Protesters fear peace in forests

While things are still rocky, a land use agreement with the province and forest companies means the years ahead will be better.

After 20 years of representing B.C. coastal First Nations to negotiate what U.S.-directed activists labeled the Great BearRainforest 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 remoteCentral 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 environmentalgroups. Dutch-based Greenpeace, its California offshoot ForestEthics and others moved on from their Clayoquot Sound battleto 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 FirstNations, 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 growntired 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’sbad 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 wealthyU.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 newenemy. Their credibility was demonstrated recently when potty-mouthed U.S. pop star Miley Cyrus decided to speak outagainst B.C.’s wolf kill.

Typical of celebrities, Cyrus had no idea about the struggle to preserve dwindling herds of mountain caribou. She barelyknows where B.C. is, a fact made plain when Pacific Wild toured her around the North Coast, far from the Kootenay and SouthPeace 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 thatthey 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 theycall the “boreal forest,” which we like to call northern Canada. The same bully tactics with forest products customers andproducers have been featured.

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

Aboriginal companies on the B.C. coast will continue to log, including areas of old-growth forest and secondary growth. Theywill 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 newreligion, 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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SD 10 students set to return to school next week

Representatives from each school will reach out to parents before June 1 about back to school plans

Morning start: Numerous shipwrecks can be found below Kootenay Lake

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Thursday, May 28

West Kootenay jogger barely escapes bruin attack

Man spends two hours up in tree, bear not located

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

Most Read