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Old 10-10-2013, 02:18 AM   #1
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Harper Kicking Man Off Family Farm Older Than Canada For New Military Base

I heard about this story on As It Happens a few days ago. Pretty sad.

Harper wants to relocate the headquarters of JTF2 and chose this 85yr old man's family farm as part of its annexation plan. Meyers carries the proud title of United Empire Loyalist as his ancestor, Captain John Walden Meyers, founder of Bellville, Ont. was awarded the farmland by King George III for his service during the American Revolution.

Farmer loses land battle, though military grants him one last harvest - Canada, Editor's Picks - Macleans.ca

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Farmer loses land battle, though military grants him one last harvest

Fighting to save his beloved farm from Canada’s elite soldiers, Frank Meyers is finally forced to surrender
by Michael Friscolanti on Tuesday, October 1, 2013

In Frank Meyers’s eyes, the view from his dining room window is priceless. Literally. He can see the old wooden house where he lived as a little boy. The family barn, rebuilt with his talented hands. Rows and rows of sweet corn, sprouting from prime Ontario soil. No matter how many federal bureaucrats knocked on his door—or how much cash they offered to pay—the 85-year-old farmer refused, again and again, to sell his beloved land. As he likes to say: “You can’t eat the money.”

But as Frank Meyers learned today—in a heartbreaking moment he’d been dreading for years—you can’t stop the government, either. If the feds want your property (in his case, to build a state-of-the-art training ground for the Canadian military’s elite special forces commandos), fighting back is futile. “In other countries, they’re crushing you with bullets and guns and ammunition and tanks and explosives,” Meyers says. “Not in Canada. It’s pencil and paper here, and then they’ve got control.”

A senior military officer from CFB Trenton—joined, just in case, by members of the Ontario Provincial Police—visited the Meyers farm Tuesday morning to explain the inevitable next step. Effective immediately, for the first time in his life, Meyers has no legal right to step foot on “his” property. First thing Wednesday morning, the Department of National Defence will erect “No Trespassing” signs around the fence line, as contractors begin preliminary work on what will become the new headquarters of Joint Task Force 2. (Those “No Trespassing” signs would have gone up today, a military spokesman says, but the base is doing everything it can to be “sensitive” to Frank Meyers. “We are concerned about his emotions,” says Captain Christopher Daniel. “His condition is our top priority. We want to make sure he’s okay.”)

Meyers, of course, will never be okay. For a man who knows every square centimetre of his farm—and the rich history that defines it—today’s news could not be more devastating. “I’m going on 86 years old, and they’re harassing a man like me?” he says. “I haven’t done anything wrong and I’m not doing anything wrong. They’re just mad at me because I didn’t roll over and say: ‘Yes, yes, yes, yes.’ ”

Since the Harper Conservatives were first elected in 2006, they have proclaimed their plans to bring a specialized army unit to CFB Trenton, the country’s largest and busiest air force base. In 2009, Ottawa revealed that the incoming unit would be none other than JTF 2, Canada’s top-secret special forces squad, currently based on the outskirts of Ottawa. The move is the highlight of a massive base expansion project that will inject millions of dollars into the local economy (not to mention hundreds of heavily trained counterterrorism troops).

But as Maclean’s first reported, the plan didn’t sit well with a few local landowners, whose properties—unbeknownst to them—had been selected for JTF 2’s new 400-hectare home. “Our world has been crushed,” one owner said at the time. “Somebody somewhere has decided they want to move JTF 2, but did they ever take into consideration what that was going to do to other people? They drew a red line around these pieces of property, and ever since then everybody in there has been screwed.”

Angry or not, the 12 landowners were left with only two real options: sell now, or be expropriated later. One by one, they agreed to sell—until there was just one holdout left: Frank Meyers.

When the government officially filed expropriation papers in February 2012, the Meyers family hired a lawyer and launched their only available appeal: an objection in front of an independent hearings officer. Their central argument was that the military had more than enough land to extend the base, and the Meyers’ 90 hectares weren’t necessary to complete the project. They also trumpeted the historical significance of the farm: the direct descendant of Capt. John Walden Meyers, a Loyalist war hero and founder of nearby Belleville, Ont., Frank Meyers farmed a portion of the very same plot of land King George III awarded to his legendary forefather for his service during the American Revolution. As Frank Meyers has said many times: “This property didn’t come from the Canadian government, it came from the British government. So if the Queen wants it, let her come and see me.”

