Tom Black Ontario Landowners Association OLA President
Since the beginning of the Ontario Landowners Association OLA landowner movement, we have been told by many people with a good grasp of how organizations proceed and succeed in their goals, that we are doing it all wrong. I have heard people within the group arguing the pros and cons of many of our tactics and especially questioning “why” we would take on some of the controversial cases that have come up. Most of the critics tell us we must pick an issue and stick to it and not be drawn into these distracting, small potato problems of people who call looking for someone to listen and someone to help them.
Ontario Landowners Association OLA landowner members in general, agree that one focus should be the freedom to own land, use it for their enjoyment, profit from their toil on it, have jurisdiction over it, and if it is ever infringed upon for the public good, expect reasonable and timely compensation. Along with this freedom, would come the responsibility that actions on our property would not harm our neighbour’s property. Some would say, therefore, that we should make this our direction and goal. I agree with the goal to push all levels of government to establish the freedom to own land and the sooner, the better, but this group was not built on this issue alone.
I joined the Ontario Landowners Association OLA Lanark group, at their second rally on Shaw Road, around the time that the BSE crisis was starting its devastation. I joined because they represented a group that would stand up for people and families that had nowhere else to turn. We still are that kind of group and if we don’t continue to take on the injustices that no one else will touch, we may as well pack up and go home, because by the time we succeed in achieving our “freedom to own property”, there may not be any rural culture to enjoy. To the uninformed, at first look, we may seem to lack direction, but those with a passion for the land and the families that make up the rural community, the direction is singular. Respect!! Respect our neighbours, their land, and their business because if you pick on one of us, you have picked on all of us.
Sincerely, Tom Black