Save Old Growth, a protest group that has been blocking B.C. roadways in an effort to push the government to end all old-growth logging, denies doxxing forests minster, Katrine Conroy.
In an interview with Global News, Conroy said members of Save Old Growth published her home phone number, leading to harassing messages toward her and her family.
“I know that it is just a small group of people that are using these tactics that cross the line and are impacting people’s families,” Conroy said in a statement to Black Press Media.
“I also know that they don’t represent the much larger community who is passionate about protecting old growth. All I can do is continue working on this very important file. The recent deferral of 1.7 million hectares is historic, one of the biggest signals that any government of B.C. has ever sent.”
Zain Haq, a spokesperson for Save Old Growth, said the group does not endorse the harassment or doxxing of politicians.
“We want to talk to Minister Conroy in a respectful manner. It just wouldn’t be in our interest to publish her number. We are disrupting highways and we are doing hunger strikes, but the point of that is to get the government’s attention to negotiate, not to harass people. We don’t condone that at all.”
One of the hunger strikers associated with Save Old Growth is Howard Breen, a Nanaimo resident who has been on a hunger strike since April 1. Breen was asking for a “public meeting” with the minister on bringing an end to old-growth logging.
Conroy did call Breen and Brent Eichler, another hunger striker who recently ended a 33-day strike for health reasons, to tell them that the province will not meet their demands. In response, Breen called for Conroy to be placed under citizens’ arrest for “crimes against humanity.”
The arrest would not be physically enacted by protesters, instead, the group would “encourage” police to place the minister under arrest.
Despite saying the group does not encourage harassment of politicians, Haq said Save Old Growth does endorse arresting politicians for being “complicit” in alleged crimes against humanity for what they view as failing to act in the face of the climate crisis.
“We’re not opposed to the idea that people who engage in crimes against humanity and are complicit in the potential annihilation of the human race due to climate inaction need to answer for it. In a civilized society, that would involve placing people under arrest.”
Haq said Save Old Growth intends to continue disrupting highways at an escalated rate. The group plans to escalate in “much higher numbers” throughout June to try and bring the province to negotiate an end to old-growth logging.
As far as the government is concerned, those tactics won’t achieve their intended goal.
“We respect the right to peaceful protest but raising anger rather than awareness is not the way to go,” Conroy said. “Disrupting the lives of others does nothing to protect old-growth.”