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What can we do?

Steve Campbell

Steve Campbell

As attacks continue from our provincial and federal governments, it’s a struggle to keep from falling into despair. The question I hear most out there is: “What can we do? What can I do?” I also occasionally hear, “What’s the point? Why fight a losing battle? It’s pointless. You can’t fight City Hall!”

This takes me back to my Dad, who was two generations separated from the Campbell family homeland in Scotland.
I think he instilled the “Fight for what’s right” attitude that, to the variable joy or disgust of my readers, is a driving force for me.
He had a number of sayings which probably descended from the Old Ways. My favorite was: “If you’re not going to pitch in and help, then at least get the hell out of the way.”
I wish he were here now to send that message to our governments. Worse than ‘not helping’, the province is destroying everything we have come to value in the County.

William Lyon Mackenzie, another fine Scotsman, lost the Rebellion of 1838, but won the war. He brought down the Family Compact, a controlling group who held all the power, made all the decisions, and listened to no-one below their elite station, as they were way more intelligent, and clearly better-bred, than the unwashed masses.
Sound familiar? You bet!
No battle worth fighting is ever pointless. If you choose to stay away from ‘Lost Cause’ issues, then your very apathy will prove you right. “Thank God I stayed at home and watched Duck Dynasty, instead of wasting my time joining the fight.”

I have a number of future column projects on the go and, believe me, IWTs, hospital, commercial fishing are only the very tip of the iceberg in the story of how the governments are systematically destroying – not only our way of life – but our independent businesses as well.
And they’re the lifeblood of the County.

I might also point out that our new Premier fully met my expectations, by offering heartfelt condolences about the Green Energy Act vs. local involvement, which will be looked at, and maybe looked at, and maybe looked at again, and then, if all of the people who have problems with dictatorial government operations are still alive, possibly looked at again.
In the meantime, she says, no possibility of a veto on Ostrander Point. I find this very odd, as the MOE tribunal to determine the damaging effects of IWTs there – which should lead to the termination of the project – is still in progress.
Clearly Wynne has read the last page of the book long before the rest of the novel has been written. This flies in the face of what Ontarians laughingly call ‘democracy’.

To bring my point home, I would like to offer examples of “What one person can do.”
Take a look at Henri Garand, Gary Mooney, Garth Manning in their efforts against IWTs. Myrna Wood and her staunch crew with the Field Naturalists.
Already I’m missing good people on the list of those who have devoted enormous amounts of time, and money as well, to fight for what is right.
On the hospital front, Fran Renoy is our Lady of Hope – a watchdog on QHC, and a skilled overseer of our Health Care system. Dr. Elizabeth Christie (still my personal hero), and Dr. Taylor are screaming out loud – because they care about something the LHIN and QHC have long forgotten: Health Care in the County. New voices are joining in.

There’s a Canada-wide curse. I see it in corporations and bureaucracies across the country: The people who make the decisions have never visited the trenches. The place where the work actually gets done.
Bank CEOs should spend one day at a teller’s wicket. Every highly-paid LHIN board member should spend an 8-10 hour shift in the chronic patient ward, changing diapers, polishing bedpans and cleaning up vomit. Every insurance adjuster should spend 8-10 months calling and faxing, and re-calling and re-faxing, and e-mailing their own company. Every Technical Support Supervisor should try to converse with their people in India, and spell their names 17 times over the phone.
Come on down, everybody! Check out the world WE live in!

Back to the point. Dave Gray is just a guy. But he’s loading buses to bring our hospital crisis to Queen’s Park. Are you sure you want to watch a re-run of Duck Dynasty? You could join him, and make a statement for change.
There’s not enough space here to list the people who have devoted their time to making wrong things right. But I have one more.
Marc Seguin’s work to save County lighthouses has been ‘lost in the sauce’ by the immediacies of our other battles. The feds are showing the same thoughtful care and consideration they brought to commercial fishermen at Point Traverse – with a bulldozer. And quickly, too. Faster than a passport application or an HST refund cheque!

