Jamie MacMasters address to the GLA innaugural meeting
Green Valley - 16 September, 2004
Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow taxpayers. I'm Jamie MacMaster, one of the Directors of the Glengarry Landowners' Association. Before I introduce my fellow Directors, I want to set some minds at ease. The GLA is not affiliated with any political party or candidate; we do not supportany particular political creed. We are not a negotiating committee or a debating society. We are, simply put; a group of property owners dedicated to ensuring that governments are not intrusive, wasteful or unaccountable.
You know, a couple of days ago I mentioned to my wife Louise that I had to sit down and write a speech together tonight. She said "How long a speech?" I told her, "about ten or fifteen minutes." "What are you going to talk about"? And when I told her it was mostly about politics and politicians, she said, " I don't know why you think you have to write anything. I've heard you rant and rave on those topics for a good 45 minutes without taking a breath. And if you took out all of the swear words I'm sure you'd still have a good 15 minutes of stuff you could use."
But I'm not really going to stand here tonight and blame politicians. I did that for at least thirty years and nothing changed. I bellyached and whined but governments became more intrusive, more wasteful and less accountable. And they've done it because we have allowed them to do it.They've done it because every three or for years we troop down to theballot box and put our X in the place where we think it will do the leastamount of damage, and we think that's all there is to democracy.
If property rights were in our Constitution we wouldn't have DFO officers sneaking up and down our ditches, looking for manure runoff while cities like Kingston purchase permits to dump sewage by the swimming-pool-full into our Great Lakes. We wouldn't have MOE inspectors keeping surveillance on manure piles and sawdust heaps while the smog level inToronto pollutes a radius of 100 miles from the city core.
So, we're going to supplement and improve the democratic process by giving our politicians the direction they need, and I really feel they want. How can they say "NO" if we don't attend council meetings? How can they say NO to the stupidities that the provincial and federal governments keep dumping on us unless we tell them "Stand up and say NO, we're behind you."
You know, there's an expression they use in the Caribbean: "Do not besurprised when you put a pig in your palace, if it continues to act like ahog." At first glance this seems to be a not-too-gentle poke at politicians. It's not. It points the finger right at us. We get what we deserve, and we get bad government because we don't get involved, because we think that that X on the ballot is all we have to do.
In the short term, we are going to support only those politicians who - by their track record and public commitment - support these notions. (1) Government should not be intrusive or wasteful; (2) Politicians should spend our money as if it was their own; (3) Upper level governments can, and should, be told "NO"; (4) That Property Rights must be included in the Constitution.
And we are going to come to the aid of any GLA member who becomes a victim of the intrusive stupidities of federal or provincial governments.
And if you don't think there is any cause to be concerned about intrusive governments, think of this, and think of what it has cost you. Twenty years ago I could go hunting groundhogs without worry of Criminal charges because I didn't have a stupid white sticker stuck on my Dad's .22 rifle. Twenty years ago I could put in a septic system for less than $2,000, not$15,000. Twenty years ago I could buy a beef and have it slaughtered and butchered without the government taking care of me. And if there is anyone ere tonight who would rather buy inspected beef, that's fine, I support you to - it's all about choice. Twenty years ago I could buy eggs from my neighbour and I didn't need the government to save me from God-knows-what by having then graded. And twenty years ago, if anyone would have told me that, one day, governments would be monitoring the water use from private wells and were thinking about taxing folks for over consumption; I would have laughed in their face. Think about that and the direction we're going.
Now I want you to look around this room. Think of the number of households that are represented here tonight. And think of the close results of the last Municipal elections when one candidate was elected by an eight-vote margin. And you don't think we can make a difference? These are the folks who are willing to help you; all they ask in return is that you help them when they need it.
Ladies and gentlemen, I picked up this hat in New Hampshire this summer. It's got the state motto on it: Live Free or Die; I'll be happy as hell to be Free Before I Die.
Thank you very much.