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  • Mapping of old-growth deferral areas confirms forests ministry deception


    David Broadland
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    The ministry of forests provided few details about the areas of old-growth forest on which it claimed it was deferring logging just before the provincial election. FOCUS has obtained mapping that confirms the ministry greatly overstated its claim of "352,739 hectares."

     

    2092610983_Old-growthlogtravellingthroughNanaimoDecember2020HGordonFuller.thumb.jpg.3f917089f326d31a85777773fbaadc9c.jpg

    A load of old-growth forest heads northward on the Trans Canada near Nanaimo in December 2020 (Photo by Gordon Fuller)

     

    FOCUS has obtained mapping of the “Old Growth Deferral Areas” that were given names—but not much else—by then forests minister Doug Donaldson just before the provincial election. The details of the mapping suggest the exercise may have been more about testing the government’s ability to mislead reporters than it was about protecting old-growth forests. Judging by all the glowing media reviews of the exercise, the upper echelons of the forests ministry earned an A+ in Advanced Dissemination of Misinformation.

    On September 11, 2020, Donaldson announced a 2-year deferral of logging on “352,739 hectares” of what the minister described as “old-growth.” No maps showing the location of the nine areas that were being deferred was provided. The deferrals were apparently made as a response to the independent strategic review of the remaining old-growth forest in BC conducted at Donaldson’s request by foresters Garry Merkel and Al Gorley. Their study had been released to Donaldson in April 2020.

    Our original take on the issue was this: Of the 352,739 hectares of  “old-growth,” there were, at best, 64,000 hectares that might be old-growth. Without mapping, no one could be sure of what was actually included in the proposals. In spite of that, Donaldson’s announcement was reported by media outlets far and wide as being—at last!—a resolution of the long-standing issue. In the campaign before the October 24 election, the BC NDP promoted the idea that a re-elected John Horgan government would save BC’s remaining old-growth forests.

    The mapping we have obtained (see interactive map below comments section) shows that there may have actually been 10 areas that received 2-year logging deferrals by Order In Council 500-2020. Donaldson’s announcement only included nine of those areas. Missing was a 1,489-hectare deferral in the central Walbran Valley. Ironically, the one deferral the ministry didn’t announce appears to be the most legitimate, least over-stated example of doing what Donaldson claimed the ministry was doing.

    The deferral area in the Walbran spans TFL 46 and TFL 44. According to ministry of forest’s records, there has been no logging in the area since 2015 and there is no indication in the ministry’s records that logging had been planned in the next two years. The area is in the Pacheedaht Band’s traditional territory.

    The Walbran deferral includes recent (2015) and older clearcuts as well as plantation regrowth, but most of it is old-growth forest. The Ancient Forest Alliance’s description of what needs permanent protection is no overstatement: “The Central Walbran Valley on southern Vancouver Island is the grandest old-growth rainforest in Canada. The area is jam-packed with hundreds of monumental red cedars, especially in the spectacular ‘Castle Grove,’ which is perhaps the most extensive stand of near record-sized cedars on Earth. Marbled murrelets, screech owls, Queen Charlotte goshawks, red-legged frogs, cougars, black bears, and elk all live here, while steelhead and coho spawn in the rivers.”

     

    2032336045_CastleGiantCentralWalbranValleyTJWattphoto.thumb.jpg.c87e273afb5395162005ba372732f22b.jpg

    The “Castle Giant” Western red cedar at Castle Grove in the Central Walbran Valley (Photo by TJ Watt)

     

    Communications between members of local ENGOs who were aware of the Walbran deferral last September express a degree of satisfaction with the area being deferred. The absence of a public acknowledgment of the deferral by Donaldson’s ministry was attributed to unfinished discussions with First Nations.

    Saul Arbess, a spokesperson for the Friends of Carmanah Walbran, told FOCUS, “A deferral is not protection, but an attempt to distract us and we will not rest until the entire biologically-rich central Walbran is given permanent protection.”

