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. https://lailayuile.com/2016/01/02/bc-hydro-issues-rocky-mountain-fort-campers-at-site-c-a-24-hour-eviction-notice-on-new-years-eve/
The full letter can be read here: http://theecoreport.com/restore-confidence-in-federal-site-c-decisions/
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Take measures, as necessary, in addition to those outlined above, to restore public confidence in federal government Site C decisions and oversight.
- 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
EXAMPLES OF ORGANIZATIONS & INDIVIDUALS DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT SITE C
– 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