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In Featured/ Society

America don’t give up! Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 15th is Martin Luther King Jr. Day hence why I wanted to take this opportunity to remind ourselves of the critical endeavor this great man has left behind. It seems to me highly appropriate to remember and to honor the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. because, without his marches, non-violent protests, and civil disobedience, America would not be where it is today.

We believe of man’s equality in front of God, that freedom and justice to all is a given; but it is not. It is quite frightening to anyone what the horrific injustices and acts of hatred committed over the last few years seems to have plungend America back into a period of dark times, albeit not as dark as the 1960’s. Nevertheless, the battle is still raging in America’s streets. America has defaulted on its dream of brotherhood and freedom. The President of the most powerful democracy of our time demonstrates bigotry and utters offensive tweets and remarks, oblivious that the World is watching closely and sadly, so are its children.

Social Media has rocketed hate and have made it visible to the World with a click of a button. More than half a century has passed since the famous “I Have a Dream” speech and while times are somewhat better then in the 1960’s, there is a lot more to be done. Should not our leaders be an inspiration of unification, freedom, and justice to all? It saddens me when I think of the message these influential people are conveying to the next generations.

President Obama,  in a speech he gave in 2011 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, said it eloquently:

Barricades began to fall, bigotry began to fail, the door of opportunity swung open for an entire generation. Laws changed, but the hearts and minds changed as well. Look at the faces here around you today, and you see an America that is fairer and more free and more just than the one Doctor King addressed that day. We are right to savor that slow but certain progress…but it is important to remind ourselves that this progress did not come easily…progress does not come from words alone. There were setbacks and defeats…even after winning the Nobel Peace Prize Dr. King was still under attack and was considered a controversial figure. He wasn’t always seen as a unifying figure”.

But where does America stand now? This struggle is not even close to being finished. Change depends on persistence, on education and on the responsibility of our peers to do and say the right things.

PLEASE AMERICA, do not give up the fight. The whole World is watching you. Our chidren’s values are swayed by your media. Everyone listens and learns from you. And most importantly, World Peace is in your hands. Please America, continue the work of Doctor King, because that is the reponsibility we now face since Martin Luther King Jr.  is not with us anymore.


In Animal Rights

Sia’s Christmas Story

Dear readers,

I want to wish all a very Joyous Holidays and that you may build fond memories with your significant others. I haven’t written much in the last months, and I wanted to explain why that was, in the hope that it will help someone else get through some tough times, especially those feeling lonely during this festive time of the year.

On June 7th of this year, I adopted a very sick puppy.  Never in my wildest dreams could I of imagined what I was about to live. On that warm sunny summer day, my mother and I took off to Burlington  (we live in Montreal) to go and get my three-month-old puppy.  I had her (now named Sia Red) flown in from St. Louis, Missouri knowing that she wasn’t in good shape but unaware of its extent. When we got to the Burlington Airport, I took one glance at Sia and realized she was in much worst form than that of which I was informed. Sia was aloof and could barely stand on her own. Green puss started coming out of her nostrils. She was a terrible heart-wrenching sight. My mother and I looked at each other, and we didn’t even have to talk: my mother stepped on the gas peddle and off we were: going to save this puppy’s life, no matter what!  You cannot imagine how fast we took her through the border and thankfully,  Sia was checked in an Intensive Care Unit in Montreal a couple of hours later. Tears flew (no kidding – flew) from my face when the vet told me to keep the phone next to my head in case I would get the phone call (you know, the one when your animal doesn’t make it). Fortunately, Sia survived the night, but her lungs were 90% filled with puss at the time, and she was lucky that we had brought her to the I.C.U. As we were informed the next day,  she had only a few hours to live.

During the next six months, Sia was admitted four other times to I.C.U’s.,  for different reasons. The doctors could not figure out what was wrong with her. She kept swaying from super well to looking like she extremely sick the very next day. It was a hell of a roller coaster, but we hung on;  Sia, my mom and I and her Boston Terrier brother Tommy (another rescue and now Sia’s best friend). I decided there and then that I would dedicate my life to this little creature because I had promised her that as long as she wasn’t suffering, I would be there for her and keep her alive and well. I became a 24 hour/ seven days a week dog nurse. I’ll spare you all the details, but through those months I barely saw outside except to walk Tommy and Sia as well as run a few errands. I  neglected to take care of myself, and my back pain which in result turned into pain meds (which is another nightmare altogether) and I lost a lot of friends, and of course, this rescue cost a small fortune which also put me at odds with my family. Looking back I know I was in a depression but had failed to see it since Sia was my primary focus. Thankfully there is nothing wrong today with Sia and miracle; she takes no medication.  I believe that with the love and care we gave Sia, as well as all those nights staying up praying for her and, of course, Sia’s courage and strength were enough to get her out of the I.C.U.  I can finally go back to my life, although I will never be the same.

