“At this stage, it is time to call for Forest Minister Doug Donaldson’s resignation as he has proven to be inept and negligent in the management of B.C.’s forests,” said Quadra Island’s Geraldine Kenny while protesting outside North Island MLA Claire Trevena’s Campbell River office.
More than 20 masked protesters from Campbell River and Quadra gathered outside the MLA’s office on the Island Highway Wednesday afternoon with placards and slogans that call out the provincial government to stop old-growth logging. Passers by honked and expressed their support from cars as they zoomed past the group.
“We’re educated people who have piles of research on this subject and are here to counteract the people who think that protesters are naive and unaware when they ask for cessation of old-growth forests,” said another protester, Rob Burns.
According to Kenny, forestry workers being out of jobs, massive clear cuts in the forests and devastation of the ecosystem prove the provincial government has not managed resources properly.
“Current practices have nothing to do with ecological forestry, it’s just devastation and the government has to be taken to task for its negligence,” said Kenny and added, “good ecology will give us good economics, so we have to completely rethink forestry in B.C.”
Kenny said that she has communicated these concerns to the premier’s office along with the forest and environment ministers’ office as well. But there has been no response from the ministers. Kenny said Trevena has not respond either.
When the Mirror asked Trevena about the protest, she responded in an email.
“I respect people’s right to peaceful protest. Our government is committed to protecting old growth and biodiversity while supporting workers and communities. We are confident we can find a balanced approach. That’s why we commissioned the Old Growth Strategic Review,” said Trevena.
Forest minister Donaldson told the Mirror that his office will be releasing the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review prepared by Al Gorely and Gary Merkel by the end of summer or the beginning of fall.
Green Party candidate Sue Moen, a resident of Campbell River who joined the protest said the NDP government has not done any of the “nice things” they said during their last campaign when they made statements indicating they take this issue seriously.
“In many ways the forestry practices have speeded up degradation,” said Moen. “It almost feels like they are raping the land while they can.”
The protesters expressed solidarity with “fellow British Columbians” who are protesting around the province to stop old-growth logging. Acknowledging ongoing protests in Port Renfrew, where a group of people have launched a blockade to protect Fairy Creek watershed from logging, Kenny expressed solidarity.
“Fairy Creek is an issue that must be dealt with immediately,” she said.
On Vancouver Island, clusters of protests against old-growth logging have taken place during the past couple of months. In Nanaimo, James Darling and Robert Fuller ended a 14-day hunger strike on Aug. 8.
Kenny said that although the government did not respond to the hunger strike, authorities are “listening ” and “aware” that people are getting very serious about the demand to end old-growth logging.
“There is a growing momentum as more people are aware and concerned about the fact that as their children grow up they might never see an old-growth tree.”