The Harper government was unmoved. After reading the hearing officer’s report in May 2012, then-Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose declared the Meyers land “absolutely essential for the safety and security of Canada” and rubberstamped the expropriation papers. The final selling price was the only thing left to negotiate.

But in the 17 months since, Frank Meyers has refused repeated offers from the government. He did sign a licensing agreement that allowed him to continue farming the property while he removed his belongings, but when that deal expired at midnight on Monday, the government refused to extend it. Nearly seven years after his fight began—and more than two centuries after his family first moved to the farm—Meyers has no choice but to finally surrender. “Without enough public support, I don’t think there is anything more we can do,” says John Meyers, Frank’s son. “It is difficult to know that you’re losing everything you’ve got. You try to remain optimistic that things will work out, but you just don’t know.”

Technically, the Meyers are not completely banned from the farm. Not yet, at least. Col. David Lowthian, the new wing commander at CFB Trenton, has ordered his staff to be as accommodating as possible as the Meyers adjust to their new reality. For the next month, they will be allowed to enter the property during the day to continue removing their belongings (as long as they notify the base in advance), and when the corn is ready, they can also request permission to harvest their crop one final time. “Throughout the process we have remained respectful and non-confrontational with Mr. Meyers,” says Daniel, the base spokesman. “That is what we have been doing, and that’s what we’ll continue doing.”

John Meyers admits that DND has been “fair” with his family. The department of public works is completely different story, he says, as they continue to haggle over the final selling price, including moving costs. (The Meyers house, and a small piece of surrounding land, were spared from expropriation). But whatever the final result, whatever the final selling price, one thing is certain: at some point, as winter settles in, the gates will be locked for good. And the view from Frank’s front window, a source of pride for so many decades, will be a painful sight to see.
On top of shitting on history and property rights, this also highlights the issue of the dwindling farming industry.
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Old 10-10-2013, 02:31 AM   #2
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First of all, I hate it when people pin the actions of a government on one guy. Harper is not out there making all the decisions on his own.

Secondly if this farm is "older than Canada" it was taken from the natives in the first place. So one family took it from the natives, and now the government is taking it from them. The difference being, the government is being "fair" (as Meyers himself has said) and is paying for the land and helping him relocate.

This is really a bad attempt at making Harper seem like a bad guy.

Ask people in China how they are treated when the government wants to relocate them.
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Old 10-10-2013, 02:41 AM   #3
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well they are getting compensated right?

wouldn't the right thing to do, be, compensate them and help them find a new location for farming?

i mean, no matter what they get money.

as long as the compensation is fair and they're not being shafted.

compensation shouldn't just be the value of the land, but they should be compensated for the years ahead of them as well.
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Old 10-10-2013, 02:44 AM   #4
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I'm sure they are, and they are even letting them grow fucking corn on a military base. That is well beyond what most countries would do I think
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Old 10-10-2013, 03:24 AM   #5
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Of course Mr. Meyers is being compensated and receiving much better treatment than in other countries but that largely misses the point.

This hit home for me in part because I too decend from American Revolution era Loyalists. This land and the family on it has a long history in North America and an importance in the forming of Canada. No amount of money or change of scenery will ever replace that. Obviously things like this matter or you wouldn't see various properies across Canada being protected as historical sites. To dismiss such history because the land was someone else's prior or aquired questionably by todays standards is foolish.

I also sympathise as my family's lakefront property has been in our family since the 50's, long before a neighbouring park was ever created and the provincial government has looked into the idea of expropriating our property to increase their park. Fuck that. Nothing would ever replace all the memories and experiences there.

The other point I touched on was the issue of farming in Canada. People fail to see the importance of farming, they don't see the connection between production and what they see on the shelves at the supermarket. People are getting out of the farming industry. Here we have a generational farmer who is being forced, along with his neighbours, to give up precious farmland for a military training facility. Canada is full of uninhabited land and you're telling Mr. Meyers there is no other place this faciltity can go?

