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Closed Doors: A Killing Blow

Steve Campbell

I study politics, human behaviour and corporate structures the way other people study a chess board, or enjoy the intricacies of an interesting movie. Except I don’t make popcorn. And I don’t sit silent for several hours.
Right now, the County seems to be Ontario’s Favorite Kicking Post, which would not turn into a good promotional tourism slogan. I’ve spent a long time here (I left for a year to live in Kingston, but hopefully this does not bar me from County Native status), and I’ve never seen the County under attack as it is now.
We have three crises on our hands which all culminate, oddly enough, in the month of February, when most County people like to relax in their homes, coughing their lungs out and discovering the wonders that only NyQuil can bring.

County folk are taking on the threat of Industrial Wind Turbines, the further demolition of our County hospital, and the head-shaking sadness of a Children’s Aid Society gone astray.
What went wrong? I hear a lot of people saying: “That’s the way it’s always been … you can’t fight City Hall!”

That may be true, but I see it with a twist. I have a theory, born of the commonality of these three issues.
Sure, we’re used to political promises, and actually expect them to be broken. Sure, were told by corporations that every effort is being made to provide better service to us, while screwing us. These have been unwritten laws entrenched into the politico-corporate marriage since 80-year-old Canadians were babies.
But something has changed.
The illusion that the people in a democratic society actually have a choice in the decision-making process? Well, that’s a distant memory.

To me, it comes down to one thing: Closed Doors.
This is the creeping mentality that is changing the face of Ontario and Canada.
It stems from another time-tested unwritten law: Bureaucratic and corporate structures will eventually grow to the point where they only serve themselves. They not only protect their jobs, they breed more jobs, like rats on a ship.
Eventually, they convince themselves that only THEY can understand the decision-making process – due to their amazing ability to shuffle papers around, and buy reports from highly-paid consulting firms, without leaving their own offices. The people affected by their decisions are little more than a nuisance.
Now let’s bring this home.

Green Energy Act? It does not open with “We The People …”.
It opens with: “Your High and Lordly Government, given the gift of Divine Insight, has decided no-one should have a say in our Immaculate Plan for a better future for everyone … but maybe not for you and you and you.”
With a stroke of a pen, they removed our voice, and our Council’s voice and, finally, our MPP’s voice. Still, in an amazing magical slight of hand, they encouraged ‘public input’, which went directly into the Magical Paper Shredder (“Now you see your concerns! Now you don’t!) or into the SPAM folder on the various Ministries’ computers.

Closed Doors. The decision has been made by People Much Smarter Than You, so sit back and take it.
It’s an Act created behind closed doors, and kept inside the Smart Room, with no input, until the deal is done.
In similar fashion, the Ministry of Health decided $10M needed to be cut from the QHC budget. Another decision made on paper behind closed doors.
This particularly pisses me off, because the Province can blow $230M on cancelled gas energy plants, ridiculous expense budgets from the ‘pigs at the trough’ for great meals and nice trips, plus countless other exercises in complete fiscal abuse.
Then, suddenly, they decide to become fiscally responsible when it comes to Health Care!

This makes me want to heave … except I’m afraid it won’t stop, and I don’t know where to go. Even the cab drivers won’t take me to Belleville if I’m heaving all the time.
Seriously, another case of Closed Door Mentality. The decisions are made, and the Ministry, LHIN and QHC are all rallying around the flag. Yet they stress the need for ‘public input’, with one hand over their hearts to show they’re sincere.
“It will be better for you,” they croon. “Everything will be so, so much better when you have a heart attack at Point Traverse and only need to wait six-to-eight hours for hospital care.”
If any of you shameless bureaucrats have kids, send them down for a week at Long Point. I’m sure you’ll be happy with the medical service if anything goes wrong. Scared? You should be. Just like us.

QHC can wave their Happy Flag all they want. Fact is, they have abandoned the people they pretend to serve, and yet stand smiling proudly beside the bureaucracy that cuts their paycheques. Closed Doors. It’s nice and cozy in there, when you can ignore the people who relied on you for proper local Health Care.
And this attitude, too, brought down the County Children’s Aid Society. I can see it as clearly as any other bureaucratic or corporate system: Eventually the ‘job’ becomes ‘running the system’. So close the doors, and run the system.
It’s easy. But, more importantly, it’s something that grows over time, as the need to file the paperwork – and make everything look good – overcomes the original goal: To protect the children.
The hefty and scathing report by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, covered by local papers, shows that information was not recorded well, or passed properly to the people on the front lines. I might also note that the Ministry itself seems to have spent several years gazing into its own navel, since the office is so comfortable.

To me, it’s simple. In a small business like mine, you say: “What’s going on … bring me up to date.” In a fat and lazy system, the credo is: “Don’t make waves.”
This is how Walkerton happened. This is why large companies suddenly appear at the edge of bankruptcy. Closed doors. No input, little meaningful output.
Remember the crisis at Dodge-Chrysler years ago? Same thing. The top guys were cranking out Big Boats at the peak of the fuel crunch. The R&D people were told to find new ways to create bigger gas-guzzlers. Closed doors.
The car dealers were crying out in pain, because they couldn’t sell the Big Honkers. The blame fell on their sales departments.
Lee Iacocca saved the day, and re-built the company based on what the people wanted.
Too bad Ontario doesn’t work the same way.

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElseSteve Campbell

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  1. M. Sensenstein says:

    Our Government, and the huge global conglomerates who own everything, control everything,(including our governments) want it this way. They want to continue to grow richer and fatter, while we become weaker, poorer, and disillusioned by all we were taught. While we are busy fighting for the things we believe in. There goes another country, another group of people, another protected” piece of land, another local hospital…

  2. m york says:

    Word on the street is that the newly higherd arena mngr. has had to hire a consultant to help her do her job/duties? Usually where there is smoke there is fire…

  3. Jim McPherson says:

    Good writing Steve. Let’s open those closed doors and fix those mistakes before it becomes far too late…

  4. m york says:

    We don’t have to sit back and do nothing, we can take a stand and say enough is enough!!! (At least here in our own municipality) Another job has come to rise here in the County another director and his low income of $100,00 I kid you not.Look on the County website and I am sure we will get another out of towner because apparently everyone here is UNQUALIFIED. Yep, we can afford that and we most certainly have saved on the mngt. hiring (NOT). Another clear case of propaganda from our new CAO who says he is downsizing mngt. and saving tons of money for the taxpayers. (Bulls***)

  5. Doris Lane says:

    As usual Steve you hit the proverbial nail on the head,
    It is a sorry state of things when the citizens of the County have to fight for a say in their own affairs, Fight to perserve our enviroment, Try to keep a few beds in our hospital when we had nearly 100 a few years ago. Have to worry about protecting the most vulnerable of our children.
    This control over us starts with the municipality ,goes to provincial matters and then to the king of the control group–“THE HARPER GOVERNMENT”
    How do we escape all this?? Who knows!!!!!!

  6. Jason Pettit says:

    This bit got my attention…

    “the Province can blow $230M on cancelled gas energy plants, ridiculous expense budgets from the ‘pigs at the trough’ for great meals and nice trips, plus countless other exercises in complete fiscal abuse.
    Then, suddenly, they decide to become fiscally responsible when it comes to Health Care!”

    It’s gotten to a point where the government can be as blatantly self serving as it wants, and still get away with it. We are alone.

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