Meet your MLA: old growth logging deferrals

The following is a step-by-step guide to help you organize a meeting with your local MLA about old growth logging deferrals in B.C. We hope this information will be helpful to you.

Stand.earth has tens of thousands of members across British Columbia. Stand was created to challenge corporations and governments to treat people and the environment with respect, because our lives depend on it. Over the years, our work and our approach has evolved from a dedicated focus on forest protection to taking on some of the root causes of climate change and environmental injustice.

We know that targeting our local MLAs has been an effective strategy so far in putting this issue on the map and making it a key focus for the B.C. NDP - but our work isn’t over yet. Let’s send a powerful message to our elected officials: we won’t stop until old growth logging deferrals are implemented and First Nations have the support, funding and space required to determine long term plans for their lands.

  • Click here to commit to having a meeting and we'll be in touch with you to get organized. But you also don't need to wait for us to get started, this toolkit should provide everything you need to start planning your meeting!

What does immediate old growth protection look like?

  1. A meaningful commitment to implementing all 14 recommendations from the old growth review panel;
  2. Immediate logging bans in the most at-risk old growth forests, as set out by the Old Growth Technical Advisory Panel and First Nations 
  3. Ensure that the B.C. government is equipped to work with, and support, Indigenous Nations on long-term protection plans.

You can help pressure the B.C. government by meeting with your local MLA via Zoom. This guide will show you just how easy it is to be a champion for old growth by communicating with them directly.

Don’t use Zoom? You can follow the same steps but just request to meet over the phone instead.
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Here are the steps:

Step 1: Look up your MLAs information
You can find this information here: https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members

Step 2: Email your MLA to set up a meeting over Zoom (or the phone!)
You can choose to attend the zoom meeting alone; organize with people in your riding to join the meeting; or invite friends and family members.

  • Plan the date and time you will be asking for a meeting
  • Email your MLA to ask for a meeting
  • Confirm a time and date for your meeting with your MLA

Note: Not hearing back from your MLA? Try a phone call, re-sending the email, tagging them on social media and highlighting that you are a constituent!

Step 3: Creating a Zoom link for the online meeting

  • Go to www.zoom.us (a website that allows us to have a teleconference call - video and sound)
  • Zoom is a free video-calling service. If you need help using zoom, there are video tutorials here

Step 4: Prepare for your call
Once you’ve heard back about a date and time that your MLA can meet, it’s time to prepare for your call

Review your key talking points:

