Good Sunday Morning!!
Happy last day of Passover! Chag Pesach Sameach!
Happy Easter! Hallelujah!
And – believe it or not – Happy International Carrot Day!
Give your Easter bunny a carrot.
Sunday last week found me and about 120 others lined up against wind and rain on Dallas Road. We were holding red ribbons in a thin red line to protect the Salish Sea from the planned increase in dilbit tankers due to TMX. There are currently three Aframax tankers a month out of the Port of Vancouver. TMX will mean one a day. We must win this one and get TMX canceled. After all, we own it!
We were masked and at distance, but it was amazing how people can still be recognized. One of my favourite activist/heroes, Rose Henry, came along and greeted me with what was as close to a hug as possible from 6 feet away. She was still laughing about her latest encounter with colonial government, in the form of premier John Horgan. Klasom Satlt’xw Losah Rose Henry is a strong indigenous woman, active on numerous fronts and causes, for the homeless, for salmon, against pipelines. The Premier’s office let her know they were giving her an award – the Intercultural Trust Awards for “outstanding work in tackling systemic or institutional racism and reducing barriers for marginalized communities.” https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021AG0036-000520
But due to COVID, there would be no ceremony. Fair enough. But maybe a virtual event? Something? No, they didn’t want her to pick up her award, so they left it for her at a local convenience store. She was still laughing. “I guess John Horgan doesn’t want to hear what I think of him,” she said before heading to the legislature to support calls to end anti-Asian racism.
Last Saturday over one thousand old growth forest defenders gathered at the Victoria Legislature. Greens were clear – with both Green MLAs, Adam Olsen and Sonia Furstenau and for the federal Greens, MP Paul Manly speaking to the crowd. Paul has been to Fairy Creek in support of the blockade of some of Vancouver Island’s last standing old growth. Despite Horgan’s much vaunted commitments to old growth during the election campaign, this small patch of beautiful, old growth forest is about to be logged.
This week’s news was not unexpected. On April 1, the court granted the forest company, Teal Jones, an injunction against the Fairy Creek protests. Judge Verhoeven seems not to like the protesters, mentioning more than once in his decision that some refused to give their names, implying that they were bound to incite violent protests (without evidence) and throwing in for good measure that they use words like “war” and “battle.” I guess he missed the history of the “War in the Woods” for Clayoquot Sound. The Clayoquot Peace Camp was intensely non-violent. Before standing on the line, every one of us had to go through training, to ignore taunts from loggers, not to yell back and to remain steadfastly peaceful. I wish that evidence had been brought before him. And I hope the peaceful protests and loose organization of old-growth defenders remain non-violent. Any protest grounded in principles of non-violent, civil disobedience is lost if it allows a single act of violence,
This is just a sample from his decision:
“The protestors and defendants are numerous, highly organized, and well-funded. They make extensive and sophisticated use of communications platforms, such as websites and social media, including Facebook and Twitter.”
I am amazed that he thinks posting on Twitter and FaceBook demonstrates vast sophistication and deep pockets. Towards the end of his decision, he wrote:
“They have stated that Teal’s actions in seeking an injunction ‘will be met with resistance’. These are words that may incite violence. A Facebook posting of February 20, 2021, the day after the injunction application was served, seeks involvement of ‘people prepared to take Bold Action in a last stand for the Ancient forest campaign’. Some blockaders have already stated publicly that they will defy the Court’s order and go to jail if necessary.”
Yes, as Henry David Thorough went to jail. As Gandhi went to jail. As Martin Luther King went to jail. And as hundreds of activists out of the nearly one thousand Clayoquot Sound protesters went to jail. All non-violent, accepting the consequences of civil disobedience.
The decision is amazing in highlighting one key fact I had missed. According to Judge Verhoeven “the Fairy Creek watershed has a relatively small area of 1,199 hectares.”
And yet, despite the fact the total area of that TFL is over 45,500 hectares, Verhoeven found that the entire company’s survival, plus those of subcontractors and road builders, was in immediate peril, justifying the injunction:
“Teal employs approximately 450 people within its processing and manufacturing facilities. If Teal is unable to log within the area of TFL 46, it will not have an adequate timber supply for its mills. It may be forced to shut down its mills, resulting in layoffs of employees, and Teal’s inability to supply its customers. Teal estimates that the end product value of the products that it will produce from the timber sourced from TFL 46 is approximately $20 million. Teal stands to lose market share, and to suffer damage to its reputation as a reliable supplier of its products.”
