It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Serfdom via Land Restriction in BC: How The Government Owns You

page: 1

log in


posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 03:15 PM
Canada, the second largest country in the entire world. Numerous provinces, 30 million inhabitants. A wealth of every type of terrain from semi-tropical rain fores, to desert, to prairie and tundra. Also, 95% uninhabited. But why? Surely in a country so utterly expansive, it would be easy to find land there to settle! Not so, and I will explain why. In this article, I will be focusing on Rural rather than Metropolitan real estate, for reasons that will become clear.

Part 1: An Overview of British Columbia.
BC is a lush province. Wild, untamed, filled with the bounty of nature. A land of opportunity for those willing to move here and settle. At least, that’s what the Tourism advertisements would have you believe. In reality, BC has the lowest minimum wages in Canada, the lowest standards of living, and the highest real estate prices.

A search of the MLS listings will reveal the shocking reality that the cheapest land
parcel currently for sale in rural BC is $50,000 for less than 1 acre. Above that, the prices can vary from $100k for 2 acres to as much as $1.4m for a single half-acre lot on Vancouver Island. This might be understandable if this was, for example, France with its 700 years worth of overlapping title deeds. In fact, an online search of Real Estate will demonstrate that for the price of a decently sized rural land parcel or a 4-bedroom family home in a Vancouver suburb, one might obtain a Castle with several dozen acres in France.

How can this be? BC has a total population of just over 4 million people, half of that contained in the sprawling coastal city of Vancouver. The total Landmass of BC is more than that of Oregon, California, & Washington combined. To put this into perspective, the population of those 3 states is 47 million people. As you can see, that is a drastic amount of free land!
So, with the perspective set, how can land be so ludicrously expensive in BC when the province is literally empty?

Part 1: A Conspiracy to keep the land for the corporations.
The short answer is, the vast majority of the province was simply never allowed to enter into private ownership. Unlike the US which experienced a massive land rush throughout the opening of the various Frontiers, BC was cut off from the rest of Canada by land until the opening of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early 1900’s. The Trans Canada Highway did not gain a stable and safe connection to BC until the opening of Rogers Pass in the late 1980’s. Most of the Interior remains tenuously connected to the major arteries.

Thanks to this, much of it was never homesteaded. With BC’s heavy snowfall, who would want to trek into the wilderness aside from the lure of gold? Much better to stay by the established towns. Thus, when the Homesteading act was repealed in the 1970’s, a staggering 95% of the province remained under the control of the Crown (the provincial government).

Since then, less than 400 sales of crown land to private individuals have occurred, and for staggeringly ludicrous sums of money when you consider the relative isolation of existing crown parcels. To understand why, we need to look at BC’s two primary industries: Mining and Lumber. The crown does not wish to sell any land to individuals to develop, because at this time it holds a veritable monopoly on the leasing of Mining and Lumber rights to corporations. Any large reduction in crown land holdings will reduce the amount of resources that it can barter with corporations in return for favors, and barter it has.

Despite the isolation of the vast majority of BC’s interior, one need only take a flight across it to see the damage wrought by the lumber barons throughout the past century. There is not a single spot between Vancouver and the Rocky Mountains that has not had a slender logging road driven into it so that the mountainsides can be stripped bare. By conservative estimates, a staggering 67% of the mature lumber in British Columbia has been logged in the past 100 years.

As a result, the Crown is loathe to remove its grip on the land it holds lest it lose precious resources that it can sell the rights to, plain and simple. There are no parcels of more than 1800 acres for sale in British Columbia, and no large parcels for less than $1million. The Crown does not even consider applications for purchase or granting of large land parcels unless you are a corporate interest. I know, I have tried.

[edit on 30-9-2009 by D.E.M.]

[edit on 30-9-2009 by D.E.M.]

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 03:16 PM
Part 2: This keeps the people as serfs.
Now, if you enjoy living in a city this might be fine for you. After all, not everyone wants to go the way of Daniel Boon and live in the wilderness. However, other factors make this lack of affordable or even existent Rural land an almost criminal offense by the government against its citizens.
British Columbia has the lowest wages in the entire country. Our base wage is $6.50 an hour Canadian, raised to $8/hr after your training period completes. For most people in the province, this is an untenable situation, as the province also has the highest real estate prices in the country. A split level, 3 bedroom home will cost anywhere between $500,000 and $700,000 to purchase, with the average rental costs for a house being around $1800-2500 a month. Rooms and single-bedroom residences can be anywhere from $500-1200 a month.

