The farmer vs. the Forces

Frank Meyers surrenders his family farm after seven-year battle

Photo by Cole Garside

Like the crusty mud on the bottom of his work boots, Frank Meyers is a man who sticks to his word. He vowed, again and again, to never sell his beloved farm to the federal government. When Ottawa threatened him with expropriation, he dug in those dirty heels, warning the bureaucrats he wouldn’t budge. Even after the feds took possession of his property—slated to be part of a sprawling new headquarters for Joint Task Force 2, the Canadian military’s elite Special Forces unit—the 85-year-old refused to surrender. “What are they going to do, send a task force in to take me out?” he once asked. “I’m not going anywhere.”

But after battling the state for seven long years—doing everything he possibly could to save his family land, a slice of Canadian heritage in Quinte West,Ont.—Frank Meyers has finally given up his unwinnable fight. Exhausted and out of options, he has reluctantly signed a deal with the Harper government that gives him just one more month to harvest his last crop and remove what’s left of his equipment. On New Year’s Eve, the gate around his former field will be locked up for good, his prime soil now the property of National Defence.

In the end, Meyers agreed to go quietly. No last-minute standoff. No task force hauling him away. “I just got to the point where I broke down,” he says, holding back tears. “I’m talking to you now and I’m shivering. But they don’t care. Nobody cares.”

For years, it certainly seemed that way. Although Maclean’s readers are well aware of Meyers’s plight, his story generated little sympathy; in April 2012, when his family pleaded their case at a public hearing, barely a dozen people showed up to watch. But in recent weeks, he has enjoyed a sudden surge of support from strangers across the country, driven by a Facebook campaign that has amassed nearly 12,000 members and triggered numerous protests, including a small rally on Parliament Hill last weekend. Meyers himself embraced the eleventh-hour attention, hoping his newfound allies could somehow convince the government that it didn’t need his 90 hectares to complete the planned expansion of Canadian Forces Base Trenton. “They’ll never know how much I appreciate what they’re doing,” he said in October, when asked about the Facebook page. “I could never repay them.”

But last week, as his online supporters continued skyrocket, Meyers and his children drove to Toronto for a meeting with federal officials from the Department of Public Works. The government’s message could not have been clearer, says John Meyers, Frank’s son. “They said, emphatically, there is just no way we’re going to get the property back,” he says. “Everything our lawyers had said all along was starting to come true: ‘It’s going to drag out, eventually you’ll get tired of it, and the more you fight the harder the government is going to fight back.’”

“They threatened me, that’s what it was,” Frank adds. “They told us if I didn’t take the money they wanted to give me they would go to court and I wouldn’t get half of what they offered me. That’s what they said.”

The result, Frank says, was an impossible choice: Refuse the government’s offer and risk financial disaster. Or take the offer, assuring something close to fair market value for the land. Either way, the government takes the property. “I’m thankful for all the people that supported me, but it just got to the point where I can’t control it,” Frank says. “I’ll be in the hospital, or I’ll be in the ground.”

As a son, John was equally torn. At his dad’s side during the entire ordeal, he was encouraged by the unexpected outpouring from fellow Canadians and was prepared to keep fighting. But he also saw the stress taking its toll on his aging father and mother, Marjorie. “It’s too difficult for them,” John says. “My dad has lost a lot of weight over the past few months and my mom was in the hospital a couple weeks ago because of the stress. You have to weigh your options: what it’s going to take, what the outcomes could be, and if it’s worth it.”

Though heartbreaking for the Meyers, the answer was clear: it wasn’t worth it. “They were harassing me every day here,” Meyers says. “This has been going on for seven years. I couldn’t take it anymore. You can’t talk to them because they won’t listen to you. It’s: ‘We’re going to get rid of you and that’s it.’ ”

Signed on Nov. 28, the specifics of the deal, including the sale price, are protected by a confidentiality agreement. But for the Meyers clan, their standoff with the feds was never about the dollars and cents; they just wanted the government to leave them be. “It was very difficult, actually signing it away and saying this is the end,” John says. “It is really difficult knowing that everything we’ve worked for our whole lives, and generations before us, is now gone.”

John says it was especially devastating for his father, knowing so many people had rallied around him over the past two months. “That’s one of the things he was worried about: ‘What were people going to think? How are they going to react?’ ” John says. “It was great to see all the support, very encouraging. I hope issues like this get Canadians angry and get them to stand up for their rights because that is what it’s all about.”

The direct descendant of Capt. John Walden Meyers—a loyalist war hero and founder of nearby Belleville, Ont.—Meyers farmed a portion of the same plot of land bestowed on the captain by King George III for his exemplary service during the American Revolution. (Ironically enough, Capt. Meyers was the 18th-century version of a special-forces commando, a crack spy and daring soldier most famous for leading a late-night raid on the home of U.S. general. To patriot children, he was the bogeyman. If you don’t behave, their mothers would say, Capt. Meyers “will come and eat you.”) Signed in May 1798, nearly 70 years before Canadian Confederation, the Crown land patent assigned the property to the Meyers clan “forever.”

Frank has never lived anywhere else, working the family land since he was able to walk. By 14, he was in charge of the entire farm, part dairy operation, part cash crops.

In 2006, a campaigning Stephen Harper promised to bring an airborne unit to neighbouring CFB Trenton, Canada’s largest and busiest air force base (and the same hub that welcomed home the flag-draped caskets of every Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan). Two years later, the news was official: JTF 2 would be the incoming unit. From a strategic standpoint, the move makes absolute sense; the anti-terrorism team’s current home at Dwyer Hill, near Ottawa, is famously cramped, and Trenton offers instant access to airlift for rapid deployments. But JTF 2’s new headquarters—slated to be built on 400 hectares of private property directly north of the base—meant that 12 landowners would be uprooted, whether they wanted to leave or not.

