/Out of control

Out of control

By Emily Stonehouse

I am seeing people refer to the Minden ER closure as a “done deal”. 

This has those rallying on the front-lines bent out of shape. Yes, decisions have been made, but since the second that closure announcement went public on April 20, it’s been fought against. 

And it’s not just because of the closure. It was because there was seemingly no public consultation to get to that point. Locals and cottagers alike felt blind-sided. The constant they once had in their backyard, was closed by a decision that was completely out of their control. 

Because that’s what so much of it comes down to. A sense of control. A sense of involvement. A sense of participation. 

In a democratic country, that’s what we thrive to have. 

This isn’t the first time a decision has made us feel wobbly as a community. Another recent example were the closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of what side you were on politically during that chapter, the entirety of the misunderstandings and confusion were rooted in a lack of control. There were choices we had been privy to making in the past that were suddenly in the hands of someone else. We lost that control. 

While some thought that fighting the lockdowns garnered some control, others advocated for following scientifically-based regulations to hold some semblance of stability. 

I think we can all look back now and unanimously agree that none of us really understood any part of that chapter; but we were all floundering, wondering how we could feel most in control during any given moment throughout the chaos. We all experienced that differently. 

We feel safer in a space that’s controlled. We saw that spring up this past week, with an OPP press release sharing that two local women (and likely more who did not report) were approached and followed by men in the community. Both of these cases were done during broad daylight. And with that report, we lost control of the safety in our community. Women are reverting to walking in groups, or staying indoors until this blows over. Because this was our safe place, and now, we lost control. 

Maybe individual control isn’t what we need. We have a political and judicial system in place that’s designed to protect us. We vote for those who we believe will control our community in the safest and most efficient way possible. It’s impossible to have a society where every individual person can have independent control, but we can have a society that provides some semblance of that. A society where we encourage voices to speak up, values the opinions of others, and strives for collaboration over competition. 

As I watch the Minden Matters group continue to rally; from the Minden Fairgrounds and all the way to Queen’s Park in Toronto, I am watching them strive for control. To take back something they feel was taken away from them. To add comfort back into their corner of the world. 

Because when decisions are made unilaterally that impact an entire population; without consultation, conversation, or consideration, things are bound to get out of control.