Okanagan Chief slams "thinly veiled" attempt by Tolko to incite violence against band membership
February 25, 2010
Okanagan Chief slams “thinly veiled” attempt by Tolko to incite violence against band membership. Layoffs are due to poor markets and Tolko’s own unsustainable logging practices.
Okanagan Nation Territory, Vernon – Okanagan Indian Band Chief Fabian Alexis today slammed Tolko’s “irresponsible” and “thinly veiled attempt to incite violence against the Okanagan Indian Band membership.” “Blaming us for the closure of the Armstrong Plant is utterly ridiculous,” said Chief Alexis. “The amount of wood we are preventing Tolko from logging amounts to about 15,000 cubic metres which at most would only be a three day supply for the mill.”
“The fact is that Tolko had previously put out a news release on January 19th where it announced it was curtailing lumber production due to poor market conditions,” noted Chief Alexis. “Also in its news release of February 24th Tolko made reference to BC Ministry of Transportation load weight restrictions due to unseasonably warm weather.”
“We also have pictures showing that Tolko’s Armstrong sort yard is full of logs, so the fact they are laying off workers at that mill has everything to do with market conditions and nothing whatsoever to do with our decision to protect our drinking water supply,” added Chief Alexis.
“Last but not least, Tolko closed their Armstrong mill for two weeks last year, it has even been referred to by some industry insiders as Tolko’s annual curtailment,” noted Chief Alexis.
“We request that Tolko apologise for their highly misleading statements to the media and warn them that if they persist in trying to incite violence against our community we will not hesitate to take them before the BC Human Rights Commission,” concluded Chief Alexis.
“Before the introduction of Tree Farm licenses in 1962, most of the creeks running into Okanagan Lake were protected as water reserve areas. But thanks to decades of unsustainable logging practices the hills above the Okanagan Valley are a patchwork of clearcuts,” said Chief Alexis. “The result has been fish bearing creeks that flood in the Spring and go dry in the Summer because the forest ecosystem that used to absorb and then slowly release that water has been largely wiped out.”
For more information please contact: Chief Fabian Alexis, cell (250) 306-2838, phone (250) 542-4328
Kudos to Chief Alexis for his thoughtful and intelligent representation of OKIB.