Legally speaking, the owners had no real choice. If the state wants your land (for a highway, a hospital or a top-secret training facility), you can either sell now or be expropriated later. For the feds, expropriation is always a last resort, and Treasury Board guidelines allow bureaucrats to offer up to 15 per cent more than fair market value, plus moving costs and other incidentals. But the bottom line is nonnegotiable: you’re leaving, one way or another.
In this case, each owner did eventually hammer out a deal—except Meyers. He honestly believed that if he kept saying no, the bureaucrats would eventually stop pestering him.

Rick Norlock, the local Conservative M.P., has championed the base expansion project because it will inject millions of dollars and hundreds of well-paying jobs into an economically depressed region. Moving JTF 2 to Trenton is also the best logistical option for the military, he says. “The vast majority of my constituents—and when I say the vast majority, I’m talking the vast majority of my constituents—want this to go ahead sooner rather than later because they know the economic implications,” Norlock told Maclean’s in September. “I can tell you I’m pushing for this to go ahead, quite frankly, because we made a commitment six years ago. I want to make sure that I can look my constituents in the eye and say we lived up to our commitment at CFB Trenton.”

In fact, Norlock said he personally approached the prime minister before the 2011 election to ask why the government appeared to be stalling on the project. Stephen Harper, Norlock said, was aware of the Meyers’s objections and wanted to give the family ample opportunity to work out a deal. “The prime minister told me his concerns that he wanted this, as much as possible, to be a negotiated settlement,” Norlock said. “He was aware of the history behind this and the sensitivity that the government should have.”

Construction was delayed by more than a year as the Harper government waited for Meyers to change his mind and willingly sell his land. But by 2012, the clock had expired. That February, he was served with a notice of expropriation, stating his farm was required “for a purpose related to the safety or security of Canada.” His family did hire a lawyer and file a last-ditch appeal in front of independent hearings officer, arguing, among other things, that the government didn’t actually need their 90 hectares to finish JTF 2’s new stomping grounds. But the hearings officer wielded no real authority. Federal officials read her report and went ahead with the expropriation anyway.

In a “statement of reasons” dated May 25, 2012, Rona Ambrose, then the Public Works minister, said the Meyers land is “absolutely essential” for national security. “The Meyers family will receive fair compensation for their ownership interests and may utilize proceeds to continue farming on available replacement lands of similar or superior quality,” she wrote. And the property’s heritage value? “It is not considered that either historic landscape or cultural history will be lost,” the document read. “The Meyers family name is also preserved with the existing name of the roadway as Meyers Creek Road and the historical associations are well known.”

Although Meyers didn’t own his land anymore, he did sign a lease agreement that allowed him to continue farming (and finish removing his property) while the final selling price was negotiated. When that lease expired Oct. 1—and the “No Trespassing” signs went up along the fence line—officials at CFB Trenton offered yet another extension: until his final crop of corn is harvested, Meyers could continue to access the property under the watchful eye of a commissionaire.

It was news coverage of that particular development that triggered intense public outcry. Lisa Gibson—a complete stranger from Morrisburg, Ont., a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the Meyers farm—was moved enough to create the “Save Frank & Marjorie Meyers Farm” Facebook page, a campaign that has monopolized her time ever since.

On Friday, Meyers told Gibson about his deal. She was upset—not at him, but at the government. “I think it all got too much for Frank to bear,” she says. “A lot of people are totally angry and sad to think that this is what our government is capable of: doing something like that to an 85-year-old man. It’s not a Canada I want to be a part of.”

Gibson isn’t sure what to do next. Although the deal is done, she holds out hope, however slim, that some sort of compromise can still be reached before the demolition crews show up in the new year. “It’s not over until it’s over, right?” she says. “Until they come in and actually bulldoze his barns and do everything they’re going to do to that land, it’s not over. The fight continues.”

A small slice of the Meyers land will not be expropriated, including the modest home where Frank and Marjorie still live. When the demolition crews do show up—and they will show up, that much is now certain—Frank will have clear view of the destruction from his front porch. At this point, he’s not sure if he’ll have the nerve to watch. “What can I do?” he says quietly. “What can I do?”

The other day, while father and son continued to empty out their barn, they stumbled across a wooden board with an engraving: “R. Meyers 1818.”

“Robert Meyers was my great-grandfather,” John says. “That was probably the date the barn was built.”

Nearly two centuries later, in early 2014, that barn will be gone, ripped down in a matter of hours.




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The farmer vs. the Forces

  1. Shameful actions on the part of the government.

    • Not really. We are just herd sheep to government. I don’t see any options on my rigged ballot for less government, less taxes and more rights for the people. Money and media buy elections, we vote like sheep. We vote collectively for statism to manage us like herd animals, cradle to grave.

      Democracy isn’t effective when the only choice is who gets more of your money while you get less as the masses vote for empty promises and more government bloat.

      We only have the illusion of democracy and rights. Any time governemtn wants to roll you over, unless you have a multi-million dollar legal and PR fund, your done.

      • Libertarian Party of Canada. Join, spread the word or become a candidate. Forget voting for the “lesser of two evils.”

  2. Time for a change to Government policy…..this was simply not fair to any of the 12 residents who were uprooted.

  3. This is another reason why many of us Ontario voters are going Liberal in the next election.

    • You seriously think the Liberals are any better? They’re not, and neither are the NDP. The big three are nothing but a bunch of greedy, lying, corrupt scum.

      • NO GOVERNMENT party is any better they never listen to us anyways they get paid outrageous amounts of salary while the working poor barely make ends meet,….cost of living rises and wages get held back, not even enough job…..it is completely outrageous what they get away with and it needs to be stopped

        • Yep, they are bought by back room money and we pay for it, the art of deception is a book all politicians carry.

