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Anthony Britneff

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  1. Logging in BC releases immense quantities of carbon emissions, degrades needed ecosystem services, destroys habitat for at-risk wildlife and creates conditions that allow larger and more intense forest fires. It’s time to downsize the industry to a level that meets BC’s own needs and no more. All large forest fires in BC involve many thousands of acres of clearcuts and plantations, both of which have a higher fire hazard rating than primary and mature forest (Photo: BC Wildfire Service) JOBS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA’S FOREST SECTOR have become a talisman exploited by the forest industry and its associations in persuading politicians of the importance of the sector to the provincial economy. As forestry jobs have steadily declined, industry lobbyists like the Council of Forest Industries, Resource Works and the Truck Loggers’ Association have become increasingly creative in overstating the contribution of the forest sector to the provincial economy by, for example, inflating job numbers with indirect jobs. If Statistics Canada were to count jobs this way, we would have many more jobs than there are residents in the province. Between the years 2000 and 2019, the forest sector of British Columbia shed 50,000 direct jobs largely due to mechanization and depletion of old growth forests. About the same number—50,000—remain, mostly in manufacturing. So let’s question the talisman. Is it that ridiculous to shed the remaining number of direct forestry jobs in the woods and manufacturing by, say, 40,000? Perhaps not. Let’s examine some of the compelling reasons for a reduced workforce in forestry: Tree cover loss expressed as area per capita is greater in BC than in most forested countries of the world; greater than in Brazil, Indonesia and Russia. This rate and extent of clearcut logging has a large carbon footprint. The prevalence of highly flammable clearcuts and young plantations (less than 25 years) has become a significant driver of the size of wildfires…the mega fires of recent years that destroy homes and impact air quality so badly that our health is endangered, including the spread of COVID. In fact, wildfires in BC have increased in size and intensity so dramatically that they, together with logging, now exceed fossil fuels as the province’s major source of climate-destabilizing carbon. You won’t find this in the provincial government’s carbon accounting because it has deftly chosen to ignore carbon emissions from logging and wildfire. Consequences of clearcut logging more familiar to the reader include: the loss of the little remaining old-growth forests growing in ecosystems rich in biodiversity; the destruction of fish and wildlife habitat (salmon, caribou and grizzlies); and the relentless extermination and extirpation of animals, plants and fungi. In many ways, climate change in BC is all about water. Here, clearcutting is instrumental in contaminating the drinking water for many rural communities; in depleting groundwater causing more frequent and prolonged drought events; and, of huge concern to the residents of Grand Forks and the Okanagan Valley, in increasing the frequency, magnitude and duration of major flood events. The excessive rate of clearcutting is permitted by a grossly inflated allowable annual cut (AAC). But the question is: to what end? Only 20 percent of the forest products derived from clearcutting are destined for our domestic market. The remaining 80 percent satisfies export markets mostly in the United States, China and Japan—all of which have higher standards for the conservation and protection of old-growth forests than does BC. This means that those three countries are conserving their ecosystems at the expense of the degradation and loss of our ecosystems. In spite of the high level of exports of forest products, the forest sector contributes a meagre two per cent to the provincial gross domestic product (GDP) and only two per cent to the provincial labour force. In other words, our provincial economy is sufficiently robust and resilient to absorb further job losses in forestry and reduced exports of raw logs and forest products. Accordingly, would it not be in the public interest to ban clearcutting and substantially lower the allowable annual cut thereby reducing the export of raw logs and forest products and cutting back the labour force in the forest sector? If we as a society in BC can shed 400,000 jobs in two months of 2020 to deal with a global pandemic, is it that ridiculous to transition, say, 40,000 forestry jobs into non-destructive forest and value-added enterprises and into other economic sectors in order to mitigate a global climate emergency already having such profound consequences for BC's environment and residents? Anthony Britneff worked for the BC Forest Service for 40 years holding senior professional positions in inventory, silviculture and forest health.
