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County Independence Day – July 1, 2013

Steve Campbell

I’ve been pondering this for a long time, and have come to the conclusion that the time has come for us to secede from the Province of Ontario.
Reading back through previous columns, I realized that most of our problems come from outside of the County. We’re bossed around and pushed around by the Province – the political ‘party-of-the-day’ doesn’t matter.
Big Government lives and breathes through over-legislation, pushing one step at a time into our lives. And new legislation means hiring more civil servants to enforce the legislation, so Big G inexorably becomes Bigger G, until it swells to the size of MuthaRappa G.
And we pay the bills.
Does anyone remember the phrase, “More Freedom, Less Government”?
There’s not a party anywhere in Canada that is fighting for less government. They’re all cut from the same cloth: “Vote for us! Our Giant Machine will work better than the Other Guy’s Giant Machine. Because we use Oxy Clean to raid your pockets and handcuff your freedom!”
The County is like a dog with a Bad Master. We can be kicked and abused and slapped and leashed to a tree. But we occasionally get financial ‘treats’, so we waggle our tongues in delight for a short time, until the next beating.
So how about it? The County was ignored for centuries and we got along fine. The 401 passed us by, and we collectively went: “Whew!” Then, dammit, we were ‘discovered’.
I’m not talking about our New Blood from the cities – I believe they’ve had a positive impact on our lifestyle and economy. But someone tipped off the politicians, bureaucrats and corporations that we were here. I blame Google Maps.
The time to strike is now. The Ontario Liberals are leaderless, although McGuinty still gets to sit by his indoor heated pool and sip margueritas, while still drawing a hefty paycheque, followed by a hefty pension.
I’m sure he doesn’t waste time reading County newspapers – or anything else published in Rural Ontario – so the announcement of the Free Republic of The County will likely slip by unnoticed. (Actually, I haven’t chosen a real name for the new Free County … that’s up to you.)
I have been toying with slogans to launch the revolution. Sadly, “Time for a Change” has been co-opted by every mainland political party, so I’ve come up with: “Tired of being screwed around by the government? Let us do it!”
It’s a little unwieldy, but I’m open to suggestions.
You see, ever since the Province and the Feds started picking on the County with their big fat books of rules and regulations, things have been going downhill.
Businesses have vanished under the relentless pressure of multiple taxes, unnecessary licences (from magically-conjured government agencies who have never visited the property, but just send invoices), and the inevitable unending bookwork chores required to please the System – none of which serve the job at hand … trying to run a successful business and make a little money.
I hear you saying: “But, Steve, how can we possibly survive without living off the government(s) teats?”
I have a rough financial plan, which could be modified by someone who knows something about finance.
Ponder this: If ALL of the money we send to Queen’s Park and Ottawa were diverted to the County, would that not be a big potload of money?
You’re used to paying income tax, and the 13% HST is a given. MPAC has hammered you into the ground with increased property taxes, to the point that your tool shed can be assessed as “potential living quarters for small people,” and your rain barrel could be considered “waterfront view.”
So, if you’re okay living with the existing outrageous government kickbacks, this would be our start-up money. Keep in mind, the government money that is graciously ‘gifted’ to us, was gifted to THEM by US. So we fork it over, and get some back. Except we don’t have to fund the National Ballet, or spend millions of dollars on a giant white painting with a red dot in the middle, or spend billions on new Olympic Stadiums, when the existing ones are empty and going broke. Or billions of dollars on wind farms which will not replace a single existing power plant. (Sorry, had to say it.).
By now, I’m pretty sure you’re on board with this concept. So let’s get down to the details.
I have selected July 1 this year as Independence Day. It happens to fall on  a Monday this year but, for future reference, it will always fall on a Monday because everybody likes a long weekend. I might even throw in a Friday holiday, so people can plan vacations to exotic places in a foreign land, like Brighton or Tweed.
The action will start at noon, since some people don’t like to get up early, even for a Revolution. At 12:05, we close the bridges. Also at 12:05, we seize the Glenora Ferry. No need to worry about this – I’ve already interviewed some local commercial fishermen, and chose the guy who had a cutlass between his teeth during the meeting.
At 12:07, the toll booths go up.
At first, the booths will be Porta-Potties, until our MPAC money starts rolling in. Everyone entering the County will pay the toll; locals will be issued a ‘Speed-Pass’ electronic card which we’ll pretend works until we have the HST money rolling in, and can afford a card reader. Keep that a secret.
Belleville will likely counter with a toll of its own, but who wouldn’t pay five bucks to get out of Belleville?
Also on this day, we will seize the LCBOs and Beer Stores throughout the County. Just in case Ontario is upset with our actions, and cuts us off. They’ll be closed anyway, because of the Other July 1 Holiday, so it should be easy pickins. I have more volunteers than I can count right now, and I haven’t even advertised this yet!
In my usual ‘proactive’ manner, I have arranged for a giant order of 10,000 cases of Molson’s and 10,000 bottles of Bacardi, due to be delivered on June 28.
This will allow time for local wineries, breweries and distilleries to gear up production. Also, they will benefit from exports to the mainland, who will clamour for ‘Imported from the County Republic’, just for the snob value.
Next up: Restructuring County Council, and building an army.

