Elderly couple bullied into signing away their land

Farmer Frank Meyers is being bullied off the property that has been in his family for over 200 years.

QUINTE WEST – It all started back in August 2012 when Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) went out in search of new land to build a new Headquarters for their Joint Task Force 2 which is the military’s elite Special Forces Unit.

They came across the property of Frank and Marjorie Meyers, both well into their 80’s. After some questionable ‘negotiating’, the Meyers’ felt no other option but to sign away 220 acres of land that has been in Frank Meyers’ family for over 200 years. The family was given until last September to sell off their livestock, harvest their crops and move off their land.

This government practice is known as ‘expropriation’. Expropriation takes place when the government takes private property for a purpose deemed to be in the public interest.

Even though the Meyers family officially signed off on a compensation offer from the federal government last December, the family has yet to receive any money.

Supporters say that the government has been harassing the Meyers family since 2006. Close family and friends say the DND used bullying and intimidation tactics to coerce the Meyers into signing over the land. Meyers did eventually put his signature on the government papers signing away his land; but he says he did so under duress and did not fully understand what it meant in doing so.

The Meyers have felt alone in their struggle these past eight years. As an elderly couple living in rural Ontario they have had a difficult time trying to garner support and raise awareness of their plight in the political arena. All attempts to try and bring in outside help, has fallen on deaf ears according to Frank Meyers. The DND has since littered the property with ‘No Trespassing’ signs.

Last fall, Ottawa activist, Lisa Gibson, read about the Meyers’ fight to keep their land. Gibson used social media as a tool to help raise awareness of their plight. Gibson created a Facebook page called ‘Save Frank and Marjorie Meyers’ Farm’, and the campaign now has over 46, 000 likes. There is also a petition in support of the Meyers family circulating online which has now collected over 21,000 signatures.

Even though Frank and Marjorie Meyers don’t fully understand the concept of email or social media they are very grateful for the support of people from all across Canada. These past few months have taken a toll on the elderly Meyers. Frank is under a lot of stress and according to family and friends, he has lost a lot of weight. At one point he was sleeping in his truck at night, which he kept parked on a back road leading to his property, just in case bulldozers tried to sneak in at night. But now, with the help of social media, a few supporters are staying on his property to help keep a watchful eye.

But even so, the federal government and the DND refuse to back down. Bulldozers were sent to the Meyers’ farm recently to begin to tear down buildings and barns and whatever else is in their way. Luckily, a group of about 30 supporters met them before they could enter the property. The bulldozer’s retreated to the top of a hill where they sat idling, waiting for the okay to go back in. The Ontario Provincial Police were on standby to make sure there were no incidents. Adding to this, the DND sent in two Hercules aircraft from nearby CFB Trenton, which were seen hovering overhead.

Although the fate of the Meyers’ property remains uncertain, one thing is for sure: their cause is gaining national attention. With the help and support of many people, pressure can be put on the political arena to influence the Department of National Defence and the federal government to back off and leave this elderly couple alone to enjoy the rest of their days in peace.

The last time the Department of National Defense expropriated land was during World War II. This happened to the Native people of Stoney Point First Nation in Southern Ontario. Under the War Measures Act, the government came in and moved the community off their land.

After the war, the Chippewas of Stoney/Kettle Point went to the federal government and claimed their land back. The government refused to give them back their land. A protest ensued at Ipperwash Provincial Park and in September 1995, orders were given by then Ontario Premier, Mike Harris to go in and use ‘swift affirmative action’ to get the Natives out of the park.

This resulted in the shooting death of unarmed Anthony Dudley George by former Ontario Provincial Police Officer, Kenneth Deane. Deane died on February 25, 2006, in a car accident, near Prescott, Ontario,while on his way to testify at the Ipperwash Inquiry.

To find out what you can do to help the Meyers’ family, visit and ‘Like’ the ‘Save Frank and Marjorie Meyers’ Farm’ Facebook page, which is updated regularly. You can also sign the online petition at http://bit.ly/1euQngV.

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