BC VIEWS: Avatar sequel bombs in Walbran

Protest machine tries all its tricks to revive 'war in the woods' on B.C. coast, the most restricted logging area in the world

Masked protester interferes with logging operation in the Walbran Valley

Masked protester interferes with logging operation in the Walbran Valley

Avatar, the future-fantasy blockbuster that beat Titanic as all-time Hollywood box office champ, has finally been unseated by the latest Star Wars space opera.

I watched Avatar on TV over the holidays for the first time since its 2009 release, and was able to see past the bombastic special effects to examine it for what it is, an anti-capitalist propaganda film.

Psychopathic military commander teams with evil mining executive to blast and slaughter their way to a chunk of rare mineral, ridiculously named “unobtainium.” Giant tree, home of highly evolved Na’vi people and their delicate jungle ecosystem, is toppled for sadistic fun and profit, before nature’s collective strikes back.

Canadian director James Cameron helped the global anti-development network use the movie in its celebrity attack on the Alberta oil industry. Now the story line is being employed again in B.C., in an effort to revive the 1990s “war in the woods” that led to the creation of Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park on Vancouver Island.

Protest tactics are being refined. Targeting just outside the boundary of the vast park established 20 years ago, giant trees are named and an Avatar-style narrative of unbridled greed is spoon-fed to urban media.

There’s a “Tolkien Giant” now, although I’m reliably informed it is not one of those trees that gets up and walks around in the Lord of the Rings movies. This tree is also protected from logging, as are most of the poster trees used for propaganda and fundraising.

The network uses multiple front groups. Vancouver-based Wilderness Committee stages urban protests and issues news releases, while Ecojustice lawyers fight forest company injunctions against direct actions that disrupt legal logging. An employee of the B.C. branch plant of Sierra Club lurks, apparently coordinating media and protesters.

A 1990s remnant called Friends of Carmanah-Walbran issued a statement Nov. 9 announcing “autonomous action” by three protesters to disrupt logging. Not their guys, you understand, just masked individuals willing to lock themselves to equipment or wander into a road-building blast zone, forcing work to stop for safety reasons.

These are among the actions that forced the logging company to go to court for an injunction.

Cast in the role of evil corporation is Teal-Jones Group, a B.C. forest company trying to operate in what is now the most environmentally restricted forest in the world. It keeps about 2,000 people employed in logging and its sawmills in Surrey, where investments have been made to handle second-growth coastal timber as well as what little old-growth they are allowed to harvest.

Protesters have dubbed their latest target, the tiny 3.2 hectare cutblock 4424, “Black Diamond Grove” for media and fundraising purposes.

Teal-Jones forester Chris Harvey provided me some information to counter protester claims. Block 4424 isn’t being logged, although it was permitted last fall. Protesters are targeting other operations, none of which are in the contentious Walbran “bite” area next to the park.

Teal-Jones has not only received permits and worked with environmental organizations, its operations are independently certified by the Canadian Standards Association.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge granted an extension of the injunction protecting Teal-Jones’ operations on Jan. 4. The judge wasn’t swayed by protesters packing the Victoria courtroom, and upheld a 50-metre safety zone around working equipment in the Walbran Valley until the end of March.

A Wilderness Committee spokesman with no evident forestry qualifications was appalled. He will no doubt continue to issue news releases and write his own version for left-wing fringe publications that seek to perpetuate an urban culture of revulsion for logging.

Tom Fletcher is legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

 

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Supporters — and shoppers — lined up waiting at the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South, waiting for the doors to open on the store's first day of operations since the pandemic forced its closure. (Photo courtesy Kate Fox)
CHCA Thrift Store re-opens in Cranbrook

After a closure of 15 months, due to the pandemic, the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South has once again opened its doors for business.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read