NationTalk – First Nations leaders from across B.C. and Technical Advisory Panel member Dr. Rachel Holt called on the provincial government to take faster action to protect threatened old-growth forests and commit the resources necessary to support First Nations through this process with immediate deferrals. Following the government’s announcement of its intention to defer 2.6 million hectares of at-risk old-growth forests, they gave a 30-day deadline upon First Nations to decide on logging deferrals, while themselves taking more than 18 months to reach this point. As this arbitrary and rushed deadline draws to a close, First Nation leaders and experts are criticizing both the process itself and the lack of progress on the ground.
Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond stated “British Columbia has used Indigenous self-determination and consent as part of its justification for the 30-day time limit for Indigenous decision-making regarding old growth deferrals. This is incoherent and disingenuous. The UN Declaration makes clear that consent must be ‘free, prior and informed.’ Unilaterally determined approaches and timelines is not ‘free, prior and informed’ decision-making. Yet this is exactly what BC has done – taking 18 months to develop its approach without First Nations and then giving First Nations 30 days for their decision-making.
This is not co-operation— it is not a basis for consent.”