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MLA recognized for work to protect forests

Alberni Valley Times - Alberni Valley Times, March 27, 2013

MLA recognized for work to protect forests
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MLA Scott Fraser receiving his award at Cathedral Grove alongside the Ancient Forest Alliance and many other important local supporters!
TJ Watt

Alberni-Pacific Rim NDP MLA Scott Fraser received a Forest Sustainability Award from conservationists and forestry workers in a small ceremony on Monday.

The award was given to him to recognize his years of exceptional public service as an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly in British Columbia to protect endangered old-growth forests, to counter the deregulation of forest lands on Vancouver Island and to restrict the export of B.C. raw logs to foreign mills.

The award was presented by Ken Wu and TJ Watt of the Ancient Forest Alliance, a non-profit environmental group working to protect old-growth forests and ensure sustainable second-growth forestry. The award is jointly sponsored by the Youbou TimberLess Society, former employees of the now-defunct Youbou sawmill who continue to advocate sustainable forest policies.

"I'm grateful to receive this wonderful recognition for my work. Our old-growth forests are a vitally important part of this province's identity, and a sustainable forest industry will benefit everyone," Fraser said. "I will champion endangered old-growth protection and sustainable forestry leading up to the election and subsequent to the election whether as part of a new government or in the opposition."

The brief ceremony took place in Cathedral Grove, Canada's most famous old-growth forest that is currently under threat with a planned cutblock by Island Timberlands on the above mountainside on Mount Horne. Joining the award ceremony to show their support for Fraser's good work were Arnold Bercov, representing the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada - President of Local 8, Jane Morden and Mike Stini, from the Port Alberni Watershed-Forest Alliance, and Annette Tanner, of the Mid-Island Chapter of the Wilderness Committee.

"Scott Fraser has been an exceptional MLA for his energy and outspokenness to protect endangered old-growth forests and forestry jobs," said Ken Wu, Ancient Forest Alliance executive director. "He's one of the rare politicians who has a real connection to B.C.'s majestic old-growth forests - a politician who actually hikes and gets muddy in these special places."

He said it is clear that his advocacy has not been lip service or simply a means to score political points.

"But because Fraser has a genuine passion - you can feel it when he's talking - for our old-growth forests and for a sustainable forest industry that could support future generations of forest workers in this province," Wu added. "It's important to give credit where credit is due, and Fraser certainly deserves credit for making forest sustainability central to his role as an elected public servant in his time."

Ken James, president of the Youbou TimberLess Society said this past decade has been an atrocity for B.C.'s forestry workers. 

"Over 70 mills have closed and 30,000 forestry jobs have been lost," he said. "Fraser has repeatedly gone to bat against the deregulation of B.C.'s forest industry and the massive export of raw logs that is killing current and future manufacturing jobs in this province."

He added that the province needs MLAs like Fraser in government to champion a forest industry that will sustain both ecosystems and human communities.

Read More: http://www2.canada.com/albernivalleytimes/news/story.html?id=10a47823-3f27-4c36-ab91-bdf4a8d55066


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