VICTORIA, B.C. – Sonia Furstenau, leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley, and Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands have issued the following statement in response to today’s release of an intentions paper on forest policy:
“Thousands of British Columbians are showing up to protest the B.C. NDP’s lack of protection of our ancient forests. People want to see this government step up and recognize the urgency of the moment we are in. This lack of leadership betrays the trust that people put in John Horgan and the NDP when they promised to protect old growth during the 2020 election,” said MLA Furstenau.
“To release an intentions paper without any concrete actions to protect ancient forests today is nothing more than a stalling tactic and a recipe for further conflict in our forests. With a lack of any action on the ground, today’s announcement is another attempt to delay, deflect, and continue the status quo of talk and log across B.C.”
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) has called for immediate logging deferrals, paired with critical funding for Indigenous communities. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of UBCIC, has said to have good faith conversations on forestry we must “put away the power saws”.
“A paradigm shift would involve providing critical financing for Indigenous-led conservation initiatives to ensure that they have the resources and economic capacity to determine the future for their own territories,” said MLA Olsen.
“Instead, today’s announcement is a missed opportunity to defer logging in the most contested stands of old growth, to repair division in communities, and to create space for meaningful dialogue with Indigenous communities.”
“Today Premier Horgan said it will be 2023 by the time a new old growth plan is introduced. In the meantime, we will continue to lose irreplaceable ancient forests because of his broken promises and refusal to take meaningful action.”
The Old Growth Strategic Review Panel recommended immediate logging deferrals in the highest value, most at-risk old forest in B.C., and laid out criteria to determine the old forests that meet this threshold. Recently, a trio of independent scientists mapped which areas of the province best meet the criteria for immediate deferrals as outlined by the Old Growth Panel. The set of deferrals announced by government so far, in September 2020, largely do not meet the criteria of high-risk, high-value forests at risk of logging.
B.C. Green Caucus
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