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Frank Talk: Dale Lore shares his opinion about volume, area, tenure,
community values, cut control, and working with government.
Following the two days of the ICSI Community Forest Symposium I sat down
for a couple of hours with Dale Lore in Port Clements. This interview is
a distillation of that conversation.
- Interview conducted by Simon Davies.
SpruceRoots - Are ICSI's goals supported by the local Ministry of Forests
Dale Lore - Yes, and I have good reason to believe that. I have talked to
people and I have connections in Victoria. I have feedback telling me that
Krishka is exceeding Brash - the previous District Manager - in support
of us. I am told that she is the strongest advocate that they have ever
seen for local control.
SR - Is that support for community control of forest land for a certain
volume of timber?
DL - Until this past weekend - of the ICSI Community Forest Symposium
- we were a shoe-in for a pilot project. And we can have an area-base with
a pilot project.
[In conjunction with the Jobs and Timber Accord, the government is developing
policies that will see the implementation of three Community Forest Pilot
Projects. Each Pilot may be somewhat different in design, but it is likely
that at least one will be area-based. There are several locations in the
province that have expressed an interest in having a Pilot Project.]
SR - Why was that news not expressed by ICSI this past weekend at the Symposium?
DL - Because I don't know it officially and if I express it someone is going
to trace my source. This is one of the horrible things about inside information,
you have to be really careful about who knows. You have to show enough credibility
so people can read between the lines.
SR - The choice before the public seems to be a choice for either area or
volume. With an area-base the assumption is that it will be managed in a
sustainable manner, and with a volume-based tenure the assumption is that
it will be business as usual. What I hear from you is that the choices from
the public point of view are quite different from the assumptions that ICSI
is working from.
DL - Yes, but the public watched us go around to all the communities. They
watched every community say they wanted area-based and only one community
said "accept the volume," and that was Sandspit. Every person
that was at the Symposium last weekend knows how we work; they know that
area-based is what ICSI wants. What we need is enough leeway to bring that
area-base home; enough trust and enough faith that we can do it, to give
us a bit of free-hand to accomplish it.
There are several different ways to accomplish it, a pilot project is one.
I am convinced that given two years I can swing a chart area with volume
over to area-based. I have so much faith in that that I would quit my job
at MB if I couldn't do it. I have that much faith in my drive and motivation
and the people I am working with. But I don't know how to get the message
out; that is the problem.
SR - There may be two problems. One is how do you guarantee, that in fact,
we can get area by attempting the 'volume to area' scenario? The pilot project
may be a safer bet from the public's point of view. ICSI would go the pilot
project and fight for it to be area-based. The scenario of volume to area
is where the unknowns are. So far there has been little explanation of what
is going on in the back rooms. ICSI can't be up front because, as you said,
you can't say what is going on.
DL - Here is another route, and this is the route I prefer to take. Take
the volume-based chart area and then treat it as area-based. Set your own
cut control and wait, and when somebody objects, force them to come on to
the land. If we have to do it without the pilot project then it is with
civil disobedience. If you are going to practice civil disobedience, then
the win-win in practicing civil disobedience is to impact nobody but you
and your opponent. Don't impact the major licensees, don't impact anybody
else on the Island. Practice what you preach on the land, then force the
government to come on to the land and arrest you. I don't see how they can
win and I would be willing take my chance in going to jail, particularly
if I had a Haida or two with me, because I don't think we would be in jail.
I think that is the quickest and easiest way to get cut control, because
the pilot project may give us area-base but I'll bet you it doesn't give
us cut control.
SR - You believe that the route ICSI is taking - take the volume and convert
to area - is supported by people on the Islands.
DL - I think it is supported by over 50 percent. My problem is that I am
reluctant to go with a 50/50 split, I want a minimum of 85 percent and I'll
kiss off the 7.5 percent on either side.
SR - How is ICSI measuring community values and the desires of people? Some
people think there is a difference between the values that ICSI started
with and where we are now, because there are a lot of discussions going
on that are not public.
DL - The thing that I don't understand is how people can think that. Because
we are such a small Island, we are all neighbours and over the years we
know each other - I mean we can give each other's speeches, friends and
enemies alike. With the public process that we went through, I hoped and
had assumed that there was enough faith in the integrity of ICSI to accomplish
the message we have heard loud and clear, which is: people want area-based.
The public has the complete 100 percent right to tell their community leaders
what they want. The public has no right, in my mind, to tell the leaders
how to accomplish it.
SR - So you feel, as leader or chair of ICSI, you should have clear title
to accomplish those goals in which ever way you decide?