    A comparison of the way in which the deferrals have been presented to the public with the actual on-the-ground substance of the deferrals—which is now made clearer by the mapping— makes it evident that the ministry of forests is not willing to protect much of the remaining old-growth forest that’s in the commercially operable zone of the timber harvesting land base. Their strategy for maintaining control of those areas appears to include utilizing deception. By “deception” I mean the transfer of misinformation from the ministry to mainstream media and then from the media to the general public. The ministry appears willing to fool the public into thinking they are doing something that they apparently have no intention of doing.

    Consider the Clayoquot Sound deferral, for example. Of the publicly announced deferrals, the Clayoquot case accounts for 70 percent of all the area being deferred in the province. Donaldson’s September announcement put that at “248,667 hectares.” He may have believed that was actually the case. But the mapping done for Order In Council 500-2020 for Clayoquot Sound shows the deferral area includes 43,237 hectares of parks, protected areas and ecological reserves in the Sound area that are already protected from logging, plus another 62,200 hectares in the south end of Strathcona Park that are also permanently protected. The ministry sought to take credit for a 2-year deferral of logging on 105,437 hectares that already had full protection. Of the remaining 143,230 hectares, the majority has been clearcut over the last 40 years. Given the high level of technology used by the ministry for mapping and controlling the timber harvesting land base, there’s zero possibility that someone made an unintentional error by including 18 provincial parks, ecological reserves and protected areas in its deferral commitment.

     

     

    372405381_Clayoquotdeferralareabesideparkssmall.thumb.jpg.5d1502949de19a785c5c138ada52773d.jpg

    The ministry’s mapping of the 248,667-hectare deferral area for Clayoquot Sound (left) overlaps with 105,437 hectares of long-established parks, ecological reserves and protected areas (right). The red crosshair is in the same location on each map. (Click to enlarge)

     

    Allow me a small digression from adding up the ministry’s deceptions to point out why these numbers matter. Consider what’s at stake. A paper written by forest scientists Karen Price and Rachel Holt, along with forester Dave Daust, released in June 2020, used the forest ministry’s own data to estimate that there are about 415,000 hectares of forest containing “large” or “very large” old trees remaining in the province. That’s only 2.7 percent of the high-productivity old forest that was originally here. The scientists estimate that 33 of BC’s 36 forested biogeoclimatic zone variants have 10 percent or less of such forest remaining. Because of the physical and biological characteristics of old-growth forests, they support high levels of biodiversity. But Price, Holt and Daust have pointed out that when the extent of such old forest in a biogeoclimatic zone variant falls below 10 percent, that zone falls into a high risk category for loss of biodiversity. The result? Most of BC is now teetering on the brink, beyond which extinction of plant and animal species will surely accelerate. Who wants that?

    The scientists’ study had a huge impact on the community of people who, like Arbess, “will not rest” until they see the ministry protect all 415,000 hectares of old forest containing large and very large trees. When the ministry says it’s deferring logging on 248,667 hectares in Clayoquot Sound, that sounds like the ministry is protecting over half of those remaining 415,000 hectares. That sounds like a breakthrough.

    What the Clayoquot deferral actually shows, however, is that the ministry is going to go along publicly with the concept of protecting hundreds of thousands of hectares of old-growth forest while actually doing little or nothing of the sort. Note that it hasn’t even announced the Walbran deferral. So let’s finish with what the mapping shows for the other deferral areas.

    The “17,321-hectare” deferral for Southgate River is an interesting case of overstatement. That deferral area is part of the 122,155-hectare Southgate Landscape Unit near Bute Inlet, which the ministry’s own records identify as having a total of 5,380 hectares in the timber harvesting land base—the area that can be logged economically—most of which has already been logged. It took a certain kind of misinformation chutzpah for the ministry to claim that it was deferring logging of an area over three times as great as there was merchantable forest (at one time) in the entire Landscape Unit. It’s as though the ministry chose the numbers for this deferral by throwing darts at a board with crazy big numbers on it and just happened to hit “17,321.”

    As previously reported, the deferral areas for Crystal Creek and Stockdale Creek both include much ice and rock and little to no old-growth forest in danger of being logged. 

    The mapping for the Incomappleux Valley deferral area (40,194 hectares) south of Revelstoke shows it’s mainly ice and rock. The Valhalla Wilderness Society has estimated 1,500 hectares of 1,000- to 2,000-year-old red cedar near the confluence of Boyd Creek and the Incomappleux River. Again, a huge overstatement of the amount of old-growth forest being given a 2-year reprieve from logging.

