Sierra Club BC statement in response to police violence against old-growth forest defenders on Vancouver Island
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 24, 2021
Sierra Club BC is deeply disturbed by the increasingly aggressive tactics deployed by the RCMP and captured on video in Ada’itsx (Fairy Creek). These acts of violence come less than two weeks after the B.C. Supreme Court found the RCMP’s use of exclusion zones, which place certain areas off-limits to protesters, members of the media and observers, to be unlawful.
“Once again, in ways that echo the police raids on Wet’suwet’en territory in 2019 and 2020, the RCMP is being deployed to violently protect corporate interests. This is a shameful abuse of power that militarizes the police against Indigenous youth and other land defenders that are choosing to act as the provincial government fails to uphold their promises on Indigenous rights, climate action and old-growth protection,” said Sierra Club BC Executive Director Hannah Askew.
The B.C. government made an election promise in the fall of 2020 to implement the recommendations from its own Old Growth Panel “in totality.” Delivery of this promise would have resulted in a solutions-focused path to protect at-risk old-growth forests like Ada’itsx (Fairy Creek) across the province and assured concerned citizens that the provincial government was acting in the public interest. The violence we are witnessing is the direct result of government inaction and broken promises.
“The images of police violence against peaceful protesters seeking to save some of the last ancient forests on the planet from destruction for corporate short-term profit would be shameful for any country in the world calling itself democratic, at any given time. The fact that this is happening during the rapidly escalating climate and extinction crises of 2021 makes this political failure even more unbearable,” said Sierra Club BC Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner Jens Wieting.
Almost a year has passed since the B.C. government committed to protecting endangered old-growth ecosystems yet almost all at-risk forests remain open to logging.
“The lack of action, funding and proper timelines for the implementation of B.C.’s Old Growth Panel recommendations is resulting in battlegrounds like Ada’itsx (Fairy Creek), where land and water defenders are putting their wellbeing on the line to do what Horgan’s government promised to do. We are calling for an immediate halt to the violence against youth and others courageously standing up for our collective future, and demand that all levels of government act swiftly and meaningfully to protect old-growth forests in this time of climate emergency,” added Askew.
Hannah Askew, Executive Director | Sierra Club BC
firstname.lastname@example.org, (604) 880-6286
Jens Wieting, Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner | Sierra Club BC
email@example.com, (604) 354-5312