After we survived the September 9, 2017 urbanization referendum threat, a consensus emerged that the Trust is in need of serious reform. It was “all aboard”: the people of SSI, the Trust, the referendum perpetrators 3EOs (3 Elected Officials), and the Ministry who created and “owns” the Islands Trust. After that came the calm.
I presumed that was to let the dust settle. Eventually it began to dawn on me that the calm was induced and cleverly confined to the surface, while strong undercurrents were pushing things the wrong way.
It was while society was seized by the holiday fervor and we were not looking, that Chairman Luckham of the Trust sneaked a letter to Minister Robinson, asking her to reform the Trust according to the Trust will. Luckham’s letter was pregnant with bad intentions, not unlike Ulysses Trojan Horse.
Upon seeing it I wrote an open letter to Minister Robinson (Marketplace January 8) bringing to her attention that Luckhma’s request was a Trust “insiders’ job” and asking the Minister to ignore it and honour the peoples’ right to have their say on the shape of our Local Governance. Lucham’s letter eclipsed.
On February 20 I lobbied our Local MLA Adam Olsen and newly minted Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson who is well known to Islanders as she was the predecessor to Luckham for six years. I simply asked them to put a word in the Minister’s ear about honoring her obligation to defend our right to define ourselves our local governance, within the appropriate parameters, of course. I did not ask for any specific changes, all I asked for was fair process. Neither Olsen nor Malcolmson answered the request. However, that does not mean they did nothing. There are reliable omens that something happened underground.
Olsen, Malcolmson and Robinson may have worked underground and may deserve credit for that. Someone may suggest accolades as per the Biblical prescription “don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” This may work for Theocracy, but does not for Democracy.
It appears the Trust received a signal to mend its ways and reacted to it. I am sad to observe that the Trust elected to intensify the spreading of PRopaganda to fool the People. Remorse and repentance, popular with Parole Boards and Deities, proved alien to the Trust, as it now stands.
Robinson, Olsen and Malcolmson should have moved overland, instead of proceeding underground. At issue is not an inadvertent oversight, at issue is fighting back Czarism in SaltSpring. Open discourse would encourage citizens to shed apathy, to become involved and would boost the perception of effectiveness that would bring out people to assist in the effort to pull the Trust out from the dungeon and force it to play on the field of Reason, in the light of day ...
As it happens, fairly soon thereafter, in February 2019 the Trust hired the “Be the Change Group Inc” consulting firm, “to fix” the Trust Website. This would obscure the Luckham’s December 18, 2018 “attempt” to bypass democracy and create the impression of a Trust anxious to get public input and longing for unfettered dialogue with the people. Fake optics of propriety.
And that is not all the damage control “they” attempted. On March 15 they held a grandiose “communication” event. They invited all and sundry to “help the Trust” compile a plan with which to govern us for the current 4-year term – pure humbug really. The event was farcical, and this was exposed, in the Marketplace again. But the Trust proved so conceited as to carry on escalating the PRopaganda in a drive to fool the people.
After the real purpose of the March 15, event was exposed, Chairman Luckham moved adroitly to fix that, too. Quick as a wink he went on record admitting, sort of, that March 15 communication event was inadequate. Hence, he announced a plan to give a chance to the many people who did not partake in that event, to have their say.
But, do not rush the accolades. Luckham was quickly “called to order” or had second sober thoughts all by himself. Whatever it was, it resulted a visit to Trust “records” by the “plumbers” (as in Watergate). A fine laundering job they did and now no trace is left of Chairman Luckham’s plan to open the doors to Democracy. All that has gone with the wind, because the Trust could not risk public input expressed beyond their tight control.
This quick rise and fall of Trust Fairness is big and important news. This blip of Chairman Luckham’s, may be a spontaneous lapse of control of one’s tongue, but it is worth an effort to get the Trust to abide by it.
That it happened cannot be forgiven if society is to remain free. Mr Luckham?
As for us, we will carry on watching and exposing ...