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 the old growth logging scandal in B.C.

We know that targeting our local MLAs has been the most effective strategy so far in putting this issue on the map and making it a key focus for the B.C. government, but our work isn’t over yet.

The B.C. government is refusing to acknowledge that old growth logging is still happening in proposed deferral areas, even though we just released satellite images uncovering new cut blocks in them.

It’s clear that we need to counteract their misinformation with our evidence — face-to-face.

  • 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!

Meeting with your local MLA via Zoom is one of the most vital action you can take right now. 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 demands and talking points:

Evidence of old growth logging in deferral areas

  • In light of new research from Stand.earth Research Group and others, I/we are concerned that active logging is going ahead in priority old growth deferral areas. Deferrals were meant to be an immediate way to prevent the permanent loss of these highest value forests. So how can trust that the government is keeping its commitments regarding deferrals?

Follow up points

  • To quote the release of the research: "Upcoming research from Stand.earth Research Group (SRG) has identified multiple old growth deferral areas that were logged between March 2021 and March 2022, totalling an estimated 520 hectares of deferrals. Using satellite data from Planet Labs, this initial research, focused on Northern Vancouver Island and the Central Interior, found 43 deferral areas had been partially or mostly logged, including areas near 100 Mile House logged by West Fraser since November. In total, the study identified about 120 hectares of old growth logged after the province released maps of deferral areas on November 2, 2021."
  • "The logging identified in the initial research has overwhelmingly occurred in big-treed old growth forests (95%), one of three categories prioritized for logging deferrals by the province’s old growth Technical Advisory Panel (TAP)."

Funding for a transition away from old growth logging

  • The federal government has committed $55 million to permanent old growth protection in BC contingent on the province providing matching funds. Does the BC government intend to match this amount, and if so, when will they announce this publicly? What has the provincial government done to make funds promptly and easily available to First Nations impacted by proposed logging deferrals? How much funding has been made available so far? 

Follow up points

  • To amplify the Union of BC Indian Chief's Elder Tree Declaration around this exact issue: "The Horgan government is abdicating its responsibility to protect old-growth, is pressuring First Nations into making critical decisions regarding the territories and forests they have stewarded over since time immemorial, and is continuing to deny the fact that they must immediately provide substantial resources to support First Nations towards this goal- this is consent by coercion."
  • New capacity funding of up to $12.69 million over three years available to support First Nations in developing a new approach to managing old-growth forests as described in the Old Growth Strategic Review is greatly inadequate, especially when the B.C. government raked in over $1.8 Billion in stumpage in 2021.

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 scandal and immediately defer logging in ALL 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 evidence within their party and colleagues in the B.C. NDP caucus to deliver on ALL necessary 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.