Let’s focus on creating resilient communities.

In Question Period today Adam Olsen and I highlighted the voices of Indigenous leaders whose concerns have thus far been ignored by the NDP government. The unanimous passing of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act means that building a new paradigm for forests in this province must be done in full partnership with Indigenous peoples. The status quo, upheld by this government, happens without the consent from many First Nations.

Two of our questions today came from Dorothy Hunt, Chief and Council, Kwakiutl First Nation and Rande Cook, Chief Mak’wala, Ma’amtagila First Nation. Both asked the government to defer old growth logging in their territories.

Dorothy Hunt, Chief and Council, Kwakiutl First Nation asked:

“The Kwakiutl Nation is not opposed to logging, but we have had a ban on old growth logging in our territory for over ten years. Yet new logging approvals continue to move forward without meaningful consultation and consent. We asked this government for deferrals in all remaining old growth in our territory more than five months ago, yet we see still see new old growth logging being approved in our salmon bearing watersheds.

Recently Western Forest Products logged right into our salmon spawning rivers.

Through the recently published report on the Protection of Old Growth Forests in BC the Minister quotes: “For many years, there has been a patchwork approach to how old-growth forests are managed in our province, and this has caused a loss of biodiversity. We need to do better and find a path forward that preserves old-growth forests, while supporting forest workers.”

Kwakiutl Nation would like to know: will the minister give a directive to Western Forest Products and regional district staff to stop violating our rights, title and Douglas Treaty and defer old growth logging so that we can begin having much needed government to government conversations?”

Rande Cook, Chief Mak’wala, Ma’amtagila First Nation asked:

“Collaboration between First Nations Governments will be key moving forward. We as stewards of the environment are thinking about the future, protection, and conservation, whereas logging companies and government are more concerned about profits.  BC Timber Sales continues to high-grade and target ancient, culturally significant red and yellow cedar old growth forests in Ma’amtagila territory in both the Great Bear Rainforest and on Vancouver Island. 

Will the minister tell BC Timber Sales to cease all logging of old growth forests to show that BC is a leader in ending the unethical practice of old growth logging?  And please, could you start with my territory where BC Timber Sales and companies like LeMare Lake Logging are destroying Culturally Modified Trees and the last of our sacred Trees of Life – the great cedar tree.”

Transcript

S. Furstenau: I believe we are all in agreement in this House that building a new paradigm in this province must be done. A new paradigm for forest management in this province must be done in full partnership with Indigenous peoples. Part of this is recognizing the fact that the status quo of old-growth logging is currently happening without the consent of many Indigenous peoples in our province.

I’d like to quote Dorothy Hunt, Chief and Council, Kwakiutl First Nation, who has some very powerful words to say about what’s happening in her territory.

“The Kwakiutl First Nation is not opposed to logging. But we have had a ban on old-growth logging in our territory for over ten years. Yet new logging approvals continue to move forward without meaningful consultation and consent. We asked this government for deferrals in all remaining old growth in our territory more than five months ago. And yet, we still see new old-growth logging being approved in our salmon-bearing watersheds. Recently Western Forest Products logged right into our salmon-spawning rivers.”

To the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the Kwakiutl Nation would like to know: will the minister give a directive to Western Forest Products and regional district staff to stop violating our rights, title and Douglas treaty and defer old-growth logging so that we can begin having much-needed government-to-government conversations.

Hon. K. Conroy: Our government is strongly committed to implementing the 14 recommendations from the old-growth report. The first report, of course, is to engage the full involvement of Indigenous leaders and organizations. Our ministry is doing that, and I would be happy to reach out to the member and to the Chief and talk to them about their issues.

We know how important this work is. The number one recommendation from the report is one that we take very seriously, and it is to engage the full involvement of Indigenous leaders. I would be happy to talk to them about this.

S. Furstenau: I guess I’m struggling with what “strongly committed to the recommendations” really means coming from this minister and this government, given that we’ve missed the first important deadline on deferrals of old growth that need protection, and now we’re hearing from Indigenous communities that have indeed not been consulted with. This is Chief Randy Cook, and he says: “Collaboration between First Nations governments will be key to moving forward. B.C. Timber Sales continue to high-grade and target ancient, culturally significant red and yellow cedar old-growth forests in Ma’amtagila territory in both the Great Bear Rainforest and on Vancouver Island.”

He has a question to the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations. He asks: “Will the minister tell B.C. Timber Sales to cease all logging of old-growth forests to show that B.C. is a leader in ending the unethical practice of old-growth logging? And, please, could you start with my territory, where B.C. Timber Sales and companies like LeMare Lake Logging are destroying culturally modified trees and the last of our sacred trees of life, the great cedar tree?”

Hon. K. Conroy: There are thousands of hectares of protected old-growth trees across B.C. In Clayoquot Sound there are 170,000 hectares. In Crystalline Creek there are over 9,900 hectares. There are almost 600 hectares in Quinsam. Incomappleux Valley has 5,000 hectares. I could go on. There are hundreds of thousands of hectares of old-growth forests that have been protected, and we are committed to working with Indigenous governments on additional areas of old-growth deferrals and protections. All of the protections, all of the deferrals that were done in September were done with direct consultation, with direct discussions, government to government, with Indigenous governments. We will have also protected old-growth trees together for wildlife and modernized land use plans.

We continue to defer logging to support the caribou conservation work, which was done in consultation and with the support of Indigenous nations –– protection for spotted owls, again in consultation with Indigenous nations, and protecting the marbled murrelet and northern goshawk recovery plans.

Paradigm shifts take time, and we will work with all our partners, including the government-to-government discussions with Indigenous nations, to make sure that we get this right.

Pin It on Pinterest