Hundreds protest at B.C. premier's office as arrests at old-growth logging blockades continue
VICTORIA -- Hundreds of protesters showed up at the constituency office of B.C. Premier John Horgan on Friday, calling for an end to old-growth logging on Vancouver Island.
The demonstration was happening as the RCMP continued to make arrests at logging road blockades in the Fairy Creek and Caycuse watersheds on southern Vancouver Island.
By last count on Thursday night, the Mounties had arrested 133 people as part of their enforcement of a B.C. Supreme Court injunction against the protesters who are trying to prevent forestry workers from removing some of the province’s last old-growth trees.
Demonstrators outside the premier’s office in Langford on Friday eventually marched to the headquarters of the West Shore RCMP to continue their protest.
Protests against old-growth logging on Vancouver Island have been roiling since last summer. But the movement was galvanized for many this week when images were shared on social media showing a massive log being hauled on the back of a truck on Vancouver Island.
The images were shared around the world, prompting outrage that such an old tree would be harvested when there are so few of them left.
Forestry company Western Forest Products provided a statement to CTV News about the giant tree on Friday, saying the company is “deeply committed to protecting big trees and will provide further information once we know more.”
The company said it is in discussions with the B.C. forests ministry to “understand the facts around this particular tree” with regard to a recent B.C. law prohibiting the harvest of specific types of trees that are larger than a certain diameter.
Forestry company Teal Jones, which won the injunction to remove the protesters from its cutblock on April 1, said in a statement Friday that it "respects peaceful protest and welcomes constructive dialogue" about logging in the region.
"Our work in Tree Farm License 46 is important and responsible, vital to sustaining hundreds of jobs in the province and producing products we all rely on every day," the company said. "Teal Jones has a decades-long history of engagement with First Nations, responsible forest management, and value-added manufacture in B.C."