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Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElseSteve Campbell

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  1. Olmanonthemtn says:

    David greatly enjoyed you declaration may be a good summary at its conclusion would be to paraphrase Peter Finch in Network “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!” Its great to see the amount and quality of dialogue to Steve’s satire. I anticipate that more fun and seriousness is to come perhaps dialoguing what are core county values
    that should comprise our constitution! We’ll leave that to Steve’s agenda.

  2. Collie says:

    I love it! But it’s not quite as crazy as it all sounds… look at Macau or Hong Kong, or Jersey for example! If only the County could find some way of generating wealth like those former outposts of empire we’d be fine…

  3. David Norman says:

    Steve, I took the liberty of creating the following draft:
    The Prince Edward County Resolves

    Honorable Steve Campbell, chosen moderator.

    THE council of this County, appointed to take into consideration the grievances, which rural Ontario residents in general, and the inhabitants of this County in particular, labour under, and to make a draught of such proceedings, as they think are necessary for this County, in the critical circumstances we enter into, report as follows:

    That this County of Prince Edward, taking into their serious consideration, and deeply lamenting the unhappy situation, to which rural Ontario residents in general, and the inhabitants of this County in particular, are reduced, owing to the jealous eye with which Ontario hath been viewed by corporate administrations since the accession of the present Premier, and viewing with the deepest sorrow the design of Ontario, (which is but too apparent to every virtuous lover of his county) gradually to deprive us of those invaluable rights and privileges, which were transmitted to us by our worthy and independent ancestors, at most laborious and dangerous expense; should esteem ourselves greatly wanting in the duty we own ourselves, our County and posterity, called upon as we are by our rural county brethren, should we neglect with the utmost firmness and freedom, to express the sense we have of our present dangerous situation, always professing, as with truth we do, the most inviolable regard and attachment, to our most gracious Constitution, and the succession as by law established, we have, with that deference and respect due to the County on which we are and always hope to be dependent, entered into the following votes and resolves;

    RESOLVED, That mankind in a state of nature are equal, free, and independent of each other, and have a right to the undisturbed enjoyment of their lives, their liberty and property.

    Resolved, That the great end of political society is to secure in a more effectual manner those rights and privileges wherewith nature has made us free. Resolved, That it hath a tendency to subvert the good end for which society was instituted, to have in any part of the legislative body an interest separate from and independent of the interest of the people in general.

    Resolved, That affixing stipends to the offices of the Government of this province, to be paid by money taken from the people without their consent, creates in him an interest separate from and independent of, the interest of the people in general.

    Resolved, That the peaceful enjoyment of any privileges, to the people of this County, in a great measure depends upon the uprightness and independence of the executive officers in general, and of the Judges of the Courts in particular.

    Resolved, That if salaries are affixed to the offices of the Ministries of the Province, rendering them independent of the people and dependent of the ruling provincial government for their support; (which we have too much reason to think is the case) it is a precedent that may hereafter, considering the depravity of human nature, be improved to purposes, with the most obvious and fatal consequences, to the good people of this province.

    Resolved, That Ontario residents in general, (and the inhabitants of this County in particular, by their charter) are entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born Canadian subjects.

    Resolved, That is a well known and undoubted privilege, of the Canadian constitution, that every subject, hath not only a right to the free and uncontrolled enjoyment, use and improvement, of this estate or property so long as he shall continue in possession of it, but that he shall not in any manner be deprived thereof, in the whole or in part, until his consent, given by himself or his representative, hath been previously, for that purpose, expressly obtained.

    Resolved, That the late acts of the parliament of Ontario, for the express purpose of raising and regulating the collecting a revenue in the Counties, are unconstitutional, as thereby the just earnings of our labour and industry, without any regard to our consent, are by mere power ravished from us, and the unlimited power by said acts (and commissions) put into the hands of ministerial hirelings, and the deprivation of our inestimable and constitutional privilege, a trial by jury, the determination of our property by a single judge paid by one part, by money illegally taken from the other for that purpose, and the insulting difference made between County and Ontario subjects are matters truly grievous, and clearly evince a disposition to rule us with the iron rod of power.

    Resolved, That the introduction, of civil officers, unknown in the charter of this province, with powers which render the property, domestic security and enjoyment of the inhabitants, altogether insecure, is a very great grievance.

