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  • Professional reliance is not working on the Discovery Islands

    David Broadland

    Talking and negotiating in person with logging companies about where they cut and what they cut has little, if any, positive effect beyond minor adjustments to cutblock boundaries or the timing of when a forest stand is cut.

    That’s partly because oversight of BC’s logging industry shifted from a system of government regulation and operational oversight to a regime of professional reliance in 2003 when Gordon Campbell’s government gutted the BC Forest Service.

    That shift replaced much of the operational oversight that the Forest Service had performed with oversight conducted by professional foresters employed by logging companies.

    In effect, regulation and operational oversight of logging on publicly owned land was privatized.

    Gordon Campbell’s big idea was that it would be better for the foxes to guard the chickens. Over 20 years of experience with professional reliance in action has shown that this change was better only for industry.

    The experience of Sonora Islanders Tavish Campbell, Jodi Eriksson and Farlyn Campbell (no relation to the former premier) enduring repeated failures by TimberWest’s foresters to meet the company’s legal and ethical obligations under the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement highlight the overall failure of professional reliance to protect old forest on the Discovery Islands. The video below, created by the Sonora Island community, captures the gist of the problem—in painful detail.

    The lesson? Don’t expect that talking with private logging companies will have any real influence on what they do. At the very least, make sure that all your communications with logging company’s are in writing and copied to the district forester and your MLA. Otherwise, it’s just talk ’n log.

    Better still, join with other islanders and work together for greater conservation of forests on the Discovery Islands, including full protection for at least 30 percent of the Discovery Islands by 2030.



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