fear is that within 10 to 15 years everything Black English speaking people have built over the last hundred years will be gone.
I am not writing about the ills of our society, for the sake of writing, I am writing because I would like to contribute to help in finding solutions. I therefore propose that we not waste Black History Month celebrations, which many people in our community feel has become irrelevant.
While we have been celebrating Black History Month, our community has been systemically dismantled. At the very least we can hold meetings, organize conferences and inform our community of our plight, and hopefully begin to articulate some solutions.
We should never forget our beloved Negro Community Centre. Its death should not be in vain.

Peter Bailey is a local poet and commentator