B.C. Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province.
The online petition had the signatures of 30,151 British Columbians when she brought it forward, and the number continued to climb on Thursday afternoon. The petition was launched on April 7, 2021 as part of the party’s old-growth advocacy campaign.
“The BC NDP owe it to the thousands of voters who signed their petitions, and the millions of British Columbians who care deeply about this issue, to step up and recognize the urgency of saving our ancient forests,” Furstenau said in a press release. “We are all waiting.”
The Greens noted that 12 years ago, John Horgan — the opposition leader at the time — and six other NDP MLAs introduced petitions to ban raw log exports. Since that time, 12 similar petitions have been introduced by NDP MLAs, including two since the party came to power in 2017.
“The B.C. NDP have been in power for four years now, yet the signatories on their petitions are still waiting for them to do something significant,” said Furstenau said in a press release. “Today I introduced a petition with 30,000 signatures from British Columbians to ask Premier Horgan to protect our remaining old growth and implement all the recommendations from the Old Growth Strategic Review Panel.
“Despite this government’s talk about protecting old growth, reports show that the rate of old-growth logging has actually increased under the B.C. NDP government. How many ancient forests have been lost forever since the premier first promised to protect them and had the power to do something about it?”
Beyond the thousands of British Columbians who had signed the petition, the Green Party had recorded the signatures of more than 8,000 people from outside B.C., respresenting 20 countries on five continents.
The introduction of the petition comes as protesters have been camped out in several areas of southwestern Vancouver Island to protest old-growth logging. The B.C Supreme Court granted an injunction banning protests and blockades over a large area. Police began enforcing the injunction on May 17, and had made 238 arrests as of Wednesday, June 16.
The Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations of Vancouver Island have called for a two-year deferral of old-growth logging on their traditional territories, which the provincial government and Teal Jones have agreed to, but protesters have vowed to stay put until all old growth is permanently protected.