That dark period took a significant toll on me, on my relationships and my family. But would I do it again?  In a New York minute!  Why? Because Sia has taught me some life lessons such as never to give up, that animal activism starts at home (!), and that darkness had led me back to my Creator.  I have now gone back to Church and am feeling stronger than ever.

So if you are struggling in your life, know that dark times come to pass, that prayer does work and that God will give you everything you need to get through those times.  Funny enough I see this dark period as a gift.  I am a better person for it, a stronger person for not listening to people who told me that she cost too much money and I should put her down, for following on my promise to her and for leading me back to my Creator, a relationship that had been suffering for quite some time.

I hope this story will inspire anyone going through a rough patch. Never give up -you never know what lies ahead.


In Animal Rights

Aidez-nous à mettre fin aux rodéos du Québec!

Voici la suite du premier article publié sur Forever Kindness sur la cause anti-rodéo, dans les mots de Me Roy lui-même:

“Hier s’achevait le Festival Western de St-Tite et ses rodéos et, du même coup, le mandat de mes trois représentants observateurs-experts sur le terrain (sur la photo ci-dessous, de gauche à droite : M. Michael Kobliska, Dr Jean-Jacques Kona-Boun, médecin vétérinaire anesthésiste, et M. Steve Hindi, photographe officiel spécialisé dans les rodéos, venu spécialement de Chicago à notre demande). Après avoir visionné l’ensemble des épreuves du rodéo urbain de Montréal (24 au 27 août), ces trois dévoués bénévoles ont observé les 46 heures d’épreuves des rodéos de St-Tite réparties sur les dix jours qu’a duré le Festival, bénéficiant de la présence continue du huissier de justice que nous avons engagé à nos frais pour leur permettre de profiter des accès illimités reconnus par le jugement de la Cour supérieure que nous avons obtenu le 16 juin dernier, sans interférence ou ingérence indue.
Les observations cliniques du Dr Kona-Boun et les 138 heures de bande vidéo contenant différents angles d’observation inédits des êtres animaux utilisés dans le cadre des épreuves de monte de taureaux et de chevaux sauvages, de prise du veau au lasso et de terrassement du bouvillon sont d’une très grande richesse. Dès sa finalisation, le rapport qui en résultera sera remis au nouveau « Comité consultatif sur le bien-être et la sécurité des êtres animaux dans le cadre des activités de rodéo » constitué en application du jugement du 16 juin. Pour rappel, le Comité consultatif est composé: 1) des trois représentants du domaine du droit animalier que j’y ai désigné le 7 août dernier, soit Me Nicolas Morello, avocat et président-fondateur de « Droit animalier Québec – DAQ », Dre Josianne Arbour, médecin vétérinaire au Centre vétérinaire DMV, et Pr Stevan Harnad, professeur de sciences cognitives à l’UQÀM et directeur de la revue scientifique Animal Sentience; 2 ) de trois représentants de l’industrie du rodéo et 3) de deux représentants du MAPAQ. Au cours des prochains mois, le Comité consultatif verra à analyser les données colligées par mes trois observateurs-experts et à déterminer si les épreuves de rodéo enfreignent oui ou non les dispositions de la Loi sur le bien-être et la sécurité de l’animal (Loi BÊSA). Dans l’affirmative, il reviendra au MAPAQ d’émettre les avis de non-conformité ou d’établir les rapports d’infraction qui s’imposent, selon le cas. Si, à terme, le MAPAQ refuse, néglige ou fait défaut d’intervenir, alors que les conclusions tirées des preuves recueillies et de leur analyse devraient au contraire l’inciter à agir pour assurer le respect de la Loi BÊSA, une nouvelle action judiciaire pourra être envisagée.
Je tiens à remercier très sincèrement M. Michael Kobliska, Dr Jean-Jacques Kona-Boun et M. Steve Hindi de l’excellent travail d’observation et de collecte qu’ils ont accompli au cours des dernières semaines. Chapeau à vous trois ! Je profite également de l’occasion pour souhaiter bon succès à Me Morello, Dre Arbour et Pr Harnad dans l’accomplissement de leur mandat au Comité consultatif et pour les remercier de leur engagement.”

