Farmers again near boiling point

by Jim Merriam, London Free Press
In the early 1980s, a group of angry farmers grabbed their rifles and shotguns, donned ski masks and posed for the press.  The picture, taken in the haymow of an old barn near Owen Sound, was front-page news across the country.  The farmers in the picture and many others had reached the breaking point.  It was the age of usurious interest rates that made farming and other small businesses impossible to operate.  The sympathy of much of rural Ontario was with those farmers who courageously brought the rural plight to the public’s attention.

Many residents who lived and worked along the back roads of the province believed the real criminals were government leaders that sanctioned rates of more than 20% on an ongoing basis. (Some businesses paid up to 24% interest on operating loans during the period.) Because of these rates farmers had been in a fight for their lives and livelihoods against the bureaucracy and banks long before the picture appeared.

But the photo op was the point at which city folks finally sat up and took notice of the turmoil that was destroying lives and communities throughout the province.

Thirty years have passed and there are similarities with the rural Ontario of today.

Family farms are rapidly disappearing even though the economics of agriculture have improved, particularly in the last few years.

But relations with the government are little different. The province continues to run roughshod over rural communities as if nothing has been learned since1980.

Green energy — particularly wind turbines — is one issue that has rural Ontario boiling. But there are many others including the future of rural health care, government’s love for bigger schools even when they are no better, an assault on small school bus operators, mind-boggling regulations for something as simple as a liquor licence for a community dance, etc.

The folks battling the wind turbines are among the first to reach a frustration point not seen since the ’80s.

This week those activist municipal politicians led a public shunning of Premier Dalton McGuinty by 80 or so delegates to the annual good roads convention.

For their trouble, they got a vague promise that the province will restore “some” autonomy to municipalities that want to limit the number of wind turbines.

“Some” change is the best the premier can come up with after years of rural residents battling the issue.

Contrast that to the sudden response the province provided to Toronto when that council discussed transit needs in the Big Smoke and you get an understanding of how neglected and ignored rural residents feel.

I asked one opponent of turbines about the similarities to the unrest of the early ’80s. “The time for civil unrest may be approaching,” this individual said.

Combine that comment with others such as “let’s meet cabinet ministers outside of the cities with spreaders full of manure” and it’s obvious trouble is brewing.

Thirty years ago a band of gun-totin’ farmers got some action from the banks, the government and among themselves.

That photo was the seminal event in the founding of the Canadian Farm Survival Association. An organization of rural ministries also sprang into action to help families facing loss of livelihoods and the possible suicide of family members.

New ways were developed to finance the beef industry, based in part on the co-op model.

Rural communities eventually calmed because something was being done about their concerns.

Nothing is being done today.

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31 Responses to Farmers again near boiling point

  1. Gears says:

    Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. What the Ontario government has failed to learn, and apparently see in the news from around the world, is the most dangerous creation in any society are people with nothing to lose.

  2. carol garrow says:

    Indeed. I remember that event. It worked extremely well & helped to return some of those in supposed power back to a sense of what was realistic. That was an unfair time, and now we are seeing history repeat itself, in the treatment of the Horse Racing groups and the wind turbine issues. There is unrest, and it is like a sleeper…. very unhealthy. However, when enough people have enough rights and freedoms removed, there will be a meeting of the minds.

    • barbara says:

      Maybe Ontario would be better off with an elected sheriff for each county as the chief law enforcement officers. This gets rid of a central provincial police force operating under a sinlgle politcial entity. All that is required is to change the law for this to happen. Under the sheriff system all of the people get the opportunity to elect their county sheriffs.

  3. What is different today is that ALL residents of Rural Ontario is really pissed off, not just the Farming Community.
    If I was McGuinty or any one of his “lackies” that serve him at will, I would not venture anywhere outside of the Pink Palace walls and “wander” into the “wilderness” of Rural Ontario.
    I surely hope there is another election called sooner than later and we shall see how well this idiot does when he HAS to campaign in the wasteland of Rural Ontario which has been created by this mean and mad “Leader of the Damned!”……………….a good old fashioned country welcome awaits you Dalton!!!!

  4. Free Thinker says:

    Hey!!!! -OFA – World watches!……and waits.
    Are we so lost in the dark of our hearts!

    If you want to know about a person, or organization -
    look @ who they associate with; who their friends are.

    Global Renewable Energy Experts Praise Ontario’s Green Energy Act (Apr-23-2009)
    TORONTO, April 23 /CNW/ – Renewable energy experts from Europe and the United States have come to
    Queen’s Park today to speak with Ontario MPPs about the government’s proposed Green Energy Act.

    The experts present their recommendations after three weeks of committee hearings across the province
    which saw wide support for the proposed Act.