  2. I don't think anyone said that. But since you imply it, let's explore the idea. Given that: Wildfires in B.C. have surged so dramatically that they, together with logging, have overtaken fossil fuels as the province’s major source of climate-destabilizing CO2. You won’t find this in the provincial government’s carbon accounting because it has deftly chosen to ignore carbon emissions from logging and wildfire; The rate and extent of clearcut logging in B.C. has a large carbon footprint and serious consequences such as: more severe and frequent flood and drought events, destruction of shallow soils, depletion of groundwater, destruction of fish and wildlife habitats, contamination of drinking water, continued extermination and extirpation of animals and plants, and bigger more intense wildfires that are dangerous to the health, safety and survival of British Columbians; The high level of forest product exports (80% of all logging in B.C.) mainly to three countries (USA, China and Japan), all of which have higher standards for the protection and conservation of primary forests than B.C. has, means that they are conserving their ecosystems at the expense of the degradation (and loss) of our ecosystems; and, The forest sector contributes only 2 per cent to the provincial GDP and 2 percent to the labour force. Accordingly, is it not in the public interest to ban clearcutting, substantially lower the allowable annual cut, reduce exports of raw logs and forest products, and cut back the labour force in the forest sector? If we as a society in B.C. can cut 400,000 jobs in two months of 2020 to deal with a global pandemic, is it that ridiculous to transition, say, 40,000 forestry jobs into non-destructive forest enterprises and other economic sectors in order to mitigate a global climate emergency having such costly consequences for B.C.'s environment and residents?
  3. I was surprised that a senior industry manager, after reading this story, would have the temerity to repeat a false myth (quoted above) used ad nauseam by foresters, by spokespersons for the forest industry, and, inexcusably, by politicians and senior public servants, who sit on the very same data that David Broadland uses to disprove the myth in this story and in his response to Sean Steede's comment. Hopefully, other senior industry and government personnel will read David Broadland's story and take away another chief point, which is that the rate of logging in B.C. Canada (deforestation of primary forests) on a hectare-per-capita basis is extreme, greater than in most countries in the world . . . way worse than in Brazil, Indonesia and Russia. This excessive rate of clearcutting primary forests has grave consequences for all of us: bigger and more intense wildfires, worsening flood and drought events, extirpation and extinction of animals and plants, massive carbon pollution of the atmosphere, and dangerous issues for our health and safety.
  4. You might very well ask who to vote for, Cee; I couldn't possibly comment other than to say vote for the party that appears to have the political will to deal with the root causes of the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis in B.C. (forestry, LNG, fracking, and the gross subsidies to all three) As for hope, seek some encouragement from the words of Suzanne Simard taken from her recent speech at a rally outside the provincial legislature on August 9, 2021: "Be on the right side of history. Don't give up . . . There is a big confluence happening right now. There is an energy in this world. There is change about to happen. We have no choice. Let's be at the forefront of it." Source: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=236199095036686&ref=watch_permalink (Suzanne Simard speaks from 1:30 to 1:53 minutes on the video)
  5. "Carbon emissions may continue to rise, the polar ice caps may continue to melt, crop yields may continue to decline, the world’s forests may continue to burn, coastal cities may continue to sink under rising seas and droughts may continue to wipe out fertile farmlands, but the messiahs of hope assure us that all will be right in the end. Only it won’t.” — Chris Hedges Source: https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2019/09/18/Climate-Crisis-Wipe-Out/ Our job is to make sure these messiahs of false hope do not win elections. Politicians/leaders need to understand that we the people do not tolerate lies, duplicity and betrayal, especially when we are faced with the exigencies of global heating: water degradation, loss of animals and plants, and a climate dangerous to our health, safety and survival. Once politicians/leaders get the message at the polls, then we have some hope of containing the damage yet to come.
