Excerpt for A Dangerously Unconventional View of Canada by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

A Dangerously Unconventional View of Canada

An Interview with Meg
Adventurer, Heroine, Misfit

Interviewer - Elena Ivanova

"A Dangerously Unconventional View of Canada"
Copyright © Elena Ivanova, 2017


Heroine - In 2006 Meg helped me flee Russia: an increasingly hateful and oppressive country. We started our escape in Kiev, Ukraine, March 2006, and completed it, April 2007, by arriving safely in Victoria, Canada. We'd spent months in hiding and survived a ten month ocean crossing journey in a sailboat.

Adventurer - Escaping to Canada with me, has deeply changed Meg and her view of the world. She now sees no other option but to learn, experience and explore the unknown by traveling the world any way possible - by sailboat, plane, train, car or donkey cart.

Misfit - As a result of her somewhat "unconventional" activities: saving Russians, exchanging her house for freedom, experiencing the world in unimaginable ways, and living her life the way she wants to, Meg is admired by some people, and ostracized by others.

"Everything in Canada is designed simply to program people into being happy consumers and be happy, or at least, quiet in their place."


ELENA: You grew up in Canada, you lived there for many years. How would you describe life in Canada?

MEG: Fake.

ELENA: Few more words.

MEG: It's all a show. Everything is artificial, contrived, assigned meaning though ritual and social manipulation: a dismissive term would be "brainwashing." Generally, it's a society in which everyone is worried about what others think of them.

ELENA: Even in your past life?

MEG: In my past life, I was one of Julius Caesar's latrine slaves (laughs). Ever notice how everyone's someone famous in their past life: Caesar, Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Boudicca, Jennifer Lien...? Not me, no sir-eee, someone's got clean up the...

ELENA: Choomeichka, I'm talking about your life before meeting me in Kiev.

MEG: Oh yeah, that. It wasn't great, always tense.

ELENA: What do you think is the reason for that?

MEG: I really didn't fit in. As I gained sentience and self-awareness, aspects of that way of life made absolutely no sense. My feelings, my sense of logic, was increasingly in conflict with what I perceived and experienced. Life and even the manmade environment was all a show: everybody showing off, "faking it," trying to make it look like they are something better, or at least unique, "special," by being trendy - in other words, all the same.

It is like living on a movie set, or in a theme park: cheap buildings decorated with cheaper materials, stamped out of some factory to "sort-of" resemble something with style or age. The whole, ye olde towne fake Tudor siding, kind of thing. The people are like that too. They emulate behaviors they've been told are trendy, that they've been somehow convinced (programmed) into believing are sophisticated, enlightened, loving, and oh-so-much more aware, than the boorish Americans who act honestly on their own feelings.

Because ones feelings are going to be in conflict with what the over-class needs, which is your attention, vote, labor, and shopping dollars, you are convinced ("brainwashed" there's that word again) to consider your feelings wrong, inferior, fascist, déclassé, un-trendy, whatever terminology works to create that inner conflict. In fact, the society is programmed to enforce that bizarre denial of your own feelings and intuition, through peer pressure. I mean, if you question or don't spew that trendy line, you'll be de-friended on Facebook faster than you can say, "fascist neo-Nazi with bad taste." I mean, come on, this is, "the beer we drink out here," or at least, that's what the mega-corp that sells it, tells us. If you're not drinking it, and saying you like it, even if you don't... well, you might as well be run out of town by the trendoids who hate it, but drink it, and yell the loudest that, "it's the beer we drink out here, and you gotta like it or you aren't one of us!"

Eventually you self destruct, or you see the entire manipulation of society for consumerism by an almost invisible over-class, for what it is. They aren't actually invisible, they just go to tremendous lengths to make the rest of the world invisible to them. "They," of which I speak, are essentially the "upper class." Canada is still, very much, a British hierarchical society. The class structured system hasn't changed since Charles Dickens described it.

ELENA: And that's not the case in USA?

MEG: No, USA is a very different place. It doesn't have the same flavor of overlords -ultra elite. In USA the Ultra Elite are more like celebrities, the media elevates them to movie-star status. They are very visible. In Canada they try to remain invisible to the throngs their money owns and manipulates. They are the CEOs of companies, bankers, investors, politicians, heirs, and those that married extremely well. They are the very rich, the elite.

