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The litmus test for Real Change: Where is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on #SiteC ?


The following public letter was issued November 19th, 2015. It is a plea for help, but it is also a factual accounting of the many failures of process the decisions for approving Site C has encountered.

To date, there has been no response or stance taken by either Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the new Environment Minister has been mum. 

This is unacceptable. In my post this weekend, I made it clear how urgent this is now that heritage sites are about to be logged. If every there was a time for our new Prime Minister to take a stance, it is now. Please share this post widely,send it to your MP’s and ask where they stand. There is no time to waste.

The full letter can be read here:


November 19th, 2015

Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice
Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Honourable Hunter Tootoo, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport
Liberal Members of Parliament for British Columbia

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, Honourable Ministers and BC Liberal MPs,

At the outset, let me congratulate you on forming a government committed to making real, positive change both in what the federal government does, and how it does it.

Restore Confidence In Federal Site C Decisions

I am writing on behalf of the Peace Valley Landowner Association (PVLA) to urgently request the assistance of your new government to restore open, transparent and accountable federal government decision-making regarding the controversial $8.8 Billion Site C Dam project on British Columbia’s Peace River.

The decisions your government makes on Site C over the upcoming days and months present a once-in-a-mandate defining opportunity…


What Immediate Steps Are We Urgently Asking Your Government to Take?

As non-indigenous citizens committed to the project of reconciliation, we request that:

  1. When deliberating on whether significant harm to the environment resulting from Site C is justified under CEAA 2012, Cabinet expressly consider and determine whether that harm would infringe the solemn promises made to Indigenous People under Treaty. In making such an important decision, we do not want our government to hide behind narrow technicalities to avoid confronting this fundamental issue. This does not further reconciliation.
  2. When Cabinet determines that environmental harm has a substantial risk of infringing Treaty promises made, then as a matter of federal policy, Cabinet will find the infringement is not justified. The circumstances where Cabinet finds such harm and such infringement justified, should be the rare exception, and the threshold should, as a matter of policy, be very high.
  3.  The federal government announce publicly by the end of this year that the practices set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 are:
    • (a)  adopted as part of its commitment to honour the promises made to Indigenous Peoples under Treaties, and to further the project of reconciliation in Canada, and
    • (b)  will be employed to conduct a further Cabinet review of the previous government’s Site C dam approval under CEAA 2012.~Snip~


      The federal government invoked cabinet secrecy to avoid disclosing the information Cabinet relied upon for its decision. In a Federal Court challenge, the Court upheld the Cabinet’s decision based upon a presumption of proper conduct in the absence of any record upon which the Court could conduct a review.

      As citizens we have no basis of knowing whether Cabinet even considered how a project that is not needed can justify the environmental harms that it will cause or how Cabinet reconciled these apparent contradictions.

      In the name of openness and transparency, we request that:

      4)  The federal government publicly release the documents upon which former Prime Minister Harper’s cabinet relied to decide that the benefits of Site C outweigh the significant adverse environmental impact



Time is needed to correct the many flaws in current federal government decision-making processes and to allow for proper open, expert and independent review of Site C alternatives. We request that you:

  1. Place a 2 year moratorium on issuance of further federal permits required for Site C to allow time for a full review of the federal permitting and enforcement processes to ensure they fully respect Treaty Rights and minimize any permanent or temporary adverse environmental impacts.
  2. During the 2 year moratorium,
    • (a)  establish a joint First Nation/Federal Government consultation framework for major projects, including Site C, which complies with both Canadian law and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and
    • (b)  join the call for open, independent and expert review of Site C by the BC Utilities Commission and the Agricultural Land Commission with full procedural safeguards and cross-examination.
  3. Take measures, as necessary, in addition to those outlined above, to restore public confidence in federal government Site C decisions and oversight.
  4. Accept our personal invitation to attend the Paddle for the Peace in 2016 and see for yourself what is at stake.


It is 2015. Public processes for constructing a dam of Site C’s magnitude need to be rigorously open, transparent and accountable in order to obtain community social licence as well as avoid unjustified infringement of Treaty Rights.