    The location of the Skagit-Silverdaisy deferral area in Manning Park was already well known since the Province, at the urging of Washington State politicians, had already committed to protecting the area. There was no possibility of logging in the area at the time of Donaldson’s announcement of a 2-year logging deferral there.

    The 2,231-hectare McKelvie Creek watershed near Tahsis on Vancouver Island is primary forest and warrants full protection, not just a 2-year logging deferral.

    The 1,052-hectare “H’Kusam” deferral area is on a 1,200-metre mountain rising up on the north side of the Sayward Valley above the village of Sayward. This part of Western Forest Products’ TFL 39 is certainly primary forest, and some areas of it have relatively high site indexes—which means there could be some big old trees there. Proof of that has not yet emerged. The mountain has been clearcut around its base on the east, north and west sides, but the remaining forest is on flanks so steep that it’s likely beyond the range of commercial operability, at least for now. In any case, there’s no indication that any logging was going to occur by 2022.

    The mapping confirms our guess about what was being deferred at Seven Sisters Provincial Park and Protected Area beside the Skeena River. A bite out of the protected area, part of which has been clearcut, has been put back as “old-growth forest.” Another fragment of this deferral, south of the Skeena River and northeast of Seven Sisters Park, is included. That area, too, contains previously clearcut forest. It doesn’t seem to have registered at the ministry of forests that putting 2-year logging deferrals on land that has recently been clearcut isn’t going to impress anyone except new reporters working for certain community newspapers.

    In making his announcement of the deferrals on September 11, Donaldson said, “Addressing the issue of managing old-growth forests while supporting workers and communities has been a challenge in the making for more than 30 years and it won’t be solved immediately, but we know that the status quo is not sustainable.” He added, “I do believe that there is enough goodwill on everyone’s part for this to happen, and that’s to use this report as a springboard, as an opportunity to reduce the polarization on this topic.” Soon thereafter, Donaldson announced he wouldn’t be seeking re-election.

    Donaldson may have genuinely believed that he was putting deferrals on 352,739 hectares of old-growth forest that were in danger of being logged. If so, that means other people high up in the ministry’s information ecosystem misled Minister Donaldson and appear to believe that the public, too, can be easily duped. Presumably, those people are still in the ministry, creating similar misinformation. The only beneficiaries of their work are forest companies focussed on profiting on the liquidation of what remains of BC’s old-growth forests.

    Perhaps the real challenge for citizens concerned for the future health of BC’s forests—and all the life that depends on those forests—will be providing oversight for a ministry that acts like it has been captured by the industry it’s meant to regulate. Unless the public is eternally vigilant and arm themselves with ground-truthed facts, the remaining old-growth forests will quickly disappear into the mists of ministerial misinformation.

    David Broadland is the publisher of FOCUS. He’s working with a group of  foresters, journalists and forest activist-citizens to establish citizen-led oversight of BC’s ministry of forests.

     

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    Guest Thanks David, great work!

    Posted

    Thanks David,

    Great work on this story that was deliberately misrepresented by government and then by the mainstream press.

    We need massive outrage from the public to save and protect the small remaining fragmented ancient forests, big old trees.  So little are left.

    The logging industry controls the show and they want it all.  And one of the worst players, under government control, is BC Timber Sales who have 20% of the cut.

    Time for immediate action and calling for a total moratorium on cutting any more productive old growth/ancient forest.  Now.

    Plantations are not a forest.

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    So pleased to see this and your extraordinary research that “broadly"(pardon the double entendre) defines the deception. The bogus deferrals likely came about from collusion between ministry of forests staff and the industry and part of the reason for the delay of nearly 6 months. The other reason was to give the industry another season of predation on the remnant old growth.  Somehow, the Central Walbran slipped through, yet was never formally announced for fear of industry backlash. I feel it was our persistence, as the Friends of Carmanah Walbran, since 1990, beginning with trail building, to bring people to witness and feel this magnificent forest, that ultimately led to this deferral, not protection yet, as I pointed out, but this will be achieved.