I’m not big on conspiracy theories, but it looks to me like the two governments have a handshake deal to clear the Point of any living activity – humans, plants, wildlife – in aid of a bigger plan.
It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if Point Traverse lighthouse didn’t go under the bulldozer blade some lazy Sunday afternoon. This is their style … just like Picton’s church and the demolition of Point Petre lighthouse. In the latter case, the lighthouse keeper was given only a few hours to remove his possessions, and the Grand Old Lady was blown up.
Protests after the fact were met with, “Oops, sorry.”

Both governments have one thing in common: They like to tear down, and they like to build.
But only on their terms. With their giant brains (estimated to be 5.5% larger than County brains, according to some dweeb in Stats Canada).
The only good thing that has grown from attacks by the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Health, and Environment Canada is that County people are now more vigilant, and faster on our feet to fight our only enemies: Them.
There’s lots we have to lose. You can be an ‘armchair athlete’ or you can fight the good fight.
I swear, when the government comes for YOU – in your County, in your world, in your home – you’ll say: “What! How did this happen?”

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElseSteve Campbell

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  1. Wolf Braun says:

    >>>operating costs – which over time are larger – have been paid by the province for decades and only a very small proportion of that, probably less than 1%, has been paid by County Residents.

    The flip side is that County residents have also been paying higher provincial taxes. Either direct or otherwise. Also increasing operating costs need to be examined for all hospitals across Ontario. I suspect that operating cost increases at large urban hospitals are steeper than at PECMH.

  2. County Steve says:

    To David: I rarely step into debates on my columns, but you are seeing the situation through rose-coloured glasses. You are a good Company Yes Man for QHC … I checked your background, and you have many years of expertise in Health Care bureaucracy.

    I sense that you care little for the history of our hospital, and care even less about my opinions. But I’m willing to bet I have talked to way more County people about PECMH than you have.

    Everyone agrees that Ontario’s approach to Health Care needs to change. You will not likely agree that the process of this change is being badly bungled by MOH, LHIN and QHC. Cuts are clearly being made before a proper support structure is in place.

    Another difference between the two of us? I believe that our largely-ignored but highly-dedicated doctors and health professionals should set up the new system, not half-blind bean-counting bureaucrats. I don’t care if you don’t listen to me, but I beg you to listen to the people who genuinely know how the system works, and how to improve it.

    You ask for a ‘common path’ … do you have one?

    Certainly not by travelling arm-in-arm with us. You’d need to learn ‘compassion’ to do that. Forgive us our passion for a hospital that is very close to our hearts. You can wait forever for us to join your only common path: cost savings.

    Meanwhile, we’ll carry on caring about human lives.

  3. Marnie says:

    Mr. McKinnon clearly you do not live in Cressy or at Long Point so when you blithely state that county residents are “close” to Belleville you are stating an inaccuracy. If our governments had not blown money on a lot of hare-brained initiatives in recent years maybe their fiscal position would be stronger today. We are reaping the consequences of some of their stupidities.

    I am willing to bet that you are a relative newcomer to the county. This is the only thing that possibly explains why you fail to understand the anger of lifelong county residents confronted with the loss of their hospital. No one is outraged for “fun” as you suggest and no one wants to sell column inches. Based on your rhetoric one can only conclude that you are in excellent health, have a valid driver’s licence and live close to Belleville. That would make it much easier to stand by with a smile on your face while our local hospital is being turned into a band-aid relief station. Thank goodness for the Steve Campbells of the world who believe that it ain’t over til the fat lady sings.

