Oct 20 Elders update

posted for Aigul

(You can see the original post of this, with photographs, at  

https://mailchi.mp/5d7a25c361d0/oct-20-elders-update?e=5338e46716 )


Callout - October 20

Hello Elders,

We’re in the midst of uncertainty regarding the future of old-growth forests in BC. We heard through the grapevine that the government would make an announcement — last week, yesterday, Wednesday….no, next week!

The same grapevine is not holding up high hopes for the content of the announcement, but we shall see. In particular, all the unclear rumours seem to indicate that the announcement will not include any deferrals in greater Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek.  There are some rumours that TFL46 will be sold to the Pacheedaht….putting them in even greater debt.

Let’s up the ante: perhaps the first visionary step on this front would be for the government to require Teal-Jones to pay compensation for extracting huge profits over the years from Pacheedaht traditional, unceded territory. Decolonizing includes healing past harms, not making First Nations pay to get back their own territory. (Cheeky?)

Folks on the front line continue to bravely endure cold and wet conditions and the return in force of the RCMP following the re-imposition of the temporary injunction. (See reports from the front line and a small group of settler elders who were there on Monday,) Land defenders and forest protectors need numbers, and they need food and supplies. (See list below.) Lawyers are preparing for the next round of the court cases as Teal-Jones seeks to overturn the Judge Thompson's ruling.

We made a plea for funds last week which we are re-emphasizing. We continue to ask you to donate, if you are able. It’s essential that we oppose Teal-Jones’ appeal of Judge Thompson’s judgement. This is a tangible way we can support frontline forest protectors. Thanks so much for your support! 

      * E-transfer donations to eldersforancients [at] gmail [dot] com*
*Cheques: to Forest First Express Society or FFES *
(mail to: #2-730 Sea Terrace, Victoria, BC  V9A 3R6)

Last week a petition signed by doctors and nurses to stop old-growth logging and to emphasize that the climate crisis is a health emergency was delivered to Premier John Horgan.  They declined to deliver it to the Legislature security guard sent to receive it.  These healthcare providers will be back to deliver their petition in person when they have 500 signatures. (More below) 

Susan & Jackie

Action of the week

This is beginning to sound like a broken record, but keep phoning and writing those MLAs! The delay in releasing the long-awaited report on forestry and old-growth deferrals suggests that there is strife within the NDP caucus. Let’s keep encouraging those standing up for the forests!

Upcoming Events

Oct 20, 3-5 pm (winter hours) Wednesday Rally for Ancient Forests+Forest Protectors. Starts at Government+Belleville corner; at 4pm we’ll promenade around and through the Legislature buildings, creating music and percussion for the sitting MLAs. Bring drums, other percussion and musical instruments.

Oct 22,  3-5pm, Forest Fridays, RCMP Admin building, Topaz & Blanshard, to show solidarity for Ada'itsx/Fairy Creek and Wet'suwet'en. Signs available.

Update from the front line

In our last Callout we reported on the settler elders’ bus that went up to Ada’itsx/Fairy creek and held a circle with land defenders up near River Camp. At that point the headquarters had been moved to its old site on Granite Main.

Since then the temporary injunction was reimposed, pending the full appeal in November. Things were relatively quiet before and during the weekend, although there were heli flyovers and empty logging trucks heading towards FC from Lake Cowichan. T-J hired someone to place cameras all around their equipment. “Not that we would ever touch their machinery under our peaceful Code of Conduct”, reports a forest protector. 

People were hard at work, putting in long days. Masterful wood and stone installations appeared along Granite Main. Friday, folks appreciated spending some time visiting with Elder Bill and friends.  

Word was out that the RCMP would be out in force on Monday, and the call went out for more folks to turn up.  A small group of settler elders arrived early in the morning to join defenders. A spirited group at HQ accompanying Elder Bill greeted the squad of blues and greens that showed up — “smiling and singing on a grey, rainy morning as the grumpy squad of overpaid bullies” pulled in….”We stay together like mud, and when it gets cold, we will build our fires big enough for all to be warm.”

RCMP helicopters were dissuaded from landing at Heli Camp due to an invisible force. The RCMP re-established the exclusion zone at the intersection of Granite Main and Pacific Marine and ordered removal of HQ, which had been rebuilt.

Five arrests occurred as folks were extracted from hard blocks near HQ, and there were two catch and release. Elder Bill was threatened with arrest. (see Elder Report from the front line below). On Tuesday the RCMP moved the exclusion line up the road to middle Finger Camp and continued enforcement up Granite Main. Heli Camp was dismantled by RCMP who arrived in three helicopters.  

