“My communities still aren’t better places to live

“My communities still aren’t better places to live

BC VIEWS: Protesters fear peace in woods

Greenpeace-ForestEthics tactic of organizing boycotts is good for international fundraising, bad for poor people

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. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

 

Just Posted

AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
SD70 chooses new name for AW Neill School in Port Alberni

New name honours Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples’ connection to region

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Port Alberni RCMP officer in command Insp. Eric Rochette presents longtime community policing volunteer Louie Aumair with a OIC appreciation certificate. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni RCMP honour longtime volunteer

First responders receive support from broader community

The Dock+ is located on Harbour Road in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
PROGRESS 2021: Port Alberni’s food hub still growing a year later

The Dock hopes to open a retail store on Alberni’s busy waterfront

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read