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  • Rural Revolution ready to roll downtown
    Fired up landowners take to Ottawa's streets April 8
    By Tom VanDusen - AgriNews Staff Writer

    With three successful trial runs behind it, the Rural Revolution is fired up and ready to head into downtown Ottawa.

    April 8 is the date an "information picket" sponsored by the Lanark Landowners' Association will wend its way to Wellington St. below Parliament Hill where, among other things, an auction sale of cattle rendered almost valueless by BSE will be conducted.

    With many operating tractors and other farm machinery, hundreds of LLA supporters are expected to converge on Wellington, handing out information pamphlets to passersby.

    That's only one of the activities which will be laid on to draw attention to federal and city politicians and taxpayers to the growing LLA campaign against interference by bureaucrats into the lives of rural residents.

    The bottom line, said LLA president Randy Hillier, is that he and his supporters are fighting for "democracy's return" in the face of a wealthy urban majority seeking to deprive rural landowners of their rights.

    Marching under the banner "This Land is Our Land... Back Off Government", the campaign won't end April 8, said the outspoken Hillier, adding it's likely to go on indefinitely due to chronic lack of response to the organization's concerns.

    "All we have received is silence with a standard government form letter," Hillier said, adding the ultimate solution is to fully enshrine private property rights in the Canadian Constitution.

    As a an example of the kind of action the increasingly militant association is now prepared to take, Hillier said eight provincial officials found inspecting private property without authorization in Pakenham Township March 24 were encouraged to leave by about 20 LLA members who converged on the scene. The confrontation was peaceful.

    "The backs of rural people will not accept anymore injustice and all bureaucrats will be denied entry into our private lands without a court order."

    The downtown demonstration will mark the fourth such effort mounted by the LLA in only a few short weeks. They've drawn increasing numbers of participants, culminating March 26 at the intersection of Carp and March roads in Ottawa's rural west end where Hillier estimated the turnout at about 800.

    The two first pickets occurred earlier in March on two back-to-back Friday afternoons on Hwy. 29 at Shaw Rd., also within Ottawa's expanded western limits.

    In all cases, Hillier emphasized, traffic wasn't completely obstructed, only slowed to a crawl while mostly receptive motorists were handed pamphlets.

    While there was some initial resistance from OPP and Ottawa police officers, Hillier said they'd become much more cooperative by the second demonstration; in fact, he said, some area OPP officers are members of the LLA.

    As proof that motorists don't resent the LLA campaign, Hiller pointed out that more than $2,000 was raised March 26 through a rubber boot collection dubbed: "Drop a Buck...LLA Will Kick Government Butt."

    Among the many issues sticking in the collective LLA craw are MOE "harassment" of small sawmill operators; MOE policing of the Nutrient Management Act; government reaction to BSE; property tax reassessment; municipal amalgamation; the closing of many small abattoirs; mandatory buffer zones; misguided wildlife policies; and the latest addition to the list, bureaucratic interference with private wells.

    "The Ontario government has announced a host of new rules... the consequence of which is that private wells will become the public's interest, but the individual's burden."

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