Dans le but de continuer de lever des fonds pour Me Roy l’association montréalaise Ma Voix Pour Eux organise une 3ième édition à sa campagne de levée de fonds c’est-à-dire un souper, ce jeudi le 28 septembre 2017 au restaurant vegan Invitation V. Je tiens à souligner cet événement car il reste encore quelques billets au coût de $75 par personne dont $35 qui sera remis directement à la cause anti-rodéo. Me Alain Roy, l’invité d’honneur, donnera un compte-rendu plus approfondi des faits saillants et il y aura des prix de présence très intéressants. Je suis certaine,comme la première édition de ces soupers, que cette soirée sera tout aussi mémorable. 
In Society

Rusiana Mannarino, A Real Gem of a Woman

We all meet many people throughout our lives, but not many can we call a friend.  Friendship is a value I hold dear, and I chose one of my friends to be the first “Unforgettable person I have ever met” not only because I like her but because she has been such an inspiration to me throughout the few years we have known each other. I met Rusiana at a Yoga studio, and I liked her right away: her big smile, her twinkly eyes but most of all her friendly disposition.  As I got to know Rusiana, I realized that there was much more to this bubbly-smiley-person I was always happy to run in.  She had a background story that I would never have guessed in a million years.

Rusiana grew up in a poor neighborhood in Indonesia and had a terrible childhood. By the age of six, she had endured very tough circumstances and was lacking the role models most children have. Those feelings that something was very wrong with her environment, although she didn’t understand what was normal or abnormal, did cost her to lose her innocence.  Not knowing what she was doing Rusiana found a way to adapt to her surroundings by building a façade that could change at her will to please everyone and therefore avoiding the pain of being rejected.   Believing this was her personality,  this ‘act’ worked out for many years. Although Rusiana followed her passion for Marketing and Business Management and graduated from the University of Tarumanagara in Jakarta,  she chose to work as a flight attendant for ten years instead of working in her field. Over the years Rusiana felt completely cornered by her choices, and eventually, she chose to face reality. Maybe she wasn’t the ‘happy-go-lucky’ girl and realized she needed to make changes in her life.

That is the reason I believe that Rusiana is such an inspiration for women who are afraid to step out of their comfort zones.  I read somewhere that “Nothing great ever comes out of comfort zones.” Ain’t that the truth! Unfortunately, it is easier said than done. Rusiana’s strength is in her ability to step out of herself and take a hard look at who she is. It takes an enormous amount of courage to face oneself, but even more, to be honest with what you do not like about yourself. Rusiana felt that she did deserve peace and harmony as much as others did but she felt nailed down by her fears and limitations.

The first step Rusiana took was to accept her past and the second was that she wasn’t going to be a victim anymore.  She received her power back with the help of what she calls her “Higher Power”: she listened to what her soul was starving for all those years.  No matter how deep the wounds were, Rusiana now had faith. This faith was what she hung onto whenever she felt weak and afraid. Then came the real challenge: she was offered a business opportunity that allowed her to reach her goals and transform herself into the woman she is today although it meant facing her fears of success, failure, lacking skills, as well dealing with a  language barrier. The offer being in her field and leaning on her newfound faith she rose to the opportunity. Rusiana never quit. No matter how hard things got and how depressed she would get. Looking at the bigger picture helped her to stay focused, and today, she is a successful businesswoman. When Rusiana feels she is reverting to her old self, she uses gratitude, forgiveness, acceptance, and faith instead of the negative opposite such as fear, self-pity, self-hatred, and procrastination.

In all humility, Rusiana believes she was put on this Earth to deliver a message of love and wishes that everyone could see the perfection her Higher Power has shown her. She wants to guide others on that road less traveled, and that is why I believe she is one amazing and unforgettable person. I am without a doubt that she has found her deeper purpose and that as she continues to live her life, will help many others attain freedom from the fears and limitations that lurk in their minds. I am fortunate to count Rusiana as one of my friends, and I will always be inspired by her relentless desire to be the best person she can be.


Rusiana is an Independent Consultant- Area Manager at Arbonne Canada and is the co-author of “Dear Stress, I’m breaking up with you”  and “Dear limits, get out of my way” from the series of books “Dear Women Guide Book Series” published by Golden Brick Road Publishing House Inc.


6 In Animal Rights

Un rodéo à Montréal?

Vous vous demandez en quoi le débat entourant les rodéos consiste? Bien que les rodéos aient lieu depuis 200 ans, ce n’est que dernièrement que le public commence à se rendre compte que ces événements causent de la douleur physique et émotionnelle aux animaux qui sont forcés d’y participer.