Canada's got its media, like the CBC (and every other publication that isn't deemed fascist, or conservative). The media and pretty much everything else in Canada is mandated to program people into being happy consumers, or at least quiet, and "in their place." One is programmed to believe it is bad to think above your station in life. Competition, excellence is bad, but it's good to be mediocre, question nothing, loath your doubts, buy lots of stuff, and pay lots of taxes.

Another thing about Canada - it's all about who you know, not what you know. It's all connections, it's all patronage and graft. I believe Canada is easily as corrupt as, say, Russia or Mexico. The difference is that Russia and Mexico are honestly corrupt, as in: "yeah, we are corrupt, so what?" In Canada it's, "We love you. Oh, we care so much and you are a better person because you eat this shit." In the meantime, behind your back it's, "screw you!"

ELENA: And you had experiences like that?

MEG: Of course, it's a way of life. Not only that, I used to be rich. I used to be comfortably well-off without knowing it, questioning it, so the contrast is particularly clear to me. I came from a rather invisible, safe (wealthy) family.

"They either don't know I exist, or wish I didn't."


ELENA: Could you describe your family in a few words? What kind of people are they?

MEG: My family? You're it, and the special friends we've met on our travels. If you're talking about the people I grew up with, that I am biologically related to; the only connection is shared DNA. They either don't know I exist, or wish I didn't.

As for my immediate family:

Father, dead. He was a successful doctor, medical researcher, won awards, was head of a university medical school... blah blah blah. Yeah, he burned the house down and then he killed himself.

One of my sisters was a drug addict, I think she was a hooker too (really don't know, I got that from my father, a psychopathic alcoholic who elevated family dysfunction to a form of high art). She got intervention'ed, sent to some born-again-Christian school, found Jesus, and then died of cancer. Mom built a shrine to her in the dining room, makes pilgrimages to places she'd been.

My other sister is a money seeking missile, had already bagged the Prime Minister's son, then she met an oil tycoon, had him in nuptials a couple weeks later, and netted herself billions. She's since decided she's gay and shacked up with a famous, lesbian, country singer. The tycoon abandoned Calgary for the UK when his blond trophy wife (my sister) dumped him for another woman. Ouch, that has got to hurt! Point is, a lot of people who've had contact with what's left of my nuclear (perfect word) bio-family are either dead, or as far away from Calgary as they can get.

My mom is awfully proud of her daughter - the billionairess, the one that is NOT me. I think money and image are very important to her. I don't mean that in a nasty sense, but simply as an observation. Some people really like haute cuisine, will do anything for it, or love climbing mountains just because they are there. My mom, and the people around her, are really into money (or the perceived "look" of money). It's not bad, it just is as it is. I like my mom. She's probably the sanest of us all. Somehow she survived, actually thrived in that environment, and she still does.

My mom and my sister, they're all that's left of that nuclear family (that went critical and blew itself apart). Years ago, I got as far away from them and Calgary as I could get, changed my name, the whole bit. They are pretty typical of the Ultra Elite: so rich they are invisible. It's like you see their mega-yachts, private jets, staff running around, but you never actually see them. That's no accident.

ELENA: Why do they thrive, you think?

MEG: They "thrive," as you say, because they have connections. It's all about who you know and how you can form elite groups - like Binding Multiples (a term coined by Sci-Fi writer, Greg Bear). Sure, they do nothing, and they get paid obscenely for it. They have convinced themselves -- and everyone else, apparently -- that they are worth it, and using their binding multiples, the whole Ultra Elite over-class have indentured everyone else into generating more wealth for them. Nothing new. Charles Dickens had it pegged.

ELENA: Would you say that life of the rich in Canada is different from the lives of people who are not rich?

MEG: Of course it is. Those that aren't rich live and exist for those that are. They slave at thankless, spirit destroying jobs to enhance the rich (or their share holders). They are paid only enough to survive. They are made subservient by threats to their subsistence. They live in fear.

