Wednesday, June 9, 2021

 


I’d like to provide an update on an important development in Fairy Creek.

On Monday June 7th, the Pacheedaht, Huu-ay-aht, and Ditidaht First Nations issued the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration, taking back decision-making responsibilities over their traditional territories. At the same time, these three nations asked our government to defer old growth logging in the Fairy Creek Watershed and Central Walbran areas, which are located within their territory.

I’m pleased to report that our BC NDP government honours and has approved the request to protect all of the old growth identified by the three First Nations, including the Fairy Creek Watershed.

The protection of Fairy Creek is an important step in protecting the old growth forests that we all love.

The over 2,000 hectares protected in Fairy Creek and Central Walbran adds to the nearly 200,000 hectares our government has already protected, including in Clayoquot Sound and the Skagit “Donut Hole” in Manning Park. In total, we have now issued deferrals in 11 rare old growth ecosystems left vulnerable by the BC Liberals. 

But let’s be clear: while these are very important first steps, we know there is a lot more work to do. That’s why our government will announce more old growth protections this summer, following ongoing consultations with Indigenous rights and title holders.

In recent weeks, I’ve been asked why government didn’t act immediately to defer Fairy Creek. The answer is simple: We were respecting the request from Pacheedaht First Nation not to interfere as they developed a stewardship plan for their territories. The days of making land management decisions without consulting Indigenous rights and title holders is over.

All First Nations have the inherent right of self-determination and are uniquely positioned to be stewards of their territories. The outcome in Fairy Creek shows that when we put Indigenous peoples at the center of land management in their territories, we can protect old growth while advancing reconciliation.

Although some demonstrators have said they intend to continue protesting, it’s important to recognize what the Pacheedaht, Huu-ay-aht, and Ditidaht said on June 7:

“Third parties – whether they are companies, organizations, other governments, or individuals – have no right to speak on behalf of the Nations. Moreover, for third parties to be welcome in their ḥahahuułi (traditional territories), they must respect their governance and stewardship, sacred principles, and right to economically benefit from the resources within the ḥahahuułi.”

Thank you for raising your voice on this issue. British Columbians have cared about these forests for a long time, and these last few weeks have shown that commitment is stronger than ever. These forests are part of what makes our province a great place to live. They’re part of who we are as British Columbians.

 

Protecting Fairy Creek is an important step, but there’s a lot more work to do. I’ll keep you updated as we take additional action to protect old growth forests for future generations.

 

Click here to read the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration.

Click here to read more about our government’s announcement today.

Sincerely,

 



Tuesday, June 8, 2021


 
Today, Tuesday June 8th, is World Oceans Day! 

Our government has partnered with Indigenous Nations, coastal communities, local governments, and tourism operators to clean up over 1,200 KMs of our coastline. This is part of our Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative that is helping restore marine life and protecting BC’s coasts today and for years to come while also creating jobs and local opportunities! 🌊🌊🌊
 
To learn more about the Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative visit this link: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021ENV0029-000783

Sincerely,



Thursday, June 3, 2021


Throughout the pandemic, front line workers have been essential in keeping our communities going. Those front line workers include many hard-working people who still struggle to make ends meet, including grocery store workers, servers, and cleaners. Our government believes that these and all workers should make a fair and dignified wage. This week, we increased the minimum wage in B.C. to $15.20 an hour. We’ve also eliminated the discriminatory lower minimum wage for liquor servers – these workers will now make the regular minimum wage. 
 
Since 2018, we’ve been regularly increasing the minimum wage, which was $11.35 an hour when this work began. Close to 400,000 people have benefited from these increases, the majority of whom are women, immigrants and youth – people who bear the brunt of low-wage labour.  

Increasing the minimum wage is one way we are tackling inequality while making life more affordable. Another action we are taking is increasing the accessibility of child care. 
 
For too long, parents in B.C. have struggled to find affordable child care, which disproportionately impacted women. As of this week, our government has funded nearly 26,000 new licensed child care spaces, exceeding our original goal. In just three years, we’ve funded more than twice as many spaces as the previous government did in an entire decade. This means more parents can afford to go back to work or school, knowing their kids are being cared for and nurtured. 

When we lift up the most vulnerable, we are all better off. This pandemic has exacerbated many issues that British Columbians were already facing, from paying the bills to finding child care. We are committed to a recovery that benefits everyone in our province. 

Speaking of benefits – have you applied for your BC Recovery Benefit yet? This is the one-time payment of up to $1000 for eligible families, or $500 for eligible individuals. Applications close on June 30th! 
Visit this page to apply. If you have already applied, you don’t need to apply again – visit this page if you have questions or haven’t received your benefit.

Sincerely,




Tuesday, June 1, 2021


 
Happy B.C. Wild Salmon Day!
 
Today we join Indigenous communities, federal colleagues, conservation organizations, and B.C.’s fishing community in celebrating BC Wild Salmon Day! Wild Pacific salmon are an iconic species that mean many different things to British Columbians. They are culturally significant to B.C.'s Indigenous communities, contribute to our province's food security and are the economic backbone of many coastal communities, providing good jobs throughout B.C.
 
As we recognize B.C. Wild Salmon Day, we take great pride in celebrating how many people in our province are committed to helping protect and revitalize B.C.'s wild salmon populations. There are British Columbians who dedicate their careers to wild salmon, volunteer their time and effort to help restore habitat in watersheds in their communities or share information and engage others in the value of healthy rivers, lakes and streams. We want to both recognize and thank each one of them for making a difference.
 
The Province is supporting efforts to protect and restore wild salmon through the $143-million British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund. To date, the federal and provincial government fund has supported 42 projects with over $71 million. More projects are on the way.
 
On Vancouver Island, the Peninsula Streams Society has received funding to remove an existing obstruction in Millstream Creek and to install a fish ladder and a fish-friendly culvert. When the project is complete, trout and coho will have a 40% increase in habitat. The new fishway will also provide educational opportunities for locals and Mill Hill Regional Park visitors.
 
Our government is committed to working with Indigenous communities, conservation organizations and B.C.'s fishing community to support the conservation of wild salmon in the province and to continue to build a wild salmon recovery strategy we can all be proud of. This collaboration is what we need to get the job done with all of us working together so salmon will continue to swim in our waters for generations to come.
 
Sincerely,