When coupled with one of the most restrictive taxation brackets in the country, this ensures that people from a poor or working class background are almost guaranteed to be always on the edge of poverty. Thanks to a lack of Rural land, it is a situation that is impossible to break out of. Unless you have great amounts of money, you are forced to live in a population center and forced to rent your residence for an exorbitant sum. You simply do not have a choice short of moving several thousand kilometers to another province.

As you can see, the factors work together to keep the population in a sort of pseudo-serfdom in the province. The illusion of freedom is maintained, but you are subtly guided through life by being placed into a situation that is impossible to escape from if you are at the bottom of the ladder. Unlike other places in the world, British Columbia has no “squatter’s rights” in regards to its rural land holdings. Any abandoned buildings or crown land in the Province will simply sit empty until they fall into ruin or are sold/utilized by the government. Any citizens attempting to utilize said assets will be evicted and in most cases heavily fined and possibly incarcerated. There is no 2nd option.

Part 3: Why you should simply go and settle the land.
This is the most controversial part of the essay, and I beg forgiveness from the mods if it goes against the sites rules and from you if you do not agree with my opinion.

To summarize from above, this province features a disgusting amount of free and un-owned land. Land that has sat fallow and untapped since the earth formed. The only purpose this land serves is to act as a easily liquidated asset for the Provincial Government in the event that it needs to purchase corporate interest in its actions. This land is unobtainable by any means for the most part, and by most peoples means for the rest.
This is wrong and should not be stood for. We are faced with a poverty crisis in the world right now. Cities have been shown to be unsustainable in the long run. Urban decay is taking hold in most metropolises. One need only look to the tent cities in much of the US and the collapse of Detroit/Michigan, for any resident of Vancouver it is not that hard to extrapolate that to the situation in BC.

The only claim laid to much of the land in this province is by a bullying and corrupt institution that has conspired to keep its citizens in near-serfdom. There is no need to go homeless in this country, and no need to go bankrupt to obtain a single acre of rural land. Anyone finding themselves sick of the grind, sick of the poison of society, and sick of paying their dues to a government that does not care for them should simply go and settle the land that is their right.

I am not advocating simple theft of land from private owners that have already cleared and nurtured it. I am advocating taking your own section of land in a place that will likely never be put to any good use other than for the interests of some nefarious corporation. There is no reason to restrict the sale of land in this province and drive the prices up into the stratosphere, other than to benefit the corporate and political elite that reap the rewards of the sales. Go ahead, go build a house for $3000 (Cob is very well suited in the coastal areas of the province) and live off the land if you have the means and the desire. If enough people do it, they can’t stop us.

Context Article: Government has every right to tear down log cabin couple built by hand, lawyer says

[edit on 30-9-2009 by D.E.M.]

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 03:23 PM
as long as it's not a national park or wildlife refuge, then go settle that land!

I guess you'd have to rent a mailbox in a nearby town because the post office doesn't deliver unless you have a street address, as far as I know.

It's beautiful in BC, I'd love to visit

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 04:42 PM
reply to post by warrenb

Thank you Warren. It is a very beautiful place, unique in of that (due to its size) it has a representation of just about every type of terrain. I just wish it was easier to enjoy it with the "Look but never touch" policies enforced towards land ownership

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 04:52 PM
reply to post by D.E.M.

get some guns and if they come knocking make sure to bury the evidence deep in the woods

"Some of our field agents were supposed to come by, have you see them?
no, agents you say? Who are you? sure come on in would you like some herbal tea?"

Let the bears take care of details

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 06:04 PM
As a BC citizen I thank you for this article, it might be needed later in the future as ammunition.

You're right, it's meant to control us and keep us in debt so we continue to serve.

I think I saw somewhere that certain lands couldn't be sold unless you were a developer with millions... It's an awful fraud.

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 07:27 PM
reply to post by D.E.M.

"Canada, the second largest country in the entire world. Numerous provinces, 60 million inhabitants."

Nope... not even close.
33 million is where we are at (approx)....

That's not to mention the other horribly wrong 'facts' in this poorly done article.

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 07:30 PM
Ok I live in BC, and a family member recently purchased two, 160 acre parcels in a very rural area for $380,000 each.

These deals are found everywhere, and I have never heard of anyone paying 50,000 for a blank acre in rural BC. The only time something like that happens is if your in a metropolitan area that is being developed, then a single blank acre could go for a million +.

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 07:30 PM
reply to post by pynner

Forgive me, I had recently finished arguing the difference between British and Canadian Healthcare, and put the population of Britain instead of Canada.

However, unless are willing to refute the article in its entirety, coming in here and making a jab at it serves little purpose.

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 08:27 PM
A interesting post but try to look at it from another perspective.

