by Gary McHale - The Regional - Opinion
January 25, 2012
Imagine a company that offers the public something free but if you refuse to take it then you receive a bill for $30 in the mail. How would the public respond to this free offer? Then imagine that when you refuse to pay $30 for something that was free the company then hires a collection agency to go after you.
No you have not entered the Twilight Zone, you are just a resident of Haldimand County where the brain trust at county hall doesn't have a clue about what is reasonable and fair.
One would imagine that all the great business minded councillors and the mayor could understand that you don't mail a bill for something that is free. You also don't hire a collection agency to harass residents to pay for something you offered for free.
Six months ago Merlyn Kinrade was forced to have an RCMP check done in order that he could attend school trips with his daughter. I can't imagine a society that demands that a 77 year old, well-established member of the society, be forced to have an RCMP CPIC report done. I guess when Kinrade served Canada as a peacekeeper in the 1950s that he was fighting for the rights to be treated as a criminal when he became a senior.
While I may have a beef with any society that automatically treats all citizens as criminals, the point of this story is that Haldimand County offers a FREE RCMP check for anyone in this type of situation. Too bad Haldimand didn't put the word free in quotation so that the public would know that "free" doesn't really mean free.
To get this "free" service from Haldimand you have to go to the OPP station in Cayuga where you are forced to produce 3 pieces of ID to prove who you are - I guess the OPP hasn't seen Kinrade enough to know that he is Merlyn Kinrade. The OPP then tells you that it will take 6-8 weeks and they will phone you when it is ready.
The next thing that happened is Kinrade got a bill in the mail from the County that stated he failed to pick up his "free" CPIC report and thus is being charged $30 plus interest. The report remains "free" but the pickup fee is suddenly $30.
Not surprisingly Kinrade refused to pay for something that is "free". Next the brain trust at the county building contacted a collection agency out of Quebec to harass Kinrade into paying $35.56 which is 18% increase on the $30.
Of course, no one in the county can figure out that you shouldn't waste taxpayers' money on writing letters and contacting a collection agency to collect something that is "free". What is next, the county pays their lawyer to file a small claims lawsuit against Kinrade?
Just how many times has the county harassed residents into paying for this "free" service. One would think there are bigger issues in the county than to harass seniors who accept their "free" offer. I guess I am not smart enough to understand the brilliant business plan being upheld by Hewitt and the boys that target taxpaying residents for harassment.
The county is facing serious problems they think can be solved by ripping off residents to which they offer something for 'free'.
Now the county will try to say that the $30 fee is simply a charge to everyone who failed to pickup their CPIC report. Somehow this logic makes sense to the Mayor and councillors.
However, let's follow this logic for a moment. In order to pick up your CPIC report the OPP would have to phone you and the OPP know that the county will charge you $30 if you fail to pick up the report. Even if the OPP did call why wouldn't the county or the OPP phone again instead of wasting taxpayers' money on billing for something that is free?
Kinrade states that no one from the OPP or the county ever phoned him. He states, "Why would I refuse to pick up the report since I need it to go on school trips with my daughter?"
Meanwhile, last week I found out through government sources that McGuinty is hoping the county will help him get a conviction against the Caledonia 8 which includes Merlyn Kinrade. The province has realized that they didn't have the authority to order the arrest of the Caledonia 8 but now wants to argue that they control the county property on DCE.
Will Mayor Hewitt and council agree after the fact that they gave the province control over county property? For 6 years the County has refused to exercise any authority or control over their 16.5 acres on DCE. Since being in office Mayor Hewitt has done nothing to clean up county property or to enforce by-laws on county property. Instead, he has repeatedly claimed he can do nothing about provincially owned land.
McGuinty wants the county to admit provincial control of county property in court. Not surprisingly the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs had a secret meeting with Hewitt so soon after the Caledonia 8 was arrested. Is the County and Hewitt going to aid McGuinty in getting convictions against non-Native people while at the same time doing nothing to stop the illegal activities of the occupiers?
Of course, in the end the legal question is whether McGuinty controls DCE or does DCE control McGuinty. Hard to imagine Floyd and Ruby Montour admitting in court that the province controls them when they are on DCE. Maybe the government could explain why they continue to allow illegal activities on their so-called controlled property? Why can armed robbers escape the police merely by entering County and/or provincially owned land?
The government will use every means to target residents who speak out. Not surprisingly the county helps harass residents.
Join us this Friday, Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. at the Lion's Hall in Caledonia for a rally to DCE. Once again the OPP and the county will have an opportunity to demonstrate that all people are equal under the law.