The Time Is Now For Rural Politicians Of All Stripes To Take A Stand By Tom Black

Tome Black

The news these days in the rural papers and radio stations indicate how well the plan to clear the rural of people, is really working. Back in early 2000, the government tasked a consulting firm called “Enid Slack Consulting Incorporated” with creating a report on rural Ontario. The resulting report was named “Small, Rural and Remote Communities; The Anatomy of Risk” and made many recommendations for government to follow to fix the problems in the country. The conclusions of their report was that the rural was in decline and there was nothing to do but help urge the people to move to the cities where services were easier and cheaper for the government to provide. They called for an inter-departmental committee of Cabinet so as to have a full blown affront at all angles of rural life so as to convince those that live there, to move to the cities and to deter those who wanted to move to the rural, from settling there.

Section 5.1 (1) of the report outlines the “settlement strategies”. Number 5 of those strategies “the provincial government cannot provide subsidies for everyone, everywhere in the province”. Section 7 says they “will have to be devising innovative methods of planning for downsizing”. Now getting back to the news in the rural papers; they plan to close or make major change to an estimated 500 rural schools according to the Ontario Alliance Against School Closures (OAASC) in an article in the Feb. 2017 issue of Better Farming magazine.

What better way to empty the country, than to remove local schools? The first question that any young family asks the real estate agent, before buying a house is, “where is the school”? No school; no new generation to build and retain any community. The proof is in the Statistics Canada facts, where it says that non-metro Ontario (rural) grew by 8.8% between 1986 and 1991. After this report became the policy of the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty, the growth in rural Ontario between 2006 and 2011 was only 0.5%. It would seem that this blueprint for collapsing the rural way of life, worked pretty well. One method that was used in that blueprint was the Official Plans which were forced on communities. New zoning was applied to land, restricting what property could be used for and instantly robbing many owners of their wealth. The red tape tripled and quadrupled the cost of doing business especially starting up something new. The hunger for money by government to employ more people, to write more laws and then to enforce them, has made the government the main employer in places like Ottawa. The problem is this kind of employment doesn’t create any wealth. It only removes money from the pockets of those who would create something with it. On top of that, this week the province announced that it would double the money that it would pay out from the gas tax to any municipality that had public transit. That is obviously another tax on the country folks for being ‘country’. After all we have to travel farther for everything, thus we pay more gas tax and towns like Carleton Place are not likely to qualify for a public grant.

This is a snowball rolling downhill and unless rural politicians of all stripes take a stand to rebuild the rural by stopping the ‘leaching of services and hope’, it won’t be long until the evacuation of the rural countryside is complete.