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  • To ensure continued logging of Pacheedaht forests, Premier Horgan tried to buy their silence for what amounts to glass beads

    PREMIER JOHN HORGAN recently claimed he couldn’t resolve the tense and expensive standoff on Pacheedaht traditional territories between old-growth forest defenders and the RCMP. Why? Horgan told reporters, “The critical recommendation that’s in play at Fairy Creek is consulting with the title holders. If we were to arbitrarily put deferrals in place there, that would be a return to the colonialism that we have so graphically been brought back to this week by the discovery in Kamloops.”

    Actually, Horgan’s government had already signed an agreement (download at end of story) with the Pacheedaht in late February in which the economically impoverished First Nation agreed to accept a small annual payment “to accommodate any potential adverse impacts on the Pacheedaht First Nation’s Aboriginal Interests resulting from Operational Plans or Administrative and/or Operational Decisions.” In other words, logging.

    How small? The Pacheedaht accepted the equivalent of glass beads: $242,388 for the first year of the agreement, with no clear indication of what, if any, subsequent payments would be over the agreement’s 3-year term.

    What did the Pacheedaht have to do for that princely sum? For one thing, the band had to continue “consultation” with the Province, and to help the Pacheedaht do that the Province will provide an additional $35,000 per year to build the “capacity” within the community for consultation.

    Perhaps more significantly, the agreement requires the Pacheedaht to provide “assistance.” Such assistance would take two forms.

    First, the band agreed “it will not support or participate in any acts that frustrate, delay, stop or otherwise physically impede or interfere with provincially authorized forest activities.”

    Secondly, it agreed it “will promptly and fully cooperate with and provide its support to British Columbia in seeking to resolve any action that might be taken by a member of First Nation that is inconsistent with this Agreement.”

    The first part of the “assistance” portion of the agreement was aimed squarely at the defence of old-growth forest in TFL 46. The second was intended to stifle any expression of support for that defence from within the Pacheedaht, such as that given by Elder Bill Jones, Victor Peter, Katie George-Jim and Patrick Victor-Jones, all of whom have publicly supported the old-growth defenders.



    Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones speaking out at the Caycuse blockade (Photo by Michael Lo)


    The agreement was signed on February 21, just before Teal Cedar Products Ltd filed an application for injunctive relief with the BC Supreme Court on March 4. On April 1, that application was granted by Justice Frits E. Verhoeven. Enforcement of the injunction has led to over 170 people being arrested during weeks of standoffs between police and old-forest defenders. The cost of that enforcement is unknown but likely in the millions.

    Horgan has claimed that “consultations” with the Pacheedaht are ongoing and so ending the confrontation by removing Teal’s controversial permit to log in the Fairy Creek watershed would amount to a “return to colonialism.”

    Let’s compare dollars with glass beads.

    Over the past three years, according to the ministry of forests, Teal Cedar has removed 976,000 cubic metres of logs from TFL 46, which is mainly on unceded Pacheedaht territories. At an average value of $135 per cubic metre over those years, the logs Teal removed, before they were turned into lumber and other products at Teals’ Surrey mills, had a market value of about $132 million.

    That’s over a three-year period. What will the Pacheedaht—the legal owners of the land from which those forests were removed—get for three years of being quiet?

    The Pacheedaht will receive $277,388 in 2021 and $35,000 each year in 2022 and 2023 as long as they keep “consulting.” There’s nothing in the agreement that says they will get any more than a total of $347,388.

    Compare that with the estimated $132 million worth of logs Teal will tow away to feed its mills in Surrey. The Pacheedat will get the equivalent of three-tenths of one-percent of the “fibre” value of the forest Teal removes from their property. Anyone who has visited the Pacheedaht reserve will understand why they had to sign this agreement.

    Here’s the definition of colonialism: The policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.”

    Green Party MLA Adam Olsen, in a widely-circulated opinion piece, wrote: “The agreement with Pacheedaht was signed in February 2021. So instead of negotiating an agreement that provides economic alternatives to logging, provides real choice to the nation, and enables the conservation of the endangered old growth in Pacheedaht traditional territory, the Provincial government negotiated an agreement that almost assured that those ancient trees would be cut. This situation illustrates how deeply disingenuous the government has been as the tension in our forests continues to grow. Rather than offer conservation solutions, the BC NDP are effectively using BC Liberal policy to put Indigenous Nations in the centre of conflicts and use the language of reconciliation to cover for their inaction. Clearly, colonialism is alive and well in Premier Horgan’s government.”

