Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Vicki Husband got it right

Vicky Husband is a long time conservationist in BC, well known for her opposition to industrial logging in the forests of BC. When asked her opinion about new soft wood negotiations coming up between Canada and the US in an  interview with the Tyee (Oct. 2016) Husband  said that the US has a right to complain that BC softwood (which includes cedar, hemlock, pine and fir) is subsidized.   She cited facts such as that of a logging company on Vancouver Island that pays as little as 27 cents in stumpage fees to the government for a cubic meter of timber from public forests, an amount about the size of a telephone pole.   Adding that the industry was poorly managed, she said “They are getting away with murder.  I know that.” 


I know it, too.  So do many other people, both inside and outside the logging industry.  And they have been getting away with murder from the very first tree farm license that was given out.  But that is another story.  In this story I want to emphasize something else…the fact that “public forests” in our province is a euphemism for aboriginal land.  Public forests are almost all on unceded native land.  There have been no treaties settled between First Nations and any reigning government officials for the majority of these lands. And the way things are going, and have gone, when and if the claims are eventually settled and rights to the land given back to First Nations the lands will be ruined.  They will be stripped of valuable old growth forests and the land itself will be degraded by tree farming. 


Harriet Nahanee arrested at Eagleridge Bluffs in May, 2006.

In my opinion this is a time for First Nations people to step forward and interject their own land claims into these softwood negotiations. They have a right to demand a hearing in the negotiations.  It is their claims to the land and their protests that need to be heard.  We all have a human investment as well as an environmental one in stressing that it is the uncaring industrial logging methods of clear cutting, monoculture planting and the increasing use of machinery that tears up the forest for us all. Vicky husband is right…the logging companies are getting away with murder, murder of the land while cheating us all by making us pay for the privilege.  And I will add another murder…the murder of First Nations’ land rights.