VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Green Caucus has issued the following statement in response to today’s forestry announcement:
“After six years of our caucus pushing for these changes, I am relieved and grateful to see substantial and transformative changes to forestry in B.C.,” said Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley. “It is important to recognize that these changes are the result of decades of tireless work by First Nations and environmental advocates.”
“The Premier’s decision to remove ‘unduly reducing the supply of timber’ from regulations is a game changer. This will allow the Chief Forester to consider other values on the land including biodiversity and water quality.
“For too long we have put the value of timber above all other values. It’s finally time to reorient our approach to land management. As Garry Merkel stated today ‘if you don’t take care of the land, it will end up killing you.’
“It is long overdue for the government to finally recognize that First Nations must have a seat at the table, and local communities' voices and insights need to be incorporated into land use planning.”
“Today is an important step, and while the Premier stated that logging of old growth has declined to lowest levels, that doesn’t mean old growth trees aren’t still falling,” said Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands.
“Some of the most at-risk old growth forests are still being cut. B.C. is still exporting raw logs and wood pellets to other countries. And while I am happy to hear this government promise to establish a new mechanism for conservation financing, it is essential that the provincial government contribute to the funding.
“This government has a responsibility to support sustainable economic diversification in First Nations communities. This BC NDP still hasn’t matched the federal government’s $50 million offer to protect old-growth forests. To achieve a true paradigm shift, we will need to shift to a restoration economy.”