     

     

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    Go explore the map below, zoom in and out and travel around, you should be able to distinguish how many times some areas were cut. Amazing the shear volume that is gone. Take a zoom around with Google Earth on Haida Gwaii, same story, the Haidas are still fighting to stop old growth logging.

     

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    Thank you David Broadland for another excellent investigative story.  However, that said, I am hopeful that this will not be the last word on how the forests ministry and NDP government are deceiving the media and general public about the the protection of old-growth forests.  I say this because your story raises very serious questions that need to be answered in a democracy: 

    1. Whose idea was it to deceive the media and public shortly before an election with a misleading response to the Gorley-Merkel old-growth report? Where was the idea hatched?  Within government or outside government?  
    2. Who selected the so-called deferral areas?  Forest industry representatives, political staff, forests ministry staff or all three working together?
    3. Within government, who is responsible for implementing the idea to deceive?  Senior staffers in the premier's office, forests ministry executive members, forestry staff, or a combination of all three? To what extent were forests ministry executive and staff involved in ascribing incorrect areas of old growth deferred?  Or was this the handiwork of political appointees elsewhere in government fiddling with numbers that forests ministry staff had provided?  Who prepared the maps found by David Broadland? 
    4. Who prepared the old-growth response package released to the media by former forests minister Doug Donaldson before the election?  Was Donaldson aware that he was deceiving everyone?  

    And no doubt, other questions need to be answered.  Perhaps the Green Party could begin the questioning.  The government's actions appear to be blatant deceit; deceit that, thanks to David Broadland, has been exposed. Now, we need to know who in the BC NDP government and in the provincial public service are responsible and to hold them publicly accountable for dishonourable conduct. 

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    9 hours ago, Guest Anthony Britneff said:

    Thank you David Broadland for another excellent investigative story.  However, that said, I am hopeful that this will not be the last word on how the forests ministry and NDP government are deceiving the media and general public about the the protection of old-growth forests.  I say this because your story raises very serious questions that need to be answered in a democracy: 

    1. Whose idea was it to deceive the media and public shortly before an election with a misleading response to the Gorley-Merkel old-growth report? Where was the idea hatched?  Within government or outside government?  
    2. Who selected the so-called deferral areas?  Forest industry representatives, political staff, forests ministry staff or all three working together?
    3. Within government, who is responsible for implementing the idea to deceive?  Senior staffers in the premier's office, forests ministry executive members, forestry staff, or a combination of all three? To what extent were forests ministry executive and staff involved in ascribing incorrect areas of old growth deferred?  Or was this the handiwork of political appointees elsewhere in government fiddling with numbers that forests ministry staff had provided?  Who prepared the maps found by David Broadland? 
    4. Who prepared the old-growth response package released to the media by former forests minister Doug Donaldson before the election?  Was Donaldson aware that he was deceiving everyone?  

    And no doubt, other questions need to be answered.  Perhaps the Green Party could begin the questioning.  The government's actions appear to be blatant deceit; deceit that, thanks to David Broadland, has been exposed. Now, we need to know who in the BC NDP government and in the provincial public service are responsible and to hold them publicly accountable for dishonourable conduct. 

    Not everything is willful deception. Maybe it was just a poor analysis under the pressure of political expediency and the challenges of crappy inventory data. It's challenging to make everyone happy, but politicians often try.

    If these problems had a single, easy answer... they would have been resolved a long time ago. There are some other challenges that Mr. Britneff's ex-colleagues are dealing with this year (like a pandemic and surging unemployment).

     

    I'd bet that all of the defferal areas have gads of ecologicaly significant old growth. The proof will be in what's done by the NDP over the next four years. I don't envy them, because everyone's a critic.

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    There does seem to be an unholy alliance between the BCNDP,  the major forestry companies and the Steelworkers Union.  These relationships matter more to the BCNDP than honesty, climate change, or maintaining a precious rainforest ecosystem on Vancouver Island.  It has cost them my vote and my respect.  

