Nanaimo man refuses food and drink in an attempt to meet publicly with the Minister of Forests – BC News

Photo: The Canadian Press

Howard Breen

UPDATE: 13:45

A man from British Columbia says he was briefly hospitalized on the 24th day of a hunger strike to protest logging, but plans to stay without food until the end of the month before joining others in an escalating action against the government.

Howard Breen, 68, said the “death watch team” at his home in Nanaimo noticed that he was experiencing blurred vision, loss of balance due to low blood pressure and back pain around the kidneys before an ambulance was called early Sunday morning.

He said the doctor and his daughter, a heart nurse, decided late Saturday night that he needed medical help because he was at risk of kidney or heart damage.

“We voted and I abstained,” he said on Sunday. “All I said is, ‘Please let me go as far as I can.'”

Breen, a member of Save Old Growth, said his condition worsened after he stopped drinking fluids on Thursday, but returned to drinking herbal teas after spending three hours in the hospital.

His decision to be treated was “based on science,” he said, “something the current government is not acting on with regard to climate and forests.”

Breen said Secretary of the Forest Katrine Conroy spoke to him and his colleague, hunger striker Brent Eichler, on Friday, but refused to have a Zoom meeting that would be recorded and available to the public.

Conroy said in a statement on Saturday that she had called on both men to protect their health while the province was working to protect old forests.

The Forest Department did not respond to Conroy’s request for comment on Sunday.

Breen said activists were planning to “arrest” Conroy at a Council of Forest Industries conference in Vancouver next week.

Prime Minister John Horgan could also be the target of the group’s efforts to stop all old logging, which they consider “crimes against humanity and nature,” he said.

“It’s not a physical execution of an arrest warrant for a citizen,” Breen said.

Police will be called upon to make the arrests, the same tactic he and other members of the Extinction Rebellion group tried against then-Federal Secretary of the Environment Catherine McKenn in 2019 when she made an announcement in the Victoria area.

However, Breen said police arrested him after taking off some of the zip ties the police had previously used to arrest the protesters. He was not charged because the police were to arrest him, Breen added.

“In the minds and hearts of Canadians, we are strengthening thinking that changes the awareness that we are empowered to promote our democracy and our rights.”

Thirty-three other Save Old Growth activists planned to join the hunger strike by the end of April, Breen said.

Two members of the group were arrested last week after allegedly chaining themselves to a 227-kilogram barrel located in the middle of the Trans-Canada Highway on Vancouver Island.

“We only allow these types of actions with the most experienced activists, because they are not of a weak nature who can be so vulnerable,” Breen said, adding that any actions aimed at the ‘highest level of success’ would remain non-violent.

Save Old Growth activists also blocked other major highways and bridges, angering some motorists.

Eichler, 57, who said he was on a hunger strike for 31 days, noted that the group did not want to stop all logging in BC.

“We need houses for people and things like that. But we can’t constantly limit the very small amount of old growth that remains in our ecosystem,” he said.

“Once they leave, it will be like cod (fishing) on ​​the east coast. Governments have been warned by scientists that cod will disappear. We still do not have commercial fishing in eastern Canada. A day, decades later.”

Earlier this month, Conroy announced that the British Columbia government had worked with First Nations to postpone logging to more than a million acres of old forests at risk of permanent loss, an area greater than 4,100 Stanley Parks.

UPDATE: 10:25

A group protesting against old logging in British Columbia claims that one of its members was hospitalized on the 24th of a hunger strike.

Save Old Growth says Howard Breen’s “death watch team” has experienced blurred vision, loss of balance, back pain around the kidneys and possible heart problems.

One of Breen’s daughters, a nurse, is said to have judged him at his home in Nanaim and called an ambulance.

Breen said on Saturday he would continue his protest until Forest Secretary Katrine Conroy agreed to record the Zoom meeting, which will be available to the public.

Conroy said in a statement that she spoke to Breen and another hunger striker, Brent Eichler, on Friday and told them to protect their health while the province was working to protect the old forests.

