George has called Galiano home for 36 years. He and his wife Karen have raised 5 children here, the youngest of whom graduated in June as valedictorian. A keen member of our business community since 1983, George has created employment for islanders. He has also played a role in numerous campaigns to protect our precious natural abundance. His experience with supporting both of these – a healthy economy and a community of passionate protectors of our ecology – motivated him to run in the last election; to earn the opportunity to work with and serve the island in this capacity.
Four years later, he remains as committed as ever to his mission of responding to our community's needs while honouring what is, now more than ever, a critical mandate to preserve and protect our island's natural beauty. In his four years as our trustee, he has learned a tremendous amount about land use planning, water preservation and how to mobilize bureaucratic structures to achieve our collective vision and goals. He will continue learning to be an ever more effective trustee and to use his diverse experiences and creative problem-solving skills to continue addressing challenges like affordable housing, year-round economic initiatives and opening the east coast access road for emergency use. George's promise is to continue listening to us, all of us, as we navigate together to build a balance between providing our community members with basic needs and services, and preserving this precious piece of land we are blessed to call home.
The late 80's and early 90's were a heyday for public action to protect Galiano's forests. A communal energy to save our precious landmarks like Mount Galiano and Bodega Ridge swept through the school, community halls, stores and dinner tables.
So when my dad, brothers and I heard about what was happening at Clayoquot Sound we wanted to participate. We were at our Cameron Lane home, soaking up the early summer sun surrounded by evergreens when a story came on the radio about the protests against MacBlos clearcut campaign. We looked at one another with knowing eyes and barely spoke. We knew we had to go. Within minutes, our white Toyota Tercel was packed for camping and we rushed down island to catch the next ferry. We popped into my mom's house to tell her we were going camping. We didn't have time to explain the details.
We crossed Vancouver Island and pulled up at dusk to the protest camp near Kennedy Lake. It was small and intimate, hardly more than a dozen tents scattered about, a far cry from the thousands of us who celebrated our strength with a Midnight Oil concert at the height of the protests. We awoke before dawn and gathered around a small fire, ate oatmeal and drank hot chocolate while a wild-haired young woman named Tzeporah spoke with clear and calm passion about the protocol for the morning demonstrations and shared details about the court injunction that restricted any of us from standing on the bridge.
We gathered in a circle before Kennedy Lake Bridge and sang a chant whose words and beat give me shivers 25 years later: “Standing on the bridge in the morning dawn.” The details are fuzzy but I remember Tyson and me consulting after we'd learned that nobody would be getting arrested that day. We told Tzeporah, quite assuredly, that we were going to stand in front of the logging trucks. She said we'd have to convince our dad to come with us. Getting arrested hadn't been part of our plan and Dad knew there would be repercussions but in the end his heart beat his mind and the three of us, 10-year-old Tyson, our dad and I held hands and walked to the bridge and stood smiling and with the feeling of each other's hands warming our own. From the other side of the road came hostile shouts from the loggers' families, their faces contorted as they threw nasty insults at my dad. The three of us continued holding hands as the RCMP cuffed my dad and led us to their police cruiser.
The CBC got wind of our story and one reporter was particularly drawn to the part about us being without our mom. So they cold-called mom back on Galiano and asked her if she knew where her children were. She said, “Yes, they're on a camping trip with their dad.” The way my mom tells it there was a pause on the other line as the reporter licked his lips before delivering what he thought was going to lead to a bit of reality radio. “Oh,” he continued, “well, do I have news for you. Your ex-husband and your children have been arrested.”
The reporter explained the situation and my mom said something along the line of, “Oh, how wonderful!” And then she told him about how Galiano's recent efforts meant that, though we were young, we had a deep connection and understanding about the need to protect our forests and that she trusted and supported her ex-husband, my dad.
Another story quoted my brother Simon, then 7 years old, as saying that he didn't get arrested with us because he had heard that the food you got in jail was pretty bad.
My dad was sentenced to one month in jail. He took it in stride and with good spirits and with ample support from his Galiano community.
I am not sure if you are going to run for the Trust again. I would be happy if you did as you bring a level of civility that has been sorely missed in those meetings. You stand up for what is good for the island both human and non-human in a way that empowers everyone in the room.
We have been lucky to have you these years and I understand entirely if that was enough.
Best to you in either of your choices,