[Previous threats and intimidation surround LRT]
Make no mistake; the Canadian Charter of Rights creates an environment where freedom of thought and expression are at the heart of all rights. Sadly, there is a portion of our population that vehemently asserts the right of freedom of speech without grasping the equally important pillars upon which those freedoms are able to exist. Owning responsibility for one’s thoughts and expressions requires that when one makes public statements one puts his or her name to the comments and accepts ownership and responsibility. When one asserts one’s opinions in a democracy, one is expected to act with respect toward others who may not harbor the same opinions.
The entire Light Rail Transit discussion seems to have fallen into the hands of thugs acting as proponents of the proposed Light rail Transit line the Ontario Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca and his inner circle along with an appointed autocracy; “Metrolinx” had made a unilateral decision to force a LRT line through the heart of downtown Brampton WITHOUT consultation. There is (frankly) an absolute tyranny when a majority government such as the one that presently exists in Ontario flexes its muscles and forgets the concepts of democracy.
Liberal Track Record: A Trail of Stinky/Soiled Diapers
When the present government won its mandate in June 2014, we were led to expect much higher standards from the majority Liberal government. Trust in the Grits had been badly eroded as a result of numerous and repeated scandals that the Liberals attempted to persuade voters to move past. Positive changes in attitudes in the top ranks of Liberal operatives at/around Queen’s Park were expected to herald better days in Ontario. We were asked to accept that the Liberals had learned from the sordid misdeeds of the Party’s r recent past. Hopefully, they had found contrition along the way. The Wynne Liberals did not want to suffer the same fate as their Federal cousins who were forced to third party status for ten years as a result of a single scandal (The AdScam scandal).
There is not a need to visit too deeply the trail of scandals left along the way by successive years of majority Liberal governments headed by Dalton McGuinty and then Kathleen Wynne. Revisiting the Ontario Liberal record is certainly not a pretty body of work and, for Ontario residents is about as pleasant as a stroll through a beautiful park along a path strewn with soiled and stinky diapers every few feet.
The Promises of Better Things and a Changed Attitude
It was the single highlight of the newly elected (2014) Ontario Liberal majority government headed by Kathleen Wynne when we were presented with “mandate letters” crafted by the newly re-elected Premier. Each of her cabinet ministers was handed such a mandate letter. The one handed to Transportation Minister Del Duca contained such wonderful and principled words as “partnerships with communities”; “collaborative approach in all the work we do”; engaging “people on the issues that matter the most to them”; “collaborating with partner ministers, municipalities, local governments, transit agencies, citizens and experts to build a seamless, province wide transportation network”; “we will reward that trust by working every day in the best interests of every person in this province”.
Goodness; those were lofty words and ideals all contained in a very public memorandum from the Premier to Transportation Minister Del Duca on September 25, 2014.
However, by June 2015 the notion of collaboration and receptiveness to municipal government in Brampton has apparently undergone yet another paradigm. When Del Duca was asked if the province was open to changing or redefining the proposed route, his terse response was, “ I’ll respect the decision that council makes on July 8 but I am really not opening the door to extensive, ongoing negotiations about routes.”
Involvement by Third Parties
Around the same time that newly elected Premier Wynne was espousing those lofty notions about collaborating to find consensus, there was a promise that third party interveners in the democratic process should not be permitted to exert disproportionate influence in the democratic process. Certainly consortiums of special interest can easily drown out individual point of view. Wynne, in her “eureka moments” following the past election.
Unlike the Biblical Pharisee, Paul who permanently changed his life as a result of a lightning bolt on the way to Damascus, Premier Wynne quickly forgot her commitment to limit third party interventions and, to the contrary seems to have enabled and empowered the formation of special interest groups to force the Hurontario Main Light Rail Transit (HMLRT) to do the heavy lifting on this project.
As a candid observer, I have watched aghast as pro-HMLRT factions have sprouted in Brampton like mushrooms after a rain storm. These groups have been extremely forceful and have resorted to tactics that (certainly) no elected government would engage in directly. Instead, these groups have come up with an unexplained amount of financial resources that have been used to produce flyers and high end videos. Marches, complete with large banners and free food in the park have been richly laid on so that these little factions can take on a larger and louder voice than even the democratically elected City Council.
Aside from the obvious inequity surrounding the secretive finances of these groups, the tactic employed has no place in a democracy and are a thing of great shame for the Wynne Liberal government.
There is a cowardly side to these little groups. Every clandestine action and every vengeful outburst on the Social Media is done by cowardly individuals acting anonymously. Thuggish behavior employed can only be described as highly intimidating to anyone who dares question the HMLRT.
Taunts and jeers have drowned out serous debate at City Council meetings. Swastikas have been scrawled onto the driveway of opponents’ homes and opponents have been mimicked as Nazi’s and scorned as “obstructionists “.
On the evening before the showdown meeting of Brampton City Council on October 27, 2015, yet another video was released by these cowards. This one features a clown in a Guy Fawkes mask who begins by stating, “We Are Anonymous” and threatens those council members who dare vote against the HMLRT. By any definition, the video in this case is an attempt to extort a political decision which elected municipal officials solely have every democratic right to make without extortion or intimidation.
It is most ironic that this group of cowards chose a Guy Fawkes mask to use during this presentation. They would do well to consult their history books before adopting such an inappropriate hero. Fawkes had attempted to blow up the British Parliament (House of Lord) on October 26, 1605.
Fawkes had procured 46 barrels of dynamite and positioned them inside the House of Lords. He was discovered while waiting for the government to enter the building. His plan was to force Great Britain to become Roman Catholic and “to have all of the Papist sect driven out of England.” He denounced Scotland, and the King’s favorites among the Scottish nobles, writing “it will not be possible to reconcile these two nations, as they are, for very long.”
It is most ironic that Fawkes was discovered and arrested on October 26, 1605 (510 years and ONE DAY before his new-found supporters launched one final all-out protest at a special Brampton City Council meeting held on October 27, 2015.)
I wonder how many how members of these anonymous groups understand that Guy Fawkes was no hero. In fact he begged forgiveness from then King James before being hung.
Shame on this present Liberal Ontario government for permitting such activities as have taken place in Brampton and shame on Kathleen Wynne for so quickly forgetting her pledge to collaborate and choke off third party lobbying as has happened in Brampton.
Copyright © Thunderbird Rising 2015
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