Friday, January 07, 2005


The Nobel Peace Prize for 2004 was awarded to Wangari Maathai of Kenya for leading a powerful crusade against deforestation. As an environmentalist and women’s rights activist she led the “Green Belt Movement”, which mobilized women to plant 30 million trees in a country where 98 percent of the forests have been logged or burned. The Nobel committee said. “Peace on earth depends on our ability to secure our living environment.”

Dr. Maathai was jailed, beaten, and persecuted for working to stop deforestation in Kenya. She spoke out against the destruction of the natural environment and challenged both the status quo and the government for not protecting the forests that provided life for millions of people. She motivated tens of thousands of woman to change farming practices and managed to persevere against many obstacles. She is now the Deputy Environment Minister of Kenya.

In British Columbia government, big business, developers, and special interest groups are constantly working together to discredit environmentalists. Millions of tax payer dollars and private corporation profits are spent each year to convince the public that we can continue to destroy the environment with little or no consequences.

As a documentary film-maker I have been in enough ministers’ offices, executive boardrooms, and community halls to know a smoke-screen when I see one. The BC Liberals are about to announce just such a red-herring in the hope that the public will re-elect them in May. Logging in Cathedral Grove will continue as usual but the ‘PR spin’ will lead you, the tax payers, to believe that forest land is to be protected while paying off Weyerhaeuser with cash and/or a land swap.

What is actually happening is that the public will be buying approximately 140 hectares of land in the Cameron Valley from Weyerhaeuser. The majority of this land has already been logged and is currently a monoculture tree farm with Douglas fir trees that resemble christmas trees.

Weyerhaeuser could not log the tiny trees in this area for a long time so why pay taxes on land that is not turning over a profit today when they can trade it for land that they can log right away? Meanwhile the only land outside of the present day park that has a substantial stand of old growth trees is excluded from this latest secret deal.

Vice President of Weyerhaeuser Canada Craig Neeser said; "Make no doubt about it we are going to log Cathedral Grove!” This may seem hard to believe, but then again most people think that H.R. MacMillan ‘gave’ Cathedral Grove to the people of BC.

The reality is that in 1952 MacMillan swapped 136 hectares of forest in the Cameron Valley for logging rights in Strathcona Park. The oldest provincial park in British Columbia has been cut up, divided, logged, mined, dammed, and swapped by provincial governments since it was ‘protected’ in 1911 by a special Act of the Provincial Legislature.

The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled that the BC government must insure that industry does not degrade land that is claimed by First Nations in ongoing treaty negotiations. The Supreme court of British Columbia turned down the BC Liberal’s application for an injunction to remove the public from the proposed parking lot site in the Cameron Valley.

In 1885 the public began to lobby the government for a park to protect “Cathedral Grove” from the peak of Mt. Arrowsmith to Mt. Horne including the Cameron Valley and Cameron Lake. Today concerned citizen have been camped in Cathedral Grove for 10 months with this same demand. Don't let public opinon be side stepped by WLAP Minister E-mail: When will BC get a Minister for the Environment who respects the earth for what it is: the provider of all life?

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