|1. In 2003, you wrote in the
Le Quebecois Libre
" The progressive abandonment of private choice and
individual rights in Canada by our government is
frightening. Is anyone keeping track of the score in
this game of individual liberty versus collective
In your opinion, is there a line between private choice,
individual rights and government control based upon the
protection of these individual rights? And if so, how do
you define that line?
Hillier - Rights are another term for
freedoms. However, Rights are recognized and enumerated
in law ...
First we have to recognize that there are events and
property that are legal and illegal.. For example
growing and using marijuana or committing a robbery is
illegal. Do we have the right or freedom to do things
that are illegal.... the answer is obvious. Because the
Laws are created to reflect a community’s ethical
standards and morality. Illegal activities ought to be
repugnant and offensive to the communities sense of
ethics, morality and Just, for all.
However We do have the legal right and freedom to do
what we want with our own legally obtained property. We
also have the right and freedom to use and enjoy that
property as long as our use and freedom does not harm or
interfere with the freedom and rights of others.
The line that defines private choice, individual rights
and government control is dictated by common sense, good
judgment and the reasonableness of the community. And we
can see from the action of the landowners that where the
government is drawing this line is objectionable to many
of the people in rural Ontario and also to many of the
people in urban Ontario
Governments were created to prevent injustice. When
bureaucracies draw the line that creates injustice and
restrict or infringe upon individual rights that do not
interfere other people - then they have drawn the line
in the wrong place.
2. Canadian marketing boards seemingly have provided
some economic stability for the farmers, and what I
think you are purporting is a freer market system based
upon a more supply and demand economic model. If we
disband the present marketing board system for some
present commodities, will the Canadian agriculture
economic base as we know it survive?
Hillier - I would
challenge this statement “provided some economic
stability for the farmers”; we have seen in every
commodity where there is a marketing board that there
has been a decline in both the number of producers and
also the amount of products produced. (Click here to
obtain Ontario Landowners’ Association (OLA)- Discussion
paper - "Finding profits on Canadian farms" )
Since 1981, we have lost 38,000 dairy farmers in Canada.
Tobacco farmers, from 1990 – 2005 have been reduced from
4700 to 500 ... In these two instances and others, there
has only been the stability of decline.
Marketing boards have had a significant role in Canadian
Agriculture... but these boards are not achieving the
objectives that they set out to achieve. These
objectives were in part to expand and increase
opportunities in the market place for producers of farm
commodities and insure profitability.
When they started out, they did achieve objectives....
but since the early 90's the marketing boards have
I believe that the answer to this question is firstly to
recognize that there is a big problem. Secondly,
producers must have freedom of choice to belong or not
to belong to the marketing system and not make it
mandatory as it is now.
Marketing boards are government legislated monopolies,
and I have never seen any historical evidence of a
monopoly that is efficient, effective and accountable.
We have created so many rules for farmers and rural
landowners that we are strangling the people with the
rules that were created to protect them.
I have never advocated to disband the marketing boards,
however I do demand they achieve their original stated
objectives, and correct their failing so they provide
value to farmers.
Will the Canadian agriculture economic base as we know
It is not surviving today -
it is in its death throes.
3. In the beginning, you have said that the Rural
Revolution was about land rights for people who owned
their own land. Could you comment, how far you would go
on issues of privacy and uses of land for what could be
perceived as illegal activates such as the use of land
to grow marijuana, other illegal activities or producing
products that are not
to the standards of production as deemed fit by the
Hillier - The rural revolution is not about
land rights - it is about private property rights and
peoples rights and freedoms - it is about people’s
property that they obtained by an individual’s industry
and motivation. Property is not limited to land but
includes, tractor, cow, barn, house, car, land,… etc
To place this in context... there is no such thing as an
absolute freedom or right. There are limitations on all
freedoms and rights. These limitations are governed by
the common sense reasonableness of common people. And
are accepted an individuals rights cannot do not harm to
another's freedoms or rights.
An example is my freedom of speech . I can say whatever
I choose as long as I am not defamatory in what or how I
say it. Unless of course, what I say is truthful. And if
I am accused of breaking a law, justice demands I be
tried in a court of law, by a jury of common people -
not by a bureaucrat who defines, interprets and executes
Health Units have gone too far... their standards and
enforcement are an affront to the sense of community and
instead of protecting the community, they are destroying
it. By removing an individual freedom to choose their
own higher standard
RE: Health Units standards are far lower than the
producer-based farmers’ markets... because they regulate
not the safety of the product but the process on how you
sell and display the products a producers sells. The
producer must sell their products at a confidence level
that a consumer will buy and that is a higher level
than that what is imposed by any health unit.