          Mandelas, Kleins don’t come around often….

        • It WILL be stopped. Check out the Save Frank And Marjorie Meyers Farm facebook page. Over 13,000 supporters right now and plans for rallies and demonstrations to let the government know we aren’t taking it anymore. Once we win the Meyers fight we will be continuing the fight with other issues.

    • the liberals are have screwed canada just as much as the pc party i think it time for change

      • So they will put other “party” name and fresh face telling the same lies and you will vote for them?

        Reality is nothing changes as Cons/Lib/NDP are placatory parties to give you the illusion of democracy when the back room really runs you like tax-slave.

    • If the Libs were in tomorrow the deal would still be the same.

    • Yep, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

      Reality is Lib/Con/NDP are placatory parties, all are statism which means less rights for you and more for government, always. Change the names, sing new false promises and repeat. Its why it never really gets better, its not meant to in statism society.

  4. Fking federal government. No concern for the common person. A good example of a dictatorship federal government. Certainly not democratic. Just another example that this elected government needs replacing.

    • No concern….like the part where the government literally slowed the progress of a public works project to give a single individual additional time and opportunity to mitigate a legal option that the government has had before a single resident of Canada was born.

      • You would sing a different tune if it was your property – try joining humanity

        • Property is lost to eminent domain all the time. Right now progressives are jumping with excitement in Edmonton as the city seizes property under this exact same process in order to build a white elephant LRT line. Are all the people excited about expanded mass transit not in humanity either?

          • You’re missing the point very obviously. When you have worked a land all your life, producing on it what allows your family and community to grow and mindless greedy bureaucrats take it from you, it tears the soul apart. Now, the soul, incase you want to know, is in essence all that makes you a human. Having said that, there is NO property within the city of Edmonton that has the same meaning to someone as a working, living, breathing active farm. Only soulful people can understand what this farmer is going through. Only compassionate people that can empathize can understand what it means to him. There is NO comparison in the slightest between losing your farm and what’s happening in Edmonton with LRT lines. It’s an insult to even suggest such. And by the way, there is no one “rejoicing” in Meyers’ loss of his farm because he wasn’t actually in anyone’s way- Harper and his miscreant buffoons aside. If other farmers decided to give up and settle sooner with said buffoons, then one could simply say their land didn’t mean as much to them as Meyers and/or they were afraid. I think you can tell by the number of people that have agreed with you, that there are more “humane” commentators on her than not.

          • That is exactly why the process of expropriation needs to be looked at.
            Another point though – the LRT line will be used, there is a need for rapid transit although I don’t agree with how it’s done and how they treat those in the “way” …
            However – in this case –
            1] CFB Trenton has a ton of unused land already,
            2] Numerous bases in southern Ontario very close to CFB Trenton with mega land and are currently mothballed,
            3] His farm deed dated to before confederation and was “in perpetuity” from the then King of England, the ruling gov’t at the time.
            Those are just 3 of the salient issues in this debate over the Meyer farm.

        • Yes, but government counts on divide and conquer. Gets us pitted against each other and brainwashed into statism and party politics.

          Its why the people can’t organize a “peoples” party of less governemtn and less taxes….back room money and media run us like naive sheep for the fleecing.

          • Ah, I haven’t seen the word “statism” employed on the Macleans forum before. Good to see that word is being used with the contempt it so richly deserves.

            But…why advocate for any government at all? Why not take the ideas of self-ownership and non-aggression to their logical conclusions?

          • Ah, that is the first time that I have ever seen the word “statism” used on the Macleans forum. Good to see it being used with all of the contempt it so richly deserves.

            But…why advocate for any “government” at all? Why not take the ideas of of self-ownership and non-aggression to their logical conclusions?

            Consider:

            LIBERALS: The Emperor should help the poor!
            CONSERVATIVES: The Emperor should help the rich!
            LIBERTARIANS: The Emperor has no clothes!
            VOLUNTARISTS: Why do you call that naked man Emperor?
            ADVANCED VOLUNTARISTS: Why do you regard the concept of “Emperor” as valid?

            (Paraphrased from Frederick Mann.)

      • That only tells you that the gov’t knew to tread carefully; piss off the wrong crowds of voters and Conservatives are out in the next election. Don’t worry, none of the gov’t's actions were out of compassion, understanding, respect, appreciation for historical land. They held off because they needed to cover their butth*les and that takes a loooong time to discuss the logistics of moving an old man off his property while making it appear that one is really taking into consideration how he feels. Since the gov’t buffoons have no real sense of dignity the process takes them a long time to work through..first having to call a general meeting of buffoons to discuss what dignity and respect mean, looking it up in dictionary in the PM’s library and then determining how they can come off looking like they own an ounce of it. Then after that it’s the typical red-tape of gov’t-golf game meetings between the main one-side players, followed by expensive flights, meals and drinks (you know…the 3 ex-senators can fill you in). This all takes time, money, lying to ones-self and others, putting it on paper, retracting it, lying some more. I would bet you are not a land owner. I don’t mean a house in the suburbs, I mean real live fertile land that you live off off. I can tell.

  5. It is not a legally binding contract under Canadian Law< he was under duress, which means it is not legal, It will bring no new jobs really, 600 from jtf2 would all have to shop all a once, Construction jobs? no, will be union companies, and the closest union hall port hope, doesn't have the manpower, so they will be from kingston ottawa or toronto. Norlock is a fool for thinking this will help, and sadly the Conservatives would be better to say sorry, have your land, we want a chance in the next election, I have been a supporter and made contact with many people because of the fact that I support the facebook page and because I can, I know many people, and just wait till the real original owners of the land start to speak

    • Expropriation expressly doesn’t recognize the meeting of the minds necessary to form a contract. The only remedy someone whose land is taken by the state is for a review of whether the amount given as payment was fair, not whether they can take the land.

