Democracy Alert

Steve Thomson

This space is reserved for some vitally important questions we have in mind to ask British Columbia Minister of Forests Steve Thomson.

In the meantime, here’s a little foretaste of what’s to come.

On 12 December 2016, members of the Upper Clearwater Referral Group received an e-mail from Ministry of Forests District Manager Rachael Pollard informing them that she had approved two permits to CANFOR: one to salvage log a block called T121 immediately south of Buck Hill (which the Referral Group was aware of); and the other to extend an existing permit (which the Referral Group was not aware of).

According to Ms. Pollard, “CANFOR has met the conditions for issuing or amending these permits and none of the limited circumstances in which permits can be refused apply. Accordingly, I am required by law to issue the cutting and road authorities, which I have now done.”

Regrettably, no reference is made by Ms. Pollard to her commitment to give serious consideration to MoF’s moral obligation to the Guiding Principles, nor of her requirement under the Guiding Principles itself to engage with the Referral Group on both applications, nor indeed of her pledge (three times reconfirmed) to do so prior to any decision being made.

The Referral Group takes the position that MoF D.M. Rachael Pollard’s failure to honour her responsibility to the Referral Group constitutes a flagrant lack of respect for the terms of the Guiding Principles – the more so because it comes on the heels of a year-long Information Exchange Process during which the Referral Group and MoF had begun to rebuild a level of trust. By so flagrantly acting in poor faith, Ms. Pollard has unfortunately now shattered that trust.

These things said, it must be understood that Ms. Pollard’s failure to respect the Guiding Principles is by no means the first insult this formal Land Use agreement has sustained from the B.C. Liberal government.

Stay tuned for more…