An excellent review of the flaws in the injunction ruling can be found in “Focus on Victoria” by David Broadland: https://www.focusonvictoria.ca/forests/44/
“Teal Cedar Products is the tenure holder of TFL 46, which the ministry of forests notes has 45,533 hectares of commercially operable forest land that Teal can log. The approved cut blocks in Fairy Creek Valley that citizens are impeding access to totals 20 hectares. That represents such a small fraction of the land Teal has access to, it’s hard to express: it’s just four-one-hundredths of one percent of the area Teal can clearcut. None of this was mentioned in Verhoeven’s judgment.”
Fundraising has begun for an appeal of the injunction ruling.
Support for the Fairy Creek blockaders is building. Resolutions have been passed to stop logging old growth by the municipalities of Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Powell River, Port Moody, and Victoria. Although not focused specifically on Fairy Creek, yesterday’s Globe and Mail has an excellent opinion piece from former NHL hockey star Scott Niedermayer calling for the protection of BC’s last old growth. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-old-growth-forests-work-hard-for-us-now-we-need-to-work-for-them/
Scott Niedermayer’s article is a good launching place for letters to the Globe about Fairy Creek in particular. (Keep letters to 150 words: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Meanwhile, as I mentioned in last week’s GSM, there is solid evidence of the suppression of science at DFO. Dr. Kristi Miller-Saunders sent her information up the food chain to the minister’s office, with proof of diseases from Discovery Island aquaculture killing a large percentage of smolts. Someone up the chain of command kept it from ever reaching the minister’s desk. Alexandra Morton documented it in her special to the Globe and Mail. (again, good link to write a Letter to the Editor!)
Some readers have asked me for a report on what the Supreme Court of Canada ruling on carbon pricing means for climate action. Others have asked what I think about vaccine roll-outs. Apologies for the way I write on a number of things, and not always systematically. Your feed back does help. I am super grateful to the Saanich-Gulf Islands volunteers who format and send out the weekly newsletter and also those who read your messages and forward them to me!
I am very, very worried about the variants. And I am concerned that health information is not at all clear. Friends have asked if I have had my first dose of vaccine. The answer is “no, I am too young.” I never thought at 66 there would be any question with that answer!
Stay safe. Take no chances!! Please sign up for upcoming events on Old Growth and my nomination celebration. And enjoy the recorded webinar on what a climate budget might look like (at the end of this note)!
Lots of love!
Here’s the link to the Time 4 Action webinar with Marc Lee and me “Climate Crisis Federal Budget?”
Here is a link to the webinar:
BC Greens Event- Saving our Ancient Forests!
Join leader Sonia Furstenau and MLA Adam Olsen, along with forestry experts, for a town hall event on April 7th from 7:00–8:15 PM PDT as they discuss the inherent value of our old-growth forests and what actions are needed to save them.
April 9 – For Saanich-Gulf Island Greens – Join me to celebrate!!
MY NOMINATION AS THE GREEN CANDIDATE FOR SAANICH-GULF ISLANDS!
Please join beloved author William Deverell, BC Green MLA Adam Olsen, and Elizabeth for a virtual wine and cheese to celebrate and have a fun evening!
WHEN: Friday, April 9th, 2021, 07:00 PM Vancouver
FEATURING: Elizabeth May MP, William Deverell, and Adam Olsen MLA
Register in advance for this meeting:
And please sign these petitions!
Stop weapons sales to Saudi Arabia (sponsor Jenica Atwin):
Insist on real climate action to hold to 1.5 degrees (sponsor Jenica Atwin):
Calling for meaningful action to address the housing crisis (sponsor Paul Manly):
NOTE: TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO SIGN!!! https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-3239
Focus on local violence prevention (sponsor Paul Manly):
Support for COVID “long-haulers” (sponsor: Elizabeth May):
Call for Ombudsperson investigation of Recon-Africa fracking plans for Okavango Delta (sponsor: Elizabeth May):