Manitoulin communities must work together

There is strength in community. While each of us may harbour different aspirations within our hearts, humanity has learned this lesson and passed it on down through countless generations. Through story, fable and myth, relayed in various forms through differing cultures, human society has learned that the single twig finds strength far beyond its spindly form when bound together into a bundle. It is a lesson that can be found repeated throughout the natural world. Plants and animal, through field and forest, herd, flock and school, come together to resist those threats and dangers against which a lone individual cannot prevail.

We ignore that simple lesson to our peril.

There are those who willfully ignore that lesson and seek to profit from going it alone, convinced that their own natural endowments will allow them to out perform their peers, leaving behind the smaller, less fortunate members of the group to fend for themselves. This culture of ‘me’ weakens us all.

In any group or team some individuals will have stronger talents or resources than others, it is a grave error in vision to see that imbalance as unfair, for each gives to the group in measure of their own allotment.

Thus in modern advanced human societies, the rich pay more toward maintaining society than do the poor and disadvantaged. It is patently clear to any honest observer that the wealthy and powerful gain more from this relationship than do the weak and poor, but in the end, all benefit much more than they would standing alone against the forces of nature. Without the field hand, the landowner could not harvest his crop, without the shop floor labourer the factory owner could not produce his wares. Each has their own part to play in increasing the collective weal.

Manitoulin Island communities contain miniscule populations with very limited resources. To succeed in accessing that pool of resources held by upper tiers of government we need to build the requisite tools. Those tools are studies showing the potential impact of our efforts, tools like those proposed in the latest initiative championed by the LaCloche Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation (LAMBAC) and recently endorsed by the Manitoulin Municipal Association.

The Northeast Town council should join its neighbours in Central Manitoulin and Assiginack in helping to move this project forward. With a miniscule collective investment of a few hundred dollars from Island communities, the LAMBAC initiative will leverage literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide the tools each community will need to access upper tier funding in the current atmosphere of austerity.

To view paying a portion of the cost based on the assessment of each municipality as unfair or unjust ignores lessons learned from countless generations stretching back to before our ancestors stepped out of the garden or from beneath the forest trees. Arguing that one community should not pay because there is a chance that someone who has not contributed might benefit speaks to another ancient saw—the one about cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face.

Together we can build a more prosperous future for our collective communities, alone, our path will decline. Less steeply for some than for others, perhaps, but in the end all of our communities will suffer unless we work can together toward a common goal.

In unity there is strength.