Separation of Political Powers

There is a reason for the separation of powers in politics.

Local municipalities have decided that the need to act on issues, that are the responsibility of senior levels of government, is preferable to doing their own jobs. The temptation to reduce global warming overrides the need to issue building permits. The point is that any possible action they may take lies well beyond a city’s ability to make any measurable adjustment to national temperatures. This overreach inevitably results in a decrease in local economic productivity with a corresponding drop in income.

Many councillors do not make the connection between their actions and a lack of local housing; a key factor in making people homeless. Potential solutions now mean using local government funds, originally earmarked for other projects, to provide temporary accommodation. Local proponents follow the San Francisco example, “… that homelessness is caused largely by poverty and discrimination; the solution, (they say) is not to judge the poor souls that sleep rough but to spend more money on them.” (1)   This is something that the current local tax base is unable to support. The social problems that accompany the new residents eclipse the capacity of any municipal authority to resolve; principally because the treatment resources are complex and belong to other levels of government.

Support programs for the homeless, like many relationships, are easy to start but offer no clear way to get out. The longer they last, the greater the loss to local resources and the longer the period of sustained damage to community fabric. Local councils would be well advised to stick to parks and potholes and keep the pressure on senior governments to meet their obligations.

(1)  ‘San Fransicko’: How progressives ruin cities” Michael Shellenberger, Harper Collins 2021. Quote from review in The Telegraph, 5th December 2021


Where Do We Go from Here?

There is too much for the concerned taxpayer to worry about right now. But even though focus and prioritizing have become complex issues within themselves, without them, no solution will ever appear.

The world has been conditioned by a pandemic, the treatment of which raises many questions, and finds few answers from those charged with its management.  The prospect of a looming catastrophe, posed by climate change alarmists, dictates that the only alternative is to shatter large parts of the present economy and restart it in some way nobody has identified.

Confusion appears to be consistently offered up over remedy.  Consider the present education system, from kindergarten to graduate school, which has been fractured by fear and division, sowed by cynical political opportunists.  How is this situation justifiable?

Additionally, technology has progressed to levels beyond the understanding of most of us, but where do we put our trust? It is not just a matter of deciding which developments will affect us in the future – it is also a matter of how some of them affect us now.

If all of this was not enough, BC is facing the most recent of a series of natural disasters. Not unnaturally, representatives at every political level are showering each other with blame for outcomes.  However, there is no doubt where the liability for the costs of all these issues will land – the taxpayer.

At a time when there is a real need for focus and prioritizing, concentrating on issues closest to home would show the best return. Local councilors and school board trustees are the ones most responsible for giving tangible value in the taxpayer’s service and, especially now, need to be held accountable.

Fairy Creek Old Growth

The Fairy Creek “old growth” protest on the west Coast of Vancouver Island is a marriage made on the picket line between adolescent American eco-warriors and professional Canadian catastrophists.

For the one it means a battle fought in Canada without having to draw attention to similar practices at home. For the other it’s an effort to destroy the economic livelihood of a community in the name of an ill-defined alternative.  Industry, (in this case a family firm in its fourth generation of BC owner-stewardship), is caught in the middle because any concession they might make is never enough. A First Nations entity with an interest in making a living is bulldozed to the side. Government is represented by an agglomeration of minor “I’m with you” politicians in search of cameras. It is an inevitable, if distressing appendage to the democratic process originated where people have co-opted the issue to meet some externally determined purpose.

Canadians, despite the efforts by those who purport to lead them, have rarely seen a time in their history when they have not tried to make bad situations better. Some Canadian leaders are demanding that citizens accept personal responsibility today for decisions taken by their predecessors well before most of them were born. It seems that the Fairy Creek protest has been wound into an aggregation of this imposed collective guilt and will likely feature in the election currently looming over Canada.

The left-wing people running this protest indicate they stand for the elimination of livelihoods they do not like, so anyone wanting something else has, for once, a fairly clear choice.

Remove the Protestors

The fact that the Fairy Creek protestors are in the woods, intentionally blocking a company from working at their worksite, makes them aggressors.  That they are there in violation of a court injunction exposes them as criminals.  Harvesting trees, without a license or environmental impact study, makes them not only trespassers and thieves, but also hypocrites. The tampering of equipment and property earns them the title of vandal.  Working in the forest with chainsaws, against extreme-fire-danger advisories, demonstrates their recklessness, endangering themselves, the forest, and the surrounding community.

When protestors then resist arrest, in some cases repeatedly, it is apparent that their intention is to deliberately escalate the situation.  Escalation is a ploy activists have consistently used – provoke as big a scene as possible in order to push law-enforcement to deploy increased measures against them.  To then film the whole thing, edit, and subsequently deliver only one side of the story, in order to fit with a prescribed narrative, is just another tool, among many, in their toolbox.  One of the ironies is that many of these protestors are not even residents of the area, are externally funded, and some have travelled clear across the continent to be there.

Protesting is considered a right in the free world, but blocking a legal company, and its employees, from earning a living at their place of employment is not.

Unfortunately, the manpower required to deal with the mess is diverting resources, away from other more pressing crimes and situations, and is costing the public millions of dollars.  Taxpayers, the people who actually pay the bills, are fed-up and want the obstructers, who call themselves protestors, gone.