I feel that the best judge of goods sold at a
farmers’ market is the consumer.
4. It is perceived by the public that there is a lack of
trust between rural landowners and government
Government agencies say that they are only following
legislation that was created by the politicians
and landowners say that they are over regulated by
government authorities who are self-serving.
How would you resolve this issue?
Hillier -Yes, there is a growing sense that
there is no trust.. and we see that by government
bureaucrats not trusting the producers: and producers
not trusting the bureaucrats.
Trust and respect are synonyms... Government does not
respect or trust landowners and this is evident from the
host of regulations. Trust and respect are traits that
are earned and never is achieved through coercion,
intimidation or legislation.
So, there is no respect - no trust, because it is not
earned. Rural landowners are the best stewards of our
land not bureaucrats . If I want to witness pollution,
fifth and destruction of the environment, I will travel
to the city.
We have to recognize that the best person is the one who
closest to the activity or problem, and the one who has
a vested interest in the activity or property. The owner
or direct user is the one who knows best on how to
take care of their property, land and how to solve a
Example... An example is our native North Americans, who
have for over 5000 years trapped and fished as a way of
surviving. Then some bureaucrats in Ottawa or Toronto
suggest that they knew better, and imposed rules and
regulations as to hunting and trapping without
consequence to the bureaucrats but certainly to the
The aboriginal who hunts and fishes everyday to survive
is a far more knowledgeable than a bureaucrat who does
So what is the solution? Governments must enshrine the
freedom to own, use and enjoy; and the opportunity to
earn a living from our private property and this freedom
cannot be infringed upon for public good without full
fair and timely compensation.
5. At last years Conservative Convention, you had a
motion passed asking for the party to put into their
platform a policy for land rights for landowners. This
issue seemed to have not got into the platform of the
party during the last election. Could you comment on if
the party is really interested in this issue or were
they just doing lip service to
you on passing this motion?
Hillier - It was in
the national debate in the last federal election,
discussed on the televised debates, and Harper countered
Martins assertion to remove the Not Withstanding clause,
with the statement that the constitution ought to be
opened up and include property rights.... It is not land
rights it is property rights...
6. It is now perceived by the general public that
agriculture as we knew it ( small producers) is on its
way out and being replaced by large producers who have
big bucks for the capital equipment needed to compete on
the world market. In your opinion is there any future
for the small producers and if there is, how can they be
against the likes of Loblaws, A&P and Walmart?
Hillier - See our
Agriculture discussion paper ... "Finding
profits on Canadian farms"
7. You seem to have a large following of persons from
Ontario, do you and your organization have any ambition
to expand geographically into the United States, Quebec,
the Maritimes or Western Provinces?
Hillier - When we started this, we had no real
ambition on where it would lead us.
However on March 28th, We spoke at a meeting in the
Pontiac region of Quebec on property and landowners
issues. Our organization has provided assistance to
landowners in Alberta, British Columbia and New
Brunswick. Yes, we have had inquires from New York State
and although it is not our goal for expansion, we will
provide assistance to anyone around the world providing
we have the means, abilities and resources to do it.
8. There seems to be a split camp in Ontario for farmers
who want to lobby Queens Park and Ottawa. One is your
organization who gets lots of press and the other is the
OFA. Your organization has been criticized for being too
public and vocal.
Could you comment on what
successes your organization has in changing government
policy over the past three years vs that of the OFA?
Hillier - This landowners association is
not just for farmers... we welcome anybody, campgrounds,
loggers, small businesses and the private resident we do
not divide ourselves. However we recognize there is a
need for many many groups Kiwanis, Lions, Chamber of
Commerce etc I welcome other associations or groups.
The only way to have one
group that represents all people is when we become
clones or robots.
All groups have all their own unique styles and
interests... but there is none so unique in style or in
effectiveness as the landowners.
Our greatest success is a change in thinking and people
taking ownership and recognizing their obligations in
participating in democracy.
When we started the words apathy and complacency were
the dominate mindset in rural Ontario with regards to
dealing with government. These traits no longer dominate
the rural landscape.
People in the Landowners are motivated and empowered to
correct and fix the problems government creates.
There is far more to voting than casting a ballet every
four years for democracy to function.
People must be involved,
engaged and participate all the time.
The only way people will participate is if they feel
their participation is worthwhile and their efforts
provides benefit to their well being.
And we as an organization
have shown it to be worthwhile.
President, Ontario Landowners Association
RR 3 Perth On