Récemment, une société publique a été créée afin de mettre sur pied des activités pour célébrer le 375e anniversaire de Montréal. Le rodéo de Montréal, d’une durée de quatre jours, en fait partie.  À l’annonce de cette activité, des réactions négatives ont fusé dans les médias, en partie à cause des blessures subies par les animaux lors de rodéos. Malheureusement, ces blessures peuvent être fatales.  Le cas de Grady, le cheval décédé d’une fracture à la colonne vertébrale au rodéo de Ste-Tite, le 28 mai dernier, a largement été rapporté dans les médias. Cela a fait rapidement naître les inquiétudes quant au manque d’éthique des rodéos.  À chaque année, des centaines d’animaux subissent des blessures sévères ou décèdent lors de ces rodéos. Évidemment, les organisateurs prétendent assurer la sécurité et le bien-être des animaux. Cette affirmation est remise en cause, autant par les activistes de la cause animale que par le grand public qui s’informe dans les médias.  Nous savons que les rodéos peuvent entraîner des retombées économiques importantes, mais il n’est ni juste ni humain que les organisateurs de ces événements s’enrichissent au détriment de la santé et de la sécurité d’animaux innocents.

Alors que je devenais de plus en plus consciente de l’hypocrisie des rodéos, j’ai décidé d’aider le professeur de droit Alain Roy et son équipe remarquable d’étudiants dévoués dont la tentative d’empêcher la tenue du rodéo de Montréal pourrait changer le futur de ce sport abusif envers les animaux.  Professeur de droit de la famille à l’Université de Montréal, Alain Roy est bien connu comme défenseur du bien-être des enfants et des animaux.  Le Professeur Roy m’a expliqué que la province de Québec a reconnu, en janvier 2015, l’animal comme étant un «être doué de sensibilité ayant des impératifs biologiques».  Auparavant, aux yeux de la loi, les animaux n’étaient que des biens meubles.  Cela veut dire que les lois du Québec prohibent maintenant toutes les activités qui compromettent la santé et la sécurité de l’animal, sauf lorsqu’il est question d’agriculture ou de science.  Il est assez incroyable que ce soit seulement aujourd’hui, en 2017, que les citoyens se battent pour s’assurer que les lois archaïques concernant les animaux soient mises à jour.

Heureusement, le débat entourant le rodéo du 375e anniversaire de Montréal a donné voix à ceux qui sont contre l’exploitation d’animaux sans défense, à des fins lucratives et sous prétexte de divertir.  Le Professeur Roy fait remarquer que le traitement infligé aux animaux lors des rodéos serait jugé révoltant et inacceptable s’il était infligé à nos animaux de compagnie.  Pourquoi est-ce plus acceptable lorsque les animaux en cause sont des chevaux, des veaux ou des taureaux qui participent à des rodéos?

En intentant une demande d’injonction contre Nomadfest Rodéo, le Professeur Roy et son équipe ont réussi à faire homologuer par la Cour supérieure de Montréal une entente survenue entre les parties.  Selon cette entente, un Comité consultatif, composé de trois représentants de l’industrie du rodéo, trois représentants des droits des animaux et deux représentants du MAPAQ, le ministère québécois responsable de l’application des lois concernant les animaux, sera créé. Le but de ce comité est d’évaluer la légalité des rodéos dans une perspective de sécurité et de bien-être des animaux qui sont forcés d’y participer.

Le Professeur Roy a nommé deux experts, vétérinaires et béhavioristes, et un photographe qui recueilleront des éléments de preuve lors des quatre journées du rodéo de Montréal et des onze journées du Festival western de Ste-Tite.  Ces experts auront un accès illimité aux animaux avant et après chaque épreuve pour les examiner et les filmer.  Les épreuves seront elles aussi filmées.  Les données recueillies seront compilées et analysées par des experts externes qui rédigeront un rapport final.  Ce rapport sera soumis au MAPAQ d’ici un an et sera étudié à la lumière de la nouvelle loi entrée en vigueur au Québec.

En terminant, j’aimerais mettre au clair une dernière chose.  Hormis les experts et le photographe dont les dépenses doivent être payées, toutes les personnes participant à ce projet — le Professeur Roy, ses élèves et son avocat, les trois membres du Comité consultatif représentant les animaux et toutes les autres personnes dévouées qui travaillent dans l’ombre — oeuvrent BÉNÉVOLEMENT.  Ainsi, pour défrayer les coûts de déplacement, l’hébergement et les honoraires des experts externes et du photographe, le Professeur Roy et son équipe ont créé une campagne Go Fund Me en ligne.  Le succès de la collecte d’éléments de preuve dépend grandement du travail de ces experts externes.  J’invite tous ceux qui ont à coeur le sort des animaux sans défense utilisés lors des rodéos à contribuer à l’effort du Professeur Roy via la campagne Go Fund Me.  Je crois réellement qu’ensemble, nous pourrons protéger ces animaux, maintenant et pour toujours.