Save Old Growth reports that Eichler launched its protest 31 days ago.

ORIGINAL: 8 o’clock in the morning

More than three weeks of hunger strike and days of fluid rejection in hopes of a public meeting with the provincial forest minister, climate activist Howard Breen is ready for the worst.

“I feel sad that I have to make it to the final conclusion,” Breen said on Saturday from his home in Nanaim, where he is under strict bail terms related to this month’s protest.

Breen, 68, a member of Extinction Rebellion and Save Old Growth, said he was dehydrated and suffered from brain fog and weakness because he stopped taking fluids on Thursday at midnight. She has not eaten since April 1.

“I don’t know how it will end or what will happen, but many people have already expressed their deep sorrow if something happened to me, including my children,” he said.

Breen is trying to put pressure on the provincial government to stop old logging and the export of raw logs. He also wants an online “equal broadcast” of views between the Minister for Forests and her advisers and independent experts.

“Yes, I love trees, but we will never meet the climate goal unless we start protecting our only major earth carbon sink, and that is our forests,” he said.

Forest Minister Katrine Conroy called Breen on Friday and they both talked about the government’s postponement of 1.7 million hectares of old forest and the creation of new parks – after which Breen hung up.

Conroy said she had “meaningful conversations” with Breen and another hunger striker, Brent Eichler.

“I have expressed my distress for their well-being and at the same time I have listened directly to their concerns.” I called on them to protect their health while we continue to do important work to protect old forests, “she said in an e-mail statement from the Ministry of Forests.

In 2019, the province appointed an independent two-member commission to review old growth policies and also consult with the public.

Earlier this month, Conroy announced that BC was working with First Nations to postpone logging to more than a million hectares of old forests at risk of permanent loss, an area greater than 4,100 Stanley Parks.

Conroy told Breen he would not hold the meeting he requested and advised him to end the strike.

Instead, he said the hunger strike – which began as a 25-day protest – is now “indeterminate.”

Breen quotes UN Secretary-General António Guterres as sharing his view that those who would expand fossil fuel production and logging, not environmental activists, are radical extremists.

“I am not a radical extremist, [Premier] John Horgan is a [Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau, “Breen said. “We still have to meet the climate target … We are no longer looking at 50 years from now, we are at the end of the collapse right now.”

Breen said the measures taken by Save Old Growth, including the recent blockades of bridges and highways, highlighted the seriousness of the “climate emergency” associated with logging. They want to stop all old logging in the province.

He denied that some commuters were upset at the group’s tactics and said there was widespread support. Two people were taken into custody on Wednesday after chaining allegedly strapped to a 227-kilogram barrel in the middle of the Trans-Canadian Highway near Langford on an afternoon commute.

Save Old Growth members are among more than 1,000 people arrested in the Fairy Creek basin near Port Renfrew for allegedly violating a blockade order.

The BC Supreme Court heard about 400 of them who had been charged with the crime of contempt.

Breen said the RCMP had arrested him elsewhere for other protests and was currently facing 12 charges.

He was taken into custody on April 7 after he stuck to the door of the Royal Bank of Canada in Nanaim, an event related to the Coastal GasLink project in northern BC. He spent about a week in jail and is now in jail. house arrest and $ 30,000 bail.

He was also one of three individuals who stood at the end of the driveway to the Prime Minister’s House in 2020 and intended to arrest a citizen to prevent Horgan from announcing the budget. Horgan was not at home at the time, and his wife was reportedly frightened. Over the next few weeks, the prime minister condemned the protesters as crossing the line.

Breen’s three adult children asked their father not to risk his life and ensured that he was monitored by “death patrol monitors” day and night. His two daughters are nurses.

“They had a lot of problems with my civil disobedience,” he said.

Breen said he was doing what he was doing for his children and all the children in the world they represented, children who could only be called “climate victims” at the moment, he said.

Some supporters asked him to resign on Thursday night while talking to Breen.

“It was probably the most difficult moment of the last few weeks, when people expressed their love for what …