Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Sunday October 5, 2008 Rally protesting logging in Cathedral Grove by Island TImberlands, owned largely by the BC Government.

Cathedral Grove is under attack again, this time by a company that the BC government owns 25% of through a numbered company in Manitoba. Does the public know that the same government responsible for protecting this unique old growth forest is logging adjacent to this world famous provincial park?

Scott Fraser, MLA for Port Alberni-Qualicum said; “The BC government is the single largest investor in Island Timberlands, which is putting the public at risk by logging along the boundary of the park. The government has a very important responsibility to protect public safety in Cathedral Grove. I need to know what the government is doing to protect the trees in the park from wind-throw caused by adjacent logging.”

The province of British Columbia has thousands of employees, who contribute a portion of their earnings to a pension fund. The BC government has established an agency to invest this money. According to their website, “The British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) provides funds management services for public bodies and publicly administered trust funds. Public sector pension plans constitute the largest client group.”

The workers who contribute to these trust funds in recent years have included: B.C. Association for Schools, Teacher’s Pension Plan, Union of BC Municipalities, Saanich Police Board, British Columbia Pension Corporation, just to name a few. This same website states: “bcIMC has a limited partnership investment in Island Timberlands, a private timberland company located on Vancouver Island.”

Premier Gordon Campbell was at the Olympic games in China when he announced that his government was increasing the salaries of many CEOs of government companies. Doug Pearce, CEO for bcIMC was given a raise from $599,013 in 2007 to $726,737 for 2008 along with considerable raises to other executives in the firm. Meanwhile Brookfield has moved most of its holdings for Island Timberlands to Bermuda.

“The government is supposed to look out for the public interest, meanwhile a company the BC government has invested in heavily has established an off-shore company in Bermuda to minimize Canadian taxes,” said MLA Fraser.

In fact the BC government is the largest single investor in Island Timberlands, since bcIMC bought 25% of all shares for Island Timberlands in 2005, when the logging company was first established by Brookfield Asset Management Inc. However, Brookfield is listed under the heading of Real Estate on the bcIMC website not as Forestry. The investment is being made through a numbered company based in Manitoba.

In 2005 Island Timberlands was created with private land holdings that had previously been publicly owned as part of Tree Farm License #44. Despite the fact that Madam Justice Lynn Smith of the BC Supreme Court in Hupacasath First Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests) found that the Province had a duty to meaningfully consult the Hupacasath about their claimed rights and concerns in regard to 70,000 hectares of private timberlands within their ancestral territory before deciding whether, at the request of then-owner Weyerhaeuser, to remove those lands from Tree Forest License 44 (TFL 44)

The old growth forest that is about to be logged by Island Timberlands is separated from the main trailed park by several meandering canals of the Cameron River. Due to the steep slopes to the south, this leaves little room for the 300-meter buffer the logging company claims they will be leaving between their clear-cut and the park boundary.

A wind-assessment conducted for BC Parks states; “…the sheltering effects of the stands to the south and west should be maintained. This could be accomplished by acquisition of adjacent lands as noted in the park Master Plan.” This same forest has been considered for purchase by The Nature Trust of British Columbia.

In the past week there has been a public outcry that reflects the local, national, and international passion for the Old Growth forest of Cathedral Grove. The locally elected representative for this riding has tried to raise public concerns. MLA Fraser explained; “I couldn’t question the government directly because they have cancelled the fall session of the legislature. So, I went into the offices for the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Transportation but they weren’t there.”

Government effects environment and that why I’m a green voting NDP federally so I don’t split the vote, thereby electing a conservative in my riding. Proportional representation would be much better.Monday October 6, 2008 Rally to protect Cathedral Grove at Island Timberlands' NorthWest Bay Division south of Parksville, BC