October 25, 2018
UBCIC Deeply Disappointed with Disregard for Indigenous Rights and Environmental Destruction Resulting from Dismissal of Injunction for Site C
(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C. – October 25, 2018) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is deeply frustrated by today’s decision from the BC Supreme Court which dismissed the West Moberly First Nation’s application for an interim injunction while their Treaty case is being heard.
The decision makes it clear that there will be no stop work order on construction of the boondoggle that is the Site C dam, meaning the desecration of the irreplaceable Peace River Valley will continue while the future of this project remains uncertain. Flooding is set for 2023, and the West Moberly hope to have their trial before then. West Moberly asked the court for an injunction to either halt construction entirely, or to at least preserve the most ecologically and culturally sensitive areas of the Valley, so that the court can reach a meaningful resolution of the Treaty case.
“This decision is yet another grave disappointment to the Treaty 8 First Nations who have been betrayed, let down, and lied to by this provincial government,” stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the UBCIC. “The duplicity of the Horgan government in approving this costly and unnecessary dam was shameless, and this decision demonstrates how Indigenous peoples and the lands on which their livelihoods depend are literally flooded by the interests of politicians driven solely by easy projects that are handed to them rather than projects that respect Indigenous rights and will address the catastrophic impacts of climate change that we are already beginning to experience. What will it mean for the Treaty case to be heard when such a fragile environment has already been razed to the ground by bulldozers and chainsaws?”
Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the UBCIC, stated, “Without a halt to construction, the rights that the Treaty 8 First Nations are fighting in court risk being rendered meaningless. What good are the lofty promises of this government to protecting our rights as Indigenous peoples and fighting climate change when they can’t stand up and say ‘no’ to energy we don’t need?”
“Make no mistake, the forward momentum on Site C is directly linked to the development of LNG, fracking, and all of its dirty energy that pollutes our environment and perpetuates climate change. There is nothing clean about Site C – a project that disregards the rights of Indigenous peoples’ so blatantly is doomed for failure,” stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the UBCIC.
UBCIC wrote an open letter to Premier John Horgan in August, exposing the racism and blatant disregard for rights that BC Hydro lawyers leveraged in their arguments in the Court room. In this letter, UBCIC called on Premier Horgan to publicly denounce the statements made in Court that diminish Indigenous rights, and to apologize formally for the disrespect shown to the Treaty 8 First Nations. The letter and form response from the BC Government can be seen online at: https://witnessforthepeace.ca/ubcic-seeks-apology-for-bc-hydros-statements-during-injunction-hearing/
Media inquiries: Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
Name, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Phone: (250) 490-5314