Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.
Every 4 or 5 years some of us go to the polls to elect our various governments – municipal, provincial, and federal. In doing so we perpetuate a myth – that we are in control.
Between elections it dawns on some of us that we don’t really have much influence. We think the politicians are ‘out of control’. They engage in shenanigans that waste billions of dollars that WE earned and then were forced to hand over to them.
But these ‘wasted’ billions don’t just evaporate! So where does all OUR money go?
Well, some call the ultimate destination of our taxes the ‘Deep Government’. Deep Government consists of government bureaucracies (agencies, departments, offices, ministries, committees, working groups, etc.), consultants, industry lobbyists, campaign contributors, political appointees, influential media figures and companies, academics, university centers and schools, foundations, key corporate figures, special interest groups, favoured cultural groups, charities, etc. etc..
Do these groups and individuals wield their influence only at election time?
In fact THEY are the ones in control BETWEEN elections! Largely hidden from our view, they are the men and women who, by their training, their livelihoods, their personal debts to others as they climb to power, and their positions in deep government, cannot be impartial. They cannot escape being in the “old boy” network. They cannot escape having conflicts of interest, as they move from industry to regulator and back again to industry.
The environment they exist in does not produce objective or dedicated public servants who would put the public welfare uppermost. Government by citizens is a myth. We have government by people trying to get ahead and rise to the top, and they will do what they have to do in order to maintain their positions and look good to those who sustain them. To succeed they also have to learn how to deal with attacks from rivals in deep government who are playing similar games.
So what does this have to do with the Aggregate Industry that concerns us?
Well, this industry is an extremely well-entrenched part of Deep Government. Either that or we are missing the real reason this industry so often gets what it wants while trampling the rules – rather lax ones at best – that were set up to supposedly ‘control’ things.
But it’s actually the cart pulling the horse.
A blatant current example is what’s happening to the folks who have the misfortune of living near a long-dormant gravel pit called Tottenham. The owners of this pit are seeking to expand operations. They seem oblivious to the laws that should have prevented the pit in the first place, should have punished the operators when they illegally dug below the water table, and, recently, should have immediately pulled their license when they illegally demolished buildings on the site, negligently causing a fuel spill and then denying and trying to cover up everything with shifting stories and toxic soil.
So far – nearly 2 months later – the owners of the property have not been sanctioned.
We wondered – who are these members of the Deep Government? Well, an internet search reveals an interesting article from March 3, 2004. It reads as follows:
”WHITBY – An aggregate company and its owner have been fined a total of $17,000 for illegally taking sand and gravel from an adjacent property – owned by the same company.
Guiseppe Lamanna, 62, of Aurora, owner of Brock Aggregates was convicted in Ontario Court of Justice in Whitby of operating a pit without a licence. Mr. Lamanna was fined $2,000 and his company was fined $15,000 in the Feb. 26 decision.
An investigation by the Ministry of Natural Resources found an estimated 142,000 tonnes of aggregate was taken from New Century Homes, an unlicensed site and division bordering Brock Aggregates. The offences occurred in Brock Township in the spring of 2001, the ministry said.”
If we do the math here we discover that the illegal removal of about 3 million dollars worth of aggregate resulted in a fine of $17,000. That’s barely more than one-half of one percent! Is this a suitable disincentive for illegal behaviour? Far easier to ignore the rules and add a dime or two to the price charged to the customer, who is, most likely, a government department or contractor.
So, are we in Deep Trouble as a consequence of Deep Pit owners with Deep Pockets wielding Deep Influence in Deep Government?
Well … DUH!