Who has control over our lands?

Hard Pressed

Here we go again.

For the past three years or so the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area has been the arena of discontent. People got up-in-arms when TFL 25 was released from Western Forest Products logging lands and was subsequently allowed to be sold for its real estate values. This was wrong in many ways, no question about that, but the government refused to change their decision. People were upset, they waved placards and decried the decision and they are still doing so. But this time the target is a developer.

The developer bought the property in question when the TFL lands were legally up for sale. Although there are some who think the land sale was illegal because they did not agree with the Ministry of Forest’s decision to allow it to be sold. In any case, the land was and is private land. It is not Crown land and it is not park land. Private land is also not on the table in the current and ongoing treaty negotiations. The premise is and always has been that Crown land is on the treaty table, not private land. While many will disagree with the acquisition of those forest company lands, you cannot go back and rearrange things the way you would like them to be. If we were to do that, we really wouldn’t have any claim to hardly any land. The sins of the fathers are history. We can’t change it because we now think differently. That is the way business was done in the past. We can learn from our mistakes but we can’t undo them.

What we have now are a number of lobbying groups who are responsible for much of the activism. The Dogwood Initiative has been funded by an American non-profit organization, the U.S. Tides Foundation through the Wilburforce Foundation since 2002. The initial, stated purpose of the funds was “to develop a conservation-based legal and policy framework to devolve control over land in BC’s central coast to First Nations and communities in the interest of long-term habitat protection.”

The important statement here is, “to devolve control over land in BC’s central coast… ”

The U.S. Tides Foundation has assets of over $286 million and they fund other lobbying groups such as the Sierra Club of B.C., Rainforest Action Network, Environmental Law & Policy Centre, Sierra Club of Canada, Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society and others.

The Dogwood Initiative has paid positions within its organization and actively recruits volunteer and paid activists.

Their side: “Our organization, Dogwood Initiative, helps British Columbians exercise local control over resources, and to realize the power of their own democratic muscle. We work with our community of supporters – over 75,000 strong, from all political persuasions and walks of life – to effect change on the issues we care about.”

Who controls our resources and who controls what we care about?

Why the Dogwood Initiative was one of the referral agencies asked for comment is beyond me. They are not a government body or a servicing agency. They are an U.S.-funded lobby group.

I realize it is important to hear all sides, but this particular group has an obvious purpose and that is to oppose and organize resistance to anything they disagree with. They are rude and disrespectful and intimidate others. They rely heavily on youthful idealism. They organize car loads of people to come to meetings to pump up the numbers of those in opposition and they appear to organize and control letter writing campaigns.

The question has to be asked:

Why is a U.S.-funded organization so interested in what we do with our land up here? What’s the ulterior motive?

 

Pirjo Raits is the editor of the Sooke News Mirror.

editor@sookenewsmirror.com