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    Hello David, Thanks so much for tackling the mind-numbing ordeal of sorting out the obtuse, twisted, Kafkaesque and outright deceptive and corrupt government "forestry" accounts. I have to always put "forestry" in parentheses when referring to official forest management in BC, because everything they do is primarily, and overwhelmingly to do with logging and nothing to do with forestry. Very few people who care about the BC forest have been able to access, decipher, interpret and then communicate the government story, but any conscientious forest lover who takes a simple glance at the reality on the ground knows that everything's wrong. One would expect to be able to get an accurate and truthful explanation from amongst the cadre of BC's "Forest Professionals," but everybody in the club sees anything wrong with giving away the entire forest to voracious industrial logging and converting every inch of the landbase into "fibre-per-year-per-hectare." I have yet to see any sign of concern, whatsoever from the ABCFP's regarding the near total extermination of primaeval forest across the province. And although the truth screams out at us everywhere we look, with voracious, rampant devastation stretching out across the landscape in every direction, the entrenched powers and deceptive skill's of the government/industry cabal are such, that the record of effort to protect or even conscientiously manage our public forest just lists a steady litany of utter failure, or at best, pathetic compromise. BC's professional, careerist ENGO's that have been relied upon to improve forest policy all follow the same, tired old due-process oriented, top-down managed, charitable status guarding, bureaucratically entrenched, fundraising-focussed approach that has raised multi-millions over a half century, but has got virtually nothing to show for it. What few forest protections that have been achieved have been the result of hard-fought frontline civil-disobedient direct action blockades and other disruptive spontaneous citizen actions, that are more often than not, been scoffed at and marginalized by these ENGO elites. You won't see STAND-Earth, or the Sierra Club helping out at the Fairy Creek frontline for example even though Fairy Creek looks to have THE most current momentum and the very BEST prospects for FORCING the protection of this magnificent FINAL intact primaeval watershed on Vancouver Island. It is an indication of just how all-powerful the logging interests are in the affairs of our cowardly governments that not a single politician can muster the courage to do the right thing, in what would be an overwhelmingly popular decision with zero risk of losing political capital, and simply remove Fairy Creek from the "timber-harvesting landbase" and protect it forever.

    Cheers, Ingmar Lee, Denny Island, BC

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    14 hours ago, Guest EveryCriticOne said:

    Not everything is willful deception. Maybe it was just a poor analysis under the pressure of political expediency and the challenges of crappy inventory data. It's challenging to make everyone happy, but politicians often try.

    Indeed, but misinformation and misrepresentation are nevertheless deceptive.  The forests inventory is not "crappy" for the purpose of delineating primary forest in the timber harvesting land base.  Most technical staff in the forests ministry are competent and during my time with the ministry a screw-up by technical staff of this magnitude would have been inconceivable . . . impossible.  And I suspect (and hope) the same is true today.  So I doubt that the misleading information came from technical staff but rather from the political-administrative interface in the BC NDP government, meaning the forests ministry executive and staffers in the minister's and premier's offices. 

    The BC NDP politicians continue to perpetrate what is now confirmed to be an outright lie.  Witness Premier Horgan's recent mandate letter to new forests minister Katrine Conroy in which Horgan writes,  Implement the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review in collaboration with Indigenous leaders, labour, industry, and environmental groups to protect more old- growth stands – in addition to the 353,000 hectares protected in September 2020.” 

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    6 hours ago, Anthony Britneff said:

    Indeed, but misinformation and misrepresentation are nevertheless deceptive.  The forests inventory is not "crappy" for the purpose of delineating primary forest in the timber harvesting land base.  Most technical staff in the forests ministry are competent and during my time with the ministry a screw-up by technical staff of this magnitude would have been inconceivable . . . impossible.  And I suspect (and hope) the same is true today.  So I doubt that the misleading information came from technical staff but rather from the political-administrative interface in the BC NDP government, meaning the forests ministry executive and staffers in the minister's and premier's offices. 

    The BC NDP politicians continue to perpetrate what is now confirmed to be an outright lie.  Witness Premier Horgan's recent mandate letter to new forests minister Katrine Conroy in which Horgan writes,  Implement the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review in collaboration with Indigenous leaders, labour, industry, and environmental groups to protect more old- growth stands – in addition to the 353,000 hectares protected in September 2020.” 

