VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Forestry workers and Indigenous rights demonstrators are heading to the B.C. legislature to send the province a message as the annual budget is set to be revealed.
While the provincial budget isn’t expected to offer any surprises or big announcements, both groups gearing up to rally outside the legislature are promising to make a fuss about forestry and natural gas.
The BC Forestry Alliance says the NDP government needs to do more to protect the fledgling forestry industry and will be delivering a petition to the NDP.
“There is a need to defend the working land base that is being dissolved at an alarming and unsustainable rate,” the Alliance says in a statement. “Without the availability of the harvestable land base, the stability that is enjoyed throughout the province and the way of life of the BC communities will be lost.”
This comes as 3,000 Vancouver Island forestry workers ratify a tentative agreement with Western Forest Products ending a seven-month strike.
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Last year the industry suffered from thousands of job losses after dozens of mills closed on B.C. amid a shrinking allowable harvest.
The issues facing the industry include trade challenges and U.S tariffs but as far as harvest issues go the government points to the impacts of climate change, such as wildfires and the pine beetle infestation.
Tuesday’s rally comes shortly after 3,000 Vancouver Island forestry workers ratified a tentative agreement with Western Forest Products ending a seven-month strike. A convoy of 40 to 50 logging trucks is expected to roll in just after noon from up-Island.
At the same time, the environmental group Extinction Rebellion claims the budget will cause further harm to the Wet’suwet’en. The group is threatening to make citizens arrests but hasn’t identified who they plan on detaining or how.
“XRVI is acting with more legal authority than the RCMP, Coastal Gas link, John Horgan or Justin Trudeau. It is acting in recognition of Wet’suwet’en, Canadian and international law. Upholding the law is the responsibility of every settler citizen,” the group says on its Facebook Page.
Last week, the group closed bridges in Victoria in support of Wet’suwet’en. There is still an injunction for protests at the legislature after demonstrations during the throne speech.
It remains to be seen how the two might co-exist on the legislature grounds today but despite their unlikely allyship, with climate change events counted as the biggest factors in the loss of harvestable timbre, the two may find a mutual goal in slowing the destruction of B.C.’s forests.