Gone Trolling

If you’re not being trolled, chances are you’re not doing enough. Still, trolling is, in some ways, understandable: the world is in rapid flux at the moment and it’s hard to keep up. We all need to blow off steam from time to time.

Yet there are plenty of more constructive ways to vent. Radio talk programmes for one. Letters to the editor for another. Town hall meetings for a third and, come to that, sit-down chats with a Municipal Director, Ombudsman, MLA, MP and other such community leaders.

Please note that all pungently worded tweets, Facebook posts, e-mail messages or other ill-tempered barbs directed toward the 1000clearcuts campaign will be reproduced at the bottom of this page for the benefit and instruction of the larger community. (Use the hashtag #DeathBy1000Clearcuts).

And while we’re on the subject (of grievances), let’s not forget that the grievances highlighted in this website didn’t come out of nowhere. They have a history.

Twenty years ago, the B.C. government wanted to create woodlots in a small rural community called Upper Clearwater. The community, however, said no thank you, this isn’t an appropriate use of crown land so close to Wells Gray Park. Not to be daunted, the B.C government returned with an invitation: how would local residents feel about entering into a formal, government-sponsored land-use agreement: the ticket to a meaningful say in future forestry decisions. All the community had to do was endorse those woodlots.

Two years – and dozens of meetings – later, a formal agreement called the Guiding Principles was signed into effect by the B.C. government. A year after that the woodlots were created. For awhile the community really believed it had achieved something important: a meaningful say in its future.

Unfortunately, this isn’t what actually happened. What actually happened is that once the B.C. government got its woodlots – 1350 hectares worth – it dropped the ball on the community and walked away – too bad, so sad.

So that’s really what this website is about: social justice for a small rural community. That, and some kind of future for our neighbours to the north, the much endangered Mountain Caribou. A moratorium on industrial logging in the Upper Clearwater Valley will satisfy both of these objectives.

This is where Canadian Forest Products, or CANFOR, comes in. Together with the B.C. government itself (B.C. Timber Sales), CANFOR has lately cut hundreds of hectares on the western slopes of the Upper Clearwater Valley. Now it wants to do the same on the eastern slopes – the area covered by the Guiding Principles.

Like the B.C. government before it, CANFOR claims to respect the Guiding Principles agreement. However, a quick read of the on-line letter to CANFOR’s CEO and president Don Kayne (see Social License Alert) puts the lie to any such claim.

Using figures provided by CANFOR, the proposed moratorium will shorten CANFOR’s shelf life by about six weeks.

We close with a little thought experiment:

If CANFOR doesn’t really need to log in the Upper Clearwater Valley to stay afloat, then clearly it would be better – for social justice and for Mountain Caribou – if it got its wood somewhere elsewhere.

But if CANFOR really does need to log in the Upper Clearwater Valley to stay afloat, then clearly the local mill is on the way out and everybody is in big trouble – moratorium or no moratorium.

In the latter case, perhaps the focus should be on what comes next rather than how much wood a failing mill can grab as it goes down.

All of this, of course, is hypothetical…