Anti-logging protesters at Fairy Creek should leave and allow discussions to continue between stakeholders on how to move forward on forestry issues, Premier John Horgan said Sept. 17.
Fairy Creek has become one of the largest civil disobedience actions in Canadian history with almost 900 arrests as RCMP enforce a court injunction.
And, Horgan told delegates at the Union of BC Municipalities as their annual convention wrapped up Sept. 17, it was not the First Nation that sought the injunction but rather the forestry company.
The injunction forbids blocking access for the Teal-Jones Group, which has logging rights in the area.
Protests have gone on despite the fact that Victoria deferred logging in about 2,000 hectares of old growth around Fairy Creek and the Central Walbran area in June, after a request by three First Nations.
Horgan said the First Nations have asked five times for the protesters to leave.
“Despite that, the protesters remain,” Horgan said.
To resolve the situation, Horgan said protesters need “to acknowledge there is no logging going on there and go back to their homes.”
Premier asks everyone get a COVID-19 vaccine
Horgan praised provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix for their work in spearheading the pandemic response.
“Our goal all along has been to keep British Columbians safe and healthy,” he said.
The challenge now, he said, is making sure all British Columbians get vaccinated. He noted 78% of residents are vaccinated and four million have at least one shot.
“The pandemic has shown us that when we work together, we can meet the toughest challenges imaginable,” the premier stated.
Green Leader gives thanks
Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau addressed delegates Sept. 16, applauding municipal leaders for guiding residents through not only the pandemic but through the wildfire season and drug overdose epidemic.
Noting the heat wave and fires, Furstenau said, “Climate change continues to rob us of clarity and predictability.”
On the pandemic, she expressed concerns about protests at hospitals.
“I couldn’t imagine that health-care workers would be subject to harassment,” she said.
“It’s safe to say that normal feels out of reach.”