Time is running out. Preliminary construction has started. The Peace Valley is beginning to be destroyed for future generations of indigenous and non-indigenous people. We would welcome an opportunity later this month to brief you and BC Liberal MPs on Site C in Vancouver or Ottawa.

We urge you to act immediately to restore public confidence. We urge you to do this not just for the farmers and residents of the Peace Valley, but indigenous and non-indigenous people, their children and grandchildren across British Columbia and across Canada so they have the opportunity to experience first-hand the benefit of real change in government and see the remaining Peace River Valley in its’ pristine state

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 9.59.51 PM
Ken Boon
Peace Valley Landowner Association

– Dr. Harry Swain, Economist and Chair of the Site C Joint Review Panel
– Mr. Richard Bullock, Past Chair of the Agricultural Land Commission
– Union of BC Municipalities
– Greater Vancouver Regional District (Metro Vancouver)
– North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA)
– Association of V ancouver Island & Coastal Communities (A VICC)
– Peace River Regional District (PRRD)
– Gwen Johansson, Mayor of District of Hudson’s Hope
– UNESCO World Heritage Committee
– David Bond, Former Chief Economist HSBC Bank Canada
– Dan Potts, Retired Executive Director, Association of Major Power Customers of BC
– Robert McCullough, internationally respected energy economist
– Marc Ellison, Former CEO of BC Hydro
– BC Government Employees Union
– Canadian Union of Public Employees
– National Farmers Union
– Eric Anderson, Economist
– BC Northern Chiefs Alliance
– BC First Nations Summit
– Union of BC Indian Chiefs
– Assembly of First Nations
– BC First Nations Leadership Council
– West Moberly First Nations
– Prophet River First Nation
– Treaty 8 Tribal Association
– BC Women’s Institute
– Peace Valley Landowner Association
– Peace Valley Environment Association
– BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre
– Amnesty International
– BC Cattlemen’s Association
– Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition
– Sierra Club of BC
– Wilderness Committee
– Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
– Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
– Arlene Boon
– George Smith
– Rafe Mair
– Harold Steves
– David Suzuki



  1. The problem is that Trudeau is scared to fight the BC government for political reasons – quite unlike his father who didn’t give a shit about BC because after 1968 he could not win seats here.

    Site C must be stopped but that can only happen if there is massive, ongoing civil disobedience starting very soon.

    There will always be an excuse – we must wait for a lawsuit etc – but mark my words, the ONLY language governments understand is the angry voter on the march.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well I think a lot of people who voted Liberal are going to start rethinking that really quick if he doesn’t start putting up some ” Real Change” action. The CPC kept the reasoning behind their decision secret. A good start for him would be to reveal those reasons now, withdraw from the court process, and pull support. The actions outlined in their letter above are clear,concise and absolutely correct.

      The people at the camp are already being painted poorly by some and nothing could be further from the truth. They need support from those also opposed. Road trip Rafe? 😉


  2. I hate to be a negative Nelly Rafe, but with the price of cauliflower, who has the time, the funds or the energy to participate in some far-off war? Even I would be reluctant to leave my warm man-cave to participate in a potentially futile exercise that would likely see me end up in the slammer. Maybe it could happen in West Vancouver, but I doubt it – they are much too affluent, but in Fort St John? Never. They may even support it for the jobs aspect.
    I’m encouraged by Mister Boon’s plea. The challenge is out to Trudeau – either fish or cut bait. There is no time to wait. Growing season is only weeks away!


    • John’s Aghast – the cauliflower wouldn’t be so expensive if we preserved the Peace River Valley to grow it in. According to economic agrologist Wendy Holm, the fertile lands slated for destruction by Site C could grow food for over a million people. At a time when extreme weather conditions are wreaking havoc on food producing lands that British Columbians traditionally rely upon, it makes absolutely no sense to be destroying Class 1 and 2 lands that can grow a wide variety of produce including cauliflower, watermelons, corn, field tomatoes, etc. Crops that one would never think could be grown this far north do well in the unique micro-climate of the Peace River Valley.