  4. Doris Lane says:

    David MacKinnon
    How long have you lived in the County?
    Do you know all these things by furst hand experience.
    I was on the hospital board in the late seventies along with Richard Byers and Don Stanton.
    I was also president tof th Auxilary, along with Evelyn Drew and Eleanor Lindsay MacDonald.
    Fran Renoy was an X-ray tech.
    The people of the county workedvery hard to build the first part of the hospital and the new addition. Sure we received money from the government. But the money we raised was not peanuts as you suggest. I am not a little old lady living in the past (although the past had many good things we do not have now). I realize that we willnot go back to our 95 bed hospital but we can go back to something that is better than 12 beds and maybe have some of our facilities back,
    The people that are organizing this whole thing are to be commended and I am sure they have access to all the records of the past. They will proceed carefully and get all their ducks in a row. I do not have the knowledge to bring about the change we need and I am sure you don’t either but there are those among of us who do. Let them do their job and support them.
    A large kuddo for all the work he is doing. he was the mayor for 8 years and gained a lot of knowledge over that time.

  5. fed up says:

    thank you Mr. McKinnon, for a well reasoned argument. We all hope a reasonable and fair solution to the current issues is found.
    What was relevant to the 1950’s means nothing now. I’m afraid some of us just don’t live in the present.

  6. David MacKinnon says:

    The idea that Prince Edward County residents paid for the hospital is wrong. While County residents did wonders in raising money for buildings and equipment, a history everyone should respect, operating costs – which over time are larger – have been paid by the province for decades and only a very small proportion of that, probably less than 1%, has been paid by County Residents.

    This is another factual disconnect which impedes realistic and fact based discussion among people aimed at finding common ground.

    David MacKinnon

  7. Doris Lane says:

    David most of the money is being wasted on top administration just like it is in the county
    Get rid of the high paying jobs–we do not need them,Prince edward Memorial Hospital ran with one administrator and we had 95 beds, a laundry, a kitchen , a lab and we ran inthe black.
    We want that hospital back, we paid to build it,we raised money, we bought equipment We had many bequests. we were doingfine by ourselves we do not need outside interference

  8. David MacKinnon says:

    Mr Campbell’s comments are remarkable in their unreality. For one thing, he doesn’t mention that both the federal and provincial governments have incurred massive deficits and have to cut back to avoid tax increases that would doubtless lead to more of the kind of outrage exhibited in this editorial. Second, on healthcare, there are 211 hospital sites in Ontario serving an average of 64,000 people each.The Prince Edward County Memorial serves about 20,000, excluding county residents who are close to Belleville and Trenton. Consequently, the PECMH will always be vulnerable unless a new model for it is found. That is what Quinte Health Care has proposed and nobody doubts the complexities of moving in the new directions it has suggested. However,the biggest risk is likely to be celebrating dated patterns from the past too much or doing nothing in the face of serious – perhaps unprecedented – fiscal challenges.

    Another thing – outrage may be fun and it might sell column inches but it seldom brings people together to find a common path. It should be selectively employed if at all.

    David MacKinnon

  9. Lori Cairns says:

    I agree with most of what you say, Lynn, but when it comes to (s)elections, what if our choice is “none of the above”?

    What do we do then? What do we do when we have figured out that they are all in it together? All puppets on a string and we aren’t the masters.

    I am tired of being fed the three party bs. I am tired of being given a choice between three candidates that have been hand picked by the bankers. This is what democracy has become in this world.

    We need more awake and aware people to take democracy back. It is starting in the county, but more people need to wake up and want to change.

  10. Lynne Ross says:

    So many folks, far and wide and closer to home, are quite content to sit on their glutimus maximus and do absolutely nothing. These same folks will complain and gripe about what’s happening, what’s not fair and say, ” how come I didn’t get a chance to say something??” The time is here and now to get out there, even if it’s just to wear a pin on your jacket, make your opinions count for what’s right. This is not just our County, this is the future generation’s County, the air we breathe, the views we appreciate and the food that we eat. If you’re not going to do anything, then you have no right to complain. Just like in an election, if you don’t vote, then don’t complain about how things turn out.

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