(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, BC – December 6, 2017) As the entire province awaits the NDP Government’s decision on the bedraggled boondoggle that is the Site C dam project, Chief Lynette Tsakoza of Prophet River First Nation, Chief Roland Willson of West Moberly First Nations and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs are calling on Premier Horgan’s Cabinet to immediately and unapologetically cancel the project.
“Only two years into a nine-year construction schedule, Site C is estimated to cost up to $12.5 billion to complete, about double the project’s budget when it was first announced by the BC Liberals,” says Chief Tsakoza.
“During his election campaign, Premier Horgan promised to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which includes the principle of ‘free, prior, and informed consent’ before any government decision that would impact Aboriginal and Treaty rights,” say Chief Willson. “14 Indigenous groups downstream of the dam have called on Premier Horgan to halt Site C, and we as the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations have warned we will bring a ‘billion-dollar’ lawsuit for infringement of our rights as embodied in Treaty No. 8.”
“If the NDP blindly sanction this ill-conceived project, they will effectively destroy the integrity and credibility of the NDP brand in BC forever. Further, a project approval will represent a complete betrayal of First Nation's and the vast majority of British Columbians who stand in steadfast opposition to the Site C dam project,” declared Grand Chief Phillip.
Last month, the BC Utilities Commission Inquiry rejected the economic rationale used by backers of the dam, dismissed BC Hydro’s estimates of future energy demand as overly optimistic, and concluded that British Columbia does not need any new power for at least two decades. Further, it found that more scalable alternatives like wind, geothermal and conservation can meet that demand as it arises for the same price or less.
“Is Site C really the political backdrop that the NDP wants to campaign in front of the next election? With every court case, every delay, every budget lift, and every rate hike, we will remind British Columbians that it may have been the BC Liberals that got us into this mess, but it was the BC NDP who chose to abandon us there,” Grand Chief Phillip stated.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Phone: (604) 684-0231