Voters’ Responsibility

H. L. Mencken, an American commentator and journalist in the early part of the 20th Century, observed that “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule.”

Local governments who quote world issues as the justification for their actions pose a particularly cogent example of this tactic. A recent attempt by some members of the North Cowichan council using the excuse of a self defined “climate emergency” to strip the value from a project that met all its zoning requirements is a classic application of it.

The proponents’ action may seem capricious and ill-conceived, but the maneuver, had it been successful, would have had the effect of transferring control and with it, effective ownership of the property. In addition, it would have created a precedent that would let the municipality use the same excuse to apply the same treatment to anyone’s property.

Municipal elections scheduled for 2022 are a good time to start reversing this trend. Good representatives share community values and aspirations. More importantly, they do not bring in externally developed ambitions, and use community assets to achieve them.

The big challenge is to get enough people out to vote. In too may cases, municipal and school board elections are won on less than a thirty percent voter turnout. That means control is handed over to a well-organized minority.

True democracy means that citizens can delegate the management of their community but never the responsibility for its outcome.

Canada Day

The City of Victoria has decided not to celebrate Canada Day. Considering the recent Kamloops Residential School discovery of possible burial sites, they have cancelled their planned one-hour virtual broadcast, opting for an event on Sept. 6th honouring the wishes of the Lekwungen Nations.

Mayor Lisa Helps encouraged other communities to do the same. The effect has been electric. #Cancel Canada Day trended on Twitter. Other communities are considering cancelling celebrations, and media outlets are discussing the legitimacy of Canada Day. This induces some important questions for Canadians.

Why is this happening? A political agenda is being pursued by those who seek to revise Canadian history, cancel our customs, and alter our institutions. This is another perfect opportunity for progressive activists to deconstruct Canadian history. The expression “Never let a good crisis go to waste” applies here as various politically motivated groups try to reconstruct Canada. All Canadians mourn the lost children and condemn the excesses of the residential schools.  This is not new information.   An acknowledgement or prayer may be in order, yes, but it is not reasonable to cancel Canada Day.

Canada is a great Nation. Canadians have the right to celebrate their history in the light of balanced consideration and proper historical context.  They should not be shamed into renaming institutions, taking down statues, or chastened into thinking of themselves as components of a pariah nation. It is not historically accurate or fair. Every community in Canada should celebrate Canada Day with pride because, in the end, Canada is a country worth celebrating.

Rudyard Griffiths: Instead of reconciliation, we are busy with pointless acts of retribution | The Hub


Protestors Unreasonable

Loggers at Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island say, “We have had enough!” referring to the antics of recent protestors.  Carl Sweet of ‘The BC Forest Alliance’ has come out in defense of the loggers saying that activists were deliberately and strategically provoking forestry workers at their place of employment.

The video recently circulated on social platforms is what the activists wanted, and the media took the bait.  Carl Sweet stated; “I think the media is enabling the misinformation of what is happening in the BC forest industry.  These are hard-working people who go home to their family every day, and the environmentalists are taking it to the next level.”

The BC Forest industry is one of the most technically advanced and environmentally conscious tree-harvesting industries in the world.  But that is the opposite of what radical groups convey.

With silviculture mandated and strictly controlled, the forests are a sustainable resource.  Overall, it is a very well-managed system.  The AAC is strictly controlled by government, and cut blocks are not random.  They are specifically defined by accredited individuals, taking into consideration, among other things, terrain, hydrology, and habitat sensitivity, leaving designated wildlife corridors intact.

Logging roads are designed by qualified Professional Engineers and decommissioned when no longer in use.  This too is controlled and monitored.

There are riparian rules, cultural protection rules, work-safe rules, and union adherence to attune to, along with weather constraints and fire seasons to consider.

From stump to dump, all participants are trained licensed, insured, and united under a common purpose that allows many people to feed their families and contribute to the social net; in some cases, the very social net that environmental activists are eager to draw from.

Professional Registered Foresters


A Modest Proposal

It would be to the taxpayers’ enduring advantage if the North Cowichan council put their time to use reconsidering their recent unconscionable decision to raise municipal taxes. That they have done this during a period when their Federal and Provincial counterparts, under cover of Covid, have burdened us with the largest financial liability in our history, is inexcusable.

The taxpayer – there is only one – must now take responsibility for the repayment of federal debt estimated at more than one trillion dollars. BC’s debt is still an open question because the NDP have yet to show some believable figures.

North Cowichan has an opportunity to show national and international leadership by undertaking two significant initiatives. First would be a cost cutting program that will be sufficient to allow for an immediate ten percent reduction in municipal taxes. The second would be to approve some of the development of market properties which have been sitting before them for some time. This simple action would add value to the properties concerned, increase the municipal tax base, and make up the shortfall in revenue.

As a further example to their profligate colleagues at higher levels, now wallowing in pro-forma pay raises, the councilors should opt to reduce their stipends from all sources to a nominal one dollar for the period to the end of their term. This would be a refreshing example that they recognize their primary objective is the welfare of the community and that, in these Covid afflicted days, they recognize that they and our municipal employees are truly “in this together.”