The doctrine of fear is instilled right from the first day of school. It's fomenting fear, distrust, and insecurity that ensures conformity, need, doubt. Whether you believe something or not, you are afraid to question it for fear of being outcast. You are told, the question itself will invalidate the reality: Santa Claus is real, or you don't get presents; you gotta believe in god, or you'll die when you flat-line; sell more sweaters at The Gap, and you'll be safe and rewarded; dress like this, spout this slogan, buy this product, or your life is meaningless. It's all about fear.

You are encouraged to denigrate, discount, hate, anyone who questions that doctrine. You are taught to force them into conformity through social and physical violence. What I experienced in school, the way I was being programmed, was in such conflict with what I felt, that during breaks all I could think about was getting away from the school: out of the horror, just to breathe, you know, try to remain sane. I climbed cliffs, or I explored the forest, or I hid somewhere and read.

ELENA: What did other kids do during those breaks?

MEG: Not surprisingly, vandalism, theft, violent crime, and drug trafficking were a problem in the vicinity of the school. To deal with it, some brainiac social engineers came up with imposing obligatory-volunteer, team sports called "house leagues." They awarded bonus points if everyone in the class showed up. Of course, this was to encourage kids to forego fire-bombing the playground for supervised volleyball outside of class time. What it really did, was enforce 100% compliance by fomenting class resentment and reprisal toward anyone who, like me, loathed every second in that sociopathic environment, and just wanted to walk in the woods, or read, or sit in peace. It made me a target of organized class hatred, and school instigated gang-violence. What it came down to was; getting the shit beat out of me, or giving in to a system that valued me (and my life) as nothing but a bench-warmer for someone's stupid plan. This is a pretty good example of how social programming works to ensure conformity, compliance, and consumerism, and not just in junior-high school.

ELENA: What do you think is the purpose for that?

MEG: Good consumers make the economy go round. Good consumers buy the products of the companies to make the overlords rich. A good consumer is one whose life is meaningless without the products, or services, of those selling them.

If people questioned their existence, and realized what they are losing, missing, by slaving for an identity defined by the media, or the stuff they buy, they would stop doing this. It would be a disaster for the elite. You wouldn't buy their junk and useless services. You wouldn't need their banks for all your debt. All of that 'stuff' would be superfluous. The overlords would have no means of getting richer. If people, all of a sudden, realized what they are squandering for these trinkets and a really contrived lifestyle - everything would collapse.

"They are trying to find what's missing by spending millions of dollars buying these trinkets and toys. They don't realize that they are not going to find it that way."


ELENA: Do you think people can realize what they are losing? That they are losing their lives?

MEG: They usually do. They usually realize it when it's too late. The trendy term for this horrifying revelation (recognition) - is a "midlife crisis." Take a look around the marina. What do you see? Big yachts that never move, mostly owned by men staring down the other side of that hill at death and they've worked like hell, probably, and their life is meaningless. They are trying to find what's missing by spending millions of dollars buying these floating toys (what they've been programmed to think are displays of affluence). They've got these yachts and they still don't know what's missing. Their days are still just as numbered, they haven't seen their feet in years, their joints and muscles don't work and they realize, holy shit, they just spent their entire life making sure they have the right hockey equipment for their kids, and it meant absolutely nothing - they have angina, and the kids are making meth in the basement.

In the neighborhood I grew up in, people left their garage doors open on Sundays, so others can drive around and look in to see what kind of cars and stuff they have. If you have so many cars you can't get them all into the garage - that's even a better thing. It's like that guy in Los-Angeles we knew, the one with at least nine cars.

In Calgary, there are all these ski resorts around that sell you an expensive tag - paper and wire thing that dangles on your jacket zipper - that proves you paid admission to the ski hill. The point is kids, actually grown-ups too, wear the tags forever. They wear those lift tickets on their jackets like badges of honor. Even though the lift ticket expires at the end of the day, they leave them there like, "Oh, I just accidentally left that on my jacket." It says I can blow a hundred bucks to go up and down a hill.

ELENA: So people never grow up? Never realize what life is about?

MEG: I don't think they ever do. Some might, but are so caught up in it by then that there is no choice but to carry right on. I like to think that there are people who, maybe, stumbling from the yacht club bar to the SUV in the dark, look up and see the stars, and think, maybe those doubts, those conflicts they feel with their programming, mean something.

