Problem Solving by Challenging Assumptions
Salt Spring Island, B.C. Canada
Town Hall meeting, September 28, 2021
Hi everybody, my name is Elizabeth Nickson and I have lived on SS for 21 years. I bought my land 30 years ago while working in London. All my friends were buying starter flats or little houses, I bought 30 acres of scrub forest and meadow consumed by invasive weed.
I am going to go into some detail on my CV, so you can have some confidence in the assertions I am going to make.
I came here in the middle of my career because my mother was psychologically fragile after my father’s death. Our family has been on the coast for 130 years. My great grandfather brought in the first piped water to Victoria and then Vancouver, building that city’s water and waste systems. The water meter for Vancouver used to be in their front hall. My other great grandparents co-founded the Vancouver General. Speaking to the current hysteria, my family were longtime allies of the Indians, marrying into the Blackfoot and Mohawk. Mohawk poet Pauline Johnson was my great grandmother’s cousin through her Indian family and she, Harriet, took care of Pauline in her last illness, burying her and funding the statue in Stanley Park along with her friends. My partner Jamie has two Indian bands in his family, his great-grandmother full-blood Assiniboine and one of his sons, Metis. The reality of early settler life has been wildly politicized.
I was trained at Time Magazine and I reported for the corporation for seven years out of London, into Europe and Africa, ending my time there as European bureau chief of LIFE Magazine. The training was rigorous, two mistakes and you were fired. The best journalists and editors in the world worked for Time then, it sold 10 million copies a week. If you were a fact-checker and let three errors through, you were fired. If you were a reporter, same. Everyone wanted these jobs, so it was very very competitive. I make this point because nothing is fact-checked now, virtually nothing in any broadsheet is true, and the quality of most journalism is tragic.
I moved here with an assignment from Harper’s Magazine to tell the story of the devising of the Salt Spring Official Community Plan. It was called Where The Bee Sucks. I talked to everybody – high and low – in order to familiarize myself with the people of the island, I read the Trust’s documents, and analyzed its science and process.
I grew up in a small country village, and at the time I was in favor of the Trust. I still want the islands to stay small, humble, unique. I would fight to keep it that way. I don’t want it commodified in any way, I don’t want condo developments and I don’t want our build-out changed, with one caveat, which has to do with housing our less advantaged.
I have a NAPTEP covenant on my property, “saving” two creeks, forest and ravine, including three dozen 200 year old Doug Fir, and I built a carbon-neutral rammed earth house, heated by geothermal, which could also be certified as a healthy house.
I wrote about the Trust on and off as a columnist for the Globe and then the National Post, and in 2005, I did a subdivision and density transfer, dividing my 30 acre forest in half.
This led to a book, written for Harper Collins New York, edited by Adam Bellow, Saul Bellow’s son. It used the thread of my subdivision to analyze the results of environmental stewardship – not the hopes and dreams, not the propaganda, the results of what has already been done. I looked at the big picture throughout the US and Canada. It missed the NYTimes bestseller list by a hair. I was on radio shows in the US and Canada reaching over 50,000,000 people. To research it, I drove 20,000 miles throughout the US and Canada and talked to 2500 people, from town councilors to foresters, ranchers, conservationists, lawyers, you name the profession or role, I talked to them. I read hundreds of policy papers, hundreds of documents about endangered species, and I talked to the people who fact-checked, analyzed and litigated those documents. I analyzed how much of the US and Canada has been set aside and saved. The book received a rigorous fact-check, which I requested and paid for. Upon hearing that, the vice-president of legal counsel at Harper Collins put the book through another fact and legal check.
I studied statistics, economics and law.at the graduate level.
My cousins were my chief mentors, he a celebrated biophysicist who decided who got the Order of Canada in Science for a decade. He was the Canadian participant in the team deconstructing the DNA molecule. He ended his career as head of the Royal Society of Canada. His wife, Jane, was head of the political science department at York, and taught classes at Osgood Hall, because she had a law degree too. She received her doctorate from the London School of Economics and to research her thesis traveled by bus to the Congo in 1961. I measured my intellect against theirs for decades, they correcting, moderating and advising me. Our relationship was pure pleasure. Finally, I worked with Bob and NASA on the Mars Project at LIFE Magazine, working out how to showcase their project. I have a thank you letter from NASA.
I say all this because in the region, I have been characterized as a fringe person, “right wing”, which is preposterous, and Trust supporters have attacked me relentlessly every time I published. I have been repeatedly threatened with harm, Trust supporters have tried over and over to get me fired. No one ever engages with the truth of what I say, they attack me in personal terms, and are cruel and bullying in the extreme. I fully expect by-law officer visits and government harassment after this is published.
I am anything but fringe, I am highly educated and trained and I have consistently worked with the smartest people in my field for thirty years.
Here is what I learned over 20 years about the Trust.
