Western Forest Products Inc. (WFP) is investigating an incident involving a contractor working in the Walbran Valley and an Indigenous youth, according to a statement from the company released Thursday.
A group that calls themselves the Rainforest Flying Squad shared a video of the incident, Tuesday. They say it shows an Indigenous youth being assaulted by a forestry worker at an encampment set up to protest logging of old growth forests.
They say a group of forestry workers were making threatening statements towards them and a worker attacked the Indigenous youth before leaving.
A photograph of notes from the Rainforest Flying Squad detailing the incident said two loggers “jumped a member of [the group] and hit him multiple times.”
It also says a phone was stolen, a banjo was broken and some group members were verbally assaulted.
They say this incident is a part of a string of threatening situations occurring since Monday.
“The behaviour of the individuals in the video is completely unacceptable and is completely at odds with our shared values,” said WFP in the statement. “The use of racist language, intimidation, and acts of violence have no place in our society or our workplaces, and we have zero tolerance for such behaviour.”
“We appreciate that there may be disagreements about how our forests are managed in British Columbia, but we expect those disagreements to be addressed in a respectful manner, free from violence and racism.”
The tree license holders say the RCMP and Worksafe BC have been advised and a special advisor will be brought in to review the incident. WFP also says they are bringing in a third party investigator to review the incident.
Operations in the area have been paused while the incident is being investigated, according to WFP.
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