Published: Tue, December 12, 2017
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Treaty 8 First Nations to seek Site C injunction

Treaty 8 First Nations to seek Site C injunction

With 1,100 megawatts of capacity, the Site C dam will provide enough energy to power the equivalent of about 450,000 homes a year. It will also flood some 100-plus kilometres of the Peace River valley and its tributaries, including farmland and First Nations cultural sites. "I am deeply concerned that similar impacts are now in store for B.C. ratepayers".

Horgan says it wasn't an easy decision.

"It sort of sounds like (government) was check-mated into it a little bit", said Val Litwin, CEO of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, referring the extent to which Horgan's government inherited the thorny issue from former premier Christy Clark.

Under Treaty 8, the government of Canada promised to guarantee the rights of local First Nations to hunt, trap, fish and continue their traditional way of life on their land.

VICTORIA-The B.C. government had no choice but to complete the Site C hydroelectric dam rather than absorb a $4 billion hit to its bottom line by cancelling the project, which would have jeopardized plans for more spending on schools, hospitals and bridges, Premier John Horgan said Monday.

Gray said the group has not heard from NDP supporters who are in favour of Site C completion.

And the provincial Cabinet's decision sailed straight into a potential legal challenge from the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations, that declared their intent to launch civil litigation against Site C arguing it infringes their treaty rights. I'm convinced more than ever that the Ajax open-pit copper mine will be rejected, not only for environmental reasons, but because the NDP, having said yes to one mega project, can feel a little more at ease saying no to another.

The Greens and their ilk are in the latter category, of course, but leader Andrew Weaver has already said his party won't abandon the NDP over it. Usually, courts are reluctant to hold up a project because of economic impacts.

The groups "threw everything we could" into making that case to the hasty B.C. Utilities Commission review that Horgan called, Boon said, and he was "astonished" at how Horgan rationalized government's decision in light of contrary evidence that was raised.

"But I am the first, I think, to stand before you and said that I am going to do my level best to make amends for a whole host of decisions, that previous governments have made to put indigenous peoples in an unwinnable situation". He has said he changed his mind due to snowballing costs and unresolved First Nations opposition to the project.

Addressing his remarks to opponents of the project, he said, "I respect the strength of your convictions and your concerns about the future of BC Hydro and British Columbia. But with the BCUC's report in hand, the court can actually save British Columbia billions of dollars, and protect our constitutional rights at the same time". "This is the same old capitalistic kind of government that cares more about money and jobs than reconciliation with First Nations and the environment".

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