      I appreciate many people have ties to beloved family homesteads, but there was not point in wasting the time and money this fellow put into it. I hope he has enough left to set himself up decently somewhere he enjoys.

      • Then you Mr. Guest, obviously have no Idea what kind of fight and situation is ahead, There are things that an be done, and as Canadians We have the RIGHT to stand up for People like Frank Meyers, you most likely are buddy buddy with Rick Norlock, wouldn’t surprise me in the least, or maybe this is actually him, the one man that should have been behind his 12 constituents, but no OUT FOR HIMSELF, Learn the whole situation, not just what you read in a magazine article, before you start spouting off

        • Of course you may “stand up” for anyone you wish. I have a crisp new Canadian $20 that says that in this case it won’t make a whit of difference.

          • Well if we go by votes on here i guess you could mail me the $20, but find an old one, they actually worth paper they printed on.There is more to this cause than just 1 mans farm, And with a letter received today, thing are changing. Sorry can’t divulge more, but I’ll be nice and let you keep your $20

          • Well if we go by votes on here

            ***

            We don’t. What on earth do you think “a whit of difference” entails?

          • that you had to us a google dictionary to make sure you were using the right term, Your whit of a brain couldn’t have come up with that on its own, you sure you’re not a member of the PC party or quinte west council, if so just fess up and be a man about it, instead of hiding behind “Guest” and FYI there was a response from Buckingham palace today, and the Queens office has forwarded it on to who needs to see it, so there is more than a whit of hope

      • I hope they GIVE him money to live off of….and help with a place of dwelling…..I know its to much to hope for….rude bunch of pathetic asses….take take take that is all the government does

        • Of course they will give him $. That is what happens when the government forces a sale of land by expropriation. They give you money for the land, but you don’t have the choice to sell that you would normally have if you were not dealing with the government.

          • you really have no clue as to the situation are you personally involved, NOT LIKELY so stfu before more people think you are as arrogantly stupid as you sound< learn the facts of the matter not just what is printed, you sound even more like that moron Rick Norlock, until you have talked to the Man about what has been said and done you shouldn't really weigh in on something you ONLY think you know

  6. Mr. Meyer`s you are Canada`s hero! Noone could possibly be disappointed in your decision. You didn`t have a choice. Our Canadian Gov`t took that liberty away from you and your family and other families in the area as well.

  7. you can replace the government…but with who not one of them care about anyone but themselves canadian citizens are nothing to these people.

    • The depressing part is that there is a capable & reasonable leader in Elizabeth May of the Green party. Hopefully Canadians realize this one day.

    • What if “the government” was replaced…with nothing? What if we don’t need rulers to live our lives and solve our own problems? What if we stopped believing in the legitimacy of different moral rules for different people (politicians, police, military vs. private citizens)? Aren’t “governments” and “countries” just concepts in the minds of most people?

  8. Where’s all the supportive voices of Rick Norlock’s constituents? I’m only hearing how disgusting and appalled all Canadian’s are with this…. I’m starting to think Rick Norlock is simply delusional.

    • He has blocked his facebook account, and when people call his office all they do is ask for an address and phone number now, not a single message gets answered by them. simply put thy are scared little cowards

  9. I would forget next election that Harper’s Government did this. I wont forget that the NDP did not stand up for him either. The liberals are no better. So I will be voting for any name other then them period. Make them pay at the ballot boxes!

    • Well said Stephen, I just posted the same sentiment above. They’re all a bunch of corrupt greedy scum.

    • This is why I choose not to vote and I will be dammed if I sit back and allow the government to tell this woman what I can and can not do and as for the air force maybe I will show up next year at rememberance day holding a sign sayng you stole FRANK MEYERS LAND !!!!! I have NO respect for them or the government ….

      • If you choose not to vote, you are part of the problem. Not voting allows the parties to dismiss you as apathetic. If your vote is for “none of the above” take the time to go the your polling station & formally refuse the ballot. That action says I want to vote, but I don’t like my options. As to holding up a sign at remembrance day, what would that accomplish. The people being honoured had nothing to do with this decision. Moreover, it was a decision driven by Public Works – DND made the request, but Public Works are responsible.

        • This was pushed by DND and the PMO – PWGSC just carries out the thuggery.

          • the Ethics commisioner’s office has been informed as well, they bullied and harassed this poor old man, and are still to this day doing that The queen has forwarded a letter sent to her, to the ones that can fix this on her behalf, hope they do that

        • That’s what I do…refuse my ballot-unless there is a Green candidate running. We know the big three are good for nothing (but screwing us over) and only care for themselves and whatever rich corrupt crony friends line their pockets!!!

        • Refusing your ballot is only marginally better than not voting at all. If you want the parties to change, you need to vote for what you want them to change to. Even if it’s a no-name independant candidate with no shot of winning. You can be damn sure that after every election, party apparatus are going through the policies of those they lost votes to in order to see what they can lift.

          • “If you want the parties to change, you need to vote for what you want them to change to. Even if it’s a no-name independant candidate with no shot of winning.”
            Agreed. Refusing the ballot should be a last resort. In the last federal election I voted for the NDP candidate in my riding even though I thought of her as a sacrificial lamb. She was upbeat & positive unlike the long-term Liberal who engaged in a nasty partisan shot at the Con candidate & the Con candidate who was a trained seal even during the campaign :-)

      • Why would you disrespect Veterans on Remembrance Day by holding up a sign??? Veterans have absolutely NOTHING to do with what happened!!!! People who don’t vote are absolutely part of the problem in this country.This has NOTHING to do with the Air Force. Most of the comments I’ve read on this are totally off the mark and uninformed of what actually happened.