In Animal Rights

What’s up with a rodeo at Montreal’s 375th Celebrations?

Here is what the whole rodeo debate is all about: while rodeos have been going on for 200 years, public awareness has been growing that they cause physical and emotional harm to the animals forced to perform in them.  Similar concerns have been arising about circuses and whale and dolphin acts, and of course the most barbaric abuse of all: bullfights.

Recently a Public Corporation was put into place in order to choose the activities for celebrating Montreal’s 375th anniversary. They decided to promote a 4-day rodeo as part of the festivities. There was a negative reaction in the press concerning rodeos partly because of some very serious injuries being reported. These range from torn ligaments to, sadly, even death.   The case of Grady, the horse who died of a broken back at the Festival Western de St-Tite on May 28  was given a high profile in the media and concern abruptly mounted about whether rodeos were in fact ethical.  The truth is that hundreds of these animals suffer severe injuries in rodeos and many of them die every year. The organizers of such events claim that they are ensuring the safety and welfare of their animals, of course, but this just doesn’t seem right to many people; and not just to animal activists but to regular folks watching the evening news or reading the morning newspaper. Everyone understands the economic benefits that such events bring to a region but it just doesn’t seem fair, or even remotely humane for that matter, that these organizers make money by entertaining (?) crowds at the expense of the health and safety of innocent animals.

As I became more conscious of the hypocrisy surrounding these rodeos I decided to help law professor Alain Roy and his amazing team of dedicated law students whose attempt to block the rodeo from coming to Montreal may succeed in changing the future of this abusive sport.  Professor of family law at the University of Montreal, Alain Roy is well-known as a defender of children’s as well as animals’ welfare.  Prof Roy explained to me that as of January 2015 the Province of Quebec has accorded to animals – who until then were just property according to the law — the status of  “sentient beings with biological needs.” This means that Quebec law now forbids any activity that compromises the health and safety of any animal (except animals used in agriculture or science). It is quite unbelievable that it is only today, in 2017, that citizens are fighting to ensure that archaic laws on the treatment of animals are getting updated and enforced.

Thankfully the debate about the rodeos during Montreal’s 375th Celebrations has opened the door for those who do not believe that we should be creating revenue from the fear and distress we inflict on helpless animals under the guise of entertainment.  Prof. Roy points out that what is being done to rodeo animals would be judged as appalling and unacceptable if it were being done to our own beloved pets or anyone else’s. What makes it any less unacceptable when it is done to the horses, calves, and steer in a rodeo?

Prof. Roy and his team, filing for an injunction against the Nomadfest Rodeo, succeeded in negotiating a court-certified agreement to create a balanced Consultative Committee consisting of 3 representatives for the rodeo, 3 representatives for animal rights, and 2 representatives from MAPAQ , which is the Quebec ministry responsible for the enforcement of the laws governing these animals. The goal of the Committee is to identify and assess the standards currently in practice for the security and well-being of rodeo animals.

 Gathering the direct evidence for the Committee will be two external veterinary and behavioral experts and a photographer, appointed by Prof. Roy, who will be given unlimited access to examine and film each animal, before and after each trial, as well as to film each trial, throughout the 4 full days of the Nomadfest rodeo as well as the 11 full days of the St-Tite Festival Western Rodeo. All the data will be compiled and analyzed by further external experts, who will then write a final report to be submitted to MAPAQ within a year for review and recommendations in light of Quebec’s new law.

I also want to make it clear that apart from the appointed external experts and photographer, whose expenses need to be paid, all those who are involved in this project – from Prof. Roy, his students, and his attorney, to the 3 animal-rights members of the Consultative Committee and all the other dedicated helpers in the background — are doing this on a VOLUNTEER basis. It is in order to raise the funds to pay for the travel, lodgings and time of the external experts and photographer that Prof. Roy and his team have created a GOFUNDME campaign on the web. The success of their evidence-gathering mandate depends critically on the work of these external experts, so I urge all those who care about the fate of the hapless victims of the rodeo to contribute to this effort on GOFUNDME. I truly believe that together we will be able to protect the welfare of these animals, now, and forever.

12 In Animal Rights/ Society

Stop Breed Specific Laws

Since December 2016, Montrealers have had to abide by the new BSL by-law imposed by Mayor Denis Coderre. This breed specific law, known as “the bull shit law” amongst animal activists and most dog owners, is controversial. Therefore I decided to explore it some more and was quite surprised by my findings.