  • I’m a constituent in your riding who is deeply concerned about government delays in protecting old growth. While it's encouraging to see the government signal an intention to protect 2.6 million hectares of at-risk old growth forest, intentions are not the same as action - and we desperately need action now. That is precisely why your government agreed to the old growth expert panel timeline, which clearly recommended immediate logging deferrals as a first step, which should have happened over a year ago.
  • With the release of the findings of the Technical Advisory Panel, the province has been given a very clear roadmap for protecting old growth forests, and you have every tool to move forward on securing these protections right now. At this point, delays in implementing deferrals are unacceptable.
  • Representative unions like the UBCIC, made it very clear that first you must stop the chainsaws to create adequate time for comprehensive consultation, which was outlined in their Protect Our Elder Trees Declaration: “If this government is serious about protecting old growth they must stop the chainsaws now to maintain all options and begin the process of working with First Nations on support for permanent protection. This opt in strategy the government is currently pursuing for deferrals is too slow and is resulting in critical old growth being logged without the consent of First Nations. The government should instead pursue a province-wide deferral and an opt into permanent protection option for discussions with First Nations.
  • Many other stakeholders have supported this and agree that it's the best approach to protect old growth and honour Indigenous sovereignty ie. Dr.Rachel Holt, Ecologist on the Old Growth Technical Advisory Panel said, "Our panel has recommended that we defer these areas immediately. The province decided to not take that path and instead to get a response from Nations just to get their hand and say yes, we want this. An alternative would have been to say, it’s all deferred and Nations should let us know if they don’t want to do that."
  • If you haven’t listened to CBC’s interviews with Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the UBCIC, responding to the November 2 announcement, I implore you to do so. Here is an excerpt that gets the point across very clearly: “In my view it’s a very insidious move to hide behind the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Peoples – saying my goodness, we need to consult with the Indigenous peoples. That’s going to take a couple of years. We’re not really prepared to invest any significant funding to this venture. We’ll just have the same groundhog discussion around old growth forestry. And at the same time, the logging continues and old growth forestry is at great risk.” Grand Chief Stewart Phillip "And I also note that the expert panel, one of their recommendations was the initial engagement was to be 6 months and yet we’re told we have 30 days. So it really tosses the ball into the laps of First Nations, similarly to what the province did with regards to the school boards being saddled with the vaccination policy."
  • Deferring old growth logging in at-risk areas is a critical first step for full engagement with Indigenous Nations and a just transition for forest communities – while protecting these irreplaceable forests simultaneously. Indigenous Nations and local communities need concrete funding support so they can make old growth protection a viable economic option.
  • Of course the work doesn’t end there. You must ensure that the B.C. government is equipped to work with, and support, Indigenous Nations on long-term protection plans – this includes deep consultation with the diverse sets of voices that represent each of these Nations, as well as financing conservation planning and economic diversification. I’m pleased to see recent commitments from the federal government to provide funding to support protection, and I hope to see more leadership from your government on this front because 12.6 million is not nearly enough.
  • Stand.earth delivered a petition at the B.C. Legislature at the beginning of August with 150,000+ signatures, which has grown by 40,000 since. More broadly, Sierra Club’s polling indicated that over 85% of people living in British Columbia support action to protect endangered old growth forests.
  • In the wake of the announcement on November 2, 2021, I hope you will work to ensure your government and colleagues in the B.C. NDP caucus deliver on their promises to immediately defer logging in all at-risk old growth forests across the province. I appreciate the good intentions, but intentions aren't the same as protection – and in the meantime irreplaceable trees and forests are falling every day.

In case you are interested, here is some additional background information:

Step 5: Your meeting
We’ve drafted an outline to host and share a meeting with your MLA, but feel free to add in your own personal touch.

During your meeting

  • Introduce every person, making it clear that you are a constituent and name any groups you are a part of in the community. You can say that you are a part of Stand.earth, an environmental organization representing tens of thousands of constituents across the province;
  • Use social media to broadcast your meeting, take photos, tag the candidates and use the hashtag #bcpoli and #OldGrowth. You can also tag @standearth on Twitter and Facebook, or @stand.earth on Instagram and we will share your post;
  • Take notes.

What/when
Join zoom 10 minutes before start time.

Script

  • Hi everyone! Welcome! Can everyone test their mic (mute, un-mute) and turn their video on.
  • During the meeting, please keep yourself muted to minimize background noise, unless it's your turn to speak.
  • I would like to start with a round of introductions. Please introduce yourself, any organization you are a part of, your pronouns if you're comfortable, and why you care about protecting old growth forests in B.C.

Make your demands

  • We would like to speak with you about our specific requests to stop government delay and immediately defer logging in at-risk old growth forests across B.C.
  • We want to review our key concerns: you can use the above talking points to help guide this section

Wrap up with your 'ask'
To ensure that you walk away with a tangible commitment from your MLA, you can directly ask them to raise this issue within their party and colleagues in the B.C. NDP caucus to deliver on old growth logging deferrals. And then you should plan to schedule a time to follow-up and ask how that engagement went, and to have another meeting to discuss it, as well as the next steps.

Group photo
Take a screenshot of your Zoom call. Not sure how to do this? Ask someone in the meeting with you. On a MAC you can take a screenshot by using Command, Shift, 3.

Thanks and Goodbye!
Thank you so much [MLA name] for your time and for committing to [insert commitment if they made one].

After your meeting
After the MLA leaves the zoom, you can stay on with other participants for a 5 min debrief.

  • What went well?
  • What didn’t go well?
  • What do you want to do next?

Step 6: Send a report
Thank you for being a champion for old growth. You can send a report of your meeting to tegan@stand.earth.