    • the liberals have been informed and there have been responses from Trudeaus office, which is more than can be said for any from the PC party, The PC are losing members at a drastic rate, a lot won’t run again, which means fresh faces that people won’t want to vote for

      • really, what did Trudeau say? As an ex-liberal nobody has gotten back to me and I have reached out to many MPs within the liberal, ndp and green party. I will never help out in another election and have lost all faith in the system. I am so ashamed of my country but at least the people on here give me hope. One day if I make it I will set things right. I want the base to at least be renamed to reflect the Meyers name.

        • the response was not just a general email response, We had asked for Justin to attend a rally by students, seeing he is on to the future generation of voters, Unfortunately, it was the same weekend as the by elections and already had commitments, that was partially my fault for sending the request late on the thursday afternoon

  10. Does anyone see the similarities here between our government’s attitude to First Nations’ lands and its expropriation of this elderly gentleman’s farm?

    • Yes, both cases involve people who love big government doing big government things suddenly hating how large and impersonal government can be.

    • Leave First Nations out of this, this has nothing to do with us. Our land is our land and its Crown.

      • sorry first nations are involved, The land in that area falls under territorial land, of the Ojibwa, the chiefs from the 2 closet bands have been informed and there has been some wrong doing towards the natives under the territorial land claims

  11. IHATE how this has all turned out. I am ashamed of the way the powers at be have strong armed there way thru this entire situation. Where is the honour our defence dept. is suppose to live by?

    • Karen, there is no honor among thieves!

    • went out the window with the airbourne being shut down, in early 90′s i think, a gentleman in NB already had a run in with jttf2 while they were training in his town, saw people started taking pics and threatened him with police and questioned his patriotism. hows that for a bunch of glorified body guards, n BTW they did same thing when they moved into where they are now, so this could very well happen again in a few years

  12. Putting a defense base on healthy, productive soil seems silly and short-sighted. Canada needs food security too.

    • That’s true, but most of us across the country are living on the country’s best farmland. Farmers needed houses, and stuff just sprang up from there.

      • Thanks captain obvious.

        • You are very welcome, Mr. Knows.

        • he is a complete moron, GFMD seems like a politician with his negative comments, and attitude to think he knows all and doesn’t really have a clue, I have been on the front lines of this battle and have verifiable proof, he hasn’t even offered so much as a hint to what he really knows

    • Good point, why not put the base on the Canadian Shield rather than in the county?

      • perfect spot just miles away, only thing could be farmed there is goats, but it’s set up with runways and all, its a “secret” called mountainview, it will house more than enough and support big enough planes

  13. Absolutely disgusting, this is what our world has turned to….. Ridiculous, shameful

  14. John W Meyers: Historical Significance

    Presentation given at Hearing into the proposed expropriation of the Frank Meyers farm – April 12, 2012 – Trenton, Ontario

    Much
    of the controversy relating to Mr Frank Meyers’ farm seems to relate to
    its association with the original owner of the land, Captain John
    Walden Meyers. I am a local filmmaker and I have spent over 20 years
    researching & producing a documentary on the life of Captain Meyers
    so I am in a good position to shed some light on the significance of
    this historic figure.

    Born in 1745, Johannes, or Hans,
    Waltimeyer was the eldest son of German immigrants to the province of
    New York. He married, had children and tended a tenant farm on the
    Hudson River. Hans would have probably lived and died in total obscurity
    had he not been caught up in the American Revolution. As this was the 1st
    American Civil War, Hans was forced to chose sides against most of his
    family and neighbours when he sided with the British. We don’t know his
    reasons but such a decision would not have been taken lightly. Joining
    more than 1000 other Loyalists or “Tories” in the ill-fated Burgoyne
    Campaign, Hans seemed to rise above the regular rank & file as he
    had a knack for raising other recruits. Hans became a Captain in the
    Loyalist Provincial Corps serving in several (at least 5) loyalist
    regiments throughout the War.
    An interesting fact – one of the units
    in which Meyers served, the King’s Rangers, was founded by Robert
    Rogers – he had led the famous “Roger’s Rangers” in the earlier 7-Year’s
    War which became the model for the modern US Army Rangers and many
    other Special Forces! In fact John Meyers, as he now called himself,
    became a “one man army” operating as a spy, courier, and guerrilla
    fighter in the enemy territory between New York City and Quebec. Meyers
    was a very large man with wild red hair and he gained a fearsome
    reputation. Rebel mothers would keep their children in line with the
    threat that “Captain Meyers come and eat them”! He was one of the most
    hunted men in New York – had he been caught he would have faced certain
    death – yet despite many close calls, narrow escapes, and actually being
    wounded on one mission, Meyers eluded capture and always got through.
    Governor Haldimand of Quebec considered Meyers his most trusted courier
    reserving him as his last link to New York should the French invade
    Quebec. Meyers most daring raid was an attempt to capture General Philip
    Schuyler, one of the top generals in the Continental army. If you go to
    the Schuyler Mansion in Albany today, the raid is the centrepiece of
    the tour and a deep gouge in the bannister still remains as a reminder
    of the raid. An American historian noted Meyers for “courage and daring
    rather than brutality or ferocity”.

    Despite all his effort &
    zeal, Meyers’ cause was lost. As the new United States of America
    emerged independent and free, the situation for loyalists like Meyers
    was grim. Meyers farm had been confiscated by a cousin and he lost
    virtually all his property and belongings. Some loyalists hunkered down
    and tried to re-integrate into their former homes – but for Tories like
    Meyers who had taken such an active role in opposing the Revolution,
    there could be no going home. The Loyalist emigration remains the
    largest exodus FROM the United States in its history. Loyalists
    dispersed throughout the Empire but the largest group – about 40,000 –
    came north to the colonies of Nova Scotia and Quebec.

