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The County’s last stand

Steve Campbell

Steve Campbell

By launching the concept of Separation, I have been called ‘delusional’. Maybe so but, despite the obvious satirical bent of my columns, I hope that other voices will join in, to save the County we love so dearly.
Lots of people say: “Hey, I’m with you,” because they see the same Eve of Destruction of our cherished way of life.  Waves of tourists roll through my office in the summer months, and they all sing the praises of what they find in the County. Wineries? Restaurants? Sure. But way more than that.
A woman from Europe, travelling across Canada, was stunned that the County was like a world apart from everything she had seen so far.
“It’s not just trees and more trees,” she said. “It’s a beautiful land, and everyone here seems to have a connection to the land and the water. They seem to understand why they want to be here. That’s very rare.”
She bought our County history book – though our history, compared to Europe’s, is like a heartbeat in time. But she was seriously interested in how we do what we do.
Sadly, I wish I could say the same about County people.

Though everyone knows the provincial government will bulldoze away the very things this lady marvelled at, we are still Canadians, and let’s not make a fuss.
“I think this is wrong, but here’s your cheque and my land, and my cat if you’d like, and I’ll eagerly give you my dignity and integrity as well. Except you’ve already taken that through legislation.”
The famous quote from the movie Network is rewritten in County-speak: “I’m mad as hell, but I certainly don’t want to upset the status quo.”
I don’t have many more years left on this planet but, before I leave, I want confirmation on one thing: That the County will continue the way it was born – a thriving, thinking, living community that doesn’t accept the shit that is decided hundreds of kilometres away by people who consider us to be a vast, exploitable wasteland. I want to know that the connection between us and the richness and beauty of the land and wildlife, and the eternal waves that surround us, will not be murdered by someone else’s political agenda.
Am I delusional? Probably. God knows what my parents did to me, but I would rather fight to the death than be a helpless victim to a ‘mandated’ force equipped with money and power – and the ability to write legislation to bring me to my knees.
Can’t fight City Hall? Damn right we can.

The Times recently reported that the head of the Emergency Department at Trenton Memorial Hospital stepped down, tired of pointless meetings, but still ready, able and skilled to continue the actual job at hand: treating patients.
She did it politely – but talk about the ‘canary in the cage’!
The professionals affected by the blundering idiots in every provincial Ministry are the people on the front lines who take time out from the job that needs to be done to accommodate bureaucrats built to make every simple decision a monumental event – which justifies their jobs, and consumes tax money like a blast furnace.
No right-thinking person thinks this a great way to run a society. You can pull out your political stripes to back the juggernaut of government you happen to prefer. You can pull out prayer beads, and hope that this will all work out in the future.
But hopes, prayers and politics are not sustainable ways to build a better future. The future is in us – not the status quo; not ‘The way things are’; not the “What can we do about it?”

We need to pull ourselves out of complacency, stop sitting on our hands, and take action that will be taken seriously by uncaring government robots. With feet on the ground, in as many numbers as we can gather, to just say: ‘No, this is unacceptable’.
We do this every day in the County, with friends and family and total strangers, because we have an inherent sense of genuine common sense and social order. And, if someone violates this, we stand up and speak our mind.
But, oh! no! Not with government – then we stare at the floor and take the beating we somehow feel we deserve.
I once made reference to the ‘justice system’ in Canada, and a friend pointed out there is no justice system in Canada.
“There is a legal system and, if it works properly, justice will be served.”
We fight the government with lawyers, and tribunals, and lawsuits, in the vain hope we can win the day. But this is their turf, and they more than have the home field advantage. They invented the Game, and continually rewrite the rulebook!

How do we fight it? First, let’s play our own game, not theirs.
I could ask that you write or e-mail our MPP Todd Smith (todd.smith@pc.ola.org) , the Premier or individual Ministers, and that’s not a bad idea. But only the savvy people know how to take this route, and find the time to do it. And trying to push a Stone Wall by shouting at it will not do the trick.
It is more important that we stop saying, “Why are they doing this to us?” and start saying, “We are we letting this happen to us?”
If I moved into your house and set up a cot, and helped myself to all the food in your cupboard, would you be okay with that? What if I produced a piece of paper that said you had no choice in the matter, because I’m here to stay?
Would you fight it? I hope so, except I don’t eat very much and only shower occasionally, when people complain, so I’m a lot easier to ‘upkeep’ than the provincial government.

The County can’t roll over and take it. Our future is on the line.
Perhaps we don’t need to separate from Ontario, but we need to show them we are willing to, unless they clean up their dictatorial approach to us.
There is one more path I intend to approach. We all know that Toronto is Ontario, and that they are oblivious to anything outside of their home, jobs and bank accounts.
But they also know we are their playground. Their escape. And they love us for it. They can’t wait to get here, and they hate to leave.
But do they know that their vacation paradise may disappear, along with birds and animals and that pristine – and sometimes uncultured – beauty that they revel in, if only for a week each year?
Not likely, because we consider government interference as a local problem. It’s time we let the City in on our plight.
There’s a reason vacationers don’t go to Whitby for a much-needed break. They come here. And they don’t know ‘here’ may turn into concrete instead of trees.

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElseSteve Campbell

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  1. Olmanonthemtn says:

    Hey lets be creative to get attention eg. create our own flag, anthem, poetry (we have Al Purdys’ poet in residence) we can become a remake of the mouse that roared or duck soup, lets create our own holidays and heroes, sponsor concerts/plays and performance art so that we attract Rick Mercer et al and benefit from attention economically. The Florida Keys created the conch republic to draw attention to their concerns.

  2. Dayton Johnson says:

    A quick way to get arrested Myrna….who wants to spend even two minutes talking to a protester with a hand full of prpaganda when you have just suffered through 2-3 hours battling traffic and delays on the 401. Perhaps a large posted sign on private land would be more effective and it could suggest your last line of ask questions of the residents.
    We’ve seen how many friends a blockade makes at demonstrations near or on the Reserve. You hold people up from their schedule and everybody is PO’d at you.Has there been any opportunity to visit the talk shows or our own local FM radio with the information you mention? Don’t try and cram it down peoples throat…totally ineffective.

  3. Myrna Wood says:

    Following up on your suggestion to speak to the thousands of visitors to the County, I suggest that we organize educational blockade/picket lines on the highways to and from the 401. We would have to hold them up a few minutes on their rush to the beach but we could hand them a brochure with the facts about what their government – dictatorship – is doing to life in the place where we live and that they love to holiday in. Tell them to speak to County residents and ask questions.

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