    Resolved, That it is the right of every subject of Ontario, to be tried by the power of the vicinity, when charged with any crime, that any act of the parliament of Ontario, for destroying this privilege and tearing away subjects from their connections, friends, business and the possibility of evincing their innocence, and carrying them on bear [sic] suspicion, to the distance of thousands of miles, for a trial, is an intolerable grievance.

    Resolved, That the Great and General Court of Ontario, have it not in their power in consequence of instructions from their ministries, to exempt any man or body of men residing within and receiving protection from the laws of this province, from contributing their equal proportion towards the support of County government within the same, nor can any such instructions or orders from the ministries of Ontario justify such proceedings, should this be the case, it will follow of consequence, that the whole provincial tax may be laid upon the County.

    Resolved, That any determination or adjudication of the Premier in Ontario, with regard to the limits of the County, whereby private property is or may be affected, is a great grievance already very severely felt by great numbers, who after purchasing lands of the only persons, whom they could suppose had any right to convey, have on a sudden, by such an adjudications, been deprived of their whole property, and from a state of affluence reduced to a state of beggary.

    Resolved, That the Great and General Council of this County only, can constitutionally make any laws or regulations, obligatory upon the inhabitants thereof residing within the same.

  4. m york says:

    Fantastc article as usual and I couldn’t agree more. Lets take the town and fix the problems ourselves as I’m sure we would do a much better job.

  5. County Steve says:

    Wow, Marnie is hot today!

    I agree … if you love to live in the County, and enjoy the sense of community, I don’t care whether you’re seventh generation or arrived yesterday … you are County.

    On the first point, I agree with Doris that the Lord’s Prayer issue should never have hit the table, but for a different reason.

    It should be a given that the Lord’s Prayer remain. For one thing, it’s a tradition, and the more traditions we lose the sorrier we are. Also, this would not be an issue, except for the Great Canadian penchant of giving up the Christian values this country was built on, by whispering about it, in the hope of not offending others.

    This comes up every year in the Merry Christmas debate. Say it, dammit, or don’t say it. Your choice. But it should not be an edict from some department store manager, who is terrified of offending someone else, by uttering a cheery greeting.

    If you don’t believe in the Lord’s Prayer, then you are not required to pray along with the rest. Just sit there and take it … it lasts about as long as that TV commercial you can’t stand, but watch anyway.

    If you choose to start your Council meeting with a different prayer, do it. Or say it in the car on the way in to the meeting, we don’t care.

    True equality of religion is exactly that. You are free in this country to worship the way you feel. Suppression of one religion, in order to avoid conflict with another religion, is not in our Charter of Rights.

    So relax. A little nod to Christianity every once in a while is not something we should feel guilty about.

    As a non-church-going semi-Christian, I have accepted the theologies of many world religions, and have rejected a lot as well, because no organized religion is perfect. I have no problem with the Lord’s Prayer. Prayers in Latin I find to be someone unproductive.

    Let’s get back to starting a County Revolution. This will fix everything.

  6. Marnie says:

    Why do you ask, Beth? Do you think that county people who go back four or five generations are a different species from those who have chosen to make their homes here? In answering your question, as a fifth generation county native, I can only say that the county is as much a part of me as the colour of my eyes. It’s been home to my family since 1837. It’s a bit like living in Brigadoon and I can appreciate that those who come here may find us a little different. But after all, isn’t that why they came in the first place? The county is a special place and those of us born here treasure our heritage. It;s who we are and we are proud of it.

  7. Beth says:

    What exactly makes a “County” person? Is it your family lines or is it your love of your community?

  8. Marnie says:

    Maybe it’s not such a waste of time Doris. Have you checked the headlines in the paper lately? This morning one daily carried a story on a teacher who had molested a student, another one on a 13-year-old male student in Peterborough who had sexually assaulted his teacher and a report on a court case involving a young man who had repeated stabbed a friend and left her for dead. What can the Lord’s Prayer hurt? Maybe they should not have stopped saying it in the schools. One councillor stated that we should drop the prayer because it’s a different world out there today. It certainly is and it’s terrifying to think that school shootings, sexual assaults and other horrific crimes are becoming commonplace. How have we made it a better world by declaring the Lord’s Prayer a waste of time and an affront to those of other faiths? The last time I checked its content was not half as scary as what I am reading in the newspapers today. Cheers to the councillors who fought to keep the prayer. In a world where we do not seem to respect much of anything these days it’s reassuring to know that a few people still consider that prayer contains words to live by. Ever wonder why it’s fine to use profanity and make sexually explicit comments on TV and in the movies but a no-no to suggest that the Lord’s Prayer should be in schools or said at council meetings? It’s a sad world when a prayer offends but the garbage on TV and the big screen today is considered good entertainment.

