A man who illegally logged in the Great Bear Rainforest and then told a government lawyer to “kiss my ass” after he was caught just got a massive fine increase.
Timothy Holland was originally ordered to pay $12,000 for “wantonly and flagrantly” breaking the law by harvesting cedar well outside his Forestry Licence to Cut between 2017 and 2020.
But the Forest Appeals Commission just increased the fine to $131,759 following an appeal from the Forest Practices Board, as well as outcries from Wei Wai Kum leaders, who said Holland’s company Bigfoot Forest Productions illegally harvested timber with huge cultural significance to the First Nation.
“It’s a game changer. I think that’s something where we can say, wow, OK, there’s clearly penalties and consequences that people will face when these types of actions are taken,” Wei Wai Kum Chief Chris Roberts told CBC.
The original fine was far too small in Roberts’ opinion.
“How does that act as a deterrent?” he said. “I think it would almost have the opposite effect, where if someone could get away with paying a small fine, what would stop anyone else from doing it again?”
The Forest Practices Board pushed for a fine increase because Holland earned an estimated $226,500 from his illegal harvesting.
In its ruling announcing the fine increase, the commission found “that Mr. Holland…directed his employees to cut and remove timber outside of his authorized area, and did so deliberately and repeatedly.”
It couldn’t have helped that Holland “left threatening messages for Ministry personnel during the investigation” and at one point told a government lawyer to “kiss my ass.”
“You’d better watch yourself. If you come out…to my place…then I’ll f–king hurt you… You’ve got a problem with me, buddy,” Holland reportedly said in a September 2020 voicemail to government employees.
Holland didn’t try to defend himself during the hearing.