By Alex Rinfret-A group of islanders is organizing a rally outside the Ministry of Forests office in Queen Charlotte Friday morning to protest provincial government forestry policies and decisions.
A brochure handed out by organizers at the Tlell Fall Fair Sunday outlines several complaints, including the Ministry of Forest’s failure to consult with the Council of the Haida Nation on local forest management issues, as it has been ordered to do by the BC Supreme Court.
Other beefs, according to the brochure, are the removal of private land from Tree Farm Licences, the government’s decision to move the administration of the local small business forestry program from the islands to Chilliwack, and the removal of “cut control” legislation (which requires companies to cut no more and no less than a certain amount every year).
Port Clements mayor Dale Lore, one of the organizers of Friday’s rally, said the brochure did not have enough room to list all of their complaints.
“We need to get out and tell the public,” he said. “I don’t think the average person understands what is happening.”
Mr. Lore predicted that this week’s protest will be even larger than a similar one held in December 2000 which attracted about three hundred people.
The group plans to meet outside the Ministry of Forests office in Queen Charlotte at 9 am Friday, and there will be an open microphone or megaphone so everyone can share their concerns, he said.
Gerry Johnson, a Port councillor and another organizer, said Friday’s event is just phase one of a campaign to get more local control over government decisions which affect the islands.
“The important word here is ‘phase one’,” he said. “Heaven knows what phase two is, but it’s not the same as phase one.”
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