1. the regime that the Trust created is repeated in countless rural areas all over the world. It is anything but local, it is top down, and all the legislation is written by people who have never been here. It is dropped here through planners’ associations in league and directed by the UN. I could find the same phrasing used in the 2050 Policy changes in hundreds of places all over the world in every country, all of it originating at the UN’s 2030 Project, or whatever they are calling it this year. The Trust is not a local organization. It cares nothing about the people in the trust area. It has another agenda.
2. Wherever these regimes are put in place, civic peace is done. Anger rises, largely because the regulation is NOT local and does not serve locals. At the same time because the regime is hated, the supporters of the regime become cruel. That is why we have 70 year old women sleeping in their cars and nothing is done. That is why people hate the trust. I talk to everybody, and not just people like me, in fact I am not interested in what people like me, think. I am interested in the less advantaged from every walk of life, and believe me, they hate the trust.
3. Almost all the science, the papers that are meant to scare you to death are faked. Writers for NGOs like Raincoast, in general seize a problem and exaggerate it until it can panic people. In the US, when this science is litigated, it is 100% found to be fudged. 100%. Every single court case.
The Douglas Fir is one of the most common trees in the world and the range of the Coastal Douglas fir starts in northern California and runs up the coast to the northern tip of Vancouver Island. This new rule is based on splitting the species into ever smaller categorizations. Sometimes, these people will identify a salamander as endangered, where one ravine over, they exist in abundance. You will notice that Raincoast dropped out of this town hall. It is because they know I know they are fudging it. We need a detailed, granular map of conversation areas, because there are hundreds of them in our islands. Not to mention national and regional and local parks, untouched upland forest zones, crown lands, ecological study zones, The Nature Conservancy of Canada set-asides. As I said hundreds representing thousands of acres which are left to degrade by their “owners”.
4. The biggest danger to Doug Fir in the Gulf Islands is fire. Real foresters, those not muzzled by government, have been warning about catastrophic canopy fire for 20 years. These reports are all through the Forest Service libraries in the US. What they predicted has come true – these fires are CAUSED by the green movement. Green management of the forests has led to tinder buildup, fire ladders they are called. The lack of clear cutting means there are no fire breaks. Because there is no thinning, the forests are clogged and no trees are reaching a healthy maturity. They are malnourished, they suck up all the groundwater, and they stand there, perfect kindling.
The Trust has no detailed plan for the management of the forests and conservation areas they supposedly oversee. Nor do any of the dozen other conservation outfits and parks established here.
5. Nothing is more illustrative of the Trust’s incompetence than the housing crisis. I sat in a meeting in 2005, where Elizabeth White presented a study on affordable housing. We pay for study after study, hundreds of thousands of dollars gone, and nothing ever gets fixed. The trust does not want affordable housing because it is one of the ways they can de-develop the island. These policies and pr nonsense are written to confuse and obfuscate. The language used is preposterous, any of them would have fired at Time Magazine within an hour. It is that bad. It is that much of a cheat. De-development and de-population of rural areas are the twin goals of the 2050 Plan.
6. More than anything we need a vital local economy with local food production, and jobs to keep the young here, and the old enveloped in kindness. The Trust’s over-regulation crabs the activity on homeowners property. Most of us have worked our entire lives to be able to live here. Our houses and lands are our principal wealth and it is from them, that we live and have our well-being. Fire and over-regulation are the threats. Not climate change or species extirpation.
7. Water. There is water. It is not looked for. The long-time water finder on the island says there is enough water up on Beddis Ridge for the entire Gulf Islands. The reason this water has not been found is because the trust and the Victoria bureaucrats do not want it to be found.
I have talked to senior senior hydrologists, the kind sent into Chernobyl to clean up nuclear waste, to clean the water system after a catastrophe like a volcano or earthquake. They say 100% there is enough water here. 100% certainty.
Around the time of the Club of Rome in 1971, and later in alignment with the World Economic Forum and the UN, very powerful people, neo-Malthusians, decided to draw down the population. By the late 70s, all the land and water agencies began to shift from assisting development to slowing or stopping development. I have heard the shock from Forest Service engineers and scientists describing that turn. The Trust’s only goal, and it works through many lenses, including shamefully inserting our local natives into the planning process, is de-development and de-population. I’m not going to argue this point, I’m just going to say what it does to us as a community.
We are becoming scared, crabbed, little, people. Our problem-solving abilities, our creativity has been taken from us, and in its place we are being given rules to follow and fake science for “proof”. If we have environmental problems, the human can solve it. If we have problems with native inclusion, humans can create solutions. We can create water solutions. We can create housing solutions.
When my great-grandparents pioneered out here, none of them had anything but a high school education. But with that my Nickson great-grandfather built Kicking Horse Pass, the highest longest railroad pass in the world. If he could do that, if the Banfields could start a world-class hospital IN TENTS, we can solve all our problems very quickly and move out of the hate-filled, contentious, repressive environment caused by the trust and its malignant parents.
The trust destroys our humanity. It must have root reform or be decommissioned.
And the 2050 Policy is brutal fascism engineered by the World Economic Forum and the United Nations, placing us all into a police state.