Treaty 8 Chiefs call on parliament to reject Site C Dam proposal on BC’s Peace River

OTTAWA /CNW/ – Treaty 8 Chiefs Roland Willson and Liz Logan, along with Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), recently concluded three days of meetings with MPs, Senators, and Social Justice groups.

“Our focus was on reaching out to Parliamentarians,” said Chief Liz Logan of Fort Nelson First Nation on September 24, 2014. “The Site C Dam proposal on the Peace River would submerge what little is left of the Peace River Valley in Northeastern British Columbia. Many MPs outside of BC aren’t aware of the devastating environmental consequences of this proposed third dam,” said Chief Logan.

The Site C Dam would be the third in a series of dams on the Peace River system. A federal-provincial Joint Review Panel issued its report in May of this year, setting out one of the longest and most comprehensive lists of significant adverse environmental effects ever determined by a review panel in Canada. The federal government is slated to issue its decision on whether or not the proposed dam should proceed by October 22nd of this year. The proposed $7.9 billion dam would flood more than 9,000 hectares of culturally significant lands, prime agricultural land and wildlife habitat to create a new hydro reservoir 83 km long.

“There is an urgent need to get Members of Parliament informed about this issue,” said Chief Roland Willson of the West Moberly First Nations. “We have rights under our Treaty. They’re rights that cannot be infringed simply because a provincial utility wants more power. The recent Tsilhqot’in decision by the Supreme Court of Canada only bolsters governments’ obligation to accommodate our Aboriginal rights and title,” said Chief Willson. “This dam just doesn’t make sense: legally, environmentally, or economically. It needs to be stopped immediately.”

“Clearly, the Site C proposal is an incredibly stupid idea that has already been rejected twice before by both First Nations and residents of the Peace River Valley, and the BC Utilities Commission,” stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. “In the event that either the provincial or federal government issues a Certificate of Environmental Approval, the Treaty 8 First Nations will immediately file a law suit challenging such a reckless and irresponsible decision.”

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

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