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Posted March 25, 2013

MLA Scott Fraser Receives “Forest Sustainability Award” For Years of Outspoken Public Service to Protect Endangered Old-Growth Forests, Halt Forestry Deregulation, and Support BC Forestry Jobs

Media Release, March 25, 2013

MLA Scott Fraser Receives “Forest Sustainability Award” For Years of Outspoken Public Service to Protect Endangered Old-Growth Forests, Halt Forestry Deregulation, and Support BC Forestry Jobs
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Photo by TJ Watt

For Immediate Release
March 25, 2013
 
Today NDP MLA Scott Fraser (riding of Alberni-Pacific Rim) received a “Forest Sustainability Award” from conservationists and forestry workers for his years of exceptional public service as an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in British Columbia to protect endangered old-growth forests, to counter the deregulation of forest lands on Vancouver Island, and to restrict the export of BC raw logs to foreign mills.
  
The award was presented by Ken Wu and TJ Watt of the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA), a non-profit environmental group working to protect old-growth forests and ensure sustainable second-growth forestry. The award is jointly sponsored by the Youbou TimberLess Society (YTS), former employees of the now-defunct Youbou sawmill who continue to advocate sustainable forest policies.
  
The brief ceremony took place in Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island, Canada’s most famous old-growth forest that is currently under threat with a planned cutblock by Island Timberlands on the above mountainside on Mount Horne (see:  http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/old-growth-near-cathedral-grove-set-for-imminent-logging-activists-1.90194)

 
Joining the award ceremony to show their support for Fraser’s good work were Arnold Bercov (Pulp, Paper, and Woodworkers of Canada – President of Local 8), Jane Morden and Mike Stini (Port Alberni Watershed-Forest Alliance), and Annette Tanner (Mid-Island Chapter of the Wilderness Committee).
 
“I’m grateful to receive this wonderful recognition for my work. Our old-growth forests are a vitally important part of this province’s identity, and a sustainable forest industry will benefit everyone. I will champion endangered old-growth protection and sustainable forestry leading up to the election and subsequent to the election whether as part of a new government or in the opposition,” stated Fraser.
 
“Scott Fraser has been an exceptional MLA for his energy and outspokenness to protect endangered old-growth forests and forestry jobs. He’s one of the rare politicians who has a real connection to BC’s majestic old-growth forests –  a politician who actually hikes and gets muddy in these special places. It’s clear that his advocacy has not been lip service or simply a means to score political points, but because Fraser has a genuine passion – you can feel it when he’s talking - for our old-growth forests and for a sustainable forest industry that could support future generations of forest workers in this province,” stated Ken Wu, Ancient Forest Alliance executive director. "It's important to give credit where credit is due, and Fraser certainly deserves credit for making forest sustainability central to his role as an elected public servant in his time."
 
“This past decade has been an atrocity for BC’s forestry workers – over 70 mills have closed and 30,000 forestry jobs have been lost. Fraser has repeatedly gone to bat against the deregulation of BC’s forest industry and the massive export of raw logs that is killing current and future manufacturing jobs in this province,” stated Ken James, president of the Youbou TimberLess Society. “We need MLA’s like Fraser in government to champion a forest industry that will sustain both ecosystems and human communities.”
 
Since Fraser was elected in 2005 as an MLA for the New Democratic Party opposition member, he has repeatedly worked for sustainable forestry on such issues as:
 
- Tree Farm Licence (TFL) deregulation, where the BC Liberal government removed 88,000 hectares of Weyerhaeuser’s (now Island Timberlands) corporate forest lands from their Tree Farm Licences in 2004, removing regulations and policies designed to protect old-growth and wildlife, as well as restrictions on raw log exports, prohibitions against real estate development for non-forestry uses, and controls on the rate of cut. This large scale deregulation of forest lands on central Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast was one of the most destructive, anti-environmental acts of the BC Liberal government during its reign of power. Fraser has repeatedly sought to ensure that a follow-up agreement to protect the old-growth ungulate winter range between the company and the government is pursued, to no avail so far.
 
- Cathedral Grove, speaking up against adjacent logging plans several times, including recently where a surveyed Island Timberlands cutblock threatens an old-growth Douglas fir and hemlock forest in an area formerly intended for protection as an Ungulate Winter Range on Mount Horne above the park. The cutblock would also annihilate part of the Mount Horne loop trail.
 
- McLaughlin Ridge, the prime old-growth winter range for deer that was formerly intended for protection as an Ungulate Winter Range until the BC Liberal government removed existing protections and failed to implement other planned protections for the area in 2004 as part of their TFL deregulation scheme. Island Timberlands has already logged part of its ancient forests and plans to log more in the future.  Fraser has worked hard for this area’s protection.
 
- Cameron Valley Firebreak, a rare valley-bottom to mountain-top ancient Douglas fir, cedar and hemlock forest that was formerly planned to become an Ungulate Winter Range for Roosevelt elk and black-tailed deer until the BC Liberal government deregulated the land in 2004. Island Timberlands has now logged perhaps half of the area now.
 
- Raw log exports. Since the BC Liberals came to power in 2001, a mass exodus of raw logs have left the province, currently about 6 million cubic meters of logs each year, costing thousands of existing and potential forestry jobs in BC’s mills and wood manufacturing facilities.
 
- Private Managed Forest Lands Act, the too-weak regulations on private managed forest lands that do little to protect riparian ecosystems, endangered species, old-growth forests, and the ecological integrity of the vast private forest lands on Vancouver Island and elsewhere. Large swaths of these lands were formerly regulated up to stronger public lands standards until the BC Liberal government deregulated them.
 
- Spearheading the introduction of petitions into the Legislative Assembly to protect endangered old-growth forests, ensure sustainable second-growth forestry, and to end raw log exports, on behalf of the Ancient Forest Alliance recently (22,000 signatures) and the Wilderness Committee in 2009 (30,000 signatures).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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