    Meyers was
    not one to wait for his fate. Immediately after the cessation of
    hostilities Meyers led several 100 men and their families to start a new
    settlement on Mississquoi Bay on the Northern end of Lake Champlain.
    These people were essentially squatting on un-surveyed land – and the
    British did NOT want them located right on the new border! The land
    dispute between Meyers and the British authorities seems “strangely
    familiar”.

    An officer sent to investigate reported…
    “I
    can only inform you at present that Capt. W. Myers … with a number of
    men I believe mostly from Rogers Core are at work & have Erected
    some houses … Capt. W. Myers … had already got a sufficient quantity
    of land Clear’d to raise 1000 bushels of Corn … those people were
    determined not to move off that land for the generals order or any other
    nor to be drove off Except by a superior force, for by Ld Norths
    declaration they had a right to settle on any of the Kings land they
    should Choose in this province.”
    The
    British were as insistent as Meyers though and threatened to cut off
    Meyers rations and income. He was left with little choice but to move on
    – but the people he led to Mississquoi Bay stayed and created the
    English-styled Eastern Townships of Quebec – one of Meyers least known
    accomplishments.

    Some 8-10,000 Loyalists in Quebec were primarily
    settled along the north shores the St. Lawrence River and the Bay of
    Quinte. The British government was making generous grants of land as
    compensation to the loyalists who had sacrificed all they had for the
    “Unity of the Empire”. The Meyers family joined this settlement first in
    King’s Town and then moved far up the Bay of Quinte. Meyers was again
    squatting on land that was later surveyed as Sidney Township. A map from 1787
    shows Lots 8&9 going back 3 concessions allotted to Captain Meyers
    and surrounding lots allotted to his children. Some estimates have the
    Meyers family receiving up to 3800 acres of land.

    Once
    established here, Meyers turned his energies to farming, brick-making,
    ship-building & shipping, brewing and distilling. He built mills on
    the Moira, or “Sagonaska”, River sparking the growth of Meyers’ Creek –
    later Belleville. He traded with the Indians and was one of the 1st emancipators of slaves in Upper Canada. Not far from here, Captain Meyers took part in one of the 1st
    Town Meetings to be held in the new colony – they were not even legal
    at the time but were an important step toward democracy in Canada.
    Meyers was elected the 1st
    Moderator in Sidney. He was also appointed District Magistrate or
    Justice of the Peace – the legal & civil authority of the day. He
    was the 1st Master of the Thurlow Masonic lodge and he was co-founder of the area’s 1st Church of England (St. Thomas). One of his last accomplishments was establishing the 1st
    fair held by the Hastings County Agricultural Society – just a month
    later, in 1821, John Walden Meyers died. He was already a legend in his
    own time for his wartime exploits and peacetime accomplishments.

    The Crown Patent for Meyers Sidney farmland was granted in 1798. In it, King George the Third “GIVE(s)
    and GRANT(s) unto Captain John Meyers and his heirs and assigns
    forever, a certain parcel of land situate(d) in the Township of Sidney”.
    CFB Trenton now occupies much of Captain Meyers original land grant – I
    don’t know how that was accomplished but it is clear that the remaining
    land is precious to Captain John Meyers’ descendants. I don’t know how
    much bearing, if any, that historical significance may play in the
    decision on the land’s future. However, I do feel that this land as a
    working, viable farm being tended by the same family for over 225 years
    can be seen as a living link to a very important figure in our history –
    it has the same significance as any monument or historic site would. We
    are a young country yet we don’t seem to treasure our historic legacy
    and I worry about that. If history does count then I hope that I have
    helped to reveal some of the significance of this remarkable man.

    • Thanks for the historical background.
      Somehow I see a small monument in a small corner to the original Capt Meyer which will make the DND and the PC gov’t feel that they are “doing what needs to be done and are just such an honourable crew” …
      But I wonder how Frank & Marjorie Mayer will feel about this …

      • Interesting point – plaques-over-people often seems to accompany guns-over-butter.

    • well written historical information, too bad others did not see this as important info. this property should have been designated historical long time ago to have protected it..

    • Brilliant! That is a truly comprehensive work. I enjoyed reading that.

      • Thanks – I just wish that it made the slightest bit of difference!?

    • Thanx Sir, wish i had that all infront of me after our phone conversation other night, but with what you told me, my other phone call was well recieved thanx for that

  15. Get with it you winners, the laws of expropriation are as old as this country. If the armed services want your land they are going to get it. If the highways department wants your land they are going to get it. If you are a property owner make the best deal you can and move on. That’s the way it is, and it doesn’t matter what government is in power they won’t treat you any different.

    • Well that’s a good attitude…bend over and take it. No wonder we can’t get anything changed in this country.

  16. We’ll get it back for you, Frank Meyers. This government may dishonour Canada’s founders, but the Canadian people remember.

    • No, we won’t. We’ll complain about it on the internet for a couple of days. Be real.

      • Speak for yourself, cynic.

        • Okay. I’m sincerely looking forward to the news that you have somehow reclaimed the land in question and given it back to Mr. Meyers. Keep us posted on your progress.

  17. ya but harper is like Mulroney so they really should be kicked out of power, all about me myself and I and the americans,

  18. REVOLUTION !!!!!!!!!!! CANADA NEEDS TO THINK ABOUT WHO RUNS THIS COUNTRY AND HOW HEARTLESS AND GREEDY THEY ARE. WE’RE SUPPOSE TO BE A PEACEFUL COUNTRY, THIS IS NOT CANADIAN. WHEN DO WE GET TO DECIDE WHAT GOES ON IN THE COUNTRY….. but seriously, Peace sells but whose buying.
    all talk and no action and we’ll stay like this forever.

