Time for a little history lesson about what happens when governments abuse the people they govern by Historian, teacher, and Navy vet Hugh Culliton:
“All for we and none for thee”
Montgomery’s Tavern was the rallying point for the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837.
There’s a big club and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club. And by the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head in their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy.
Are we heading towards another civil uprising – a rebellion as it were – to put a check on the obscene grift Doug Ford’s running in Ontario? Do we need feet-in-the-streets to counter the Ontario Conservative “All for we – Nothing for thee” agenda?
— Bev (@Garnet_2203) December 14, 2022
Well, we’ve been here before. So saddle-up, happy campers – you’re in for a history lesson!
The Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837 responded to the longstanding, unlawful, unresponsive, and greedy corporate capture of our political institutions. It morphed into an undemocratic government focused solely on aggrandizing personal wealth, privilege, and increasing power. It was engorging the already obscenely wealthy elites at the total expense of the people. As you have seen, such actions are now being replayed in Ontario as you read this. And then, the only remedy might very well be people standing up and saying “NO.”
Today in 1837, Governor Gosford issues warrants for the arrest of 26 Patriote leaders on charges of high treason. This will initiate the Lower Canada Rebellion, which inspires the Upper Canada Rebellion. Both conflicts lay the groundwork for Confederation 30 years later. pic.twitter.com/NBKIrEWfcG
— Craig Baird – Canadian History Ehx (@CraigBaird) November 16, 2022
How this happens will be up to Doug (Ford) and the Slugs – not us. If they refuse to honestly respond to the people’s will, they will ensure a “Montgomery’s Tavern moment.” As JFK noted, “Those, who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Based on the debacle last February – and everything before that, and since Ford came to power, this is a legitimate concern for Ontario’s future.
As Sam Clements wryly noted, “History doesn’t repeat, but it sure does rhyme.” Of this truth, there can be little doubt. Look around: Europe these days has a distinctly 1914 feel to it. In Ontario, we’re enduring another pandemic, but this time with people resorting to essentially 1600s-level witchcraft rather than following science. 🙄
In Ontario – again – our government is acting like it’s 1836. Being well-trained as a monarchist as a kid, I was never really down with William Lyon Mackenzie’s evil ‘republican’ critique of the province (all I saw was treason). Still, in retrospect, with education in critical thought and experience – I can now clearly see where he was coming from.
What do I mean? Well, let’s have a look:
Created in 1791, Ontario (Upper Canada) endured tremendous challenges as our new society struggled to organize itself. The War of 1812 was a very traumatic challenge for everyone. Our little backwater paradise had been at war for the second time in their living memory, but this time far worse. Our cities, farms, and towns were being sacked, invaded, and destroyed this time. What we see happening in Ukraine right now – what those people are enduring – was visited by our ancestors here. Upper Canadians were just as traumatized, frightened, hurt, and torn by diverging loyalties as many Ukrainians are today. Such political pressure tends to lead to reduction and authoritarian government.
So in our little colony, effective government and all actual decision-making power were in the hands of a (foreign) British-appointed lieutenant governor and an oligarchy that dominated our legislative and executive councils. This oligarchy – a collection of the wealthiest families generally in and around the capital of York/Toronto – was referred to as the “Family Compact.”
Remember the Family Compact and what led up to the Upper Canada Rebellion? Not that it ever really went away, but it's back: Rules for Thee not We.
— Hugh Culliton (@CullitonHugh) February 12, 2021
“Family Compact” was not a term of endearment, and by 1836 – like today – there was a growing call for change. Dudes like the ‘radical’ William Lyon Mackenzie were blogging extensively about the problems and how to solve them. His solution was to turn Canada into a Republic akin to the Americans – perhaps even joining them. As laudable as his screed against the injustice of the Family Compact was, this didn’t gain him a lot of traction in Ontario because our society’s emotional and constitutional ties to the crown, though fading – remained strong. But his shout-out against gross injustice was heard.
