I come from immigrant parents who left their homeland in the 1960s in order to provide their children with a better future after their country had fallen under a totalitarian socialist regime. Though I was only a child at the time, some of my earliest memories are those of my parents’ frightened whispers, when at times they dared express something that could be interpreted as subversive to the state and official government policy. Woe to those who got caught, for these poor ‘’defying’’ souls faced severe consequences. It was this childhood experience that has caused me to abhor any government encroachment in my personal liberties and has instilled in me the thirst for freedom.
Having left our beloved homeland behind, we settled in Canada. This country provided everything that we had been cruelly denied back home. Canada gave us the freedom to act, speak, to think and to express ourselves. Canada fulfilled all of these requirements without succumbing to the excesses of unbridled anarchism. While I am grateful that we mostly still enjoy this freedom today, we must always be vigilant to preserve it. Because of my childhood experience, the slightest encroachments of the state set off an alarm within me. Unfortunately, due to the excessive legislation and coercive measures of our elected and non elected officials, these recent years, I am beginning to hear these alarms ring louder and louder.
My family and I totally adapted to our new cultural surroundings upon our arrival. Wishing to be fully immersed in this new welcoming society, we did everything in our power to belong and be accepted. I myself married a typical pure laine Quebecois and I raised my children to be true Quebeckers while never totally giving up certain fundamental principles and traditions of my mother culture.
I have performed square dances and eaten pea soup as well as tourtiere from Lake St-Jean. I absorbed the culture of Quebec from Les Fridolinades to the modern sitcom Les Bougons. I made great friends; I went all out a la quebecoise. I smoked a joint or two in my youth, while always striving to remain reasonable. I relished in the Quebec joie de vivre. I lived a happy and healthy life, surrounded by my family and friends.
Lately, however this joyous festive lifestyle has become the target of political correctness. The traditional get togethers, a few beers in good company, a festive old fashioned meal during the holidays or New Years Eve, are now all seen as marginal and must be given up for ''your own good''. In our ever growing obsession to live longer lives, we are beginning to compromise the true meaning of happiness. The quantity of life is beginning to take precedence over its quality. Our bodies must be in shape to perform. Nicotine free lungs, cholesterol free foods, a gym membership, jogging and feng shui are but a few examples of this new "ideal" lifestyle.
Not that we wouldn’t notice of course. The media reminds us constantly, unhealthy choices of today were the sins of yesterday, and the priests have merely been replaced by the medical bureaucracy. We are told, or lectured rather, that Quebeckers would not have had it so bad; so much obesity, lung cancer, diabetes etc, had we made the "right" choices. Which brought me to wonder: Is that really the case or is it just simple hysteria, nourished by a hypochondriatic culture of fear? Have we forgotten what makes life worth living and what constitutes happiness by one’s own criteria? Are we really happier today than we were then? Are we even healthier? Why is it that as we put more emphasis towards achieving performant bodies, we seem to hear that society is suffering of an ever growing list of epidemics and new ailments?
In my willingness to see clear, I decided to conduct my own investigation. I wanted to know once and for all why there was such a gap between what was reported in the daily newspapers and what I observed in daily life. Why for example did I constantly hear about childhood obesity on an alarming rise, when my own observations seem to indicate otherwise? What about the hysterical fear of second hand smoke? I have yet to witness anyone that died from it. Is it possible that after millions of dollars being spent attempting to prove the dangers, that the link was spurious? For a whole year, forty hours a week, I searched, questioned and analyzed the data. I have also written to health ministers, several government agencies, to doctors and scientists. I have yet to receive a coherent answer. Much of the evidence has led me to the conclusion that we are being manipulated by political and financial interests who will sell us anything that will help advance their agenda. These erosions of our liberties will not stop until we have submitted to a new dogmatism, one which the state controls what we do, eat, smoke or buy.
I uncovered the motives that drove, governments, the medical profession, pharmaceutical companies, radical ‘’anti-anything’’ organizations and ‘’do-gooders’’. Their motives can be summed up in two words: control and money. Once this dangerous evidence became clear to me, those familiar alarms that haunted me so long ago, began to ring loud and clear; now is not the time for apathy or defeatism. I owe it to myself, to my children and to this country that has taken me in. I am but a simple citizen but my goal is also simple: Live and let live. Everyone has a right to make their own choices in full respect and dignity.
It was with this renewed commitment to freedom that I seeked a means to fight back. It was pure luck that I found C.A.G.E. The philosophy of C.A.G.E. matched exactly my own values; common sense, moderation, justice and above all a love of liberty. I hope that my commitment can inspire others to answer the call.