Injunction Granted Against Rainforest Flying Squad in Fairy Creek and Other Hot Spots
Despite the injunction granted to the logging company today in court, Fairy Creek forest defenders vow to continue the fight to protect old-growth forests.
This image shows the section of old growth forest at the headwaters of Fairy Creek that Teal Jones plans to clear cut. Photo credit; TJ Watt
“I am so disappointed that the court has such sad disregard for the people’s need for old-growth forests,” said Bill Jones, an elder of the Pacheedaht nation, and a representative of the Rainforest Flying Squad in the court proceedings, “and for Indigenous people’s need for old-growth forests.” He added that the decision reaffirmed his distrust in the courts and government to consider the public interest.
Carole Tootill, another of the RFS representatives, said: “We are concerned about preserving all old growth, not just in Fairy Creek. And we will continue to stand up for it wherever we can.”
After eight months of protecting these priceless and rare old growth forests in the midst of a climate emergency, forest defenders will now be subject to removal and arrest. They have also been ordered by the court to pay costs, which have not yet been determined.
Saul Arbess, a member of the group who fought for the Carmanah Walbran for years, pointed out that, “if blockaders had been charged with trespass or blocking roads, they could mount a legal defence. But with an injunction, there is no defence available — you either did violate the injunction or you did not.”
Rainforest Flying Squad plans to continue to peacefully defend all at risk old growth within TFL 46 and beyond.
The Government of British Columbia has not responded to appeals to declare these areas deferred from logging as recommended by the Old Growth Strategic Review. That recommendation was to occur within six months of release of the report, by March 11, 2021.
The government announced that it would implement the review in its entirety.
The injunction was granted due to irreparable harm, balance of convenience and Teal Jones’ right to conduct lawful business. Public interest and Charter rights must be addressed through government, Justice Verhoeven said in his ruling.
“We find it ironic that the RCMP is being used to enforce the policies of a government that campaigned on preserving rare old growth, like that found in Fairy Creek and the other TFL 46 pockets we seek to preserve,” said Tootill.
“Destroying the headwaters of the last intact watershed on southern Vancouver Island will most certainly damage the forest below,” she added. “There are loopholes available that could allow Teal Jones to ultimately log even more of this pristine watershed.”
“The government’s Old Growth Strategic Review stated areas like this needed immediate protection last April. Yet the NDP continues to talk and log,” said Arbess.