Chainsaws and falling trees are heard in the distance. Teal-Jones has no shame. Land defenders and forest protectors have plenty of fierce and creative energy.  They need whatever support we can give them! 
FURTHER UPDATE: Just as we were ready to send this update, we received a very disturbing Instagram link. Whaletail, the young indigenous woman who, on our last visit, guided us through River Camp and explained the use of Devil’s Club, is dragged from a car, surrounded by RCMP — unclear what is happening, but it looks like she was locked in an 'arm dragon' with another protester — and passing out. We have since received information that Whaletail is now safe.
In another situation, reported on Twitter, a protester is interviewed after her arm was broken in a peaceful interaction with RCMP.

Elder Report: Front line, Oct 18

~ Bill Johnston and Jan Marshall

The main takeaway:  the RCMP have surged back to FC with all kinds of vehicles (30 or more), officers (40 or more), a helicopter (with, it was suggested, sensors to detect tree-defender locations), a dedicated special command centre and blockade-clearing equipment, etc.  It seems the RCMP has access to all the taxpayers’ dollars needed to try to keep Teal-Jones saws and personnel falling the old growth until winter shuts them down.

Elder operations:  We delivered supplies and gear, including a special drop-off  by Hugh to R&R; we helped carry out the dismantled kitchen components and equipment; we served as legal observers at the RCMP’s main entry point and took video; Jan engaged the RCMP as a back-up police liaison, particularly on whether they could limit our access on a public road by establishing a “temporary exclusion zone”; we supported Elder Bill Jones by accompanying him into the exclusion zone and by prolonging our stay — supporting the land defenders, calling out the RCMP officer who threatened to handcuff Bill, and joining in a defender-led protest singalong.  We left the exclusion zone only when arrest seemed imminent.

Note from Jan: "We had a few lovely moments with about 20 defenders singing, including Bill, who contributed his version of Ain't Fixing to Die while we waited for Elder Bill to be allowed to go for a walk. But the policeman who was doing the negotiating pulled out some handcuffs and it looked like he was going to use them on Elder Bill.  At that point everyone felt that we should get Elder Bill out of danger. Ultimately Elder Bill was not allowed to walk on his land…. All he wanted to do was go for a walk, but they stood around him like a gang of bullies and denied him access to his own land.  Yesterday I was so angry. Today I am  sad.  Surely he should not be denied by a bunch of thugs?  It is his land!"

Assessment:  While generally useful and warmly welcomed by RFS, our visit failed to move the dial much.  We were simply “outgunned” and outmanoeuvred by the RCMP. Only by showing up in greater numbers - and perhaps with media back-up to reveal to the world the ridiculous amount being spent to destroy irreplaceable ancient forests - can we make more progress.

Additional Note: The kitchen, which had been dismantled, was being carted out by the defenders as we were leaving - with oversight from the RCMP.

Horgan keeps saying 'no old-growth logging is happening in Fairy Creek' — He’s WRONG. 

Horgan’s repeated claims that there is ‘no old growth logging in Fairy Creek’ is another attempt to mislead the public.
The Premier knows that forest defenders and the vast majority of people in this province want logging deferrals and long-term solutions for all remaining at-risk old-growth around Fairy Creek and neighboring areas.
It’s the contiguous old-growth area within the watershed AND the slopes surrounding it that forms the largest unprotected intact old-growth rainforest on the South Island, not just the watershed itself.
Instead of taking time to find solutions the province has allowed industrial logging to continue up the slopes of Granite Creek and other neighboring areas that are crucial for connectivity, fragmenting and diminishing the remaining ecological and cultural conservation values for all future generations.

For those of you wanting more technical information, see the maps released by forest scientists in May of this year. The red areas are important old growth candidates for referral.
The Terrace Standard reports: “Dr. Rachel Holt of Veridian Ecological Consultants said in a May 19 news release that the company developed and published the maps because the province did not do so, even though its own old-growth panel recommended such mapping. Meanwhile, old-growth logging continues, she said.”

Fairy Creek Supplies: What’s needed and how to get it there

Intrepid elder Sinclair Phillip, standing in the pouring rain, transcribed this list of much-needed food and supplies from the frontline. Jan Marshall, another stalwart volunteer, tirelessly collects supplies and sends them up to Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek twice a week. If you have supplies to donate, contact her at janandbill [dot] victoria [at] gmail [dot] com.

Marbled Murrelets and Fairy Creek

~ Michael Barr

In June of this year, a group of birders headed to old-growth forest in and near the Fairy Creek watershed. Specifically, they were looking for two Species At Risk: the Western Screech Owl and Marbled Murrelet (both classed as 'Vulnerable'). The Species At Risk Act (SARA) is federal legislation that directs joint responsibility between federal and provincial wildlife departments.

