Welcome to "Make Waves", in its new layout. After a hiatus, this issue catches us up on the Bulletins from September and October, plus a neglected item from the summer. We are still working on some of the formatting, so if you have any comments on the design or content of Make Waves, please e-mail us.
Original story: Cracks are widening in the government's land use program. ... The latest decision in the Haida's struggle with Weyerhaeuser, released by BC's Supreme Court in September, creates significant obstacles for the Liberals' goal to hand over control of public lands to logging, mining and energy corporations. ...more
Update: The September judgement bolsters the approach Dogwood Initiative is helping many First Nations take on land use issues (see Bulletin on challenges to resource proposals). The judgement flows from the Haida's ground-breaking victory at the BC Court of Appeal in 2002. That victory has been a significant worry for resource development companies, who risk more setbacks like the September judgement if they continue business as usual (see our related Bulletin on comments by Terasen's president). The 2002 decision has been much in the news lately, since the Supreme Court of Canada is releasing its decision on the Court of Appeal judgement on November 18, 2004. (See Vaughn Palmer on First Nations' strategies for retaking control of land; see the Sun, the Province, and Russ Francis in Monday Magazine on the Supreme Court appeal and its implications.) Check our website on November 18 for commentary on this decision.
Original story: The Liberals giveth (to 4 big corporate coal rights owners) and the Liberals taketh away (from 600 small landowners who weren't even told they were being ripped off). ...more
Update: This story, about a clandestine expropriation of coal rights the government had granted, isn't just a matter of a rip-off of miners. Many people had obtained mineral rights to their lands to protect them from development. It's an important story, but should not overshadow some good news for opponents of coalbed methane extraction: local opposition has stalled the promotion of "cbm" in Hat Creek; and activists in the Kootenays foiled the auction of rights to the Crowsnest Coalfield. So far it's unclear whether the victims of the coal expropriation can achieve a similar victory. They are reviewing their legal options, as they spread the word to those who still don't know it's happened. The secrecy of the expropriation, especially the secret deals with four companies that retained their rights to the coalbed methane in theeir coalfields, may yet become hot enough attention to make the government back off.
Original story: The Port Alice mill closure illustrates how the Liberals' new forest schemes benefit corporations at the expense of communities. ...more
Update: This Bulletin, from October 27, was reprinted in some north island newspapers. Our ongoing research indicates that the Wisconsin-based company under RCMP investigation for fraud has suspiciously little history. We have been unable to find any information about its corporate record: operations, staff, and relationships. The story is recent enough that there are no new developments at this stage. Keep your eye on our Bulletins for further news about this issue.
Original story: The BC government's approval of the environmental assessment (EA) for the controversial Jumbo Glacier Resort is just the latest illustration of their contempt for public participation. Cabinet approved the EA, despite the overwhelming opposition of a broad cross section of local residents, businesses, environmentalists and First Nations....more
Update: This Bulletin comments on the latest example of the meaninglessness of the environmental assessment process in BC. Now that the Jumbo Resort has earned its rubber stamp, it faces the Regional District's rezoning process, as well as Land & Water BC's purely technical Master Planning process. The democratic process is the one that matters, though: local communities are still opposed to the project, as is the Ktunaxa Kinbasket First Nation. If the Ktunaxa people exercise their power and work with local opposition, it's unlikely Jumbo will transpire, even if Minister George Abbott goes back on his word and tries to use the Significant Projects Streamlining Act to override zoning. We are helping that opposition with strategic advice, and with research into the true backers of the project (see our Bulletin on the first results of that research).
Original story: The privatization of much of the land over which Weyerhaeuser holds tree farm licenses (TFLs) has dropped out of the news, but that doesn’t mean the fight is over. ...more
Update: The privatization of tens of thousands of hectares of forest land in July was a major event, but did not receive wide coverage in the major media. We
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