I wish there was a word….

….for silly-bugger bureaucratic-thinking. I mean, we all have words that we apply in-the-moment but I mean a single non pejorative word that captures the entire madness of magical non-think intended to fix things with rules, policies, procedures and your own money (less their substantial cut). What is that word?

The most common example, of course, is a pull-over and ticket from the police. That drives everyone mad, even those who were actually speeding or had a broken tail-light. It drives us mad because it was a crime without catastrophe imposed on a person by another one in uniform, with a gun and the state on their side, solely intended to only enforce their authority. It is state bullying. But, that’s just a minor pet peeve that has bugged me my whole life and no, I have not received more than maybe two tickets in my life. I just hate paying bullies $100,000 a year plus, plus, plus to impose their ego/power on anyone. Bugs me.

But this blog is NOT that. Altho, to be fair, the waste that is DFO is even more staggering than silly cops but that has already been mentioned. This is a new rant. This one staggers the imagination, any sense of fairness and violates every tenet of natural justice to my mind.

Here we go…..

We live in the forest and forests occasionally light up and burn an inferno. It’s basically Hell On Earth for anyone and anything in the vicinity. No one likes forest fires. Since I have been here, we have had four that needed confronting and three of them were human caused. Each required a major effort by all and sundry.

When that happens, the BC Wildfire Service kicks into gear (within hours but they do not work or fight fires at night) but, to be fair, they do a helluva job containing something virtually uncontainable when they actually get to the site. They do good work. But…for whom?

The BCWFS works for the interests of the government and the lumber companies. If your house is also there, that is your problem. They wouldn’t even consider trying to save your house – they are there to save the forest. They might even forcibly evacuate you and still NOT do a thing to save your home.

Not fair. NOT humane. NOT right. Still, any one guy’s house is probably not worth the effort of a government crew and fire pumps so why pretend? And so they do their thing and it effectively works for the purpose it was intended. If you have a house there, well, you have to protect it yourself…if they let you. Fair enough. We knew all that coming in.

There is often no insurance for remote homes. There is no fire department. There is you, your garden hose and fire extinguishers plus a few neighbours – maybe. And usually BCWFS does not bully residents when they do show up.

And that has largely done the job of protecting forests and most incidental residents. But, after the last local fire raged too close to a crowded area (a subdivision of small lots), the people complained. So, the local government stepped up to address the problem. They bought some pumps. But the pumps are for the government docks. NOT for houses. The government has proposed, instead, that local fire brigades get trained and they fight fires. But they will only be authorized to fight forest fires and only until BCWFS shows up. Those pumps are NOT for houses. The fire brigades are to buy time. Your house is still up to you.

Well, as unfair as all that is, and as insane as all that is, the locals would still grab the pumps and rush to someone’s house if they could. Especially after having been trained NOT to. You do not get to be OTG by obeying all the rules. And so the pumps are welcome and the training will appeal to some.

Of course, the government wants to charge the area for the pumps (the ones we are not allowed to use) with taxes. More taxes. Taxes for the brigade training, too. Taxes for the administration of the ‘program’. Taxes for a program that will only have an effect until BCWFS comes and then they take over. Taxes for a program designed by a bureaucrat that thinks everyone living OTG lives along a road (maybe 15% do).

And that bureaucratic genius does not seem to know that over 50% of the area’s population is over 70. Even if everyone signed on to the brigade, half couldn’t do much of anything and the rest would take almost as long as BCWFS to get there.

“Dave! What’s your point?”

The point is that government is 100% working on an urban mindset. The government thinks they are smart despite an astounding and historically significant track record proving otherwise. Government cannot even flush poop properly. Nor can they save fish, wolves, whales, marmots or even the bloody climate. I do not trust the government to take care of me in any real respect (I used to think that Health Care was gonna help…but, now…?)

I am a pinko lefty that wants the government to stay the hell away. I am safer on my own thank you. And it is cheaper.

24 thoughts on “I wish there was a word….

    • In reality some team work shows up despite all the rules and regulations against it because humans on the ground have more sense. But the bureaucracy is officially opposed. I.e., the local government is offering Workers compensation for those aiding in fighting forest fires which is NOT allowed should they get hurt fighting a house fire.
      Liability insurance is available for forest fires, not house fires. The list of bureaucratic reasons to let a house burn are long and torturous. But logic says: a house on fire already IN the forest should be suppressed as a first step to the fire NOT spreading to the fire! They do not think like that. They do not think.