In all fairness, I truly understand the gravity of this situation but having looked at both sides of the issue. I believe this is a knee-jerk reaction coming from the Mayor’s office. Of course, everyone was appalled when Lucifer, a 7-year-old Pit Bull, killed a 55-year-old woman in Montreal after he had escaped from his backyard. The Quebec court pressed charges against the owner, but he was acquitted; a decision that I struggle with since the dog had lunged at bystanders outside a convenient store,  bitten a cousin and was muzzled at home when guests came over. The owner had also asked the SPCA for help to reduce Lucifer’s aggressive behavior. Who is to blame? Is it the dog’s fault or the owner’s? In this case, it seems that the dog was at fault and was killed by the two police officers at the scene. In other cases, the owners were not so lucky and were charged with manslaughter and pleaded guilty to criminal negligence. Where do we draw the line?

Apparently by deciding that all the dogs that look like Pit Bulls have to have a license, must be muzzled outside the home, be neutered (therefore trying to extinct the breed); also no new Pitt Bull types are to enter our municipality. What does this mean exactly? Any dog that has a square jaw and a muscular body fit that description. Personally, I found that this by-law installed more fear than anything else. I will give you an example: I was at the convenience store with my Boston Terrier, and someone asked me why my dog was not muzzled? Here is a picture of my dog Tommy.

After more dog digging, I found that many municipalities that had enforced this regulation had REVERSED it because it was unfair, unenforceable and ineffective. According to the statistics in Canada, you are 18 times more likely to be killed riding your bicycle, but I don’t see any municipality outlawing bikes?

I believe that any type of dog can be dangerous and that each case we should treat individually. I used to own a Miniature Pinscher named Jack that was a lot more unpredictable then any Pitt Bull and I had to take special precautions to restrain him. There are roughly 500,000 dog bites per year in Canada and Pitt bulls do less than half of them. According to an article in the Globe and Mail by Stanley Cohen, some dog experts have stated that dog bites could be reduced by 89% if dogs received basic obedience training. Now that makes sense to me.

Please help to put pressure on the City of Montreal to stop the BSL enforcement. Many demonstrations are happening around the city and many organizations you can join to fight this ridiculous by-law such as Ma Voix pour Eux and the SPCA, for example.



2 In Animal Rights

Giving animals a voice

Coming back from the first edition of Ma Voix Pour Euxs (My Voice For Them) mini-conference,  I felt a deep feeling of gratitude for those who dare go where most citizens flee – the world of animal activism.  It is without saying that this movement has had some of an impact on society although the statistics remain bleak; only 2.5% of the population of the United States is vegan, and there is a staggering 15% of those who have reverted from veganism and vegetarianism and this within only three months. The main reasons for their change of heart are merely due to their lack of knowledge on how to be vegan and from them being ostracized by their peers having failed to surround themselves with like-minded individuals. Still, it is staggering that these numbers are so low when the reality remains that millions upon millions of animals are tortured and killed each year for us to eat, wear, use and use as entertainment.  As one of the guest speakers explained, it takes a lot of courage to be able to face the real facts.  Modern society has manipulated us into believing that farm animals are commodities and that their lives do not matter in any way.  I thought that most people knew by now the horror of slaughterhouses and the lack of laws protecting animals in industrial farming… sadly just a handful seem to care. Why have governments and industries led us into making unkind and monstrous decisions which are morally depraved and insane? Are not these decision depraved of ethics? Herein lies the debate of animal activism.

The human animals behind this movement consider non-human animals as they would other human beings. They see them as they are:  sentient, intelligent, emotional and in no way do they feel superior to them.  The reason animal activists are calling for the end of their exploitation.  Animal activists, often seen as marginal and disturbing people, are doing all they can. Their goal is for others to see what they have seen and to feel what they have  They are the ones who dare watch the documentaries, read the books, look at the statistics and go to the forefront of this battlefield by showing up with their picket signs at slaughterhouses and demonstrations.