  9. Doris Lane says:

    This may not be the place to post it but I was amazed that council would take sometime to debate an issue like saying the Lord’s prayer at the beginning of council–what a waste of time. Schools gave up saying the Lord’s Prayer years ago. Come on Council spend your time on more important things. This is 2013

  10. sv says:

    sounds good to me..where were you 20 years ago..my only concern is we would have to find a more qualified leader..mertens might be the mayor,but he certainly isn’t a county person

  11. Bill says:

    Good idea, but before we can tell the province or Fed’s what to do we really need to clean up our backyard.
    We need to get our local government ontrack and get them to take fiscal responsibility for OUR community. When that happens then we can show the wannabe’s at parliament hill how it’s done.
    Keep it in the County

  12. Doris Lane says:

    Some great hits on this blog–A Hospice cannot relace a hospital and why would they hire people to run hospice –3 beds????
    I love Steves idea of a separate nation here in the County
    I loved the way the County was some 60 Years ago. it was a lot better place to live
    I like the idea of charging a tole for people entering the county.
    As a past president and board member back in the late 70′s we had a great hospital, both top floors were full of patients, downstairs had x-ray kitchen,laundry,lab and outpatients and we were in the black. we had a large endowment fund–I wonder what happened to some of that.
    Maybe we could take a page from the idle no more movement,
    At least put up toll boths at all the bridges ad not let in those monster trucks with turbines that will ruin our roads along with a lot of of other things.

  13. SAB says:

    Marnie I agree with your statement regarding Hospice….It appears like many other organizations, they start out as volunteer run, they raise money from the locals and then they start hiring out, rather than asking the people of the community to help complete the project….Also it is a shame that the extra space at the hospital cannot be put to be use.

    Remember if we want to be a community unto ourselves, we all have to pitch in and do the grunt work.

  14. Lori Cairns says:

    Great idea, but July 1 may be too late. Let’s do it on April 1 with a slogan of “Fools No More!”

  15. Marnie says:

    If the beds are cut back to just 12 at our hospital that should put us about where we were when they opened the first Picton Hospital after the First War. Now that’s progress isn’t it? Where does the madness stop? On a different topic, just saw tenders by Hospice to gut and redo the house they just bought. They are also going to hire professional landscapers to create a tranquil garden. It’s a lovely concept but with all of the unused rooms at our hospital maybe they could have just redecorated a few of them to make them home-like and encouraged use of the lovely garden at the front of the building. Hospice started with one or two paid workers and volunteers, Now the paid staff is growing. It seems like a lot of money to support three beds. Wonder why our local horticultural society could not have been approached about planting a garden at the Downes Ave. house instead of spending big dollars for landscapers?

  16. gil says:

    Keep up the great work Steve!!
    The County/(I’m new 2009).
    We need direction and action NOW!!!to clean up this enviromental/wind turbine mess!!plus the recent hospital bed reductions?? …WOW,
    bring on the Tourists please,we need help!!!G&G

  17. Marnie says:

    A brilliant plan, Steve. Please tell me that you are planning to take it before council at the earliest opportunity. Let’s close the bridges, hijack the ferry and take back the county. You’ll be a shoo-in for president and you can commandeer Claramount as Prince Edward County’s answer to the White House. Of course it may mean giving up your day job as the editor of County Magazine which is regrettable.

  18. fed up says:

    yes, let’s be a crown colony–that worked well for Newfoundland. we can all starve together in the midst of plenty. oh and no health care! Hurray! Maybe we can get some advice from The Tea Party. Of course, we could build our own casinos……………we could have kids be dealers-excellent way to learn math.

  19. Cheryl Anderson says:

    Good idea, Steve. Of course, I claim to have come up with it a long time ago. Close the bridges, I say. No huge trucks with turbine bits allowed. Save Ostrander Point and get some sanity back in our lives.

  20. David Norman says:

    I’m in…… !Hail the County Republic for which we stand!
    I’ve got a couple of ideas for our declaration of independence… perhaps we should all sign it.

  21. Susan Rose says:

    I like Janet’s plan all good for me and mine!!

  22. Ken Globe says:

    I just hope Barley Days can come up with a better beer by then. Sorry just not a fan of any that I’ve tried.

  23. I would just like to point out one small fact that may impact on this plan – the townships that comprise Prince Edward County existed long before the Province of Ontario was anything but a gleam in Lord Durham’s eye. We do not need to declare our independence. Instead, might I suggest that we simply expel the rest of the province from our territory and revert to being a Crown colony? The rest of the negotiations can then be conducted with London, where they won’t care what we do.

  24. Brent says:

    I’d blame Apple Maps… they’re taking all the heat these days…

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