    I suspect your take is probably accurate, that the suggestion that all 353,000 Ha is old growth isn't coming from technical staff. Sounds like a good candidate for FOI.

    I suspect that Horgan and his posse do want to resolve the conflict around old growth, just as the NDP did so much to address forest management in the 90s (at least compared to the FRPA/professional reliance debacle of the Liberals).

    It is a political problem though, because the industry lobby remains strong. The initial round of NDP tinkering in 2017-2018 was followed by industry strikes and shut downs (Google the idea of a capital strike, because that's what it was).

    The tenure and governance system has a long history and is a big mountain to climb. I doubt the greens could do better at reaching the summit than the NDP. Industry expects to have their voice heard, and they've learned how to make sure that happens behind closed doors. It's a tricky one, when you add in the rural jobs and government revenue.

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    Good article, thanks. Yes. A quarter is unforested; another quarter isn't old; some is already protected; most of the rest is low productivity. The 350,000 ha includes only about 3,800 ha of productive old forest that isn't already in a legally designated no-harvest area. Of BC's remaining 415,000 ha of productive old forest, the announcement defers harvest on less than 1%. Yet government still doesn't seem to believe their own data.

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    Good article, thanks. Yes. A quarter is unforested; another quarter isn't old; some is already protected; most of the rest is low productivity. The 350,000 ha includes only about 3,800 ha of productive old forest that isn't already in a legally designated no-harvest area. Of BC's remaining 415,000 ha of productive old forest, the announcement defers harvest on less than 1%. Yet government still doesn't seem to believe their own data.

    Karen, thank you for summing up the reality of the deferrals so succinctly.

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    Thank you for an informative article and truths regarding old growth forests in BC.  There are plenty of areas to log and plant over for future logging.  Just like wilderness, preserve the oldest living things for the future, and not profit for today.

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    David thank you again for covering this important topic with your usual attention to detail. Not only did BC not place any deferrals in significant parts of the province where old growth is at extreme risk (the central-interior and north), they are actively lying about the composition of areas they are planning on deferring logging. As stated in comments above this one, this is totally unacceptable.

    I want to point out to any readers who may not be aware that the commenter above, Karen Price, is one of the authors of the Last Stand for Biodiversity report. She analyzed how much old growth actually remains in BC and where it is. The BC government has all of this information. So they are ignoring the recommendations of three of BC's top old growth scientists.

    Horgan's huge lie in Katrine Conroy's new mandate letter (using the word 'protected' instead of 'deferred') makes my blood boil. 

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    Couldn't read the whole article, David, such was/is my disgust with the entire business. Were I dictator for a day, I'd pronounce that enough money was made over the last 100 years that no more logging was needed, beginning immediately. Dreaming? Yes, but.........I fear it's all "blowing in the wind". Much the same of your (now) 3 year old article on the poisoning of Puget Sound;  

    Whatever has been done, save Washington State Governor Inslee using some reference to Puget sound for his re-election campaign?

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    On 10/12/2020 at 11:37 AM, Anthony Britneff said:

    Indeed, but misinformation and misrepresentation are nevertheless deceptive.  The forests inventory is not "crappy" for the purpose of delineating primary forest in the timber harvesting land base.  Most technical staff in the forests ministry are competent and during my time with the ministry a screw-up by technical staff of this magnitude would have been inconceivable . . . impossible.  And I suspect (and hope) the same is true today.  So I doubt that the misleading information came from technical staff but rather from the political-administrative interface in the BC NDP government, meaning the forests ministry executive and staffers in the minister's and premier's offices. 

    The BC NDP politicians continue to perpetrate what is now confirmed to be an outright lie.  Witness Premier Horgan's recent mandate letter to new forests minister Katrine Conroy in which Horgan writes,  Implement the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review in collaboration with Indigenous leaders, labour, industry, and environmental groups to protect more old- growth stands – in addition to the 353,000 hectares protected in September 2020.” 

