Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Trust is a Trust, Trustees need to forego their delusions of Grandeur

A compelling question to ask is how a 'Trust' imagines it is a government in an unincorporated district? Unincorporated districts are by definition without local government because the only legally defined form of governance in BC starts with the formation of a Municipality. Despite former Bowen Island mayor Lisa Barret's councilling to Salt Springers during our Incoproration Study; that we might come up with something more imaginative, there is in fact no alternative to the Municipal model if we choose to incorporate.

So just because Trustees imagine they fit the definition of a government certainly does not make it so, any more than School Trustees can claim to be a government. A Trust is a Trust.

Regardless of the facade created by being publically selected, confusingly during Municipal Election time, Trustees are still confined to belonging to the narrow mandate of a specific Trust and its policies, end of story. This is further illustrated and verified by the fact that when pressed, Trustees will admit that they are NOT elected to represent the interests of the taxpayer like a Municpal Council is required, rather they are elected to ultimately represent their land planning mandate the Trust Act and policies of the Trust itself. A Trust is simply a Trust.

Consequently a Trust in no way defines a democratic governing body and visa versa. The Islands Trust is simply an abberated form of taxation without actual representation and therein lies the central legal challenge for islanders. It is a question of constitutionality and tax equity in that the rest of our fellow Canadians only have the burden of Municipal, Provincial and Federal taxation. So why do Islanders have to endure and support an entirely extra and I dare say redundant level of taxation? It is not fair at all! Are we less "green" or particularly anti-environment? Why are we so suspect and treated like potential eco-offenders?

I would wager that a Provincial review would reveal and refresh a lot of memories that the Islands Trust was never legislated as an official branch of governance per se. Rather they were created to encourage and enable the formation of environmentally aware Municipal councils, should any islands choose to incorporate as Bowen Island did years ago. "Governance" as a concept is certainly not part of the wording in either the "Object of the Trust" or the original "Island Trust Act". Even Trust council is careful not to use the term lightly in reference to itself. See Bylaw 42.

This is the strongest challenge islanders can make and in the interim, we should continually remind Trustees that they are taxing us to exercise a land-planning function and fulfill mandated duties. Duties such as proper and required Raparian land and waterway studies we've provided funds through taxation to have done! The Trust is inappropriately trying to offload their responsibities for these studies onto property owners somehow forgetting that they have a record number of highly paid land planners with a close to $7,000,000 budget! (See my Islands Trust Budget Clock, upper right column to see what is already spent since March 11th 2011)

The Island Trust does not fit the definition of a democratic institution any more than any Trust does. Repeated proclaimations to being our 'local governance' may sound nice, but they are really just more Delusions of Grandeur by a tired and outdated organization with less credibility and support every day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Are We Green Enough Yet?

Under a fair and normal governance structure islanders might safely consider a Green candidate like Elizabeth May, a seemingly reasonable choice to be our federal representative. However, I suspect if we make the mistake of empowering the Islands Trust with such a federal advocate in Ottawa that we might be responsible for spreading this Trust ideological nightmare throughout all Canada... and our fellow Canadians would never forgive us!!!

Also, given what happened in the last Federal election, I think a Green vote would virtually ensure a Conservative Majority with yet another throw-away-vote on a Party that is splitting the opposition with the Liberals and NDP three ways now. The Left never learns the wisdom of unity. Gary Lunn must be in 7th heaven. Remember last time, much loved 'Green turncoat Liberal' Briony Penn, even without the vote-splitting NDP could not over power Gary Lunn - close but no cigar, some NDPers still voted for a non-existent candidate!!! :-| - much like the Trust party faithful, the NDP can be a maniacal bunch too. THE NDP AND GREENS SHOULD MERGE!, they are not that different.

Furthermore, does anybody think we need any more Green, armchair environmentalism around here? We are already showing signs of starting to get too green around the gills now that The Islands Trust has more than effectively destroyed local island economies here in the Gulf Islands. With the Trust recently voting themselves a juggernaut budget of almost $7 million, every 365 days, should we really be risking empowering them any further with an advocate in Ottawa?

Just saying, THINK. Even stoners should reconsider despite Ms. May's claims to support Marijuana legalization. Like the NDP's Jack Layton's similar promise when he needed the 'socialist green' vote, check the current official drug policies of the NDP on that one. (See Jack Layton on POT TV here - . One Green is not going to change the law on that one.

Sadly a good possible candidate like Ms. May is just going to further split the centrists and left and if that doesn't ensure a Conservative Majority then it will almost certainly assure Gary Lunn is with us for a long time. That may not be a bad thing while we wait for the opposition to realise how futile disunity is. Vote with your mind not wishful thinking, governance is not a game for emotional fuzziness.