(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C.- January 23, 2016) The Stewards of the Land at the Rocky Mountain Fort Camp on the Peace River are anxious as BC Hydro’s have ordered members of Saulteau Safety & Security to increase their on-the-ground presence to allow Paul Paquette and Son’s Contracting to continue the clear-cutting of the south bank of the proposed Site C dam site. UBCIC continues to denounce BC Hydro's deliberately provocative and thuggish efforts to fast track construction on the proposed Site C project despite the legal uncertainty of the project.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, asks “Why are the senior levels of BC Hydro so recklessly determined on intentionally harassing and aggravating the peaceful activities of the peaceful camp of Treaty 8 members and landowners? BC Hydro filing a civil claim against individuals at the Rocky Mountain Fort Camp is intended to censor, intimidate and silence them by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their opposition or raise the necessary funds to mount a credible legal defence.”
Treaty 8 members and residents are currently seeking online donations to respond to BC Hydro’s civil claim. Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/s6c4s4vs.
The B.C. Government issued a news release on January 15, 2016 stating it will “vigorously oppose” Tk’emlúps and Skeetchestn First Nations title claim to the proposed Ajax mine site because of the claim’s potential to “create uncertainty over the land base and for private property owners.” The release resoundingly declares “government must and will always defend, with conviction, the sanctity of private land and private land rights.”
“Members of Treaty 8 and landowners are defending their land and way of life and in response BC’s Crown corporation BC Hydro presents impoverished take-it-or-leave-it offers to private land owners and sends First Nation contractors to face-off with Treaty 8 Elders, Women and residents. It appears the sanctity of private land rights and the promise of reconciliation with First Nations do not apply at the proposed Site C site.” Grand Chief Phillip added “We completely reject the blatant hypocrisy and racist double standards being promoted by the BC Liberal government through its Crown Corporation BC Hydro.”
Grand Chief Phillip concluded “UBCIC continues to insist the BC and Canadian governments respect Treaty 8’s current court proceedings and not prejudice any potential outcomes by immediately ceasing the preparatory work of the proposed Site C dam site until Treaty 8’s court proceedings are decided upon and the Site C Dam proposal is properly vetted and reviewed by the BC Utilities Commission. We commend the courageous and heroic stand taken by the Stewards of the Land and they must not be financially burdened and criminalized by BC Hydro’s legal maneuvers for defending the land and waters of the Peace River valley.”
Through formal resolutions, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs fully supports the efforts of Treaty 8 First Nations to ensure that their Aboriginal and Treaty Rights are honoured and preserved.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip: 604-684-0231