  1. To me, the word is ‘fairness’ when it comes to social resources. Remote living runs the risk of a small number of individuals incurring social costs for many.

    I am always aggravated when hikers and skiers deviate from established routes in the backcountry and the general public incurs tens of thousands of dollars to rescue them. I think it is important for the rescued to bear those costs – and not unduly/unfairly burden the taxpayers of BC.

    I doubt OTG residents are responsible for forest fires. But someone is. And the sanctions for that ought to be enormous it seems to me. Man-made fires ought to be punished with lengthy jail terms and fines- there are of course ‘intent’ and ‘accidental’ factors to consider in sentencing.

    Freedom always implies responsibility. I’m not willing to have higher insurance rates or pay even higher taxes for the sake of social choices which ultimately aren’t necessary.

    OTG is a luxury lifestyle that carries a heavy premium and I’m fine with paying that. And yes, fire suppression systems exist for those OTG – and may be better than a fire department if the construction is fire retardant from the get-go. OTG might be safer with personal fire codes- owner directed.

    But I couldn’t put a price on looking out and seeing killer whalers each morning. One should in a free society have that choice and the option to bear the full cost.

    WordPress.com / Gravatar.com credentials can be used.


    • I wish I could claim the highest ground but I cannot. A large number of forest fires are started by campers, kayakers and OTG residents. One guy burned garden waste, heavily soaked the ground after he was done and watched it for 24 hours. Then he left for the weekend. Within hours acres were consumed. BCWFS on site for almost a week. It turns out that fire ‘goes to ground’ and that actually means UNDERGROUND in the root system. There is no question that we do not always have the right knowledge or skills. We are a weak link (nd getting older). But that resident weakness is NOT my point. I do not want to pay for a service that also will NOT do the job. I do not want to be told what to do by someone there specifically NOT going to help save my house. In effect, they are charging me taxes and asking me to sacrifice my home to save the trees for the forest companies.
      Give me a service that acknowledges the value and importance of my home and I will pay fees and taxes happily. Your points, FK, about out-of-bounds skiers are a bit apple-y to oranges.


      • I’m sure there isn’t a direct parallel here. OTG is recreational living. Having been involved in public policy – I believe OTG ought to be treated the same way residents are in Canada’s national parks. The resident you describe would not qualify per the regulations. Society needs to get tough……really tough generally speaking with those who risk the environment- across the board. Yes, industry to individuals. Not possible without a regulatory framework. Happy to offend the libertarians in our midst.


        • We do not disagree on responsibility and accountability. But we are coming at it differently. And I am not living in a National Park with all the services and supports that that includes. Firstly, OTG is NOT recreational. It is a very common way of life in all non-1st world countries. It is human existence, plain and simple. It is back to basics socially and personally. We are NOT summer cottagers BBQ’ing all the live long day.
          This life is hard but simple and healthy.
          I, like many, was born into a complex city-world and it was only after traveling the planet that I understood that the city is like a massive ‘hive’ that needs rigid control and takes away life as it is supposed to be lived. It costs a lot to live in the city so they pay you a lot but, gee whiz, even with all that money, you spend 10 hours a week commuting, 40 hours per week working, 10 hours per week in line-ups and following procedures. Then you watch TV and sleep. And that is considered success! In the end, you spend what you earned and can’t change a lightbulb or fix your own car. You eat ‘processed food’ and breathe dirty air. City living is parasitic.
          Also bear in mind that the environment and all the pollution is largely city created (by corporations) and urban area concentrated. Remember the Hudson River catching fire? Your basic ‘homesteader’ is very, very responsible living their way. They have to be. 911 does not work. There are no services. No stores. No roads. No piped in electricity or water or sewer.
          That does not mean they are perfect – as I confessed – 3 of the last 4 fires were started by residents. And, at least one of them was held so accountable that the fine was prohibitive. He couldn’t pay it. Where man treads, man screws up. But, out here, it is on a much smaller scale.
          Another thing: I doubt that any of these people would self describe as Libertarian altho, to be fair, they do advocate for minimal government intervention in everything. But they take that position legitimately – governments do not seem to understand the rural way of life. They make stupid decisions almost every time. Ergo, we urge them to stay away. If they ever make good decisions, the peeps really get behind it and support it fully. So, a more accurate label might be Communal Humanitarian with an extremist wing of independents.