ELENA: Why do you think they never do?

MEG: Because they are convinced not to. They are afraid of losing everything, losing safety, respect, family, love... you name it, anything that's been commercialized and had its revenue streams maximized, they are afraid of losing it. Besides that, there's others more qualified than you to do your thinking for you, and hey, there's is stuff on TV to watch. I mean, how ostracized will you be if you can't discuss the latest sitcom with your Facebook friends? And mostly, and this is huge: because it's easier to be unaware of the world, the finality of life, what you are missing, and just live for instant gratification and adulation.

ELENA: How would you say USA is different from Canada?

MEG: First off, USA and Mexico are definitely the gorgeous parts of North America. USA is beautiful: vast, with incredible deserts, forests, mountains, geology. It has a climate that lets you out of the car or mall more than two weeks a year. Mexico has jungles, deserts, ruins, beaches, coral reefs and an actual culture.

Canada, on the other hand, is just taiga and steppe. It's got some mountains in it, but so what? They are expensive as hell, owned by the elite, and pretty much off limits to everyone but. Mostly, Canada is flat, gray, frozen, fake and boring, with the only culture being fear and consumerism.

ELENA: Do you see any difference in governments?

MEG: Of course - the American government is far more accountable. It's also a different system - it's not British parliamentary, it's not British common law, it's not based, nearly as much, on graft and patronage as the Canadian one is. In the American government, I do believe, there is a chance you can get elected on your merit rather than being heir positions either by birthright, who you know or who you can buy.

ELENA: How would you say Americans are different from Canadians?

MEG: Generally, Americans are not living in fear. They don't tend to be driven by hatred and contempt. I find that Americans are open. They open their hearts to you, no matter what. You don't have to be afraid of them. The hardest thing for me to grasp, when I am outside of Canada, is not being afraid of people.

In Canada, like in Russia, there is this pervasive feeling of mistrust, scheming, and guardedness. It feels like the underlying motivation of every interaction is "How can I get you? How can I hurt you? How can I put you down to make me look good?" The difference in that between Russia and Canada is much the same difference in their governments, in Russia people are honest about their mistrust and contempt for you; they don't hide it. In Canada, it's the same toxic, psychological power struggle in every interaction, conversation, but it comes out more like: "Oh hiiiii, I've missed you! How have you been? I love your shoes, where did you get those?" When, in fact, what has been said is: "You again! What a loser, your proximity makes me look bad. Yuck, those shoes! Thank God, I can spend more money than you."

ELENA: So they do it to look good?

MEG: It's inherently a game. Every interaction is a challenge, a provocation, a trap. You look for a way to humiliate someone, and then bad mouth him behind his back.

ELENA: You must have met good people in Canada. People can't all be bad. I've met good people in Canada, I know they are there.

MEG: I guess... maybe. It would have been people I never really got to know. Joe Clarke and his wife Maureen McTeer seemed nice, we met them trying to figure out the parking meters in that lot off Wharf Street. Then there was that gas-jockey at the filling station on Fort Street - nice kid.

I know what you mean, and sure, there are people whom we both know, that we'd consider genuinely good people (apart from Mr. Clark, Ms. McTeer, and the gas-jockey, of course). We know them; there is no ulterior motive, no games in our interactions and mutual concern between us. There are exactly THREE people, we've decided after careful consideration, that we'd bestow the honorific of "good people" upon: one is a Catholic nun, the other two are immigrants.

ELENA: What are immigrants in Canada like?

MEG: Immigrants tend to form their own expatriate societies when there are enough of them to be a significant segment of the local population. Look at the Chinese in Vancouver. They have Canadian passports and Canadian citizenship but they are still as Chinese as the day they arrived. And why not? They have a culture, they came with it. Canada has no culture. Why assimilate? Assimilate what?

ELENA: So when you talk about Canadians you talk about people who were born in Canada?

MEG: Yes, immigrant populations are different. Culturally, they are countries within Canada. The propaganda about Canada is that it's multicultural - it's absolutely not multicultural.

ELENA: What is it then?