  19. This just total BS, Quinte township had lots to do with this happening too, Just last week in the local paper the township was bragging about all the money they will now have in surplus from the Base expansion going threw an the amount that it will generate in the future. The township an the government did not care who was getting hurt in the process. Just terrible how they can BULLY people to get what they want. There is no new jobs going to be here. All jobs from building this structure will come from out side the area some other companies will get rich, an for local economy still no jobs, all those will be filled by people in the military. So the only ones winning here is the governmet an Quinte township. not right at all. who cares about the little guy.

  20. Don’t they have a 18 hole golf course? To take a working farm and leave a golf course is wrong. Shows us where our governments priorities are!

  21. The Harper government should be ashamed of themselves but we all know they won’t be. They feel that they are better than the rest of us and will do whatever they please. Whatever happened to the democratic Canada that I was born in? This government is nothing but a dictatorship. Time for them to go. Since they have no respect for the Canadian people, the Crown or anything else, I have no respect for them!

  22. This is wrong and disgraceful. No Canadian should be treated this way. Those who are responsible will not get off lightly they will forever live under the curse of this man’s ancestor Captain Myers. Has this family not had enough fighting and having to move again after 200 years. Absolutely shameful. It takes away from all that Canada stands for and those who gave their lives to defend. Ironic that it is to be used for extending the CFB. They are supposed to protect and defend the weak. Instead this is bullying and pressuring an 85 year old to give up his land!

    • but different story if its a government worker or mp !!!!!!! Bs is what it is

  23. This is pathetic they are buying up all our farmland how are we to have food to eat…..and for what national defence? There are many properties with unused buildings that would be better suited but no they just decide to take everything from us….that is pathetic!

  24. This country is NOT a 3 party system as most Canadians seem to believe. Perhaps it is time for a complete change? Something tested like the Green Party? They are very strong and established in European nations, in some places they are the official opposition.

  25. Can’t the land and the buildings be protected under The Canadian Heritage Act or something similar?

  26. My question is “Why expropriate land when CFB Borden is under-utilized?” CFB Borden is 21,000 acres including a 6,000 acre training area and 460 buildings. The base has been substantially idle for several years. The expropriation of land to expand CFB Trenton is wrong for a number of reasons:

    1. The target land is productive farmland helping to provide Canadians with food security
    2. CFB Borden in Angus is relatively inactive and available to DND training requirements
    3. Communities local to CFB Borden welcome/rely on activity on the base and its residents
    4. Several DND bases have been idled yet the Department is expropriating more land
    5. Mr. Meyers is 86 years old and has farmed his heritage property for his entire life
    6. Expropriation of Mr. Meyers land is a disrespectful and irresponsible way to treat an elder
    7. Expropriation is only appropriate if used for the greater good of all Canadians, which is not the case here.

    e-Mail your MP as well as Information@forces.gc.ca. Ask them why they waste Canadian taxpayer dollars.

  27. this is just the goverment showing power i think our canadian goverment is tring to turn this country into a dictatorship when we fought to keep it a democratic socity

  28. If this property ment that our military is better trained and better prepared, then John was being selfish. This training facility could mean less of our troops come home dead. He was fully compensated, I know you can not replace memories, but this was for our Country.

    • Erin, read Donna Bayliss respone above. The government did not need to expropriate Frank’s land, they’ve closed a number of bases across the country. Some exisiting ones have land that can be used. This is just another case of Mr. Harper & his minions saying “I can do what I want and you can’t stop me”!

    • you say “Country” as though it means anything…don’t be so naive

    • and jtf2 ar glorified bodyguards, they were in afganistan yes, but to provide security for politicians there, they are not like the sas or the special forces, they are nothing compared to what our regular troops are, Basically when it comes down to it, harpers version of hitlers SS

    • “Countries” aren’t real. They are arbitrary chunks of the Earth divided by imaginary lines, each with individuals claiming special moral privileges (e.g., “taxation”, “laws”, “war”) over other individuals, otherwise known as “governments”.

      Moreover, it is not for other people to decide how Frank Meyers is to use his property. Frank is free to be as “selfish” with his land as he pleases, just as you and I are free to be “selfish” with our kidneys and other organs. Property is the extension of a person’s ownership over their own body, since they made use of their body (worked) to acquire their property, or someone who gave their property to them as a gift did the same.

  29. I thought this was Canada a free country where we had rights .Since we got harper all we got is a lying thieving bunch of politicans .I hope the gov looks after their elite fleet better than they look after our troops when they come back from war .All they are capable of doing is harassing a poor old man and leaving him in misery .go hide your heads in shame ,makes me sick every time I see them on tv .The senate scandal really lets us see what you people are capable of

    • “I thought this was Canada a free country…” it;s not. Surprised ? So was I.

  30. THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT IS A DISGRACE

  31. 1000 acres? That’s a lot of farmland being taken out of service.

  32. I hope the government feels good…crushing a hard working man under their heel. Way to go Harper and cronies you’re big men *said with extreme sarcasm*.

  33. I feel for this man and his family but we do nee the land for the base and to create jobs. There are umemployed people in the area that needs jobs very badly and need to feed their family. Some things in life need to be scarificed and if this land has to be it to help other Canadians than it has to be done. Time to retire Mr. Myers and let the past be the past.

  34. The neo-Nazis of Harper continue their dictator like actions across the country, making George W. Bush look like a socialist compared to them… what the heck has happened to my Canada ???

  35. The British Crown still has authority in Canada. If he had a royal document from 1798 from the British Crown, then he should have asked Britain for help. It may not have worked, but it should have been tried.

