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The Turtle that roared and other stories

Steve Campbell

Steve Campbell

Well, it looks like a few things have happened while I was trapped in my shop!
First up, of course is the story of how Mighty McGuinty – who is running away from scandal so fast he is now just a dot on the horizon – was beaten by a tiny little slow moving turtle.
I have to admit, I was very skeptical about the outcome of the Wind Tribunal, but the MOE judges had the guts to stand by the sworn mandate of the ministry, and protect an endangered species.

Fortunately, developer lawyers and MOE lawyers are not endangered, so if you spot one scurrying around the South Shore, you are free to pick them off with any properly registered weapon of your choice.
Hopefully this decision will also have an impact on the looming White Pines project, where residents believe the IWTs do not have a proper setback distance from their homes.

On another note: The Times’ letters column was packed with some great responses to poor David McKinnon, who sent in a heartfelt letter lauding the success of his work with QHC.
In his defense, he’s quite right. His bosses gave him an onerous job to do, and he helped complete it. He has a right to be proud.
Sadly, as other letter writers pointed out, the results of his successful money-saving contributed to the ongoing destruction of our hospital. Little surprise that no-one is offering him the Key to the City, or holding a parade.
Too bad the Ministry of Health didn’t instruct him to find a way to save our hospital, because he likely has the skills and brainpower to do it.

In typical fashion, the government set the wrong task. It asked to chop money out of PECMH, not to find ways to make it survive.
We sort of learned this lesson at the Nuremberg Trials: Who is guilty? The person who pulled the trigger, or the officer who ordered the soldier to pull the trigger? I blame MOH, who knows how to push around money and paper and file reports to other bureaucrats, but is not really in the business of saving lives. Other people do that, if they can keep their jobs.  But MOH doesn’t allow doctors and nurses – or any other medical professionals – into the process, even though they are the ones who pound the floors every day and have a pretty damn good idea of what it takes to run a hospital.

I would feel way more comfortable if true health care professionals designed a new hospital system, not professional bureaucrats.
“If you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail,” a letter-writer said recently. MOH knows money, so every problem is financial. Doctors know how to fix sick people – God forbid they should be allowed into the smoke-filled rooms where decisions are made. (Oh, wait, the MOH would not have a smoke-filled conference room, they would have a ‘smoke-free environment’ where only the radon in the plush carpets and the PVCs in your upscale water bottles would kill you.)

The LHIN questioned QHC’s approach to Picton hospital, and it galled me to hear Mary-Clare Egberts on the radio saying something like: “We will go back into two-way communication with the community”!!!
Go BACK into …? How about try it out for the first time?!  (By the way Mary-Clare Egberts needs a shorter name, so I don’t have to leaf back through old newspapers to do a spell-check. How about Clarebert, or just Bert?)

Now I’ll flash back to where I left off in my last column.
We determined that the way we do politics in Ontario is a broken system. The government now makes decisions FOR us, instead of making decisions WITH us.
This is clear in the QHC situation, though I have to say I was stunned at the success of the Field Naturalists et al to effect change within the system, using the system’s tools.
This is an occurrence as rare as the Blanding’s Turtle, and I will cherish the memory of it always.
Still, the voices of County people have been completely removed from the province’s decision-making process. And we want back in.

Who said this: “When the government does not listen, why should we bother to speak? I will not vote for a system that closes its ears to my voice.”?
It could have been me, because I share this frustration.
But no. It was a 21-year old Iranian, quoted in Time magazine, about the changing politics in the country.
To me, it’s shocking that a young man living in what Westerners consider a highly strict and somewhat oppressive society could have the courage to express his democratic views.
And us – the pampered Canadians whose biggest concern is finding a sale on Cashmere toilet paper and Pepsi – sit idly by while government power and legislation grows and grows.

We live in a great country … the best in the world by my reckoning. But if we can be better, we should strive to be better.
Someone said the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Ask a war veteran, they know how big that price can be.
We’re big kids now. Don’t let Mama Government run our lives for us.
The Health Minister treats us with disdain – as children who should be seen (as little as possible) and not heard.
“No, we’re not letting you out of your QHC room.”
At least she doesn’t wish we were dead! Hmmm.

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElseSteve Campbell

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  1. marie says:

    “Ontario – Ours To Recover”

  2. Olmanonthemtn says:

    For those who stubbornly seek freedom, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in the totalitarian societies, much less so in the system of ‘brainwashing under freedom’ to which we are subjected and which all too often we serve as willing or unwitting instruments.
    Noam Chomsky

  3. Lori Cairns says:

    “We can never compare our issues here…”

    Not yet, Virginia, but oppression starts with seemingly small steps to disempower. Those who want to control don’t want us to see the bigger picture. Unfortunately, most don’t until it is too late.

    We are legislated to death in this province and the handlers are only getting started. If we don’t insist on being heard now, it will be too late. Some think it already is.

  4. Olmanonthemtn says:

    I did not conscrew the reference to Germany or Iran as hyperbole or humour, they must never be forgotten and should be part of ongoing discourse such that we don’t forget their importance and as citizens not just of the county we must not take our rights for granted and always be vigilante

  5. Virginia says:

    I understand humour and hyperbole…and their use to make a point. Some things just aren’t funny…ever.
    We can never compare our issues here with major world events such as mass murder and wholesale extermination of a people. I resent their trivialization in an”opinion” blog.

  6. Wolf Braun says:

    ” The comparison is that we are facing in our municipal, provincial and federal government a democratic deficit, a lack of respect of and responsibility to the citizenry ”

    Good post Olmanonthemtn.

    In a democracy we give our permission to be governed.

