Furstenau and the forests: the real deal

There is now only one party leader worthy of our trust

Once in a lifetime, we may meet a person who is both inspired and inspirational. Such people are born with the stuff of great leadership as if in their stars. In retrospect, throughout history, we may look back at these luminaries and lament—if only here, now to lead the way.

For two years, I’ve worked with many people to protect our local forests. We have been motivated by love, not politics, however with the upcoming election, protecting the provincial forests, including the old growth, is absolutely political. Love is not enough, we must vote.

Sometimes voting feels like a mild form of torture. Watching politicians “stretch the truth,” I’ve had to drag myself to the polling station. We have to vote, and I do it. Sometimes there is a politician I believe in—it’s rare. You probably know the feeling.

Imagine then my alarm, two years ago, when I was informed I was about to spend an hour with a politician, trapped in a confined space.

It was late summer, 2018. I‘d borrowed my father’s boat to join a slow-moving flotilla motoring to Salt Spring Island for a birthday party. A friend announced I was to convey Sonia Furstenau. Did I know Sonia? No, I didn’t. Of course, I knew about Shawnigan Lake. That was impressive. But now she was an MLA so I was looking for a way out. Then the crowd parted and there was Sonia.

In a lifetime one may look back on life-changing encounters and remember the feeling of intuitive knowing. As we boarded the boat, I knew this was one of those moments. A moment of passage—metaphorically crossing the waters with a fellow traveler—the stuff of literature and poetry, but rarely of reality.

We launched and headed for the vast nature preserve that I knew from rowing there as a child. Pulling ahead, I floored it. We left the pack. We arrived at a forest. We went for a walk—one that was to have far reaching consequences for more than just myself.

Now, I’m not going to say Sonia was on a mission, or was prescient and could see into the future—all I’m going to say for now is that if it were not for Sonia’s love of the forests, her determination to save the remaining old growth, and her inspiration, I wouldn’t have begun the local forest campaign.

The BC election is upon us. Furstenau was elected head of the Green Party and Horgan called a snap election.

There is a scandal. Horgan and his government are unmasked. (https://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-horgans-mask-slips-after-furstenau-letter-challenges-premiers-flip)

When it comes to protecting the forests, there is now only one party leader worthy of our trust. Furstenau is all about the forests. North Cowichan is all about the forests. For two years we have proven our commitment.

No wonder Horgan raced to call an election before Furstenau could pull her party together. Forest legends, like biologist, Councillor, and best-selling nature author Andy MacKinnon, and Six Mountains Forest and old growth advocate Chris Istace, have raced in to join Sonia as candidates.

Many of us believed Horgan and the NDP when they said they’d do better than the Liberals to create sustainable forestry; that they’d act as stewards and would protect the old growth. It didn’t happen—not even close. I first learned of this through my logging buddies whose livelihoods depend on sustainable forestry.

In North Cowichan, every day we watch giants, like gods, hauled from out of the West side of the island. People talk about the pain of watching the old growth trucked past us en route to be shipped offshore.

To watch ancient trees, survivors of centuries of great winds and fire finally brought down, strapped down on flat decks, emerging from apocalyptic smoke enveloping the coast these past weeks, is sickening.

As the world’s forests continue to burn, the lessons of the old growth standing, of nature’s resilience, of why we must stop clearcutting, are before us in few diminishing patches.

If ever Nature were to conspire to create a horrific image to burn through unseeing eyes—trucks removing ancient trees through smoke from forests on fire—this is it. If only all of BC were able to witness the travesty.

And to witness so many species left homeless, wildlife wandering lost through the wastelands. Then to notice the parallel of too many of our own species wandering homeless through the streets.

As observers of the demise of the old growth, the anger growing in North Cowichan is palpable. Our eyes are opening. Alongside anger grows our reverence of the forests.

Covid-19 helped to open our eyes. For a moment the machine was shut down and in the silence beneath blue skies, nature revealed itself. People returned to the forests and remembered what is real.

Politics is not real—not eternal like nature. But we don’t have to play the game. This election we have a choice. This time we have a reason to vote and I can’t wait. This time my ballot is on the public record:

This one is for the old growth. This one is for intact forest ecosystems. This one is for our grandchildren. And as for my logging buddies who love the forests, this one is for you. Now go vote!

https://elections.bc.ca/voting/how-to-vote-by-mail/

Icel Dobell,

North Cowichan

forestryLetters

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rupal Tanna behind the counter at the new Crofton Pharmacy. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Crofton Pharmacy open for business

Residents not able to travel happy for the convenience

The road into Crofton will be a lot nicer when the roller coaster bumps are taken out of Crofton Road. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Crofton Road improvements to start taking shape Nov. 2

It’ll be a long haul until next summer to get it done and motorists should expect delays

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor has expressed concerns about the excessive freighters parked in the Salish Sea for quite some time. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor introduces bill to address freighter anchorages

Concerns about the environment, noise, pollution and safety abundant

Doug Routley of the NDP is relaxed after learning he’d won a fifth term as MLA. (Photo submitted)
NDP dominance continues in Nanaimo-North Cowichan with Routley’s reelection

Runner-up Istace enthused about the rise of the Greens in the riding and the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

Most Read