METCHOSIN B.C. – Today, Leader Sonia Furstenau outlined the B.C. Greens’ plan for sustainable forestry, with candidate for Esquimalt-Metchosin, former forest biologist and current Metchosin Counsellor Andy Mackinnon.
“We can’t continue to liquidate our natural resources for the benefit of shareholders of massive corporations, while continuing to shed local jobs in communities across B.C. as mills close,” said Furstenau.
“Our forests are a public resource that belong to the people of B.C., and we need to start managing them that way. This means establishing the health and biodiversity of BC’s forests as the overarching priority and restoring science in decision-making. It means undertaking tenure reform, generating far more jobs and revenue from what we harvest, and giving more authority to local communities and First Nations.
“We are overdue for a fundamental shift in how we manage our forests. The NDP tinkered around the edges, but refused again and again to make the much-needed changes to forestry in BC, instead continuing with status quo policies that are disastrous for communities and the environment.
“Nowhere is the urgent need for change more apparent than in how we manage our old growth. We would take immediate action to end the logging of old growth forests in high risk ecosystems across the province. We would fully implement the recommendations of the Old Growth review panel in partnership with First Nations, and establish the funding needed for conservation and to create new opportunities for communities.
“The NDP are continuing to mislead British Columbians about their approach to old growth. They have only committed to implementing ‘recommendations’ from the panel - not which ones or when. We’ve seen before how they will say the right words to get elected, and then fail to follow with concrete action.”
Scientists have analysed the B.C. NDP’s deferrals announced in September, and found that only 3,800 hectares - or 1% - of the 353,000 hectares deferred are high productivity old-growth at risk of logging. This is contrary to the recommendations of the Old-Growth Strategic Review panel, which calls for logging deferrals on all high productivity old-growth forests in the immediate term.
“They have protected only 1% of the old growth at highest risk - the ancient trees that tower high above you and make up the magnificent forests B.C. is famous for, while pretending that they are taking real action. We need immediate action now to protect what little we have left. We can’t afford 4 more years of talk and misleading numbers to cover up a lack of real action.
“The B.C. Greens will fight every day for a new approach to our forests.”
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