Crown land is the property of the citizens of BC as a whole. The tenures, mineral rights, water rights, licences, endless amounts of red tape, permits, blah blah blah generates quite a tidy sum of money for the province. To go and take that land for yourself is, quite simply, stealing from your fellow citizens. Why should I take a one time cash payout (or nothing, in the case of squatting) instead of ongoing royalties that will only increase over time? That seems fiscally shortsighted to me.

Think Campbell sucks now and hate the HST? Just imagine him with several billion dollars less revenue in resource royalties and thank your lucky stars we have plenty of crown land.

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 11:42 PM
I’m not prepared to prove up or dispute the veracity of the article, but it certainly fits in with what we’re seeing in North America when it comes to keeping people out of the countryside and concentrated in the cities.

The institution of property tax is the worst offence against property rights IMO. It means that you are literally renting the land from the gov. There should be no avenue by which property can be taken from it’s rightful owners. Ownership of property is the beginning and end of being free and independent.

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 11:48 PM
There's a little problem with your assertion that we just go out and claim free land in BC.

There is no free land in BC. ALL of it is being disputed by the Aboriginals and the claims are sitting in the courts.

So you might go and pick a piece of prime real estate in the middle of nowhere, but if the government doesn't get you, the natives will.

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 11:52 PM
reply to post by Duzey

Crown land is the property of the citizens of BC as a whole. The tenures, mineral rights, water rights, licences, endless amounts of red tape, permits, blah blah blah generates quite a tidy sum of money for the province. To go and take that land for yourself is, quite simply, stealing from your fellow citizens

Ehem, Er, Okay,....... so when I have conquered an entire country, and the crown is that of King Sancho, I truly want You, and Yours to be in my kingdom.

I could use skills, and outlooks such as Yours. I would even consider making You "Chief of Inquisitions". Now bare in mind my good subject, that is carrying some weight under the Crown of King Sancho. You would be titled with; Dame, Lady, Baron, or possibly even Duke. All depending on Your gender, and Your ability to keep other subject in line. You've already have me convinced that You indeed could keep the serfs of my Kingdom believing it benefits them not to hunt King Sancho's deer, or to dare camp on the Kings land.

With all Royal decree Thank You

posted on Oct, 1 2009 @ 09:15 PM
juniperberry made a great point and one I totally overlooked. There isn't a square inch in this province that isn't under a land claim. No matter where you squat, somebody is going to take exception to it.

reply to post by sanchoearlyjones

Sorry King Sancho, I'll have to decline your offer - unless it's a nice, sunny country. In that case, I'd settle for the title of Princess and a pony.

posted on Oct, 1 2009 @ 09:18 PM
reply to post by Duzey

You know, I'm actually feeling quite foolish right now for forgetting the land claim issue. I have to give juniperberry a star for pointing that out.

posted on Oct, 1 2009 @ 09:38 PM
In keeping with the spirit of the topic, are you aware of Finn Slough in Richmond? If not, you should really check it out sometime. It's the oldest squatter community in the area. They've been there since the 1890's and that's some prime real estate. Beautiful spot.

It's actually a very fascinating story with all sorts of twists and turns involving unsurveyed land under water, riparian rights and the little guys vs the big developer.

posted on Oct, 1 2009 @ 09:55 PM
reply to post by Duzey

Visited it, actually. It it wasn't such a terrifying and run-down place I would have used it as an example. I think they actually have legitimate rights to the land, more than squatters. As although they may have started out as such, they were basically granted "grandfathered" homesteaders rights by the government as a heritage site. At least as far as I could discover.

posted on Oct, 2 2009 @ 01:24 AM
From the Statement of Intent Map of the Sto:lo nation, looks like they claim Finn Slough too, all the way out into the strait.

Sto:Lo Xwexwilmexw Treaty Negotiations

posted on Oct, 2 2009 @ 03:30 PM
reply to post by juniperberry

Yes indeed. Even more unsettling is the fact that some suited git in Toronto apparently owns the land through corporate holding, and blocked their application for land grant from the provincial government.

Until recently we have been involved in a process of negotiating to obtain leases for the heritage buildings and residences here at Finn Slough from the Fraser River Port Authority. This has broken down as one of the upland owners (Toronto developer, Stephen Smith of "Smith Prestige") has stated that he will deny the Slough the permissions necessary to obtain these leases. The Fraser River Harbour Authority has now stated its intention is to proceed as soon as possible to bring the question of lease acquisition to a close by evicting the residents and fishers and is demanding the destruction of the heritage buildings at Finn Slough.

Rather see the land rot or used for condo's, than belong to the people who have used it for well over a century. Disgusting and highlighting the topic of the thread.

new topics

top topics


log in