DL - Yes, because otherwise no member of ICSI can use very much initiative
to accomplish the goal. Because you know as well as I do, with any goal
in life, that as soon as you set the goal you find an obstacle and you have
to go around it; and many of those obstacles are not the ones you anticipated.
You can't go back to the public every time you get into a bit of trouble
and say help us out we've got a problem.
SR - Perhaps it is about degrees, how far you go before you check back in
with the public.
SR - What is the most important issue facing ICSI?
Working together, small business, learning, and area
DL - The most important issue is: how much are the Island people willing
to work to make this happen? The number of people working in the forest
that are helping the ICSI process along is nowhere near as high as it should
be. There should be an awful lot more volunteerism from the people working
at the lower and middle management levels in the companies.
There should be something visibly being put back into the communities from
the Small Business people, because it is absolutely impossible - from my
own view point - for me to take any chances going out on a limb, when I
know full well their past record.
SR - Is that attitude toward the Small Business operators one that ICSI
DL - No, that is mine. But my view is that they are the most serious obstacle
that we passed to date, it was a real struggle. The problem is that those
people fought 10 years ago trying to change things; they didn't get it accomplished
and personally I think it drives them absolutely crazy that they didn't
succeed and somebody else is.
SR - The ICSI Community Forest Symposium was a very interesting two days.
DL - I thought it was widely successful.
SR - I was wondering what you learned during those two days?
DL - The biggest thing that I learned was how much we need to learn, and
how little the outside world understands how far we have come. We are half
way, but, it has taken us three and a half years. We started from a stand
still with no momentum and a huge obstacle in front of us. The obstacle
is still there but it is moving about the same rate we are, it is still
slipping a bit, but we are at the half way point.
SR - Do you think this process is going to take another 3 years?
DL - No, shorter. I figure we are 2 years from the end of it.
SR - What is the end?
DL - The end of the process is when the Island has put together their Management
Working Plan, it has been accepted and the layout for logging is starting.
SR - Is that for area or volume?
DL - To me that is area.
SR - I understand there is negotiation with MoF deciding on areas of land
for an amount of timber volume. What is the ICSI process in dealing with
that? I know there is public concern about where those areas are, and how
they fit into the understanding of what the public wants for a Community
Forest. Are you going to negotiate and define those areas with MoF and then
bring those areas to the public? And at that point, what are the options
for the public? Or is it a take it or leave it package?
DL - What I envision is that we will do the damnedest we can do, to get
the best deal we can get, then we will bring it back to the public, explain
what we have got, and ask the public if they will accept it.
SR - What if the public tells you the areas ICSI worked out need some more
DL - The areas to me are not critical.
SR - So ICSI is offering a promise to turn a volume-based license into an
area-based license and to manage it in a sustainable manner and to deal
with the overcut.
DL - Yes.
SR - You have said that there is a promise that ICSI will turn a volume-based
tenure over to area, you won't accept the license from government unless
there is assurance that it is convertible. What if you can't get assurance.
Conversion clause, infrastructure, local mills, and time line
DL - To tell you the truth, that would make me a lot more comfortable to
take other courses of action because of the injustice of it.
SR - You are confident that there is a convertible clause coming with the
DL - Yes, I am not only convinced that there is a convertible clause I am
convinced that I can talk government into letting us write it.
SR - What assurance can you give the public that this will work? You are
asking the public to rely on your word.
DL - It is the best thing I can give you. In three and a half years can
you point to ICSI ever misleading or lying to you or anyone else in the
public in any way? Have you ever seen us make any kind of a falsehood, even
not tell the whole truth? Have you ever seen anything on this Island as
up front as this particular group of individuals have been? That is the
strongest single statement I can give to you.
I believe a man's history makes his word strong. And I agree 'the word'
in this day and age doesn't mean too much - particularly from a politician
- people aren't used to accepting that. But I would ask people to check
it out; the history is there, the documentation is there, there is a very
complete record. If anybody can point out where we have been sleazy or slippery
or lied - we haven't lied to government, we haven't lied to industry, we
haven't lied to anybody - we have been right up front from the word go.
That is one of the reasons we are where we are. Because we were so honest,
neither government nor industry believed a word we said.
SR - It sounds like the Islands are going to get wood in one form or another,
if the Islands does accept the wood, what is the next step for ICSI?
DL - In my view: put together a schedule to ramp-up to 100 percent manufacturing
of value-added products on the Islands.
SR - In the interim what is going to happen?
DL - What the local mills want to cut, they can, what they don't wish to
cut, I would strongly suspect we will sell on the open market. We will go
through a log yard, and what doesn't get bought we will ship. We will take
all of our low quality wood, our pulp and any species that we don't want
to cut here, and I would hope we would take advantage of the addendum we
have from the major licensees, and we will trade the wood we don't want
for the wood we want, dollar for dollar.