MEG: It's a collection of enclaves sharing an economy, government, and infrastructure. Now there is a huge influx of Syrians: Muslims. Ostensibly, they are being brought into Canada because they are available. It's just plain good luck that they are refugees. The optics on the refugee thing work perfectly with the current, "we are so much better than America and bad Trump, baaaad" social programming. It eliminates the need for actual critical thinking. The reality is, Canada seriously needs immigrants to counter a falling birthrate, bolster the consumer base and ensure an expanding economy. Good media optics are very important, and "poor refugees" and pandas (did I just say "pandas" - yay, cute panda bears, panda panda panda - there, I just boosted SEO of this site and document through the roof) aren't just an easier sell than economics, they are actually a ratings boost!

Everything in Canada (cute panda) is about image and social programming. I call it "social engineering" (actually a hacking term - but human beings: same as computers, and society: same as an operating system. Just need to know how to use it, and the elite certainly do -- happy panda, kittens).

ELENA: What would you say is the reason why so many people want to move to Canada?

MEG: (Cutie panda cubs) Because they think it's the Golden (panda) mountain, they think it's a back door to America (oooh, bad Trump, sad panda). Mostly because it is better than where they are. If you were in Syria or Iraq with Islamic State throwing your friends, family or even you, off buildings, you would want to be in Canada too. It would look pretty good, pandas or no pandas.

"As I recall, they cycled through the psych ward like it was some kind time-share vacation property."


ELENA: Have you met happy people in Canada? If so, why were they happy?

MEG: Sure, my father was happy, when he wasn't liquored up and psychopathic. Then again, maybe he was happy then too. He was Slavic: loved misery; turned it into a narcissistic form of high art. But when he was lucid, he seemed happy. He made a ton of money, was a doctor, scientist, and had a university position. He was upper middle class: well-off. Not, obscenely rich, like my sister, but safe and comfortable - well respected.

ELENA: Why was he happy?

MEG: I think he loved the admiration of his peers, the neighbors, the hotel clerk, his patients, his lab technicians, his students. He was a doctor, he was a man with some money, he was big-man-on-campus... he was God. He could prescribe solutions to the sick. He could solve problems with money, or by saying, "eh hem, perhaps you don't know who you are speaking to..." Other than when he was polished, sobbing about his hard life, accompanied by tunes from Jesus Christ Superstar and Man of La Mancha, he was happy. Then again, I think that made him happy too.

I think my father's friends were pretty happy. They were all doctors. They had money, they had wives who didn't work, they all golfed and hung out at country clubs and guffawed a lot and slapped each others backs.

I think a lot of the kids I knew were happy. We were in a pretty affluent neighborhood, so it was safe, nobody was starving, or discriminated, everyone got what they wanted, so kids seemed happy. But then again, they were kids, not a worry in the world. Time and worries didn't exist for them.

ELENA: Were women happy?

MEG: The women in my socio-economic class (the Marilyn French types) were miserable. You'd think they had it all, but they were a seriously upset bunch. As I recall, they cycled through the psych ward like it was some kind time-share vacation property. First time the disappearance of my friends' mothers for "little vacations" really made sense, was when my own mother suddenly went berserk at the breakfast table, and emptied the coffee pot on her head! My dad, bundled her up and took her to the hospital with him.

By the time I was in high school, I realized teenagers weren't really happy. Most of them did drugs and drank. They were vicious and angry; being cruel, violent and destructive was just a way of fitting in. The anger was unbelievable. They set a dark skinned girl on fire with gasoline. They slashed the teachers' tires. If they found a bicycle anywhere near the school they destroyed it. They ripped up gardens. Spray painted FUCK YOU on everything. It was just a way of getting along, of fitting in. They beat each other up, really violently. Being slurred as gay, or native Indian, or Asian, or having socialist parents, or Jewish, or Ukrainian, or smart - geeze, even getting good grades - and you'd be beaten and attacked. There were a lot of suicides. One kid blew his brains out with a shotgun.

ELENA: It all was happening in your school in Calgary?

MEG: Yes.

ELENA: What about minorities, like you said, Asian or Indian, or black people? Were they happy?