          • The rural-urban divide is real. In distant times folks in rural areas did not expect or demand the services and conveniences of the urban dweller. They want on-demand services as taxpayers. They believe they have a right to all that urbanites enjoy.

            This happened in Newfoundland in the extreme. In that province, the provincial government provided relocation allowances for many hamlets and withdrew services from others. The population or tax base was too small for many to address the needs of all rural dwellers. It is very hard for the OTG and the rural dwellers to accept more fully that you are basically on your own- and that the needs of the environment may ultimately trump where you are able to live. The solution will be for society to create urban and suburban environments where everyone does not crave to escape.

            It’s called the tyranny of the majority and some say the common good.


          • I am amongst the most spoiled of OTG’ers. I lived 55 years in the city after all. I confess that I do expect the ferries to run on time, hospitals to receive me now and then and the internet to work. But, when I moved OTG, I willingly gave up all other expectations. NO transit. NO roads. NO stores. No utilities. No police or fire protection. I knew what I was getting into. And, I confess, most of the others out here expect even less. Summer cottagers are a different lot. They have many expectations from a marine mechanic fixing their boat to a worker-at-the-ready to do some of their chores. The rural-urban divide is not black and white but, rather, includes a few shades of grey. Don’t forget, too, that all OTG’ers pay tax. And the only expectation they have from paying that tax is a hospital/medical service now and again. Put simply, we are not whiners. We do not complain unless the government wants to interfere. In fact, complaining about silly, ineffective government is about the only thing we complain about.


  2. Since a lot of the OTG houses are very close to the shoreline, maybe they should invest in a fire boat? With the current pumps and water canons, they can protect the shoreline properties very efficient in that way


    • Another logical but dismissed solution. But a fire boat is like a space station proposal for thise fools. Most homes are near the water and many are not by any road whatsoever (me, for instance). I have two pumps, three cisterns and a dozen fire extinguishers. I can put 500 gallons on a fire in minutes and 10 gallons of retardant on in seconds. The brigade would take hours just to show up. .


  3. A friend of mine is a fireman for the City of Coquitlam.
    During the monster fires around Kelowna about 15 years ago they volunteered to go up and help.
    The forest fires were left to the BC Forest guys.
    They were sent to protect remote homes , barns, cottages, etc. that were threatened by advancing fires.
    They would be led to remote buildings and then directed to a water source.
    Fill the fire truck or trucks.
    Fill some huge bladder bags near the safe site. Set up sprinkler systems around the buildings.
    Then they would wait.

    He said they would hear the fire coming an hour before they could see it.
    The wind, the crackling, the trees falling. Nerve wracking.
    They saved the buildings while everything around them burned out in 20 minutes.
    Then they moved out, around and ahead of the fire and repeated it again.


  4. Kinda makes me wonder why THEY would be sent to remote homes to protect them but ours are not so deserving. My guess is that the difference is that they volunteered. And, they could get there by driving. And our folks are mostly 70+. Official firefighters from Coquitlam would be allowed to fight by WCB and other insurance laws. We are not. Fair enough. Eyes wide open. But then, why would the local government want to raise our taxes? For what?


    • Cash Grab….pure and simple.
      The Libs have blown the lid off responsible govt with their hundreds of billions scattered to the wind.
      I’m sure the govt purse strings are gonna get yanked back big time when the bills come due.

      I’m just curious.
      Do you come under the Campbell River property tax Jurisdiction or a Provincial jurisdiction?
      I paid $1900/years for a 1 acre property and cottage 10 years ago in PEI way outside any townsite. Volunteer fire dept ( kiss your house bye bye), no roads plowed , garbage collection once a month( I burned mine or recycled)
      What do you pay for no services and vague rules?


      • We are a Regional District. Like the GVRD. Taxes are about $1000.00. I do not feel it because we have six owners of our 86 acres and so the taxes are split. No services whatsoever, save for the school. However, to receive their non-service, we would be charged another $750 plus or minus. Do I care about the cash? No. But I’d much rather spend it on fire extinguishers, hoses and pumps. Much, much more useful. And, anyway, if I join their plan, I have to fight fires as per their rules. I have to be trained. We get inspected. I need a permit.