SR - On-island there have been ecosystem-based planning workshops and there
is an on-going discussion about this style of forestry and wood certification,
is there a fit with ICSI?
DL - George White (presenter at the ICSI Symposium) enlightened me with
something I didn't believe. I did not believe in certification. My gut feeling
is still, although they are moving in that direction I would bet you anything
that a portion of their wood is not being purchased from a certified forest.
With the ecosystem-based planning, I am not sure it will meet the initial
need of the Haida community, it may in the long run, say five-years down
the road. I talked at length with Cheri Burda (presenter at the ICSI Symposium)
and my gut feeling is, you may be able to maintain your lifestyle with it,
but you are not going to build the infrastructure, and you're not going
to repair the fifty years of neglect on this Island. First we have to get
the Islands to where we want it, then we may be able to do that.
Economically there is a fair chunk of infrastructure that needs to be built
before we are going to be where the Islands should be. If we want to take
advantage of tourism we need accommodation, real accommodation, right now
we couldn't host a decent sized conference, because we don't have the beds,
we don't have the restaurants, we don't have the transportation system.
There are so many things that need to be built that require money.
SR - Is it ICSI's role to decide what the Islands need?
DL -That is a job of the communities and the people of the Islands. I am
thinking in five to ten years you can set up your industrial infrastructure
and your recreation to get in a position to keep your young people here.
SR - If you are setting up that infrastructure, relying on a cut that is
2.2 times the sustained yield, you are setting up an infrastructure that
may not be supportable over the long run.
DL - Now you're assuming we are not taking care of business in another area
that we have promised, and that's the Annual Allowable Cut. We are doing
our best to take care of that. Assuming that within a reasonable time government
hasn't addressed the issue we will have enough public support to do something
SR - George White said that all of their wood products are not certified.
But the certified products they have are tracked through a chain of custody,
from forest through manufacturers to the shelves in their stores. He said
of the 21,000 wood products they stock, they have 200 made from certified
wood right now with a commitment to increase that number.
DL - I see an amazing chance for us. I strongly suspect in a community forest
operated correctly to ensure the proper legacy, we could get into anything
right down to single tree selection. In the community forest I am thinking
of, we may end up with two phases: a Community Forest located near the community
would be certified, and a chunk of the Community Forest on the west coast
would be for conventional industrial forestry.
SR - Out of sight out of mind?
DL - Basically, it would be to bring the economic benefits in during the
early stages. I can see the potential there, I am quite excited about that.
SR - People are wondering about the relationship between ICSI, MoF and the
14 Haida Protected Areas. There is the suggestion that there will be no
Community Forest unless ICSI delivers Tlell, Jiinanga (Government Creek)
and parts of Duu Guusd back to the forest land base.
DL - What I suspect MoF will do is that they will tie the community forest,
and the license that they are developing for the Haida, to the release of
those protected areas into the working forest, with the exception of Yakoun
Lake and the anchorages. Jiinanga is one area I am going to sit back and
watch to see how the government proceeds. ICSI gave it their best shot,
I put myself on the line, I did the job I was asked to do and it hurt.
I think there is something that you would do well to understand. If the
protected areas don't fall into the working forest then the further approximately
50,000 cubic metres of wood for the Community Forest will just stay in limbo.
MoF is looking at the Memorandum of Understanding and saying you said this,
and we said this, and if you don't deliver, we don't deliver. And all you
have to do to figure out what ICSI's commitments are is to look at the MOU
and the Consensus Document. We are really open and honest in those documents.
I believe it is just as much of a sin to turn around and lie to your enemy,
and sometimes it hurts you worse to lie to your enemy than to lie to your
SR - Is a Community Forest, based on a sustainably managed area, negotiable
under the current system?
DL - The people have got to understand - I know it is a slash of the pen
to change the Forest Act, but it hasn't been changed very often. I am not
saying it should or shouldn't be; that is government's perogative. We elected
them, we are responsible for their actions and if we don't like it then
we change it; that is the democratic system. I would like people to understand
that we have been told that area-based can't be done under the present legislation
- the options are really limited. Until tenure reform takes place there
will be no area-based tenure for a Community Forest unless you accept a
TFL. What people have told me time and time again is that they don't want
a TFL and I agree.
SR - Why do you agree?
DL - Because we wouldn't have dealt with cut control. If you talk to Mission
and Revelstoke you are bound by one more set of rules, and the TFL's are
over regulated now. It would only be worth it if you could address cut control.
If we are not going to get cut control but can manage a chart area as if
it was an area-base then I think that is the better route. If you take a
TFL, then bang, you are a major licensee. There is no way around it, you
are just one of those guys.
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