     

    On 09/12/2020 at 10:52 AM, Guest Anthony Britneff said:

    Thank you David Broadland for another excellent investigative story.  However, that said, I am hopeful that this will not be the last word on how the forests ministry and NDP government are deceiving the media and general public about the the protection of old-growth forests.  I say this because your story raises very serious questions that need to be answered in a democracy: 

    1. Whose idea was it to deceive the media and public shortly before an election with a misleading response to the Gorley-Merkel old-growth report? Where was the idea hatched?  Within government or outside government?  
    2. Who selected the so-called deferral areas?  Forest industry representatives, political staff, forests ministry staff or all three working together?
    3. Within government, who is responsible for implementing the idea to deceive?  Senior staffers in the premier's office, forests ministry executive members, forestry staff, or a combination of all three? To what extent were forests ministry executive and staff involved in ascribing incorrect areas of old growth deferred?  Or was this the handiwork of political appointees elsewhere in government fiddling with numbers that forests ministry staff had provided?  Who prepared the maps found by David Broadland? 
    4. Who prepared the old-growth response package released to the media by former forests minister Doug Donaldson before the election?  Was Donaldson aware that he was deceiving everyone?  

    And no doubt, other questions need to be answered.  Perhaps the Green Party could begin the questioning.  The government's actions appear to be blatant deceit; deceit that, thanks to David Broadland, has been exposed. Now, we need to know who in the BC NDP government and in the provincial public service are responsible and to hold them publicly accountable for dishonourable conduct. 

    Mr. Broadland,

    I am impressed with both the reporting and the quoted comment/response made by Mr. Britnef. I would like to see his questions answered by the Minister and by the leader of our provincial government. I would love to see them forwarded with a request for response and look forward to reading a follow up article presenting said response. 

    As with most questions requiring an in-depth, explanatory and completely truthful reply, I am doubtful that I will be reading the article I have described  any time in the near future. It is time for British Columbians to demand government to stop paying lip service to issues we deem important. Government officials should fear the people by whom they've been elected. It is long past time transparency and accountability become the rule rather than the fantasy.

    I urge you, Mr. Broadland to forward the questions posed by Mr. Bretnif to our NOD government with a firm request for a detailed and clear response. British Columbians have a right to know the truth. It's high time government learns exactly who has the power in both our province and nation.  

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    14 hours ago, Guest Guest Itsmesues said:

    I urge you, Mr. Broadland to forward the questions posed by Mr. Bretnif to our NOD government with a firm request for a detailed and clear response. British Columbians have a right to know the truth. It's high time government learns exactly who has the power in both our province and nation.  

    Thanks for your comment. Asking "our NOD government" (do you mean NDP?) who the deceivers were is an exercise in futility that I'm a little too experienced to undertake. A FLNRORD media spokesperson is not hired to provide answers to the questions like those posed by Anthony Britneff. They are hired to shield the ministry executive (and government) from damage.

    I have filed FOIs seeking records. Unfortunately, my experience with FOIs that attempt to find who committed some transgression against the public interest is that the process always finds that nobody did anything. Somehow, the bad stuff happens without any written record ever being left behind. In this case, the actual communications that set up this deception were likely done by phone call or personal conversation, which are not recorded and so can't be obtained through FOI.

    Even in the unlikely case that someone committed something to writing, as in an email that included a statement like: "Be sure to include  at least 100,000 hectares of already protected park land in the logging deferral area for Clayoquot Sound," the process of responding to an FOI request allows the parties whose records are being requested to chose which records are forwarded for release. A person who committed the deception to writing is unlikely to put forward self-incriminating records, especially if it was someone further up the chain of command that initiated the deception, by phone or in conversation.

    The story above is very likely all we will ever know about this deception. The essential takeaway is that the ministry is not willing to protect the remaining old-growth forest to the extent recommended by Price, Holt, Daust, Gorley and Merkel, and the ministry executive are willing to deceive the public on behalf of industrial interests.

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  • The NDP's old-growth logging deferrals

    The map below shows FLNRORD's mapping of the 9 areas where logging deferrals were announced in September 2020. It also shows the intended deferral in the Central Walbran Valley, which has not been publicly announced. The mapping below shows that very little actual old-growth forest was included in the 9 deferrals that were announced. The Clayoquot deferrals includes a large part of Strathcona Park, as well as several parks in the Sound area, none of which were in any danger of being logged. Read more about this issue here.



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