    It’s clear (to me) that there is no public permission to destroy our local rural hospital, the environment and much more.

    It’s time for the Premier, PM and all our elected officials and bureaucrats to wake up and listen to rural Ontarians… as well as all Canadians.

    … Wolf

  7. Olmanonthemtn says:

    hmm interesting, the United States Supreme Court which hopefuly has some credibility here has held that “threats may not be punished if a reasonable person would understand them as obvious hyperbole” which is defined as exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken seriously.

    H.L. Mencken described in Wikipedia as “an American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, critic of American life and culture” made the following hyperbolic statement:

    ’’The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it’s good-bye to the Bill of Rights.”
    On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe (1920-1936),

    I have not found that this led to an armed insurgency against U.S.civil servants at the time.

    On the other hand it took the reading of “Catcher in the Rye” in part to inspire Mark David Chapman to assassinate John Lennon

    In Steve’s case I would as a reasonable person understand the statement under question to be made in a polemical and satirical fashion to underscore that we certainly have no scarcity of people in government, business and services who have far far less affinity for the County than the Blanding Turtle. They are willing to take “shots” that is acts that threaten our medical services, traditional livelihoods and natural environment. Given the outcome of the Gilead tribunal we have as the Toronto Star described us are a distinct society of feisty folks who have shown we can “shoot back” to defend ourselves.

    The Star commented that the IWTs not only generated “local indignation at the intrusion of industrial-strength wind turbines into a bucolic retreat” but mobilized “organizational expertise and affluence needed to mount effective community action.” That us folks small but mighty, Davids vs 135 meter Goliaths. It underscores what Jane Jacobs an eminent defender of municipal rights asserted. The parochialism of the federal and provincial government is anachronistic “us here in the hinterlands” have the skills and knowledge to be competent managers and should be equal partners in our own governance.

    As to the reference to Iranian freedom seekers and the Nazis regime, I think as a reasonable person that we are talking about common important principles and not just making a comparison of our County struggles to others who have faced and our facing monumental human right struggles. The comparison is that we are facing in our municipal, provincial and federal government a democratic deficit, a lack of respect of and responsibility to the citizenry eg. defying transparency in deleting government records, proroguing parliament whereby negating the principle of responsible government, manipulating elections by granting favours, as well as various examples of ruling by decree. These to me are transgression against our rights and freedoms.

  8. Wolf Braun says:

    Jack… I can easily imagine advanced cultures from around the galaxy finding a little blue planet and using it as a laboratory to observe what happens when lesser life forms are thrown together like so many seeds. 🙂

  9. Jack says:

    Wolf, I’ve had a lot of respect for your previous posts and your efforts to save our local hospital but if you are trying to cover-up Steve’s statement as being humour, you are losing my respect quickly. All it takes is some mentally unstable person with access to firearms who reads Steve’s statement and thinks its a signal to take things into his own hands and no one will be save on this Government property. Have you forgot about Newtown already?

  10. Wolf Braun says:

    ” encouraging violence against people who are just there to do their jobs “.

    Violence is a pretty volatile word for this story. After all Steve is best known as a humorist. How many lawyer jokes are already out there? 🙂

    You are correct that we have bureaucrats just doing their jobs. Too many just following the “RULES” established by their masters. Not enough creative thinking and proper planning that includes public input. Very little problem solving from our bureaucrats and elected officials. Too much just following what others are doing. In a democracy we give our permission to be governed. It is clear that there is no public permission to destroy our environment, our rural hospitals, education and much more.

    It’s time for all elected officials and bureaucrats to wake up and be reminded that democracy is not for government but for the people. I think that is Steve’s message in this story, written in his own style.

  11. Ken Globe says:

    Wolf Braun: The ministry of environment, or any developer and the people who legally represent them. He is encouraging violence against people who are just there to do their jobs. Go on a public forum and encourage violence against an political person, a peace officer, or any appointed official and see what can happen.

    Steve used to be a great writer, I loved the County Guide Handbook. I still recommend it to anyone who is new to the area. But his articles on here of late have been nothing but self righteous ramblings that would be better spoken at the counter of a local lunch cafe with the usual suspects around him hanging off his every word.

  12. Wolf Braun says:

    ” You have left yourself open to possible police charges , as well if the right people read your statement their could be a potential lawsuit against you and the owners of this website. ”

    On what basis ? Who would be an example of the ‘right people’?

  13. Jack says:

    Steve, you truly have been trapped in your shop for too long. I can’t believe that with your journalistic expeirence you would make a statement encouraging armed violence against MOE and development lawyers. You have left yourself open to possible police charges , as well if the right people read your statement their could be a potential lawsuit against you and the owners of this website .

  14. Virginia says:

    It is unconscionable to equate the concerns of some County people with the Nuremberg trials and the problems in Iran.
    You need to rethink.

  15. Wolf Braun says:

    ” The PURPOSE of government is to rein in the rights of the people “. – Bill Clinton (Former US President)

    ” To serve right and to fight against the dominion of wrong is and remains the fundamental task (PURPOSE) of the politician.” …Address of his Holiness, Benedict XVI to the Reichstag Building, Berlin, Sept22/2011

    I like the Pope’s definition better ! 🙂

    You’re right Steve… we shouldn’t let “Mama government run our lives for us”. So, let’s begin by having a discussion of what ‘we the people’ want as the singular PURPOSE of Government and a set of PRINCIPLES by which we want our elected officials and bureaucrats to work by when making difficult decisions like our hospital, the environment,defense, etc..

    Only after we have done the hard work can we then demand that our elected officials and bureaucrats adhere to both PURPOSE and PRINCIPLES.

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