Sunday, February 27, 2011

What if people desire change?

If the Islands Trust wants to continue to act like a local governing body then it needs to consider that democratically there needs to be an effective 'party' opposition established within the Trust Area otherwise elections themselves are rather pointless and unfair aren't they?
Paying Trustees more or designating more Trustees per island does not solve the essential inequity here.
The negative extremism of holding to a one party governing system is evident throughout the Middle East. Why Gulf Islanders themselves have put up with a one-sided, undemocratic local governance all these years is completely beyond comprehension.
It was popular in the 50's to post one clear message: THINK!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We the people... yea right.

Years ago I mentioned to someone that it was sad that the Islands Trust for all the implications of its namesake simply does not trust the people to protect their own homes and lands. They voluntarily expand their mandate as if they were a legislative body and then propose a hefty pay raise to accommodate their extra curriculer activities using our tax dollars.

A thorough Provincial review of the Islands Trust Act is clearly needed! Something that will clarify for the Trust and the public, precisely where their mandated parameters extend to.

With all due respect to most all volunteers picking up the slack, allowing our services to be run by so many decentralized volunteer organizations becomes a double-edged sword especially in regards to safety and ensuring qualified personel handle things as important as our water supply.

But beyond all that, it is about fundamentals and fiduciary accountability. John Ralston Saul once wrote a cautionary note about a weakening democratic input by the people: "Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the √©lite citizen's imitation of  noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens."

What is so difficult to contend with, regarding the Islands Trust, is that it appears to use a benign 'community concern' style of encroachment on our property rights. The spread of volunteerism within hand-picked advisory committees however well intentioned and 'harmlessly' made up of our own citizens, makes it almost impossible to ascertain whether they really represent the greater community. Unfortunately they may only be providing a fuzzy smokescreen of so-called 'community input' for an otherwise closed-loop ideological autonomy. With no appeal process in place for Trust Committee decisions, the picture grows exponentially less attractive.

The answer is easy to surmise if you  ask yourself whether you are happy with our current decentralized network of groups, each asking for their own tax requistions or whether you feel our taxes could be more efficiently spent under a single Municipal Council? It is not new or rocket science but maybe it makes cents ;-).

People require an apolitical governance structure with checks and balances that consider all our community needs without wasting tax dollars on 'things we can do nothing about' under the current limits of the Trust mandate. A municipal governance model ensures a wider diversity and number of candidates to feel  like they can run for an elected position without necessarily bowing to a single party line.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Extreme Extremism

I am sure a lot of people stare in disbelief with a sense of powerlessness when faced with island Extremism especially when it comes from people we elect to represent our interests. Alas one of the most extreme views expressed by our Island Trustees is that they feel that they were actually not elected to represent us but rather the interests of the Islands Trust. Duh. Now I get it.

I have been trying to figure out for years how our NDP legislature at the time could have created this monstrous hybrid of the democratic process where candidates are only welcome to run if they first agree to an ideology, that is to say the Trust Act and the famous "Object of the Trust" so often truncated.

Once the public understands that this is more an institution with a serious agenda of its own, perhaps they might think twice about who they vote in. With their powers to select and appoint their supporters to their own advisory committees to back up their decisions, well you can see it is a tidy closed loop system isn't it? Surely people can see the parallels with how the Chinese system of governance works and how 'commitees' are established to ultimately repress peoples' rights, even the concept of property rights will no longer exist.

The Islands Trust has figured out that if they create enough bylaws that make your home insurance policy null and void, they will eventually succeed in removing people from the Trust area and of course they can then rewrite a truly truncated version of their mandate to just "to preserve and protect" without all these annoying people around who thought for a long time that it was for their benefit and all British Columbians.

Turns out, maybe not, that is once the smokescreen of these RARs are nicely in place. That should probably shut things down for good. Not hard to designate the entire wet coast as a wetland now is it?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What we said in 1996 and 300 people agreed!

From the 1996 Marcano and Clarke Expedition to find the Object of The Trust
"While the Trust mandate may have become bloated with power and bureaucracy lately, there’s still hope for it, but I wouldn’t bring it home just yet, not until it demonstrates it can show a little reciprocal trust. A Trust that doesn’t Trust us is no Trust at all. We’d like the chance to give it a new face, give it one more chance to get with the program and include people in the equation.
This zoological garden for humans concept being developed in the Official Community Plan strips us of our human dignity and right to life and liberty. The OCP as it currently stands is the consequence of extreme concern, not for the environment, but for political correctness that would have us create a culture of intolerance."

See how much hasn't changed since 1996 (ok I have a few more gray hairs) -

Monday, February 7, 2011

First Extreme Responder!

While the rest of BC residents live with reasonable percentage pay increases, we see our typically extravagant Island Trust Council now proposing to increase Salt Spring Island Trustees salaries from (120%?) $12,000 to $28,000! And they are using the audacious argument that somehow it will attract new people to run for the position.

I guess the question is: when have there NOT been plenty of people willing to run for the position on Salt Spring Island? We have in this unincorporated district any number of ideologically minded Trust followers who would even volunteeer for the position for no pay!

This is not a democratic institution if it ever was, it has become a cult with an elected rotation of trustees who are true believers! It's mandate for 'land planning' has transformed into an environmntalist's "plan to not use the land" and with that... more planners per resident than even a city might employ! The situation is out of control! Island property owners are being severely restricted so much so that their house insurance policies are becoming null and void!!! That is to say that many people could not rebuild their homes under the Trust's continuing application of new regulations, regulations that are so amateur as to designate runoff from a road into the ocean as a protected Estuary! ie: end of Churchill Rd. 

This pay increase proposal is retro-fitted to claim support by yet another tax-payer funded consultant report the Trust itself initiated on their own accord;... or did our own Trustees propose this?

The premise is certainly familiar to the idea the Islands Trust floated in a recent referendum regarding increasing the number of Trustees on Salt Spring to create a so-called 'more democratic' representation. It is silly to imagine that this ideologically based organization can ever be a democratic institution no matter how much it tries to expand its base. It is common knowledge that all opposing views are so easily filtered out, no truly independent candidate has ever or ever will be expected to win in an election. Especially with the additional influence of the island NDP juggarnaut carefully financing their candidates and pushing their agenda. We need a strategic solution to this one issue alone!

It is time to challenge the entire premise of whether the Islands Trust is in fact even a democratic institution and qualified to continue to be funded by our tax dollars! It really is a form of taxation without representation. Even if they are qualified, I will say it again and again that; if the Object of the Trust truly is "for the benefit of all British Columbians" then why are islanders the only ones footing the bill? I repeat: if the Object of the Trust truly is "for the benefit of ALL British Columbians" then why are islanders the only ones footing the bill?

I believe there is a Tax Equity case to be made here, plain and simple.