        • Ahhh yes the “training” and costly certification process which must be updated annually..
          The endless stream of money to fund the bureaucratic process.

          Buying your own personal fire extinguishers, hoses and pumps sounds way cheaper and less chance of having an exploding migraine…….


        • I am envious. Taxes for my 50 acres are about $3,000. Less the seniors’ homeowner grant of $1,045 (which amount, unlike the gross tax amount, has not been adjusted for inflation for many years). So the proposed fire brigade idea being bruited about would add about $1,000 to my taxes, that I would have to pay in full. I happen to care about the cash.


  5. Yeah…apologies….I should getta pulpit. But what did you mean? Are you saying: ‘Say it loud! Say it proud! Preach the gospel?” And the gospel is that government is not the cure, it is, instead, the disease? Zat it?
    ‘Cause, if you mean the latter, then that is a whole new rant.
    Government was created ostensibly to ‘keep us safe’. Safe from the bad guys. The same guys who formed the government, by the way. Government is a protection racket. We gave up freedoms and paid money so that ‘they’ kept us safe. From others. But…well, do they? Do they really? Do I really need to be kept safe from my neighbours? Maybe I need to be kept safe from those ‘horrible others’ they keep telling me about but most of the others I have ever met were like me except better tanned (Muslims, Mexicans, Asians, Blacks). Those folks have (mostly) all been fine. In fact, I have a lot of ‘other friends’.
    Do I need billions of dollars spent on uncaring uniformed people to protect me from some poor Mexican trying to save his family? Clearly I do not. Do I need protection from some Mexican drug dealer trying to take over my country? Maybe….I guess I do…I dunno…..
    Do I need protection from some Mexican drug dealer holding me ransom in some Mexican hell-hole? Yes! Yes, I do. But OUR government says, “Sorry. We do not do that. Good luck.”
    So, I dunno…..do I need government at all? I need some of our better institutions but, honestly, is GOVERNMENT amongst that group?


  6. Government should set up basic care for ALL (On and off grid). With that I mean housing,schooling, medical care, garbage collection, sewers,…. and for that we should pay a reasonable amount of cash. But then there should be no distinction if you live on or off grid. Yes, cost to send firefighters to a remote area would cost more money, but the frequency of house fires will be lower off grid. For the rest, government should not interfere too much and leave some things to common sense.


    • I used to think that way, Wim. Today, I do not. I think if we have a government (and we always will, just as sheep need a shepherd) they should do no more than keep the trains, planes and buses running on time. And, as much as I believe in universal medicare, education and some critical standards being maintained, they do such a poor job at it, I am beginning to wonder. I am still a pinko, bleeding heart, tree-hugger but I do not trust government to do that job anymore. They cannot get it done. ‘Course, I do not trust the private sector, either. But maybe well-run, well-structured institutions subject to constant audit might be the best way…… or, alternatively, one could just get the hell out?


  7. Getting the hell out will not work! You are too old to form a reliable defence line between the ” bad guys” and those you love. Your best place is here. Government needs to control, its their mandate(given by the sheepels in our cities). Despite your missgivings, OTGers will be ok if we can just ignore the constant throbs of government “interventions”. Not a problem for 50-70% of us but as the young get richer the need for “Civilization ” seems to attract them. Your job should be to inform the misguided twerps of their error in life thinking! More government is never, ever good! This could be your defining moment! If I were to try I’m afraid blood would flow as diplomacy has never been included in my character trates.
    Just saying!


    • That is a good observation. The other day we held a community meeting to discuss signing on to the governments plan and relying on them and paying for organizing us, the security and insurance they would provide (WCB) in case we caught ourselves on fire saving the forest. There were maybe 20 attendees. Two of them under 40. The younger duo wanted to ‘be responsible’ and ‘help others’ and ‘do the right thing’ by joining the government plan. The older contingent wanted to be responsible, help others and do the right thing by doing it themselves. Same motivations, different approaches. I think 50 or so years of depending on others is enough for most sane people to choose independence first and relying on others only when you really need to.


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