    “The government is hearing first hand from those who know about the policy and technology of renewable energy,”
    said Deb Doncaster, Executive Director of the Community Power Fund.

    “These experts are here to show Ontario what it can accomplish with the Green Energy Act.”

    Somebody left the ‘gate open’ – you know it allows them the way
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By1EbHetjAs&feature=relmfu
    - we got lost on the way – How do we not fade away?
    Are we so lost in the dark of out hearts?

    Experts from the United States are at Queen’s Park to commend the government’s decision
    to pursue an aggressive renewable energy and conservation policy, taking a leadership role in North America.
    The proposed Green Energy Act includes, for the first time in North America, a feed-in tariff style procurement mechanism for renewable energy.

    About the Green Energy Act Alliance:
    The Alliance’s vision is to make Ontario a global leader in green energy development
    through the use of renewable energy,
    distributed energy and conservation, creating thousands of jobs,
    economic prosperity, energy security, while ensuring climate protection.

    Founding groups include:
    the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association,
    Community Power Fund,
    the David Suzuki Foundation,
    Environmental Defence,
    the First Nations Energy Alliance,
    the Ivey Foundation,
    the Ontario Federation of Agriculture
    and the Pembina Institute.
    http://www.greenenergyact.ca/Page.asp?PageID=122&ContentID=1226

    p.s. Yeah OFA – how does ‘rural Ontario’ – not fade away?
    We’re waiting for the answer!
    And – it’s not ‘Sustainable Development’ – ‘Friends of the Greenbelt’ – Ugh!

    • JOHN E FOREMAN says:

      “Experts from the U.S. commend the Ontario government’s decision re: the GEA”? Wonder why? Could it be that they’re hoping to get more electricity from Ontario that we’re willing to pay them to “take off our hands”? Bonus? They don’t have to worry about having to generate it themselves!

  5. unveiled says:

    I think the lessons learned is for us to wake up. Do you not see governments ( public servants) are not serving the public anymore but are bought out by big business and become puppets for them. We are left on the hook to pay out our slave money which goes right into these thieves from right out of our servants hand (mutiny). If you do not see that then nothing learned and nothing gained for us. Time to make them all accountable ,time to wake up to the fraud., Ontario is really going to be a basket case if not already and all would be left is vultures picking up our lands to ad more misery but profits for them with ownership (Owners-of the ship). Hate to see through a crystal ball for Ontario future on the way it is going. Cheers

  6. CANWEA and other parasites “sold” McGuinty originally, that Ontario would become the “electrical generator” for export to the U.S. and that “Green Power” would bring in high rates of return making Ontario a super rich Province! (See page 12 of the CANWEA Windvision 2025 booklet.)
    Like a punch drunk boxer he bought into this madness and sold Ontario out to a small despicable group of greedy industrialists. Smitherman was McGuinty’s front man and was wined and dined by everyone from Koreans to Germans to Chinese and Indian investors in this FIT hand-out from the tax payers pockets.
    Never to admit he was “conned”, McGuinty will go down with the “denial ship” and take us all with him!!!!!!
    That’s where we are today….tomorrow?………it only gets worse!

    • Gears says:

      Today is a perfect example. According to the IESO import/export data, Ontario has been exporting electricity pretty much exclusively since midnight (at roughly $0.02/kWh). Meanwhile, these stupid IWTs spin away at maximum (for a change) and these greedy wind power companies are sipping away on their brandy and port courtesy of $0.145/kWh. The best thing Mcshifty could do for the economy right now…shut them down. He won’t…because his buddies pockets are getting lined with cash.

      If only the majority of people in Ontario could get this fact through their thick heads…

      • Tom Blacksmith says:

        And there in lies the rub. It’s all a massive scam. People need to be aware of this.
        Good comments guys.

      • me says:

        That adds up to over $3.5 million subsidy to the wind companies in Ontario for one day!!!!! ONE DAY ONLY !!!!!! That is our money being wasted !!!!! SHUT THEM DOWN.

      • Gears says:

        Too add salt to the wounds, today these spinning scrap yards are running at 17% of capacity…enough to supply Guelph apparently. But…Ontario is STILL!! exporting electricity. Aside from the money grubbing pork barreling going on, there is no fundamental reason for these things to exist!