This dark reality lies in our every day lives yet society seems to want to cling to its immunity.  Our entire way of living depends on imposing cruelty to animals which sounded disturbing enough for Rick Hinojosa and Daniel Lussier,  two vegan friends that have decided to step up their involvement by giving back a voice to these muted animals. It is one thing to step out of the box and make better choices for yourself. Activists have decided to push the envelope further and stretch out their necks out by showing up at demonstrations with their banner, by going to city hall and demanding answers and now by giving a platform for fellow activists to educate others. While the decision to fight for animals is a personal one, it is by no means an unimportant one,  a fact which was underlined by every one of the six chosen speakers.  Animal activists want the truth to be said and they will never stop until every cage is empty, every slaughterhouse closed and every animal freed. Why? Because it is the moral thing to do.  As Sir Paul McCartney once said:

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”

Ma Voix pour Eux wants to educate others on the horror of slaughterhouses, on the impact of the dairy and cattle industries on climate change and the benefits of a plant-based diet for example. What struck me the most about the conference was not just the facts because I am quite familiar with them, it was the love and kindness you could feel in the room.  Animal activists are people who wish to speak to your heart to plant a seed of compassion for these beings.  There is an invisible war happening – animals are brutally raised and murdered, trees and rainforests are burnt and bulldozed, and industrial farming is poisoning waterways.  Human beings have never been so sick and buying more medication ever. Pharmaceutical companies are laughing all the way to the bank.  We are deterred into making choices that are sick and disgusting for the animals themselves,  for the sustainability of our planet and health yet 98% of society still chooses it.

After listening to the speakers, I retained many things such as:

  1. I cannot just sit behind my computer anymore.  Although I have been to a few gatherings, my activism must become more ruthless because there is no justice for these animals.
  2. It’s ok to be loud and disturbing sometimes because it’s time for this war to end.  As one speaker said: ” If each vegan today turned six others to veganism and so on most people in the world would someday be vegan.”
  3. No matter what people say (and trust me, people, social media can be very mean) I will NEVER shut up.
  4. I will keep supporting industries that are cruelty-free – keep putting my money where it counts.

The event which held at Le 5e Griffintown, a vegan and zero-waste café, also held a raffle which raised money for Jacomo et ses Amis, a refuge for farm animals in dire need of your generosity. Thank you so much to Ma Voix pour Eux for encouraging people to keep fighting a good fight. I am without a doubt that you have inspired others and will continue with your next events.


If you wish to join or donate: Ma Voix pour Eux, as well as Jacomo et ses Amis, have a page on Facebook.

There will be a video of the conference coming out soon-keep posted!

In Health and Wellness

The Universal Language of Micro-Energy ®

There are not too many people like Nathalie Poulin Neylan on the plane.  There is only one,  and she is unique. You can trust me on this one because I have had the chance to see her work for 17 years now. What is so unique about Nathalie Poulin Neylan is not that she is a naturopath, a plant-based dietician and what not (she wears many, many hats), it is the fact that she is a real innovator in the field of Micro-Energy® which she created. Nathalie Poulin Neylan started her journey into quantum physics at a very young age, intuitively feeling the electromagnetic fields of people. By the tender age of 12, she had already combined crystals and Bach flower remedies and had observed their effects.

There are no coincidences in life, and it brought me into Nathalie Poulin Neylan’s office in Outremont in the spring of 2000. I have to say that at the time I had no idea what I was going to experience. And what an event it was and continues to be! I didn’t understand what was happening after I laid down on her massage table. First she ‘read‘ my energy with a spin tester (pendulum), then she covered me with these little round tools which she explained had different frequencies. All I know is that I went into a deep relaxation. I remember it was the first time that I was awake but that I had no thoughts – what a relief! I felt transported into another realm, and when I came back from this vacation from myself, I had a general sense of peace and harmony. I wanted more! A vacation from my brain?  Sure! So I booked more appointments, and there I went on my journey into Micro-Energy.

Through the years the sessions I received helped me in many ways. Again this is my experience. The result is that I am more focused, my thoughts are more sensible, I feel more peaceful, and I  feel as though I am on a path to healing.  People around me noticed a change: they said I had a glow and that I was different yet they couldn’t figure out what it was.  Of course, I shared my secret with them, and they too decided to try Micro-Energy and benefited from these sessions. I remember one time I had pain and swelling in an elbow that the doctors wanted to operate not knowing what was wrong with it in the first place. I was frightened so what did I do?  I called Nathalie Poulin Neylan!  I will always remember that session like it was yesterday because it was so painful. It hurt so much I was crying but whatever was wrong with my elbow went away and never came back. The doctors were dumbfounded.  They couldn’t explain how it went away and let’s face it, neither did I.  I have realized that my role here is not to understand Micro-Energy applications,  it is to learn how to use it for my benefit.

Through the 25 years that Nathalie Poulin Neylan has been innovating in the field of natural health, music therapy, polarity, nutrition as well as different biofeedback systems, therefore, she applies different modes of frequencies in each session, which is specially designed for each person. Micro-Energy can also be used on animals and in different environments.  Nathalie Poulin Neylan has always pushed and keeps pushing into new frontiers in the field of quantum physics. She has even trained her little army of professional practitioners at her Micro-Institute, and they now operate in their respective places.