  6. Congratulations David Broadland on a magnificent piece of investigative journalism exposing as false more of the forest industry's and ministry's self-serving mantras. Thank you Recently a team of scientists, practitioners and academics wrote a White Paper on wildfire and climate change (see attachment). When I searched the document for the words logging, allowable annual cut, clearcuts and plantations, I found none. This leads me to question whether collectively the signatories to the White Paper are avoiding embarrassment to the forest ministry and the forest industry that feed some of them. Any acknowledgement of the role played by highly flammable clearcuts (of live trees) and young plantations in exacerbating ignition, area and rate of spread, and intensity of recent wildfires would likely lead to: questions of legal liability of the forest industry and government for extensive damage to properties and livelihoods; and to recommendations that: (1) clearcut logging of primary forests cease and (2) the allowable annual cut be greatly reduced. Would these two recommendations not be prudent and in the public interest given the climate emergency, the biodiversity crisis and the greatly threatened health and safety faced by the residents of rural communities for centuries to come? White Paper_wildfires and climate change.pdf.pdf
  7. Thanks Hans for the clear exposé. For those readers who wish to learn more about Ecojustice's complaint to which Hans refers in this story, please find the press release and text at these links: Press release: https://ecojustice.ca/pressrelease/sustainable_forestry_claims_false/… Text for the complaint: https://ecojustice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/2021-07-21-CSA-CB-Complaint.pdf
  8. Thanks Hans for your story with which I agree wholeheartedly. However, for me, to certify forest management in British Columbia as sustainable is more than an abuse of the language but rather a false claim that misleads Canadian consumers and the foreign buyers of 80 per cent of our forest products in the United States, Japan and China into believing that B.C.'s forests are sustainably managed. CSA forest certification for sustainable forest management is a sham and falsely represents what is happening to provincial forests. Today, July 21st, on behalf of six signatories and supported by Stand.earth and Ancient Forest Alliance, Ecojustice filed a request for an investigation by the federal Competition Bureau into CSA’s false and misleading sustainability allegations. Readers can find below the media release and the text of the complaint. Thanks go to Ecojustice for crafting the complaint: https://ecojustice.ca/case/calling-for-an-investigation-into-sustainable-logging-in-b-c/ Text for the press release may be found in full here: https://ecojustice.ca/pressrelease/sustainable_forestry_claims_false/… Text for the complaint filed with the federal Competition Bureau may be found in full here: https://ecojustice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/2021-07-21-CSA-CB-Complaint.pdf CSA complaint.Media release.EMBARGO July 21 2021.docx 2021-06-01 CSA CB Complaint.pdf
  9. Am I in Canada? Marauding goons? Shattered glass at night. Indeed, how far is this going to go? The horrific images and the stories being shared with other countries speak to premier Horgan running a failed state. Horgan must end this violence; guarantee the safety of protesters; and, protect the 3% of remaining old-growth forests.
  10. 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.
  11. Why isn't the RCMP charging these thugs with mischief and some of them with assault? Where are Western Forest Products, Teal Jones and premier Horgan in denouncing this violence?
  12. John Horgan ran both his election campaigns without any meaningful new policy for forestry. Anything promised has not been delivered. He apparently doesn't know anything about forestry and doesn't listen to anyone who does. His advice, if he seeks it, comes from a cabal of unelected party insiders, the forest industry, and a forests ministry -- the mindustry -- wholly captured by the industry. Horgan after Adrian Dix took the wind out of the sails of a progressive BC NDP just as Glen Clark did after Mike Harcourt. What makes matters worse is that Horgan and his insiders implicitly champion the deregulated forestry policy that they inherited from the BC Liberals. It is heartbreaking to know that we have a premier of the province who appears to be absolutely clueless about the three defining issues of our time -- water, biodiversity loss and climate change -- and about the combined, devastating roles played by the industry and forests ministry in making all three worse. God help us.
  13. Thank you David Broadland for your thorough analysis of Justice Verhoeven's ruling. It appears to me that you have set out solid grounds for an appeal of the judge's decision. Let's hope that a lawyer, who cares about justice as opposed to the legal system, steps forth to represent pro bono the Fairy Creek demonstrators in an appeal. Indeed, as you point out so well, "the irreparable harm" is to the public interest with outrageously bloated subsidies to the forest industry that employs only 1.9% of BC's jobs and generates only 2% of BC's gross domestic product (Source: BC Stats). It is these inordinate government subsidies together with a complete absence of BC NDP forest policy that enable the forest industry's ongoing destruction of communities, watersheds, rivers, drinking water, biodiversity, caribou, salmon, grizzlies, wolves, carbon reserves, high-value old-growth primary forests, forestland, and climate. By continuing to allow the logging of high-value, old-growth, primary forests, is premier John Horgan practising ecocide?
  14. Thank you, Margaret, for an excellent letter to John Horgan. As a fellow senior, I'd like to add a couple of points: The age group 20 to 39 years is also the group that by necessity is more mobile than other groups. They are on every frontline in health facilities, in retail and grocery stores, in policing and fire brigades and in parenting taking kids to and from school. It is that age group that holds the rest of society together. Horgan's castigation of the young in public has shown all of us that we have a premier without elementary leadership skills. The man is confrontational and divisive, both qualities rendering him unfit for the job he holds.
  15. Posted December 7, 2020 Image: Once vibrant Ocean Falls is now all but abandoned. The hidden agenda of industrial forestry companies in BC is privatization of publicly-owned land. Rural communities dependant on forestry need to resist that and support changes that would increase local, public control of the working forest. Go to story
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