  7. Sparky says:

    Jim Merriam is right.. Today’s government hasn’t learned a damned thing from that lesson back in the 80′s.. When your back is up against it, and you have nothing to lose, well….I’m surprised civil unrest hasn’t happened long before now..It’s just a matter of time before someone’s button is pushed once too often the wrong way.. And yes,it definitely would be a good point for McGoofy to not venture into riural ontario, lest he gets a good old fashioned rural “welcome’. As the Sun Media recently said, “How did this IDIOT get elected in the first place?”.To hear him speak,, he has absolutely NO people skills, charisma, or call it what you will… He has NOTHING going for him. I think IMHO,all of rural Ontario,and all those that support the total repeal of the GEA at the very least, should be calling publicly for his resignation..He and his henchmen have done irreparable harm to this province.. He’s made enemies with some western provinces over his remarks, and now, he’s backpedaling to atone for his stupidity.. I truly hope we get another election soon to oust him from power once and for all.. Things have gotta change !!!

  8. unveiled says:

    Farmers need to see this clip to understand how vulnerable they are losing their farm land to greedy pesky, rich,parasites waiting behind the scenes to steal your family farms. All out there for you to see when you look up to the skies. Another wake up call for the unaware of the wolves in sheep clothing. Pass it on if you care. Another government hand out to allow this to continue. Still happy how governments are behaving and spending your earnings and stabbing us in the back? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3__ssxTvNc&feature=player_embedded

  9. Jo Anne Slaven says:

    There’s an item in yesterday’s Star about how the old Pickering Airport got stopped. It ties in with this whole idea of making ourselves heard.

    http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1140193–landowners-who-fought-pickering-airport-plan-mark-40-years

    Also make sure you look at the two links contained in that news item. There’s a few good ideas for protests.

    • snowball says:

      Unfortunately, with this green travesty newpapers like the Star will not print the truth and the details even if they get it. It is heavy with suppression and collusion by a controlling government who is preventing the story from getting out to the masses. They let a little bit out but as soon as someone starts getting on the case they are reeled in. Just ask around. Many standard safety nets have been corrupted including our health ministries.

    • unveiled says:

      Like in a casino there is always a winner but more losers. still the game is fixed. Unless most of the slaves wake up.

  10. Peter says:

    Time to post the signs on 400 and 401 if possible………Like, Liberals kill protected birds
    Liberals kill protected turtles………..Liberals kill economy……….Liberals kill everything that moves
    LIBERALS WANT TURBINES AT HARRISON LAKE,MUSKOKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • barbara says:

      A good idea but would anti-IWT groups be able to rent bill-boards? Who owns and controls the bill-boards?
      Smaller signs on private property along major highways leading to and from urban areas might be had.

  11. The Star is as hooked up “politically” as any newspaper in Canada……..John Turner wouldn’t want the Star bad mouthing his “gravy train ride” on Ontario consumers $$$$ would he?
    John N. Turner, Northland Power Inc.
    Turner held the office of Prime Minister for 79 days

  12. Melodie Burkett says:

    It sure would be nice if while sitting quietly in the Gallery at Queen’s Park on March 8th ( trying hard not to throw up on the MPP’s below) while we support Lisa Thompsons resolution for a moratorium on all wind turbines, that we could actually hear a massive uprising outside. Yes we know it is a long drive, hard to park and hard to stand there all afternoon…Bring a lawn chair. Bring a tractor…Bring a hay wagon…
    Bring a manure spreader and spray the whole damn place, especially McGuinty’s car. Us rural folks that will be standing there don’t care if we get a little honest manure on us..we have been crapped on already by the McGuinty Liberals! ( Oh, Bring a rain coat! )

    PS. If the maure spreader gets kicked out make sure we all grab handfuls of cow flaps and plaster the Pink Palace. Let’s show the urban good people what their leaders really smell like!

  13. Bruce Sharp says:

    People should also remember that Tim blew the election. That’s a big reason why Dalton won the election. Plus NDPers’ general belief that all green is good.

    Tim is to some extent the Ontario PC’s Rick Santorum. He may resonate with hard-core party ideologues but he repels many others. The PCs could have smoked Dalton with a Mitt Romney-like (directionally) John Tory at the helm. Perhaps the Ontario right needs to dine on chicken and pork and leave the red meat ’til after they win an election.

  14. barbara says:

    In the last election the Liberals had the big renewable energy money, the MSM, the ENGOs and labour behind them via the NDP.Don’t think Tory would have made a difference in urban ridings as people there are convinced that IWTs will replace the lost manufacturing jobs along with other renewable enegy products & projects.
    But the PCs could have provided the electorate with the true costs of IWTs and how these energy policies will result in more inflation and energy poverty for many many Ontarians.

  15. Crazy Train says:

    Good idea Melodie. McGuinty deserves a heck of a lot more than that. The RONA walk out was the first step. Keep it going, hit them harder and harder. It’s important to act NOW and not let time lapse – or you may find a turbine development in your own back yard. Pulverize them.
    Good luck Lisa on Thursday.

  16. There were tax revolts and all sorts of stuff at that time — or so I have heard. ;-)

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