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Green Party Leader Urges Ancient Forest Protection, Not Confrontation

With last week’s approval of an injunction to end the blockade of logging road construction into the Fairy Creek watershed near Port Renfrew, the stage is now set for a showdown.

The protesters at the blockades are making preparations and urging their growing number of supporters to join them.

Those who want to go there to help are being offered supporting roles, or the chance to place themselves directly in front of the RCMP who will be called in to enforce the injunction.

However, Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau believes the next step should be taken by the Horgan government.

She urges the NDP to begin working with the Pacheedaht First Nation and Teal Jones Group to find a way to ensure the last intact valley of rain forest on southern Vancouver Island is protected.

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Furstenau says Premier John Horgan promised during the election he would implement all recommendations of the old-growth review panel, “and that included deferrals of high-risk old-growth forests just like Fairy Creek.”

She says the forestry experts that conducted the review were clear about the need “to consider biodiversity, ecosystem health, water protection, other values including tourism and recreation.”

However, Furstenau says the province operates  “with one value, and that is the extraction of timber for its value.”

One of the activists on the blockade, Glenn Reid, says they’re fully committed to staying put.

Reid says there is plenty of frustration over government talk of reconciliation and preservation, but no solid move in that direction.

“We’re cutting down Fairy Creek, the last watershed fully intact on southern Vancouver Island.”

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Though the blockaders now face the possibility of being arrested if they fail to step aside, Reid says they’re fully committed to staying put.

Reid says it’s War in the Wood 2.0, a reference to the massive protests and subsequent arrests during protests of logging in Clayoquot Sound in the summer of 1993.

The Rainforest Flying Squad established its first blockade in August and has said its members are prepared to engage in civil disobedience to prevent road construction and logging from taking place.

The provincial government is also facing new pressure to find a way to preserve Fairy Creek.

Nanaimo, Victoria and Port Moody councils have voted in favour of seeing the valley remain untouched by logging.

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