Subverting democracy v. “expensing” wood splitters - Alcyonenews

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Islands Trust
Posted March 22, 2019

Subverting democracy v. “expensing” wood splitters

On February 22, 2019 , I received a “subscriber’s email” from the Trust  asking me to respond to a “Website Survey”. Here is the message:

“We want to hear from you! Please fill out our website survey

The Islands Trust is seeking to understand the needs and challenges of users visiting its two websites (the Islands Trust and the Islands Trust Conservancy). We want your feedback to help us improve and better support community engagement and participation in Islands Trust work.

The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Once complete, you will be redirected to enter in a draw to win a free iPad (valued at $400)!

Deadline for comments is Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 11:59pm PST”

I searched  the Trust Website for more information and drew a blank. Then I was surprised with an annoying  PopUp on my screen.  It anonymously  advertised a Survey with an iPad bait – “No purchase necessary”. A click took me to a page with the Website Survey “Form” and the revelation that the Survey was commissioned by the Trust.

The first thing to strike the eye is that the Form is printed on a “Siamese twins”  letterhead, combining the Islands Trust and the Islands Trust Conservancy, c/w the logos of each. The Form is signed by the “Be the Change Group Inc” who introduces itself as follows:

“Be the Change Group is a third-party consulting firm that has been hired by Islands Trust to review and provide feedback on the Islands Trust web presence. The review includes an assessment of the Islands Trust two websites (the Islands Trust and the Islands Trust Conservancy).

Given that each website is an essential means of providing information to communities, Islands Trust is wanting your feedback in order to help improve how it offers information and supports community engagement and participation in Islands Trust work.”

Evidently, the Trust is launching a Website reconstruction, which is badly needed after the last one (2013) which resulted in disaster. That reconstruction lasted over two years and was seriously botched from start to finish. The beginning of the current revamp bears  omens of emulation.

The Form contains seven 7 questions, the purpose of most being strange, at least to  outsiders of the Hidden Persuaders’ tribe. Even to seasoned PRopaganda watchers, this questionnaire appears weird and invites doubt on the professed purpose of the Survey.

I will relate the Form condensed in space,  but whole in content.

Q1:    “Which Island or local trust area do you  live or own property on?  (Check all that apply) Bowen; Denman; Gabriola; Galiano; Gambier;  Hornby; Lasqueti;  Mayne; North Pender; Salt Spring; Saturna; South Pender; None of the above”

Q2: “Do you identify as  indingenous, Metis or Inuit? Yes:_ No:_”

Q3: “Please check all that apply to you. I am a: “Renter; Owner; Part- time Resident; Realtor; Real estate developer: Researcher and/or scientist; An advocacy group member; Visitor to the island / tourist; Islands Trust Trustee; Donor; Member of a local conservancy group; Other, please specify.

Q4: “how old are you? <19; 19 to 29; 29 to 39; 40 to 49; 50 to 59; 60 to 69; 70 or older

Q5:  “What do you think is the main purpose of the Islands Trust?

Q6: “What services do you think the Islands Trust offers? Check all that apply)  Banking; Land Use Planning; Mapping; Land Trust; Advocacy; Fire Protection; Conservation Planning; Bylaw Enforcement; Roads Maintenance.”

Q7: “What is your favourite method of getting information about the Islands Trust? Website; Facebook: Twitter; Instagram; Others. Please Specify; I prefer to get information about Islands Trust through non-digital sources.”

That is all that is on the Form and I find it by and large alien to its professed purpose.  A plausible objective of that Survey is that the Trust and its agent pretend listening to the public. Another could be that they seek to gauge the public tolerance for nonsense.  Overall, the Survey appears  intended to facilitate maximization of the Website potential for disinformation dissemination by using the latest methodology developed by the  PRopaganda “science”.

The Be the Change Group directs respondents to address the Trust’s Ms. Thiel for information on the use and safeguards of the personal information they collect with the Survey, this being peculiar.  I did so and I got back a placebo of an answer.

The Trust evasiveness of accepting accountability for the use and security of personal information, coupled with my unfamiliarity with “Be the Change”, made me leery to partake in the Survey. This among its other consequences, shattered my lifelong dream to own an iPad and now, devastated as I am, I contemplate ways to ameliorate the only one-in-a lifetime-chance to get one as a “free” gift!  Ok, I digress.

I will close this with the news that as of the end of the Survey on March, 3 midnight, every trace of the occurrence of the Survey has been laundered out of  the Trust website. Figure that out!     As for me, I will  worry and will not be happy for I suspect the thing is underground, burrowing to undermine Democracy.

Fortunately, I can, without an iPad, figure out that subverting Democracy is enormously worse than dipping into the public purse for some dollars to buy a wood splitter.


Tom V.
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