Letter: Protesters should become part of the solution

Why is it that they have not engaged in a problem solving discussion?

Protesters should become part of the solution

Why is it that protesters are able to be at a protest site for several days and sometimes weeks? Aren’t they working and how are they getting around financially while at the protest site?

I imagine that only retired people and those on social assistance have the privilege to come and go as they please within their budget but when I look at the protesters I notice that the majority is able-bodied and not at all of retirement age, so what’s up? Are they taking their vacation days to protest? But that’s only three weeks for entry level jobs. And who is willing to forgo the hard-earned vacation days to spend somewhere in the boonies without any comfort of a vacation resort? Perhaps they are on EI, but that means that they have to report genuine job searches and somehow I don’t think a protest site is going to cut it. So how do they get around to paying the rent, gasoline for their transport, food and clothing? Are they being sponsored; their expenses covered by somebody or something?

I know it’s none of my business, however I am concerned when in their zeal to protect the forest and old growth most protesters ignore court orders and agreements between the indigenous people and the forest companies. If the protesters are concerned about the forest, why is it that they have not engaged in a problem solving discussion? Sure they have the right to protest, but it’s so unproductive to just hang around and yell at the loggers who are trying to earn a living. How about a collective think tank to find a solution to replace or minimize the use of wood? How about volunteering to reforest (re-plant) the clear cut land? By not assisting in finding solutions the protesters are becoming part of a problem that RCMP and Indigenous alike have to deal with; ensuring that nobody gets hurt, that the garbage that’s left behind gets cleaned up. The protesters are guests of Mother Nature, so show respect for her.

Currently we have a problem with forest fires and we’re not sure what or who caused them, although the heatwaves didn’t help either. Since we haven’t had any thunderstorms it’s unlikely that a lightning strike has started the fires, so they are very likely caused by people’s actions. And here is another opportunity for protesters to make themselves useful as frontline firefighters on the ground are dealing with this fight around the clock for many days in a row. Taking a nap or a break in their own vehicles; hardly allowing themselves to eat or drink a decent meal. They are in thick smoke and intense heat trying to protect the forest and civilians; very much like the protesters want to protect the forest! So why don’t I see, hear or read that they are volunteering and assisting the firefighters by setting up an R&R station with healthy snacks, cool drinks, fruits or sandwiches? Wouldn’t it be lovely if this happens? I’m sure any firehall has some things volunteers/protesters can assist with these days. I’m also sure that businesses in the Cowichan Valley will donate towards this. It’s just good PR to do so!

It was not my intention to come down hard on protesters; I’m only mulling over the facts that actions speak louder than words; by showing us your willingness to embrace a positive approach to forest management thus becoming part of the solution.

Judy van der Boom

Mill Bay