Harper is the one who labeled his party"The Harper Government" and has shown to be very much on top of all its goings ons so you can't really blame people for tying any government actions to his name.
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Old 10-10-2013, 03:57 AM   #6
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I still think it's shitty to complain about having land taken from you when you are a descendant of those who took land from people who were there originally.
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:30 AM   #7
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So would you be ok with, for example, the government deciding the town of Lunenburg, NS should be expropriated and razed to make a naval base simply out of convenience? A naval base in nearby Halifax already exists, just like a JTF2 base already exists, but it will be a little closer to the US border which we hypothetically need to watch. The town of Lunenburg is a protected UNESCO World Herritage Site, home of the Bluenose - the ship which is depicted on our dime, and was settled and established over 200 years ago. Thus the land was stolen from people with little understanding of property. Such assholes those colonists! Well if we should be judging the past by modern standards as you are doing, we are all decendants of vile peices of shit since the dawn of life and we have no right to complain about anything that happens to us past/present/future. Judging history by current standards is pointless. Mr. Meyers has a well documented history with that land including his own experiences and has no desire to let that end. For better or worse, his family helped make Canada what it is today. To shit on that for unnecessary "progress" only hurts the cultural identity of our relatively young nation whose people seem to do all they can to get out from behind the shadow of our neighbour to the south.
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:38 AM   #8
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(The Meyers house, and a small piece of surrounding land, were spared from expropriation)
Well at least they are leaving them their home and a "small" lot (small compared to 90hectares? or...?)
And they're being compensated for the farm and moving costs and the base commander sounds like he's being quite sympathetic


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So would you be ok with, for example, the government deciding the town of Lunenburg, NS should be expropriated and razed to make a naval base simply out of convenience? A naval base in nearby Halifax already exists, just like a JTF2 base already exists, but it will be a little closer to the US border which we hypothetically need to watch. The town of Lunenburg is a protected UNESCO World Herritage Site, home of the Bluenose - the ship which is depicted on our dime, and was settled and established over 200 years ago. Thus the land was stolen from people with little understanding of property. Such assholes those colonists! Well if we should be judging the past by modern standards as you are doing, we are all decendants of vile peices of shit since the dawn of life and we have no right to complain about anything that happens to us past/present/future. Judging history by current standards is pointless. Mr. Meyers has a well documented history with that land including his own experiences and has no desire to let that end. For better or worse, his family helped make Canada what it is today. To shit on that for unnecessary "progress" only hurts the cultural identity of our relatively young nation whose people seem to do all they can to get out from behind the shadow of our neighbour to the south.
its a UNESCO World Heritage site it wouldn't/couldn't be expropriated/razed

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Old 10-10-2013, 08:29 AM   #9
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So would you be ok with, for example, the government deciding the town of Lunenburg, NS should be expropriated and razed to make a naval base simply out of convenience? A naval base in nearby Halifax already exists, just like a JTF2 base already exists, but it will be a little closer to the US border which we hypothetically need to watch. The town of Lunenburg is a protected UNESCO World Herritage Site, home of the Bluenose - the ship which is depicted on our dime, and was settled and established over 200 years ago. Thus the land was stolen from people with little understanding of property. Such assholes those colonists! Well if we should be judging the past by modern standards as you are doing, we are all decendants of vile peices of shit since the dawn of life and we have no right to complain about anything that happens to us past/present/future. Judging history by current standards is pointless. Mr. Meyers has a well documented history with that land including his own experiences and has no desire to let that end. For better or worse, his family helped make Canada what it is today. To shit on that for unnecessary "progress" only hurts the cultural identity of our relatively young nation whose people seem to do all they can to get out from behind the shadow of our neighbour to the south.
What made you choose Lunenburg of all places as your example?

I was born there, and grew up there but no one has actually heard of it
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:34 AM   #10
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The only reason I'd be fine with this.. is if they give him money to relocate, and give him 90 hectares of land somewhere else.

Were not talking acres though, were talking hectares.. I doubt he's going to get 90 hectares of land.. And I doubt the government is going to pay him fair market value for the land.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:44 AM   #11
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What made you choose Lunenburg of all places as your example?

I was born there, and grew up there but no one has actually heard of it
Are you kidding me? All true Canadians know about Lunenburg.

Home of the Bluenose and a world heritage site. A world heritage site........ now that is noteworthy.

I had the privilege of visiting the town, during my coast to coast road trip. It's an awesome place. So much history there. Very friendly people. Have no idea why anyone in their right mond would want to move from such a wonderful place.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:29 AM   #12
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I still think it's shitty to complain about having land taken from you when you are a descendant of those who took land from people who were there originally.
give your land back then,
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:32 AM   #13
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give your land back then,
Believe me I am very appreciative of any land I or my family live on
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:35 AM   #14
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Ok, that was a shot below the waist, but I agree with you on compensation plus extra for re-location. I just didn't like the part where it was getting dragged out.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:51 AM   #15
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"compensated" I'm sure they gave him exactly what he would get if he put it on the market. Pretty ridiculous, there's lots of other land in Canada where they can train the JTF boys.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:54 AM   #16
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"compensated" I'm sure they gave him exactly what he would get if he put it on the market. Pretty ridiculous, there's lots of other land in Canada where they can train the JTF boys.
How much compensation did he get that makes you think it's "ridiculous"? What would be the right amount? Since you're "sure" about what he got, you should be more specific.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:56 AM   #17
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the canadian government should of just built the base around his property instead of forcing him to sell. That way he'll keep his land, but all he'll see is baracks and barbed wire

