Rainforest Solutions Project

Promoting conservation and economic alternatives in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest


Premier Campbell fails to meet commitment

September 30, 2005

Environmental Groups Agree to First Nations Request For More Time

(Vancouver, BC) – Premier Campbell has failed to keep his promise to finalize vital land use agreements for the Great Bear Rainforest by the “end of summer” according to Greenpeace, Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter, ForestEthics and Rainforest Action Network.

Just prior to the last election, Premier Campbell wrote to First Nations on BC’s Central and North Coasts committing to finalize agreements related to land use planning by the end of summer 2005. This commitment was reiterated by the Premier in a letter to the four environmental organizations after the election.

“For years, all parties set aside confrontation in favour of negotiation. But the value of the negotiation route is in question given the Province’s continued failure to meet commitments and timelines,” said Amanda Carr of Greenpeace.

It has been almost two years since the first of two groundbreaking consensus agreements on land use in the Great Bear Rainforest was completed by a range of stakeholders representing local communities, logging companies, labour, tourism and conservationists, among others. Those agreements were followed by direct negotiations between provincial and First Nations governments to finalize land use plans.

“Provincial government delay is placing the consensus agreements and the environment at risk. There are no legislated protected areas, no legal requirements to improve logging practices and no plan to implement change on the ground,” said Lisa Matthaus of the Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter.

“I am hearing that First Nations involved in government to government negotiations are also frustrated by the continuing delays,” said Merran Smith of ForestEthics. “Nevertheless, First Nations have asked us to give the Province another two weeks to conclude the government to government negotiations and secure an agreement on when legislated changes will be in place. We have agreed to the First Nations’ request, and will determine in two weeks what message we send to the marketplace about BC coastal wood products.”