MEG: Black? I never actually saw a black person until I left Canada. As for other visible minorities, I have no idea. They were there, but kind of invisible. My dad had an East Indian doctor running his research lab. She was my dad's head of research and needed a TV. My parents suggested I give an old TV I had in my bedroom to this woman because she need one. Then the weirdest thing happened - this woman wanted to thank me and she invited me to her place for dinner. I know this is off topic, but it's probably a pretty important observation about life in Canada, so (panda) bear with me.

She is a doctor, and Ph.D. She is from India. She is running a pretty major research lab and program with millions in research grants. She has Ph.D candidates and technicians under her and my father signing his name to all the journal articles and research papers... and her place... it was a three-story walk-up in a not really swank part of town. I show up for dinner, and there was my old junky TV, it was all she had. She couldn't afford a new one! She couldn't afford anything but the rented flat and a subsistence lifestyle. Sure, she could survive, but she sure wasn't going to own real estate, or have her own tenured university position, or medical practice south of the Arctic circle. That was really the first time I had ever been exposed to that class system that doesn't officially exist in Canada.

ELENA: Why wouldn't she have a tenured university position or medical practice?

MEG: I'm pretty sure she was teaching, but as an assistant to my dad. She would never be tenured because she wasn't part of the club.

ELENA: What club?

MEG: The old-boys-club: the rich white guys (like my dad) who were there first, and decide who joins their ranks, and who runs their labs or cuts their lawns, or cleans their toilets. It really is all about who you know, not what you know, and there are unwritten rules about who gets in and who doesn't. It's also vital to keep people like my dad's head of research impoverished so they don't get power, connections, or time to become competition for those in their comfortable, safe, places, like my family was.

"Question absolutely everything; apply the logic of Occam's razor. Measure your personal worth in units of time left to experience and perceive."


ELENA: There has to be some hope for Canada, like anywhere in the world. What would you recommend to people in Canada, who want to truly live, experience as much as possible, who want to see beyond what's on TV and in Costco?

MEG: Get outside your comfort zone. Take risks. Don't play by the rules. Question absolutely everything; apply the logic of Occam's razor. Measure your personal worth in units of time left to experience and perceive. Make a change in the universe. Take a stand. Know what's behind everything: identify the motive in any interaction, communication, trend, media release, product, religion, pitch, tradition, slogan. Know that you and your attention (finite time alive) are a simple commodity to others, but of infinite value to you.

Knowing that, listen to a quartz timepiece... Do you hear that? Tic, tic, tic, tic... those are seconds. They are limited. Your seconds are going to run out and then. Yup, I just ended a sentence with the word "then." Full stop. Nothing matters when those seconds run out because there is no more you. Without you, there is no more universe, no more nothing, no more anything. Think back to before you were born, remember how that felt? You've got something right now. You have YOU. Someday, some second, you won't.

Acknowledge your feelings. Meaning: listen to your heart in the metaphorical sense. Something not quite sitting right? There's a reason for that. Find out what it is. Find out WHY. Remember, the most important thing in life is how you feel. It is your perception. If it is warped or being warped or your are warping it because you have been told/programmed/forced to do so, find out why. Chances are it's to make you a better "something": better consumer, better worker, better wife, better zombie. Recognize that and dismiss it for what it is, then go on doing whatever is better for YOU.

And here's where I would tell you just what it is you need to do! What is best for you. And I'm pretty sure, if you've read this far, you know that only you can know what's best for you.

I can make some suggestions:

  • Take your job and shove it

  • Turn off the TV

  • Toss the I-phone

  • Defriend Facebook

  • Trashtag Twitter

  • Write a letter to the Prime Minister

  • Go outside and meet the neighbors

  • Cultivate dandelions

  • Speak your mind

  • Climb a mountain

  • Treat yourself with some respect

  • Write a novel

  • Put what you can carry into a knapsack, leave the keys to your leased car, and mortgaged house, take up a heading walking out the front door, and keep on walking. I can guarantee, you'll have an adventure

  • Find like-minded people and...

Save your own life by taking it back!


by reading the entire interview in "Know That You Can be Free" where Meg talks about: Russia, our planet crossing escape from Russia to Canada, her decision to help me flee, her past and current life, life of a Russian woman, relationship between people, women and fun, LGBT rights in Russia.

Learn more about our escape from Russia at

Download this book for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-15 show above.)