Protesters gathered in front of MLA Pam Alexis’ constituency office on March 4, standing in solidarity against the continued logging of B.C.’s old-growth forests.
A network of protesters jumped into activity recently after the logging company, Teal Jones Group, filed an injunction with B.C.’s Supreme Court to remove activists who have been blockading two sites on Vancouver Island since August.
Protesters have gathered outside the Victoria courthouse today (March 4), where the application will be heard, asking to authorize the RCMP to arrest the activists. Last week more than 100 protesters gathered at the office of Premier John Horgan.
The small group of local protesters was led by Mike Gildersleeve. He said Vancouver Island’s old growth forests are the last few remaining pristine valleys in B.C., and described the lack of action by the current NDP government as “shameful.”
“It’s a continuing talk-and-log approach by this government. It’s a real failure in policy,” Gildersleeve said. “We’re down to the last 1 or 2 per cent.”
Old growth forests are not just trees, but entire ecosystems that have been functioning for thousands of years, Gildersleeve said, and their continued destruction threatens the existence of endangered species, including humans. That’s because the old forests function as carbon sinks, and filter huge amounts of CO2 out of the atmosphere.
In September, 2020, the B.C. government announced a “new, holistic approach” to protecting old growth forests after an independent review was conducted in 2020.
That review came with 14 recommendations, including immediately halting industrial logging of the most endangered areas.
Gildersleeve said logging companies need to move towards harvesting second and third-growth trees rather than the ancient forests.
“We’re not against logging,” he said. “But these companies obviously see the most value in these bigger trees.
“We need a more value-added approach to forestry.”
Alexis was unable to meet with the protestors as she was attending to her duties in the Legislative Assembly and speaking to a motion.
In a written statement sent to the Mission Record, Alexis said “I absolutely support anyone’s right to peaceful protest, and want to thank those who came to my office for their respect and patience. I encourage them to reach out to my office through phone or email for a follow-up meeting, at their convenience.”