civilized country is civilized after all, as skinnypupp mentioned, in China if you are forced to leave and refuse in rural equivalent of ontario, you'd get threatened and the government would send contracted mobs to attack you..

either way, pretty shitty deal this.
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:01 AM   #18
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The only reason I'd be fine with this.. is if they give him money to relocate, and give him 90 hectares of land somewhere else.

Were not talking acres though, were talking hectares.. I doubt he's going to get 90 hectares of land.. And I doubt the government is going to pay him fair market value for the land.
As someone who is quite familiar with federal land transactions, The government is required to pay fair market value, or else the farmer could sue down the road. It's not like numbers are cooked up on the back of a napkin.

Generally, the law states that the government can expropriate land for public purposes provided that the owner is compensated at fair market value. It sucks for the farmer, but it's generally how things work.
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I don't really buy their sob story. If it had that much significance, Canada would have recognized it earlier.

Assuming they're getting compensated fairly, then sorry, but your memories are insignificant to a nation.

That may sound harsh, but if I said that my elementary school can't renovate it's playground because of my memories there, they'd tell me to suck a big one.
Or if I wanted to rebuild my house on my own land in a certain style because of my memories, City of Richmond would laugh at me and force me into build to certain standards.

A friend of mine was forced to move because the City wanted their land to expand one of the high schools. They compensated them at more than market value, and although it sucked, they didn't lawyer up and take it to the news.
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How much compensation did he get that makes you think it's "ridiculous"? What would be the right amount? Since you're "sure" about what he got, you should be more specific.
I am somewhat, sorta, maybe, "sure" about it because i'm smart. And it's "ridiculous" that they chose his farm, nothing to do with the sale of the farm, just the choice in land. Not sure if you know what JTF2 boys do but they aren't very picky...

edit: also I enjoy the term "training facility" as they normally do their "training" everywhere in Canada/world.
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:03 AM   #21
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They should name the base after his family out of respect at least.
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:29 AM   #22
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First of all, I hate it when people pin the actions of a government on one guy. Harper is not out there making all the decisions on his own.

Secondly if this farm is "older than Canada" it was taken from the natives in the first place. So one family took it from the natives, and now the government is taking it from them. The difference being, the government is being "fair" (as Meyers himself has said) and is paying for the land and helping him relocate.

This is really a bad attempt at making Harper seem like a bad guy.

Ask people in China how they are treated when the government wants to relocate them.
The Prime Minister's Office and the Privy Council Office's have mandated the title, "Government of Canada," in federal communications be replaced by the words, "Harper Government." Harper, effectively, branded every federal government action as his own through the directive.

The colonial government taking land from first nations people was wrong, and that does not make it okay for the federal government to repeat the wrong centuries later.
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Old 10-10-2013, 12:16 PM   #23
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I'm sure they are, and they are even letting them grow fucking corn on a military base. That is well beyond what most countries would do I think
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For the next month, they will be allowed to enter the property during the day to continue removing their belongings (as long as they notify the base in advance), and when the corn is ready, they can also request permission to harvest their crop one final time.
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Old 10-10-2013, 12:23 PM   #24
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Location: Vancouver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MindBomber View Post
The colonial government taking land from first nations people was wrong, and that does not make it okay for the federal government to repeat the wrong centuries later.
[for the context of this situation in particular, im not really sure who is right or wrong] . but lets go down the rabbit hole

any land is nobody's property really. no one can claim they are deserving of it solely. even if you are the first to claim it, that does not give you a right over anyone else. (it belongs to the earth really, and that is another sector)

so then claiming land virtually becomes a claimstaking among other being saying, "this is my land". a kind of social contract

lets explore this...land is for the taking to whomever has the power to control it

what prevents man A from annexing over man B's house? Society's written rules. Laws. and the eventual court order that will come to your mailbox. or a police escort if it is more urgent

right and wrong is entirely subjective. all depends on which side the printing press resides on (or , how much of a % of the population can critically think independantly of media)
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