“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

Area A Director Ali Grieve (right), Village of Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette (front), and Village of Montrose Mayor Mike Walsh (left) held a congratulatory ceremony for Beaver Valley students who are part of the Class of 2021 graduates of J. L. Crowe Secondary at Beaver Creek Park on Thursday. Photo: Jim Bailey
Beaver Valley Grads of 2021

Beaver Valley mayors, RDKB Area A director celebrate their 2021 graduates with gift ceremony

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted
Farms to Friends delivers 2,500th bag of food to families in need

The program services communities in the Nelson, Trail and Castlegar areas

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Most Read