      • My point exactly! The price of cauliflower, watermelons, corn etc. would drop like Asian LNG. Prices are subject to availability. Can you imagine the cost if people like Laila actually liked it? It would soar!
        The reason cauliflower is so expensive is because California isn’t growing as much. Just wait until it isn’t growing any.
        Think of the benefits of enjoying FRESH cauliflower and what the cost of trucking it half way across the continent does to it. Think of the benefits in paying in CAN $ rather than US$


        • On 23 Dec. I paid $5 a lb for cauliflower on Vancouver Island. it came from California. Mexican was under $2.00 and crowns only. It might be more profitable to grow veggies and freeze them for the market than selling electricity at rates lower than production costs. Of course Christy, never did get the part about making profits, i.e. buying low, selling high. the B.C. lieberals seem to do it the other way round. oh, well let the voters keep returning them to office.


    • Yes Mr. Trudeau,sold a vision. The vision included many aspects that are relevant to this dam. It is wrong economically, socially and culturally. And that can be demonstrated in spades.


  3. It sickens me. There are so, so many alternatives to get power if we even need it. Alternatives that do not wipe out a whole valley and it’s people. In my mind Christy Clark is a far worse premier than even Gordon Campbell. The big problem is that people still believe her lies.


    • If you recall, when Site C was turned down by the BC Utilities commission the last time the govt wanted to build it, govt was told to explore other options including geothermal – we are the only area along the Pacific Rim not actively using that form of energy. The govt never followed through, nor did they act to expand Revelstoke, which is already built and the plans have just been sitting there.

      That’s why they exempted it from review – they knew full well it would get turned down again, because the justifications are baseless and unfounded at this time. And it’s going to be detrimental to Hydro rates for a very long time.


  4. This Government is out of control,they do not care about the land or the people,they have to be held to account,have to go after the backbenchers take them to task demonstrate out side there offices threaten them with recall,sit in take to the lawns in Victoria.Most of all to our M.Ps


    • Yes, I agree. When people are elected representatives, they do have to account for the actions of their government,whether they like to or not. Far too many politicians have taken on an attitude of entitlement and forgotten the humble roots of what it means to be elected to public service. It is, public service, not ruling the public…..

      I worry. The Liberals in this province in charge right now, need to go. The NDP should they form government, would need to be watched just as much- there is plenty they have failed to act on over the years, including really taking a stance on this dam earlier on.Pity.


  5. In my opinion there is little Trudeau or the federal government can do. If Trudeau were to pick up the phone and call the queen of photo-ops, she’d have it on camera telling him she wasn’t going to change a thing. This then places Trudeau in an difficult position. What does he do when he is told no and the B.C. Lieberals proceed? Sending in the troops won’t work and can’t be done. He can say he’ll withhold infrastructure monies, but Christy will simply go on camera to say the federal government doesn’t care about B.C.ers and get herself some more votes.

    Clarke and her B.C. Lieberals want this logging and dam to go ahead because their friends want the profits. its as simply as that. Now the question is, does Trudeau have several billion laying around to pay her and her friends off. Not so much and it would go against the grain.

    A massive protest? That far north at this time of year? Not so much. In the spring when the weather is better I’d consider packing and going. Like what else do retired people do? What people can do right now is start re-call actions against B.C. LIeberals who they might be able to unseat. That might scare the queen of photo-ops and her contributing friends. They need her in the job for all the other “opportunities”.

    Even if the re-calls don’t work, it might give Christy a good scare, or rather her business friends a good scare. A recall based on this dam and its costs along with the killing of the grizzley bears and 4 dead kids in care, might do it. Its hard to say and are people up for the work?

    Instead of picketing at the site, find out who controls these companies and picket at their offices and home and “shine” a light on them. They might get uncomfortable about things and decide to wait. But in this case I do see this as an opportunity to have one half of the working class get out there to kill the other half

    Where oh, where are the NDP and the Greens.


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