Dear Editors of the Alberni Valley Times and the Vancouver Sun,
Blustery speeches and heart-felt complaints are all well and good, but they don’t get us very far. At the Public forum held by the Save Our Valley Alliance on May 4 in Port Alberni, I felt there was little in the way of a proposed way forward, of proposed action. There was, however, general consensus on one thing; Only the Government of BC can force the Forest Companies to change. It must be convinced to take the lead and change the laws so that companies no longer have carte-blanche when it comes to forest practices and log exports in our province. It is clear what the Liberal Government thinks of SOVAs action so far, and while a trip to the Legislature would be helpful, one day of protest on the Lawn would likely do little to change their minds.
It is time that SOVA joined forces with other groups… native, environmental, union, and others… across the Island, and around BC. We have a strong alliance of interest groups on this issue. What’s more, the citizens of BC have the leverage. These trees grow on our land. They grow around our communities. They use our roads. The common Union tactic would favor rotating strikes… the common Native or Environmentalist tactic would favor a roadblock. Perhaps it is time for rotating roadblocks, manned by Union members, Aboriginals, Environmentalists and other parties, at log sorts and active logging operations around the Island and the Province. If, after a few days, or weeks, that does not have the desired effect… then shut the whole forest down for a day, two days, a week. Yes, money will be lost and our own neighbours will be affected, but hey, in this town, a couple weeks layoff is par for the course. In the end, this is about sustainability and securing our future. This also ties into much larger issues like high gas prices, the proper use of railroads, climate change, and peak oil. If we the citizens of Port Alberni and British Columbia would like to have a real, sustainable future… then we must start by ensuring our own resources are managed in a responsible way. This is only the first step in building a sustainable future for our Province.
We have seen that, when faced with real pressure, this government will bend, and with a Loyal Opposition finally restored to the Legislature, the pressure will be that much greater. It is time to act. SOVA, and the Community of Port Alberni, have only just begun… we must take the lead in spreading this movement across the Island and Province wide.