Rainforest Solutions Project

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


Old-Growth “War of Words” in New York Times

December 19, 2002

Victoria, BC — Environmental groups ran an ad in today’s New York Times to correct a statement made there last week by B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell regarding spotted owl management and the state of B.C.’s old growth forests.

The ad features the Premier’s quote from his December 11th letter that stated, “B.C. has more old-growth forest now than 100 years ago.” A photo of a clearcut is followed by the tag line: “Maybe he really meant old-growth stumps.”

“If somebody’s pants aren’t on fire, they sure are warm,” says Joe Foy of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee. “The fact is B.C. continues to clearcut ancient forests. Well over 50% of B.C.’s ancient coastal rainforests are gone, which include critical habitat for endangered spotted owls.”

A report released by the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, Forest Watch of B.C. and the Wilderness Committee predicts that, unless logging ends in its habitat, the spotted owl will be extinct in Canada within 10 years. Less than 25 breeding pairs now exist in southwestern B.C., the only place the spotted owl is found in Canada.

“Tens of millions of B.C. and Canadian taxpayers’ dollars are spent greenwashing the Canadian logging industry, but now the truth is out there too,” said Candace Batycki, BC Endangered Forest Program Director for ForestEthics. “Customers of B.C. forest products can see past the spin.”

“Gordon Campbell’s Liberal government has launched an unprecedented assault on the environment,” said Lisa Matthaus, Forest Policy Analyst for the Sierra Club of Canada, BC Chapter. “Environmental groups in both Canada and the United States have joined forces to expose the B.C. government’s reckless disregard for B.C.’s environment. Now the world is watching.”

Canada’s Species at Risk Act, passed on December 12th, does little to ensure the survival of species like the spotted owl because it lacks effective measures to protect habitat.

The ad was placed by ForestEthics; Greenpeace; Sierra Club of Canada, B.C. Chapter; Northwest Ecosystem Alliance; and the Wilderness Committee.