The latest round of protest roadblocks in Greater Victoria and the Lower Mainland have frustrated people getting to work and appointments, and they aren’t about saving old-growth forests, B.C. Premier John Horgan says.
Asked about angry drivers taking it upon themselves to drag “Save Old Growth” protesters off a major commuter route in Vancouver this week, Horgan said that is their real intent, as described in a Youtube video where an organizer says it’s to generate conflict videos that spread quickly and drive online fundraising.
“There have been disruptions in the South Island, there are plans by this marginal group to disrupt other peoples’ lives,” Horgan told reporters in Victoria April 21. “And their objective, they’ve made it clear – You can find it on Youtube. Their objective is not to save old growth, it’s to make people angry.”
For more than a year, organized protests have targeted the Fairy Creek watershed in Horgan’s Vancouver Island constituency, claiming that old-growth forests have all but disappeared. The B.C. government’s response, to defer huge areas of old-growth timber while preservation plans are worked out with Indigenous communities, has been ignored.
“They want to provoke anger from citizens,” Horgan said. “That’s not how you affect change in a civil society. I’m profoundly disappointed that this small group of people are so self absorbed and think so highly of their opinions and their so-called rights that they feel it’s okay to intrude in the rights of other British Columbians. I reject it categorically and I’m hopeful that there will be consequences for their actions, significant consequences.
“We are going to see those that have not been paying attention, for example, to the 1.7 million hectares of old growth forest that have been deferred in the past 12 months, continuing to glue themselves to roadways. If they use the Google on their GoFundMe pages they’d find out that a lot of work is being done.”