Agreeing to disagree

Where to start ?
As a touring artist, I can identify with truckers

Drove my first pickup truck at age 13
Musicians share a lot with truckers. They are often on the road. Many times, sleeping where they can find hospitality, and eating what they can find where they can find it

On tour, I have slept countless nights in my car, outside a concert hall, sometimes in the cold, waiting patiently for the next day to set up a stage, sing, dismantle before continuing on my way to do it again somewhere else. All this in order to spend less in order to be able to save for the subsistence. And I’m not complaining here. If I had to do it again, it would be without hesitation, but that’s a story for another time

These hips and lower back are shaped by long hours of driving on Canadian highways
Many times I would wake up in my old van at 4 AM in a random parking lot, just in time to see the parade of hardworking Canadians who had come to get their first cup of coffee before tackling another day when the sun was still far from rising. And seeing these good people gave me courage and strength to continue.

If I mentioned the pickup truck at the beginning, it’s because it’s with it that the spirited young man that I was, learned to drive.
Having mastered driving very quickly, my first reflex as a teenager, thirsty for freedom, was to go drive in traffic right away.
It goes without saying that I was driving illegally, being far from the legal age to get a license. Mea culpa!
I’m waiting to find the trucker who will tell me that, in the name of my freedom, I had the right to drive side by side with them on the highways without a license and that by doing so I was not a risk for the other road users.

Of course, I am very aware that the seriousness of the issues on the table at the moment exceeds by many orders of magnitude the excesses of a teenager
I still had to point out that for the safety of each other, we sometimes make concessions in order to live together in harmony.
Now where to draw the line? You tell me, and I’m sure there are as many opinions as there are individuals involved, so I understand the divide.

In my humble opinion, freedom in a societal context, without a frame of reference is equivalent to chaos.

Following the publication of my recent opinion on freedom in this context, I received many private messages of all kinds.
I have read them all
People with great intelligence who share an incredible love for their country.

I pause here to acknowledge a veteran who wrote to me personally. Sir, I was humbled to receive and read your message as your sacrifice is so great. My great grandfather also fought in a world war. There is nothing more honourable than to serve as you did Sir. One of the concerns of this dear gentleman, as I understand it, was that such hard-won freedoms would be blown away. I believe this is a legitimate concern.

There is also this lady, endowed with an enormous intelligence, who for once in her life, felt compelled to refrain from sharing her opinions publicly for pure fear of being ostracised and losing friendships. So delicate is the question

I remember a time not so long ago when the most heroic action that could have been asked of citizens was to stay home while receiving the privilege of financial support for some.

I remember brothers and sisters, running for their lives because of covid, and rushing to the shelves to grab what was left of hygienic paper.

I remember, on a Saturday afternoon just like this one, two years ago, walking through this same downtown Ottawa without seeing a single cat on its deserted streets due to quarantine

There is beauty in our disagreements
But will we have the strength to agree to disagree and the courage to work together in spite of that ?

While we express our opinions, let’s make sure we don’t make those who are already suffering so much suffer even more.
Downtown Ottawa is also home to many brothers and sisters who have been left on the street by fate and are going through a difficult time in their lives, may we stand in solidarity with them.

Last week, my wife was just out walking when she came across a lady who was homeless.
The lady was crying. My wife went up to her and asked her what was wrong.
The lady answered that she had not been able to sleep for several days due to the ongoing events.

This lady is already homeless
In extremely difficult conditions
Under a blistering cold and she was not even crying because of her situation, but rather because she could not sleep.
It’s chilling, awful and thought-provoking

This is not a plea for one side or the other
I actually don’t even believe there are sides. Seems to me it’s more of a spectrum.

Hope we will find the wisdom to show future generations (who are watching and learning as they watch), how this is supposed to be done, in a democratic way.

But then again, who am I?
A nobody
Not a judge, not a politician
Nor a public health specialist
Just an artist
And my thoughts go to those who made sacrifices so that we could enjoy the privilege of being able to talk to each other openly

We need contradictory opinions to make things evolve,
Let’s try to be respectful of each other
Above all, let’s try to really listen to each other
This might be one of the most difficult things to do nowadays
To truly listen

And I pray that the reasons for our worries and concerns will soon be behind us and that we will emerge from this crisis in a stronger position.

With respect and love