All posts by Rochelle Baker

Rochelle Baker is a staff reporter with Canada’s National Observer, thanks thanks to a grant from the Local Journalism Initiative of the Government of Canada. She previously worked as a newspaper reporter and photographer in BC’s Lower Mainland for over 7 years.

Police officer quits task force over concerns about RCMP tactics at Fairy Creek

By Jen Osborne / Rochelle Baker, National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

At least one police officer joined protesters, journalists and politicians raising alarm bells over RCMP enforcement tactics during the peak of conflict at the Fairy Creek old-growth blockades in B.C. during the summer of 2021.

The officer, a former member of the RCMP’s specialized team that deals with resource extraction protests, resigned from the task force over concerns about “unjustifiable” police behaviour during an August crackdown on activists, a freedom-of-information (FOI) request shows.

Continue reading Police officer quits task force over concerns about RCMP tactics at Fairy Creek

Fairy Creek RCMP whistleblower’s concerns reflect a pattern of questionable enforcement at industry protests

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Concerns over questionable RCMP tactics raised by an officer involved in the crackdown at the Fairy Creek old-growth blockades in the summer of 2021 are not surprising, says a lawyer representing dozens of activists.

There’s been no shortage of legal proceedings or social media videos focused on the treatment of protesters, said lawyer Karen Mirsky, who is the president of the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA).

But it is remarkable an officer was willing to risk voicing concerns about police behaviour to superiors, Mirsky said.

Continue reading Fairy Creek RCMP whistleblower’s concerns reflect a pattern of questionable enforcement at industry protests

Businesses ally with environmentalists to push B.C.’s new premier David Eby to protect biodiversity

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Businesses are urging the B.C. government to capitalize on Ottawa’s offer to invest hundreds of millions to save threatened ecosystems in the run-up to the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal next month. 

A total of 250 businesses are backing a resolution urging B.C.’s new Premier David Eby to stave off the extinction and climate crisis by backing the federal government’s 30×30 promise — to protect 30 per cent of the country’s land and waters by 2030. 

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‘Writing on the wall’ for West Coast fish farms, conservationists say

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Open net-pen fish farming on the Pacific coast took a one-two punch after operations closures were announced in both B.C. and Washington state this week. 

The shíshálh Nation said Wednesday that aquaculture giant Grieg Seafood is removing salmon farms from the nation’s waters along B.C.’s Sunshine Coast by February 2023. Meanwhile, on Monday, Washington state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said it’s not renewing Atlantic Canada’s Cooke Seafood’s last two open-net pen leases in Puget Sound and farm operations will end by Dec. 14. 

Continue reading ‘Writing on the wall’ for West Coast fish farms, conservationists say

Saving B.C.’s at-risk species is pivotal to Canada’s biodiversity promises at COP15

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

British Columbia represents the country’s greatest opportunity to be a world leader when Canada hosts the landmark global UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal next month. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed to the 30×30 pledge — to protect 30 per cent of Canada’s land and waters by 2030 — and is urging other world leaders to follow suit. The goal won’t be met without gains in B.C., which boasts the greatest biological diversity of any province or territory in the country but also has the greatest number of species at risk.

Continue reading Saving B.C.’s at-risk species is pivotal to Canada’s biodiversity promises at COP15