The hope was that if these birds were detected, tit might provide additional reason to halt local old-growth logging. After formal auditory survey protocols were followed, to their delight  both specieis were detected in significant numbers! A follow-up survey for Marbled Murrelets utilizing radar technology revealed a nesting hotspot of over 100 birds in an area of active logging. Provincial officials were formally notified of these findings by EcoJustice (sponsored by Wilderness Committee and Sierra Club BC), and data shared. Overall response by provincial and federal officials ranged from indifferent to none.

When probed further, the province's response was that these findings were not sufficient reason for action (i.e. to halt local logging). Their convenient defence was that the threshold for Critical (nesting) Habitat in that region (SW and N Vancouver Island) still exceeds the amount required based on the conservation (recovery) plan design. They were also sceptical that the findings did not strongly correlate with existing mapping of Critical Habitat. Short of evidence of occupied nests (an impossible feat rarely done and only using telemetry) neither SARA or the Migratory Birds Convention Act can be employed.

My take: the province is using what were intended as proactive conservation plans to stem or reverse population declines by species at risk, and utilizing their weaknesses to defend Business As Usual. Meanwhile, the old-growth plot where 100+ Marbled Murrelets nested this summer was allowed to fall!

It is outrageous and morally heartbreaking to know this was knowingly allowed.

BC Doctors, Nurses Join Call to Halt Old-Growth Logging

 On Friday, October 8, BC doctors and nurses went to the Legislature to present Premier Horgan with a letter signed by over 300 doctors and nurses asking for a half to old-growth logging. Dr. Joan Rosenberg, a petition co-author, told us: "John Horgan sent his security guard out to receive the letter. We told the guard that we were patient and would wait to give it to him directly. I don’t think it is too much to ask that he spend a minute to receive this and show us he is interested in his voters. The climate emergency demands his attention! When we have 500 signatures we will be back at the legislature (unless, of course, we can get back to our patients as John Horgan has decided to take care of the planet!).”

The October 8 press release states: "The climate crisis is a health emergency and it is time we all act like it. We need Premier John Horgan and his government to take immediate action to protect our environment in order to protect the health of our patients, families and communities" says Dr. Emma Noble, letter co-author.

“Our government does not appear to be listening...I liken it to taking someone’s blood pressure while the house is on fire. The government needs to put out the fire so we can properly care for our patients.”

Please sign the letter if you are a health care provider, or send this on to any health care provider you know. Once 500 signatures are reached, the organizers will go back to the Legislature and expect to deliver the petition to the Premier. 


In The News

Oct 19, The Tyee, Why It's Hard for BC's NDP to Be Greener by Robert Hackett
Oct 19, Capital Daily podcast (33 min), Examining Relationships at Fairy Creek as Blockaders Brace For Enforcement
Oct 18, Times-Colonist, More than 170 charged in anti-logging protests
Oct 19, Capital Daily, story on how logging trumped tourism in BC
Oct. 17, Gorilla News, Interview with documentary film-maker Richard Boyce on destructive old-growth logging practices
Oct 14, The Tyee, How Fairy Creek is Influencing the Wet’suwet’en Resistance
Oct 14, Vancouver Sun, Vaughn Palmer: Horgan calls on celebs to back up call to save old-growth forest with cold, hard cash
Oct 13, Ben Barclay, in Focus Magazine, My dream at Fairy Creek: Premier Horgan was there
On Instagram: fairycreekblockade @adamphillipolsen advocating for the rights of peaceful protesters from RCMP violence was met with deflection and a lack of accountability from @bcndp in in the legislature.
Oct 12, Rabble.ca, What do we know about the RCMP's resource extraction protection methods?
Oct 12, Sierra Club BC news release, More than a quarter million people from around the world call on the BC government to save old-growth forests
Oct 9, CBC, UBC Forestry prof [Suzanne Simard] name-dropped on Ted Lasso; says she may have to start watching show.
Oct 7, Question Period at the Leg, Adam Olsen asks the Solicitor General about RCMP treatment of protesters
Aug 11 2021, not new but very relevant, National Observer article on failure of NDP government to consult with indigenous groups on forestry policy
July 2021, Richochet: public-interest journalism, Fairy Creek Explained: What’s at stake? Mixed messages from BC’s NDP government have created confusion among the public. Not current but a good synopsis.

And for a few much-needed laughs (and some thoughtful reflection)
Baroness Von Sketch skit on land acknowledgement



Copyright © 2021 Old Folks for Old Growth, All rights reserved.


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