Protesters spread themselves around Sid Williams Plaza in downtown Courtenay Friday afternoon as part of an effort around the province to draw attention to threats to old-growth forests.
At least 50 fifty people, most in masks, socially distanced and signing in to help with contact tracing, raised signs, performed ‘Theatre of the Absurd’ skits, asked quiz questions about what political figures have said about forestry and spoke to the issues around logging in old-growth forests on Vancouver Island and around B.C.
The group heard from supporters, including people at the Fairy Creek blockade to protest logging in the Island’s San Juan River system and the Wilderness Committee’s national campaign director Torrance Coste.
For the skit, they performed with props to pillory political figures including Premier John Horgan, Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson and local MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard, all while sending a message to Victoria that the provincial government should be following all of the recommendations from a recent old-growth foresty panel report.
“This is the biggest announcement they’ve made in years,” said Linda Safford, who organized the local event, alongside Gillian Anderson, Megan Aydyche and Pat Carl. “The B.C. government will only follow through if enough of its constituents demand it…. Our letters, emails and telephone calls are working.”
The speakers emphasized they support second-growth logging and value-added forestry jobs, but they say they want to protect what remains of stands of trees that can be hundreds of years old but are disappearing on Vancouver Island each day.