Thursday, November 22, 2012


I wanted to, but couldn't have said it any better so here is a message from one of the movers and shakers who really moved and shook the movement:
Maybe it was the famous lawn signs in the country and city.
Perhaps it was all the letters, the petitions or the thousands who attended Soupstock just one month ago.
Whatever it was, it worked.
Highland's sudden surrender ended a 17-month-long fight to stop the proposed mega quarry.
It also made history.
Never before has a group of ordinary citizens taken on such a formidable challenge and triumphed in such a short amount of time.
There are so many people to thank, starting with those who first stood up to Highland.
Forgive me if I've left anyone out. It's been a wild 24 hours.
The farming families - Armstrongs, Vander Zaags, Rutledges, Frenches, Blacks - did not sell their properties, and have been on the frontline of the mega quarry fight for years.
Their properties are adjacent to what is now the former proposed site.
Others who had sold their land after being misled by Highland - the Parsons family - also joined the fight.
We appreciate everyone's strength of character, great humour and resilience. (You were all meant to be media stars!) Without them, this rare farmland and its precious water would have been lost.
NDACT chair Carl Cosack has been amazing. He's run his large cattle ranch while juggling questions from reporters, appearing before school groups, meeting with politicians, attending art exhibits and, just yesterday, speaking to the Environmental Law Society at Osgoode Hall Law school.
Carl was on his way to speak to the students when he learned the mega quarry had been defeated. Thankfully, he did not drive off the road!
Carl, thanks for leading this campaign with endless enthusiasm and great dignity. Plus, we love your pink shirts and white cowboy hats!
And to everyone who plunked a lawn sign in their yard, volunteered at a farmers' market, signed a petition, wrote a letter, challenged a politician, held a placard, painted a canvass, played an instrument, posted a comment, attended an event, handed out brochures, wrote a cheque, made a video, called a phone-in show, composed a song or shared these e-mail updates....thank you.
This movement was described in the Globe and Mail as a "model for non-violent resistance." Others are calling the campaign "masterful" and "brilliant" as if there were committees gathered around tables plotting strategy.
Sorry to disappoint our admirers, but it was simply good people rallying against a terrible proposal.
It was all of us pitching in when asked, coming up with creative ideas and carrying them out in a positive way. 
We have never been engaged in something of this magnitude.
Most of us had never attended a demonstration or written a politician.
We all looked awkward holding our protest signs at Queen's Park.
But, we stopped a $25-billion hedge fund with $10 lawn signs. Maybe that was rather brilliant, after all!
As we savour what's been accomplished and the legacy we've all created, there's still some work to do.
Stopping the mega quarry was a huge victory.
The farmland and water beneath its fields have been saved.
But, the Provincial Policy Statement still doesn't protect prime farmland and vital water resources from similar projects.
The fight may be over, but the job isn't done.
So, please take a few minutes tonight or tomorrow and send in your PPS letters to the addresses provided in an earlier update. It's important for us to see this through!
As well, there's the Liberal leadership campaign and a looming provincial election.
Every candidate must be asked: What will you do to protect Ontario's prime farmland and water resources from aggregate extraction and other developments?
Stay close to your keyboards.
When this fight began, it became clear that we were all engaged in something significant. Not many people experience what we've experienced. We took on an extraordinary challenge and won. We protected a vital part of this beautiful province for the families who grow our food and feed our cities. We made a difference. Lucky us.
Thank you all again! This story isn't over yet. I'll be in touch.

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