Wilderness Committee condemns RCMP violence against forest activists at Fairy Creek, calls on province to honour commitments on old-growth
The following statement is from National Campaign Director Torrance Coste, on behalf of the Wilderness Committee:
Like all who’ve seen the disturbing footage emerging this week from the Fairy Creek Blockades, we are deeply concerned about the excessive use of force against old-growth demonstrators on behalf of the RCMP.
These images come just two weeks after Supreme Court Justice Douglas Thomson rebuked the RCMP’s use of sweeping restrictions and exclusion zones around the blockade areas as illegal. The Wilderness Committee has long opposed the utilization of injunctions to block public access and cut off the ability of people to exercise their right to non-violent protest. There is conflict in the woods because of failed provincial government policy on old-growth and the province has a duty to address and rectify this, not offload the responsibility to quell public unrest onto the courts.
We call on the RCMP to stand down and provide space for this situation to de-escalate safely.
The Wilderness Committee places ultimate responsibility for this ongoing conflict on Premier John Horgan and the provincial government, which has missed the deadline set by the Old-Growth Strategic Review Panel to defer logging in all at-risk old-growth forests in B.C. We believe blockades wouldn’t be required if the B.C. government honoured its promise to protect at risk old-growth and we call on Premier Horgan and Forest Minister Katrine Conroy to do this immediately.
We respect the sovereignty of the Pacheedaht Nation and all Indigenous people in B.C. and support ongoing land use planning processes. The deferral of at-risk old-growth forest as recommended by the Old-Growth Strategic Review panel would provide space for these processes to move forward and allow for fulsome Nation-to-Nation discussion about permanent solutions, while reducing conflict in the woods.
We call on Premier Horgan and the BC NDP government to immediately intervene in this situation and honour its commitments to protect old-growth forests.