Dogwood Initiative works to move land and resource use decision-making away from big government and corporations to the First Nations and communities who own and live on the land. We believe there is justice in this. We believe that from this work will come more sustainable land and resource use.
Not everyone agrees with us, even in those communities whose interests we champion. At times we can be provocative and activist. At other times, we work tirelessly to build coalitions among groups that traditionally don’t talk to each other much – such as First Nations, labour and environmental NGOs.
Some of our work involves getting information out, by our website, our newsletter, and our workshop tours. This is often information that won’t get out any other way; information that is important for local people to make up their own minds about an issue.
In some items in the news, and on our website, you will read of instances in which the provincial government is not working in the best interests of rural communities (Coquihalla privatization) or First Nations (Saulteau & West Moberly fights to stop eneregy exploration).
You will also read of cases in which the government appears to be actually working against the best interests of small communities (Kitimat, BC Rail).
In our website bulletins, we have on occasion been very critical of the actions and policies of the provincial government of Gordon Campbell. Rest asured, were the same actions and policies being carried out by any other government, we would make the same comments. Just ask the NDP about our criticisms when they were in power.
Our interests are in sustainable land reform, and local control – and we have too little money and there are too few of us to waste time in gratuitous slagging of government. In fact, we believe we need strong government. But government that is open, inclusive and most importantly accountable to local people,
Some readers – including some who support our fundamental mission with respect to local control of land use – have taken offence. We apologize.
But let us assure you that we are not alone in our concerns about this government and its policies. Let us assure you that you are not alone. Our web statistics tell us that we are speaking to the concerns of British Columbians, and where we are being read is precisely in these same postings.
We are not the only ones saying this stuff. The editors of the Cowichan News Leader do not trust the motives or the statements of this government. The Cowichan Valley is an area in distress, its forest industry economic base has been hard hit by the closure at the Youbou sawmill (an atrocious sellout of an entire town, courtesy of the previous government), by softwood lumber tariffs, by the financial difficulties of Doman Forest Products. The News Leader editors say:
“the Liberal message increasingly rings hollow as we’re left to ponder what is not being said, what is being left out. … Can you blame the public for being suspicious? Can you blame it for asking what else is going on?” ( click here to read the full editorial)