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Posted April 10, 2010

Environmental activist targets Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding to launch tree campaign

Sandra McCulloch, Vancouver Sun, April 10, 2010

Environmental activist targets Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding to launch tree campaign
Click for larger image

Benna Keoghoe stands next to a giant Douglas fir measuring 6ft in diameter growing in Mount Doug Park located within the Oak Bay/Gordon Head swing riding.
Photo by TJ Watt

You don't have to drive hours out of Victoria to find old-growth trees or, for that matter, politicians who are hanging onto their seats by a thread.

Environmental activist Ken Wu, of the Ancient Forest Alliance, led media representatives into Mount Douglas Park on Friday to see a 400-year-old Douglas fir measuring two metres in diameter.

The tree is located in the riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head, where Liberal Ida Chong edged out the NDP candidate in last year's election.

Environmental activist Wu chose this particular Douglas fir in this particular swing riding to launch a new campaign to save old-growth forests in B.C. The Ancient Forest Alliance is not a charity and therefore is permitted to condemn or endorse politicians and political parties.

"Whoever would think that we have an old-growth forest in the heart of urban Victoria and in the swing riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head?" said Wu.

The group is calling on the Liberal government to protect remaining old-growth forest, ensure the sustainable logging of second-growth forest, ban raw log exports, and assist in retooling of old-growth sawmills for value-added wood manufacturing.

The dozen or so swing ridings in B.C. are the focus of the group's campaign, he said. "All it would take would be a shift of seven or eight ridings in the province to cause this government to lose power," Wu said. "What we're doing today is taking the ancient forest movement to a whole new level."

Without the neutral approach required by charities, he said, "we can go straight now to their sensitive areas ... so they'll either have to change their policies or lose the election."

The organization will focus on public education and will not break the law in order to get its point across, Wu said.


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