Your Thursday #cdnhist dose: This building in Niagara-On-The-Lake is where William Lyon Mackenzie of 1837 Upper Canada Rebellion fame first published his newspaper, the Colonial Advocate, in 1824. Among other things, the paper was used to attack the upper class "Family Compact." pic.twitter.com/6WfalrYzyB
— Adam Montgomery (@AMontgomery82) March 29, 2018
Little Mikey Ford is today’s poster boy of this unfettered nepotistic grifting. Steve Lecce is a close second. As with the Ford government’s plot now, back then, folks in the Family Compact were equally gorging themselves off the public trough. The province was run by an interconnected circle of families who simultaneously held all the social, political, and economic offices because of their connections. Like Ontario today, they all knew each other, went to the same schools, hung out at the same parties, and dallied with each other’s brothers, sisters, cousins, and aunts. The bosses like Bishop Strachan, Osgoode, Robinson, and the rest all controlled the appointments to government positions – just like Doug’s crew now ensures the ‘best™ 😉’ people get those sweet government-controlled taxpayer-funded gigs. As with today, the Family Compact also controlled the land grants, which they grifted just the same way our lad Doug is the Green Belt.
Everybody knows there are too many questions surrounding @fordnation ‘s opening up of the Greenbelt …
Like who had the inside scoop
It’s the People’s Greenbelt and they deserve answers pic.twitter.com/GoTPRpF3Xg
— John Fraser (@JohnFraserOS) December 14, 2022
The Tories aren’t even trying to hide their Partisan Shuffle and back-room palm greasing, doing it in the open with a wink and a nod to friends. These people – like the Premier – always fail UP – their families ensure that.
In the 1830s, the Church of England, the Bank of Upper Canada, the Canada Company, and the Law Society of Upper Canada formed the basis of Family Compact power. In the 1830s, the domination of payola meant that the Family Compact was in bed with all the financial, spiritual, legal, and administrative authorities of our entire society. These people controlled the juice and grift to the extent that would impress Vito Corleone. Today, we have Corticelli et al., the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, and a foreign-owned captive media.
However, there were some limits on their greed and overreach then, as there are now. But – as of now – it still required a significant politically disruptive event to force the constitutional authority – the crown – to intervene. After 1837 we got Lord Durham’s Report. Today, we have the EA process. But essentially the same thing: investigating what happened and how to prevent such from reoccurring.
Until 1837, many members of the Family Compact willingly broke the law when they believed their financial survival was at stake and were quite happy to use violence to suppress lawful dissent (including denying the people’s legitimate demands for redress of grievance). Political violence was expected and would have felt the same to a witness in the the1830s as did the Ottawa clown show and Peterborough last summer. The Family Compact owned the magistracy and judiciary and were as close to their enforces as Doug is to the police today.
This allowed for violence in defense of Family Compact interests to go unpunished. The “Types Riot” in 1828 is a great example. Young associates of the Family Compact broke into and sacked Mackenzie’s Colonial Advocate Newspaper offices because they didn’t dig into what he had the legal right to say. Despite multiple IDs, none of the riot bros were even charged. I can’t help but see the parallels to February’s Klownvoy Putsch in Ottawa that Doug’s CPC buddies and handlers orchestrated and attempted to lay at the feet of the Feds (because let’s face it: Doug isn’t sharp enough to strategize this crap on his own).
Indeed this is precisely how the Family Compact rolled in the 1830s. While hiding at the cottage, Doug even ran cover so his crazy anti-vax daughter could merrily spit on the law and constitution of the land. We have seen the receipts of this in the legal inquiry that’s a necessary part of the Fed’s use of the Emergencies Act.
So, where does the current gong show leave us?
In all honesty, I don’t think we’re looking at more violence…yet. But we’re getting there. We still have a vastly more functional judiciary, a tested, resilient, and robust constitution, and oversight from a government geographically and politically far closer to the people of Ontario than we ever had when we were the backwater afterthought Upper Canada was in the 1830s.
Still, people’s patience does have its inevitable limits. When one’s children are starving, sick, or being deliberately underserviced (because of private profit) as a direct result of the incumbent government’s self-enriching policies, people tend to get pissed. We now have fellow Canadian citizens living – and freezing to death – in tents beside my local Wal-Mart. I remember a time when such a situation was unthinkable.
— Dave Breakenridge (@BreakenridgeYEG) December 14, 2022
It’s often said that no society’s ever more than 3 square meals away from revolution. If, as they seem determined to do, the Ford government continues to gorge itself on the public purse while hospitals overflow with deathly ill children – overflowing due to deliberate underfunding to enrich private, for-profit corporations, there will come a reckoning. Y
You don’t need to be a historian to understand what can happen after that point.