Forest industry workers and environmentalists rally for sustainable forestry

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 (All day)

VICTORIA – Workers from the BC forest industry, First Nations’ representatives, environmental activists, and citizens rallied at the BC Legislature today. The diverse coalition called for a ban on raw log exports and a transition to sustainable second growth forestry.

The groups are calling on all provincial parties to commit to these policies before the May 9 election. The coalition also wants to see greater involvement of Indigenous Nations in forest management in BC.

“The BC government has allowed companies to export logs and kill BC jobs for far too long,” said Arnold Bercov, President of the Public and Private Workers of Canada (PPWC). “Workers in the forest sector expect a sustainable industry – it’s time for an end to raw log exports and protect old-growth forests on Vancouver Island.”

Raw log exports from BC are now at an all-time record high, regularly above six million cubic meters annually and sometimes as high as eight million cubic meters. One cubic meter is roughly equal to one telephone pole.

Meanwhile, dozens of mills have closed and thousands of jobs have been lost in BC in the past decade-and-a-half.

At the same time, old-growth rainforests have been logged to the brink, and immediate action is needed to protect the remaining stands.

"BC's old-growth forests are some of the grandest on Earth and we must keep them standing for endangered species, tourism, First Nations cultures, the climate, clean water, and wild salmon,” said Ken Wu, Executive Director of the Ancient Forest Alliance. “At the same time we can support BC forestry jobs if we sustainably manufacture second-growth logs in BC, instead of exporting them to China and the USA."

Calls to protect remaining old-growth have been made by the Union of BC Municipalities and forest sector unions such as the PPWC in the past year, and the BC Chamber of Commerce has called for expanded protection of old-growth rainforests on Vancouver Island.

Low elevation, high-productivity original rainforest has been removed from between 80 to 90 per cent of its former range on Vancouver Island.

“Logging corporations have no plans to stop until all original rainforest has been logged and the end of old-growth is now very much a possibility for us,” said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee. “We need a government that will set aside all remaining old-growth while ensuring sustainable livelihoods in forestry communities.”

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For more information, please contact:

Torrance Coste | Vancouver Island Campaigner, Wilderness Committee
250-516-9900, torrance@wildernesscommittee.org

Arnold Bercov | President, PPWC
604-862-3800, abercov@ppwc.ca

Ken Wu | Executive Director, Ancient Forest Alliance
250-514-9910, kenwukenwu@gmail.com

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