    David Broadland is grateful to the Pacheedaht for allowing public access to the extraordinary forests, beaches and trails on their unceded territories.

    BC agreement with Pacheedaht signed february 17 2021.pdf


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    I suppose the NDP think the Pacheedaht are fortunate with the payoff, the Gitxsan got nothing for their forests up ear Prince Rupert, except threats from government and RCMP to take down the gate they had to erect to protect their forests. 

    I wonder how many beads that is worth?

    There are Fairy Creeks popping up allover this province, one in  your backyard soon, 9 our of 10 British Columbians have had enough.,

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    If Horgan had one ounce of decency he would resign over this situation. The abuse of the Pacheedaht is obvious, but the final straw is conflating his actions with the tragedy of the Kamloops residential school.

    …by decency and Horgan are complete strangers to each other.

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    Premier Horgan in four years has established a reputation as a mountebank (reconciliation, site C dam, species-at-risk legislation, forestry legislation reform, log exports, old-growth protection, etc.).  Pathetically, like most unsophisticated swindlers, he has grossly underestimated the intelligence of most of those whom he has intended to hood wink. 

    The cat is out of the bag.  And British Columbians now know for sure that the real colonialist is John Horgan himself, whose government signed this agreement with a poor and abused First Nation knowing full well that the agreement effectively "continues the exploitation of forests on unceded traditional territory in violation of the rights if indigenous peoples and their unsettled land claim" (YM) both by the government and the forest industry, thereby making a farce of the whole notion of reconciliation.  

    Out of self interest, if not a sense of decency and honour, the BC NDP caucus might do a service to British Columbians if it considered the finding of a new leader keeping in mind that Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and MLA for OakBay - Gordon Head, signed this colonial agreement.   Removal of John Horgan as leader would be a good first step toward the BC NDP making good on its election commitments and promises.   

    Edited by Anthony Britneff
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    I'm really at a loss for words. I know I shouldn't be surprised that the BC government offered the First Nation one option: a pitiful sum in exchange for allowing an industrial forestry corporation to continue to exploit their lands and destroy wildlife and habitat. And of course tried to coerce them into shutting up and not resisting any of the destruction. The community members who are standing up are brave people.

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    For his absolute betrayal of forests and people, it is time for the electorate to clearcut John Horgan's political career. We'll leave standing the two of his clan who have resisted him, to help re-seed for the future. That's the only way to teach the man just how long clearcuts take to grow back.



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    Dave Broadland, it doesn't take you many words to lay out the shameful behavior of our Premier. You have been a tiger on this file. Thanks. You are so right, he thinks we are idiots. Well here comes the idiot wind.

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    OK so the NDP are fucked if they pull the TFL because the Pacheedaht will say they're rights are being stomped

    NDP are also fucked if they allow it to go through and be logged

    Who really wins here - I'll tell you, the shady forest company.

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    The ndp should do the only reasonable thing.. admit their error... pull the teal "permit or permission" and NOT seek any sort of refund from the  agreed payments... if the nation wants to have logging on their land.. (wich from my reading is not only their reservation land but they own the land titles as well).. they should be the ones who decides howmuch trees... where the trees being removed actually get removed from... when it takes place.. and any $$ compensation... flat rate per tree, rate per weight.... or a % value of end product produced.... I don't know alot only what I have read. But if the nations situation is indeed in that bad of a state I'm sure they would allow some removal to happen in exchange for a REALISTIC AND DECENT return..  to help themselves increase the quality of life..... another alternative would be for this COLONIAL bc ndp gov to build / provide a long term 0% interest loan for the construction of a SMALL ( fully functioning lumber or pulp mill - with repayment rates to be based on the capacity of said mill) so the nation can have long term employment for many members and manage their own resources.. this may not be a popular option among full out environmentalists. But it would give the nation control of its own resources, and provide jobs during construction, along with permanent jobs for its current and future generations... and It would also provide real life, useful job experiences that could used province wide... between truck drivers for delivery, operations in the mill, and tree fallers... and I'm sure the nation would be able to thrive and also manage their resources accordingly... increasing the quality of life for generations to come.. instead of letting a company come and clear cut a few areas for 3 years and leave the nation worse off than it was to start...

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    A Forestry Consultation Revenue Sharing Agreement is a boiler plate Agreement signed by nearly every nation across BC. It gives us three per cent of stumpage for logging in our territory. 

    We also have annual tenures.


    My band has 110,000 cubic meters annually and we do what what Pacheedaht have done. Sell it to someone else to do the logging and we collect that money.


