11:30 am Congregate at Centennial Square, then begin march
12:00 noon Rally at BC Legislative Buildings, Speakers
12:40 pm Join Hands and Encircle Government Building - two times around! Send a message to the BC Liberal government LOUD and CLEAR!
SPEAKERS so far include:
Bob Simpson (NDP Forestry Critic), Jane Sterk (BC Green Party Leader), Arnold Bercov (Pulp, Paper, and Woodworkers of Canada, Forestry Officer), Ken James (Youbou TimberLess Society, Director), Valerie Langer (Friends of Clayoquot Sound, Board Member, and ForestEthics, Forest Campaigner), Ken Wu (WCWC Victoria Campaign Director), and others...
We're aiming for 1000 people at this most important rally to save the remaining old-growth forests on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland and to ban raw log exports.
Why does drawing out 1000 people to the rally matter?
Because it's a threshold number that sends an undeniable, decisive message to the BC Liberal government only one year before a provincial election (May 2009) that these issues are FIRST RATE priorities for BC voters that can attract more DETERMINED ADVOCATES onto the streets than any other cause right now.
How will the government know 1000 people came?
Through our "Rally Participants Display", which will function like a giant petition where everyone who shows up will sign their names onto a giant board, print their names (optional), and bring a small photo (optional) of themselves that we'll tape onto the board (no inappropriate photos, though!).
At our ancient forest rally last fall we drew out 600 people - help us reach 1000 people!
What can YOU do?
1. CONFIRM you're coming by emailing us back (email@example.com ). WE WANT at least 1000 pre-confirmed! This is very important! 2. ROUND UP your friends, family, co-workers, classmates, and roommates! Let us know how many people you're bringing with you or better yet get them to confirm with us directly. 3. ORGANIZE CARPOOLS to the rally if you live elsewhere on Vancouver Island, on the Gulf Islands, Sunshine Coast, or Vancouver. 4. Help us PHONE our supporters list if you live in Victoria and have an hour or two to spare at our office (9:00- 5:00 pm Mon. to Fri., 11:00-5:00 pm Sat.) 5. Help us get POSTERS into stores and bulletin boards in your area, workplace, school, church, etc. 6. ANNOUNCE the rally details in CLASS or at any EVENTS (eg. meetings, presentations, church, etc.) that you attend.
What is the Wilderness Committee calling on the BC Liberal government to do? Key demands include:
1. Enact concrete restrictions with timelines to quickly end the logging of old-growth forests on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland where old-growth forests are scarce. 2. Ensure that our second-growth forests are logged sustainably. 3. Ban raw log exports and help retool manufacturing facilities to process smaller-diameter second-growth logs instead of old-growth logs.
What does the BC government's "Coastal Forest Action Plan" do?
It places no new restrictions on the logging of old-growth forests, but instead simply speeds up the logging of our second-growth forests. As such, it'll not only ensure that logging companies cut down our second-growth forests at breakneck speeds, but that logging companies continue to high-grade log the largest, most valuable old-growth trees, the giant western redcedars, Douglas firs, and Sitka spruce trees that are at the centre of the controversy. Their plan also does little to stem the flow of raw log exports from BC and may even increase the total amount of raw log exports.
How much old-growth forests remain?
On Vancouver Island, there were originally 2.3 million hectares of productive old-growth forests. Today, about 600,000 hectares remain, or about one-fourth of what was originally here. Of this, about 140,000 hectares are in parks.
In percentages, about 75% of the original, productive old-growth forests have been logged on Vancouver Island (including 90% of the valley-bottoms where the largest trees grow and most biodiversity resides). In contrast only 6% of the original, productive old-growth forests are protected in parks. See maps at stats at www.wcwcvictoria.org
Why protect old-growth forests?
- Are home to unique and endangered species that can't flourish in younger forests, such as the marbled murrelet and the spotted owl. - Counteract climate change by sequestering far more atmospheric carbon per hectare than second-growth forests do. - Are important parts of coastal First Nations cultures. - Provide clean water for fish, wildlife, and people. - Are fundamental pillars of BC's multi-billion dollar coastal tourism industry.
Can we protect BC forestry jobs at the same time?
YES, if the BC government takes a pro-active role, instead of shrugging off their responsibilities by blaming "market forces" for the loss of 10,000 BC timber industry jobs over the past year. Most of the accessible, largest old-growth trees in the valley bottoms and lower elevations have already been logged-off on the southern BC coast. However, second-growth forests are now maturing and comprise most of the southern coastal forest land base.
If the BC government were to help retool sawmills (by investing funds taken from taxing timber companies) to handle smaller-diameter second-growth logs, ban raw log exports, assist the development of a value-added wood manufacturing sector, and reverse their deregulation of massive areas of coastal forest lands, the government could protect BC forestry jobs while also protecting our remaining old-growth forests at the same time.
Does your participation make any difference? Do government's actually listen?
YES and YES!!! Governments are forced to listen when enough people make them listen (ie. when enough people make democracy work). Politicians are afraid of being tossed out of power due to shifts in public opinion and when enough people - and "enough" is the key word here - know, care, and speak up! Many famous protected ancient forests that are now taken for granted by the public, including the West Coast Trail/Nitinat Triangle, Carmanah Valley, Lower Walbran Valley, Lower Tsitika Valley, Sooke Hills, Tahshish Valley, Juan de Fuca Trail, Chilliwack Lake, Upper Elaho Valley, Clendenning Valley, Stein Valley, and hundreds of other wild places, were protected only because thousands of people spoke up and stood up for their protection. It works!
YOU are a vital part to help save what remains! On March 29 please make it a FIRST RATE PRIORITY to come and bring your friends to the decisive rally for our last old-growth forests!
For more information on the issues visit: www.wcwcvictoria.org and www.viforest.org P.S: Hey friends, something historic is about to happen. The Pulp, Paper, and Woodworkers of Canada (PPWC) union led by Arnold Bercov is working to bring out as many as 100 forestry workers to this Saturday's "1000 Strong for Ancient Forests" Rally in Victoria (see below for details). Previous ancient forest rallies have included representatives of forestry unions who've participated as speakers, but this is the first time there will be significant participation by large numbers of forestry workers at an ancient forest rally in the general crowd.
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