(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C. – May 6, 2016) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs is condemning the ongoing ‘corporate thuggery’ of BC Hydro, which recently filed a notice of civil claim and an application for an injunction in BC Supreme Court to stop people from camping overnight at its Vancouver office.
Land and title defenders have been camped at BC Hydro’s Vancouver office since March 13, in protest of the proposed Site C megadam project. BC Hydro is on record citing “health and safety risks” posed by the camp including any open flames and cooking equipment, and the impediment of BC Hydro’s emergency evacuation routes.
“BC Hydro is purposely and ludicrously over exaggerating the size and threat of the camp,” said Chief Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of UBCIC. “On a recent visit to the camp at night, there were 6 polite, friendly, and organized campers and they are not using open flames or cooking equipment. The reality is that BC Hydro is attempting to intimidate the campers into leaving and is looking for any excuse to do so. We applaud the land and title defenders for keeping the pressure and attention on BC Hydro and are proud to stand with them in opposition to the proposed Site C dam.”
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of UBCIC stated, “We gratefully acknowledge the incredible sacrifice made by the land and title defenders camped at BC Hydro. The proposed Site C dam doesn’t make economic or environmental sense- instead, it will drive up hydro rates; produce energy that BC does not need; drastically destroy the environment and negatively impact food security; and threaten Treaty 8 First Nations’ ability to exercise their constitutionally-protected Treaty rights. We are eagerly awaiting the Auditor General of BC’s current review of whether BC Hydro’s recommendation and government’s decision to build Site C was supported by sufficient information and analysis to demonstrate that it would meet government’s economic, social and environmental goals. There are also outstanding court cases in process at the provincial and federal levels which could impact the project moving forward. It’s going to be a long, hot summer.”
Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of UBCIC concluded, “It is critical that the public, including the land and title defenders camped at BC Hydro, continue to be able to exercise their right to speak out in opposition to Site C while we wait for the outcome of the court cases and the Auditor General review. We are growing increasingly tired of the Christy Clark Government and BC Hydro’s headstrong approach to pushing the Site C project beyond ‘the point of no return,’ which includes muzzling peaceful protest by these campers.”