    You're so dishonest.

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    13 hours ago, Guest JOEY said:

    A Forestry Consultation Revenue Sharing Agreement is a boiler plate Agreement signed by nearly every nation across BC. It gives us three per cent of stumpage for logging in our territory. 

    We also have annual tenures.


    My band has 110,000 cubic meters annually and we do what what Pacheedaht have done. Sell it to someone else to do the logging and we collect that money.


    You're so dishonest.

    Hi JOEY,

    Thanks for your comment. I think you may be reading into my report something that wasn't intended. It is well known that the Pacheedaht have forestry agreements regarding logging on their traditional territories. The comments above are in reference to a specific agreement between the Province and the Pacheedaht that was initiated by the Province in response to the blockades. The Province bought the Pacheedaht's cooperation and attempted to silence any Pacheedaht who disagreed. This agreement was made just before Teal Cedar Products Ltd filed its application for an injunction.

    I am surprised that you think getting 3 percent of the stumpage for logging in your territory is a fair exchange. Stumpage represents, on average in BC, about one-quarter to one-fifth of the market value of a log. In many cases it is far less than this. Bigger companies seem to know how to get stumpage down to the ground. So you are getting 3 percent of that one-quarter to one-fifth. That works out to between eight-tenths of one percent of the log's value and six-tenths of one percent.

    Your First Nation owns the resource, according to Supreme Court decisions. Getting between eight-tenths of one percent and six-tenths of one percent of the value of your resource doesn't strike me as a good deal.

    In the case of the Pacheedaht, the exploitation may be even deeper. According to the Province's Harvest Billing System, Pacheedaht Forestry Limited cut 16,925 cubic metres in its territory in 2020. For that they paid the Province $736,101.11 in stumpage. This worked out to $43.49 per cubic metre.

    In 2020, Teal Cedar Products Ltd harvested 801,064 cubic metres. This was spread between TFL 46 and other forest licences the company has. All those licences are on some First Nations' unceded territories. What stumpage rate did Teal pay? It averaged out to $14.87 per cubic metre.

    Why are the Pacheedaht paying $43.49 per cubic metre for a resource they own and Teal pays $14.87 per cubic metre for a resource it doesn't own?

    From the outside, this appears to be just a continuation of hundreds of years of exploitation. Why are you settling for that?

    For us ordinary settlers, we might want to check whether our wallet is still in our pocket, too. The stumpage collected by the Province doesn't come near to paying for the ministry of forests’ expenses

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    "If we were to arbitrarily put deferrals in place [at Fairy Creek], that would be a return to the colonialism that we have so graphically been brought back to this week by the discovery in Kamloops."

    Premier Horgan and Minister Conroy-

    The preceding quote leaves me gobsmacked. I have heard senseless political rhetoric many times in my 73 years on this planet but this one is remarkable. It smacks of the entitled attitude I see and hear from you, Mr. Horgan, on too many occasions. You look and sound smug when you speak to us. Let me assure you that you do not have any secret inside information from which we, the general public, are too uninformed to be apprised. I have been an NDP supporter many times over my years of responsible electoral involvement and I think I know something you need to know:


    WATCHING-to see how sincere you actually are in your pretenses/promises to care about old growth logging and protection for forests on private and crown land and restitution for First Nations' atrocities

    REMEMBERING-NDP policies to put the public and its concerns first above corporate interests

    EDUCATED-many of us have watched the years go by without attention (beyond words) being paid to the resource extraction methods in our province by big profit seekers

    CONCERNED-of the capitulation of democracy which is an institution you have a sworn duty to maintain in favour of corporate short term profit

    SKEPTICAL-of the honour and integrity of modern politicians who seem to put their own vocational prosperity above the purpose for which they were hired

    NOT DISILLUSIONED-by the apathy governments want to nurture so the electorate will give up and go away after tiring from seeing the power given by governments to corporate lobbyists who do not have to protest, experience arrest and subsequent imprisonment for standing up for their perceived rights and concerns

    AWARE-of the audacity that government elected legislators and their staff can be enticed into accepting as their "due"

    READY-to substantially alter our electoral system and those we elect within it so drastically that today's politicians will look astonishingly like the old guard that kidnapped, tortured, raped and murdered First Nations' people in a barbaric "residential" school system. Their names, and yours may be among them, will be held up to be seen by all for destroying an environment that cannot be rescued, and then defended yourself by such a weak and insulting statement as the one you made and which is recaptured here at the heading of this letter.

    Pat Martin

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  • The NDP's old-growth logging deferrals

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