Getting Off This Crazy Train: Time to Stop Sleeping with the Elephant

“Heirs of a cold war
That’s what we’ve become
Inheriting troubles I’m mentally numb
Crazy, I just cannot bear
I’m living with something’ that just isn’t fair”[i]

I don’t remember a time in my adult life that approaches my childhood feelings of doom and helplessness, at least until now.

For those of you who don’t have those memories, I grew up an air force brat and can clearly remember what it was like in Zweibrücken, West Germany: the surging of fighter jets taking off from the RCAF base, roaring over our apartment, as NATO lurched from Berlin wall crisis to Cuban missile crisis.  I can remember my own experience in the military as an infantryman, learning to fight the Soviets in a conventional and tactical nuclear, biological and chemical battle.

As much as the late sixties and early seventies were a time of protest, a time for change, I could not help feeling growing up, in a uniquely Canadian not Québécois way, that the quiet revolution of my birth and home province, that gave rise to the expression “maîtres chez nous” (masters in our own home), was more honest than Ottawa’s response to US pressure.

I was an anglophone in a francophone land, and I’m not sure I would ever fit in.  On the other hand, in a later life in Ontario, my sensibility was more French than English.

Québec chose to go in its own way.  In the short term, between the exodus of anglophones coupled with challenges attracting investment capital during periods that led to a couple of secessionist votes, I’m sure the provincial economy suffered.  Québéc today is likely the better for it.

“I’ve listened to preachers
I’ve listened to fools
I’ve watched all the dropouts
Who make their own rules
One person conditioned to rule and control
The media sells it and you live the role”[ii]

I was pleased when Chrystia Freeland dropped her “ad hominem” comment in response to US leadership insults to Canadians.  It was an intelligent, intellectual flipping of the bird.  It pleased me.

And for a while, the media of all political stripes, and politicians, rallied around our Prime Minister.  But it wasn’t long before the more conservative of press and elected representatives started preaching a pattern of accommodation and acquiescence. Are we prepared to have a Chamberlain moment?

Washington is intent, apparently, on destroying the old order.  Fine.  But I ask you, do we need to accept blustering and economic threat?  Standing up to a bigger, stronger bully is always painful.  But more than self-respect, drawing the line in the sand and going our own way leads to freedom from future fear and intimidation.

Maybe it’s time to find our own way.  Maybe it’s time to stop gnashing our teeth over the hurt coming our way.  Maybe it’s time to say, “yes, Mr. President, the old way doesn’t work anymore but that doesn’t mean your way should be our way.”  Maybe it’s time to brush off an old rallying call and since I am “quebecois, toutefois anglogphone”:

“Vive le Canada, vive le Canada libre.”


[i] Songwriter(s):  Bob Daisley Ozzy Osbourne Randy Rhoads.  C:  1980 Jet Records

[ii] Ibid.

David Chellew and Linda Odnokon have been life partners and in business together for almost 19 years. During that time, they have mellowed into their respective roles and enjoy working with individual investment clients. Dave is a Portfolio Manager and Linda is an Investment Advisor with iAS and work out of the co-work space CSI (Centre for Social Innovation) in downtown Toronto.


Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). iA Securities is a trademark and business name under which Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. operates.


This information has been prepared by David Chellew, Portfolio Manager for Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. (IAS) and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of IAS. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the type of publication and are subject to change. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any the securities mentioned. For more information about IAS, please consult the official website at David Chellew can open accounts only in the provinces where he is registered.