Protesters fear peace in forests

Coastal land use agreement with BC and forest companies means the years ahead will be better for others

After 20 years of representing B.C. coastal First Nations to negotiate what U.S.-directed activists labeled the Great Bear Rainforest agreement, a weary Dallas Smith expressed his relief and frustration.

At a ceremony to sign the final agreement in Vancouver last week, Smith, president of the Nanwakolas Council of remote Central Coast communities like Bella Bella, joked that he’s finally out of a job. Then he got serious.

“My communities still aren’t better places to live yet,” he said. But the land use agreement with the province and forest companies over a vast coastal area up to the Alaska border means the years ahead will be better.

He said when he started it was like being caught in a divorce between the B.C. forest industry and international environmental groups. Dutch-based Greenpeace, its California offshoot ForestEthics and others moved on from their Clayoquot Sound battle to the B.C. coast, looking to continue the blockades against logging.

“It’s the First Nations of the Coast who stood up and said ‘no, this is how it’s going to work’,” Smith said.

How it’s going to work is that logging will continue on 550,000 hectares of coastal forest, with a greater share for First Nations, and with 85 per cent of the region preserved after a century of logging that began with sailing ships.

Aside from a few diehards who are either paid to protest or can’t get past issuing demands, B.C. aboriginal people have grown tired of being used as props in global de-marketing campaigns directed from San Francisco or Amsterdam. The protesters’ tactic of organizing customer boycotts that damage far-away economies might be good for international fundraising, but it’s bad for poor people.

Formally begun 10 years ago with $30 million from Ottawa, $30 million from B.C. and $60 million from a group of wealthy U.S. family foundations with a larger anti-development agenda, the land use plan remains under attack.

Among the many protest outfits is Pacific Wild, which has specialized in Great Bear Rainforest campaigns and now needs a new enemy. Their credibility was demonstrated recently when potty-mouthed U.S. pop star Miley Cyrus decided to speak out against B.C.’s wolf kill.

Typical of celebrities, Cyrus had no idea about the struggle to preserve dwindling herds of mountain caribou. She barely knows where B.C. is, a fact made plain when Pacific Wild toured her around the North Coast, far from the Kootenay and South Peace regions where the wolves in question actually roam.

Cyrus’s handlers spoon-fed video and statements to urban media, who were so anxious to exploit her global popularity that they played down the fact she was at the wrong end of the province spouting nonsense.

After periodically attacking their own B.C. agreement as inadequate, Greenpeace and ForestEthics have moved on to what they call the “boreal forest,” which we like to call northern Canada. The same bully tactics with forest products customers and producers have been featured.

This time, a Quebec company that signed an accord in 2010 is suing Greenpeace for “defamation, malicious falsehood and intentional interference in economic relations.”

Aboriginal companies on the B.C. coast will continue to log, including areas of old-growth forest and secondary growth. They will continue to export logs as economics dictate. They will continue to harvest animals, including grizzly bears.

And, I expect, they will continue to be subjected to attempts to supervise and direct them by members of urban society’s new religion, environmentalism.

The leaders of this movement don’t like peace. It’s bad for their business.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. tfletcher@blackpress.ca

 

Just Posted

Days after students’ return to Victoria High School was delayed by a year, the province has announced some amenities that will be included in the school’s expansion project. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Child-care spots, artificial turf field, non-profit space included in Vic High expansion

SD61 now aims to welcome students back at the high school by September 2023

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
UPDATE: Search suspended for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

Most Read