  36. Omg my heart is ripped about to read this and to know our Government doesn’t have a heart I’m not happy been Canada farmer work very hard for us what the hell is the Government thing Grrrrrrr

  37. The base needs to at least be renamed to reflect the Meyers name, not that this should even be happening at all. I love our troops but I hate our military. The poor men and women who have to enforce Harper’s silly tactics have my sympathy. My heart bleeds for you Frank and Marjory. You didn’t go out alone!

  38. Farmers are some of the toughest people alive. If they can do it to them they can do it to anyone. Alot of what our soldiers have given their lives for is gone. Time to speak up and do something while you still have the chance. The government isn’t looking out for us anymore, we’re going to have to do it ourselves.

  39. It’s the same thing they’ll do to anyone in the way of the new oil pipeline…or the 407(which is privately owned even though it’s construction was paid for with tax dollars). Also, if you have any doubt about what kind of people are in charge think about everything they would do if there was no opposition….eg; nuclear waste storage near lake Huron, SEVERAL new oil pipelines, lower your wages, increase taxes, increase retirement age(oh wait they already did that), build more nuclear reactors on the largest fresh water lakes in the world….get the idea yet?!

  40. I was told, “if you try to sue us {government) we’ll hit you with so many lawyer bills your grandchildren will be paying it off”.

  41. lts a shame that this has happened to Frank Meyers and his family over his farm that they have owned for 225 years .l agree with Frank on the Heritage of his farm and that we need farmers for our food supply.My family used to farm too our circumstances were similar to Franks we had to sell our farm in Marysville east of Belleville back in 1996. And it was the most difficult thing that our family ever saw happening.What it really boils down to it when owning farms or any property when it comes to the Government “We Never Own What We Own” was a term saying My Late Father John Sexsmith who is the same age as Frank Meyers and farmed just like Frank did and Dad was a Cattle dealer and well known in the Community by all. Even 20 years ago My Father saw that it was getting hard to farm with the debts and red tape regulations and to buy Cattle because there are Less Farmers in business now compared to 30-40 years ago.We all pay taxes as farmers the Government does not mind that though.But when a developer comes in and gives you a set price for your farm and they don,t think of the Farmers Heritage of the land he ownes they the Government just forclose and take it on the Farmer there saying is take it or leave it.My Heart goes out to Frank Meyers and His family at this Time.

  42. I couldnt help but cry for Meyers. I have owned my house for 10 years & gardened, rebuild, renovate, etc with my own blood, sweat & tears & if someone came along & told me I had to get out, I woukd be horrified! I am less than 1/2 his age, but still, I am happy where I am & I am content to be here till I expire,which then at this point, the property will bevleft to my kids. I even planned on burying myself here! Hearing this & countless other things makes me just want to quit working for the Military!

  43. I see some people are showing some initial signs of waking up to reality: “government” is the delusional idea that a special group of people have the moral legitimacy to steal (in this case) and kill, provided the correct rituals are followed (voting). This predatory behaviour will not stop until sufficient numbers of people realize this fundamental truth that has been beaten out of most people through propaganda.

  44. Frank is right, the land we have is ALL the land we have. It’s not growing as we ruin it,it’s just dying off. We don’t care though, the end has not come. The earth is still inhabitable.
    And we lovely, civilized humans will suck it and each other dry until nothing can survive here.

    We are like leeches. It’s disgusting; especially you puppets who blame the government. They are human too.

    So the Cons are pissing us off today, tomorrow the Libs will piss you off. Yet everyone will still plow in at election time and vote on the next evil. KNOWING it will bring an evil. WTF sense does that make?

    PUPPETS!

  45. The military owns vast amounts of land on existing bases across the country, even here in Ontario and the bases are all equipped with airports. If they want to be closer to Ottawa, Petawawa is the closest. Why expand CFB Trenton? Why even have the JTF, a bunch of prima-donna’s who think they can shoot guns better than anyone else. There are plenty of soldiers in the rest of the military PPCLI, RCR or vingtdeux who would beg to differ…

  46. It is very sad to be forced to give up what you love. In another way it can be thought of as ” what goes around comes around” the land was given to his family and now going back to the government. As a farmer I’d probably loose my mind.

  47. The land was given to the man’s family by the King of England before Canada’s confederation. Isn’t the land technically still British soil? It wouldn’t be part of Canada

  48. If this does not scare people about how easy it is for the feds – of all parties – to run you over, then nothing will.
    We are all just taxpayers and annoyances to the feds of all parties.

  49. Bullying. What do you do with bullies when the people who are supposed to protect the innocent from bullies are bullies themselves?

  50. Watch for it, SH will soon reward Rick Norlock, the local Conservative M.P with a high profile cabinet position.

  51. -we’re either Cannon-Fodder or Dragon-Fodder!

  52. Whoay

  53. Time to retire! Country comes first!

  54. Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters

  55. This has been going on for many decades. The first time I lived in Ottawa the city was expropriating land for expansion, as was Kanata. I’m sure that the people of Belleville/Trenton will appreciate the $$$ to stimulate their economy while southern Ontario’s economy continues to go away.

  56. This is such BS!! That politician said his “constituents” want this to go forward more then anything else, well than he should prove it. Have all this people so willing to take away this families livelihood, their heritage and over 225 years of family history, have themn go up and knock on his door so he can see the faces of those who believe they have the right to do this to another human being. And the Air-force be damned! They can find somewhere else to waist the tax payers money.

  57. Did we become a communist country when I was sleeping? We are being dictated to more and more everyday! I feel so sad for the Meyer Family and for those of us who will have one less farm producing for us.

  58. looks like another Mirabel white elephant in the works

  59. It’s now massed 39,385 supporters WORLDWIDE!

  60. As much as the Frank Meyers Farm has brought people across CANADA into awareness I think it would be a good thing to in some way make it a Heritage site that will continue to make the people of Canada proud!!!

  61. Bastards

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