As tensions escalate and arrest tallies grow at logging blockades on Vancouver Island, The Narwhal spoke with one of the foresters tapped to help the province navigate its old-growth woes
Over the last two weeks around 120 people have been arrested and charged, most with violating an injunction obtained by a logging company. But with more people streaming in by the day and the RCMP trying to secure an area the size of a small country, there’s no end in sight. This is the latest from southwest Vancouver Island, which has become an international hotspot in the fight to save old-growth forests. Last August, a group of environmental activists set up a series of blockades of logging roads deep in the bush surrounding Port Renfrew, B.C. Their goal was to preserve stands of old-growth in the Fairy Creek watershed, one of the largest and most significant ancient forests remaining in North America.
As green groups and Indigenous leaders continue to raise alarm about the ecological and economic threats of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project—which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced the government is taking over after protests led Kinder Morgan to halt construction—12 activists on Tuesday launched an aerial blockade at the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge in Vancouver to stop an oil tanker from leaving the pipeline's terminal. Opponents of the expansion project are especially concerned that, if completed, it would trigger a nearly seven-fold increase in the number of tar sands tankers that depart from the company's terminal in Burnaby, British Columbia, increasing the risk of a major oil spill and degrading marine conditions along the "tanker superhighway."
By Brandon Jordan for Waging Nonviolence - The sign outside the protest encampment on Midsummer Island in British Columbia, Canada, is a blunt summation of what its inhabitants — indigenous people from various First Nations tribes — have been trying to accomplish for the past two months: “Get Fish Farms Out.” Yet, due to a Supreme Court ruling issued last week, it is not the fish farms that must leave the island, but rather the demonstrators and their camp, which consists of two small houses with beds, solar panels and a replenishing supply of food. The court made its decision after receiving an injunction, or demand for removal request, by Marine Harvest, the Norwegian seafood company that operates the facility. Demonstrators were given three days to dismantle the camp and 30 days to leave the island — or risk arrest. As the decision was being handed down, more demonstrators gathered outside the court in Vancouver to tell reporters and supporters that they are still committed to their demand of removing fish farms on indigenous territory. “That doesn’t mean the occupation is over,” said Ernest Alfred, hereditary chief of a few First Nations tribes in British Columbia. “We just have to strategize and come up with a plan of relocation.” The plan that unfolded saw a handful of First Nations people remove and transport all their Midsummer Island supplies, including the homes, to another encampment at nearby Swanson Island, which is also the site of another Marine Harvest facility.
By Staff of The Globe and Mail - Members of a small but defiant group are pledging to keep protesting the Site C hydroelectric project in northeastern British Columbia, despite being ordered off the land. They set up a camp on Dec. 31, when BC Hydro and Power Authority issued an eviction notice while pressing ahead with land clearing for the controversial $9-billion dam. The crown corporation gave protesters 24 hours to leave the area known as Rocky Mountain Fort, on the south bank of the Peace River, just a few kilometres south of Fort St. John.
By ThinkPol - The RCMP are preparing to carry out a mass arrest operation against the indigenous Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation in northwestern BC under Harper government’s Bill C-51 labelling as terrorists First Nations activists exercising their Aboriginal Title and Rights to protect their lands from oil and gas development, according to a joint statement by the groups supporters. The Conservatives’ controversial anti-terror act criminalizes protests that may be seen as interfering with ‘the economic or financial stability of Canada’ and opponents of the bill had long feared that it would be used to stifle opposition to oil pipelines aggressively promoted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.