Armed with tons of stories and interesting facts about her work with Micro-Energy, Nathalie Poulin Neylan is coming out with a book soon which will explain her technique and its application in more depth. There will also be some Webinars on different forms of Micro-Energy in the future.  For myself, I know that she just magically reappears in my life whenever I am at a crossroads. Nathalie Poulin Neylan had helped me not only to reconnect my heart to my head when it needed to but also helped me to re-direct my “antennas”, as she likes to say, in their right direction so I can make better and wiser decisions for myself.

I feel very blessed to have Nathalie Poulin Neylan in my life. I call her my “cosmic sister” and I thank the Universe for her because without her sessions my life would have been much harder and honestly, there probably would be no Forever Kindness. Thank you, cosmic sister.  I cannot wait to see you reach the stars once again with whatever new invention you will come up. Just make sure I’m first on the list to try them out!

In Health and Wellness

Why Pilates?

I was introduced to Pilates a few years ago following an injury to my lower back. I had consulted a chiropractor as well as an osteopath but was never wholly relieved of my back pain. I decided to try Pilates after hearing through the grapevine that it could help my lower back.  Although Pilates does not make any medical claims, I assure you that it was the best decision I ever made!

Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates in Germany, in the early 20th century. It was then called  ‘Contrology’ due to the control the practitioners must have during each movement.   Contrology was not meant to be a therapy but rather a form of exercise which could help with the body’s alignment, strengthen core muscles, as well as improve coordination and balance. These exercises were done either on a mat or on a machine which Joseph Pilates himself built out of hospital beds. This device, which was later refined, now holds the name of “Reformer”  and it is at the center of the Pilates workout.

Pilates is a sort of medical gymnastics which is also meant to develop and strengthen the body-mind connection. Practitioners learn to re-condition deeper layers of muscles which have become latent due to their lack of exercise. Doing Pilates requires mental focus; one must concentrate on a specific movement as well as on a particular muscle.  A Pilates workout, contrary to other exercises, requires both the concentric and the eccentric motion of muscles, therefore, enhances control. This kind of training increases the strength of the muscles around the joints, for example, which in turn decreases injuries and helps repair them as well. In Pilates, there are many different accessories with strange names like spine corrector and the Wunda chair which sound creepy but are designed to enhance the Pilates experience.

I spoke with Catherine Tremblay, the owner of Synergie Pilates on Nun’s Island in Montreal,  as to deepen my knowledge of what Pilates could or could not do. Tremblay, who has a background in gymnastics and dance, was also an occupational therapist, so she is indeed an expert in the human anatomy. While enthusiastically sharing the why and how she got involved in Pilates, her eyes got all fired up, and I have to say that I understand why. Tremblay was introduced to Pilates when she was living in Texas in 2004 and fell in love with the practice. She explained that there were many approaches to Pilates but that she had chosen the Stott Pilates approach,  which was founded in the 80’s in Toronto, Canada.

Tremblay chose the Stott Pilates method because of its respect by health professionals throughout the world.  The Stott approach is a contemporary version of Joseph Pilate’s concept and is the result of the extensive scientific knowledge we now possess about the functions of the human body.  Stott Pilates consists of 500 systematic mat and equipment-based exercises which degrees of difficulty ranges from beginner to advanced, as well as being addressed to special populations such as pre-post natal, dance, post-rehabilitation, etc.  Each Stott Pilates instructor has to be certified in the basics of its practice and, to keep their certification are required to attend workshops every year.

Stott Pilates studios offer a range of different classes from Reformer Essentials to Intermediate and Advanced, to Cardio-Jump (which is done in faster sequences as to raise the heartbeat) and also cater to individual needs by offering private or semi-private sessions.  If you are interested in trying Stott Pilates, I will urge you to read the biographies of the team of certified instructors which usually appears on the studio’s website as to see which instructor might best suit your needs. Of course, I enjoy the team at Synergie Pilates that’s why I joined, and I just love it! After a few months, my back is much better. I have not taken any pain medication or visited the E.R. for my back since which is quite an achievement! Although Pilates was never meant to be a therapy it is what worked for me, and I hope you give it a try – whether it is to tone your muscles or heal an injury – it is a fun way to exercise.

There are many Stott Pilates studios in most cities so you will surely have your pick. Synergie Pilates is located at 7, Place du Commerce studio 202 in Nun’s Island, Montreal. Tel: 514.761.4001

**Stott Pilates is a trademark of Merrithew**