Next stop….Site C




Yes, KinderMorgan has been squashed for now and Trudeau bought a pipeline to nowhere….but it’s Zussman’s tweet on Horgan that doesn’t sit well.

Horgan can have the win on tanker traffic,but Zussman may have forgotten how Horgan put First Nations concerns on site c aside quickly to make his decision to continue building the dam. 

Premier John Horgan said he is not bound to uphold his commitments to reconciliation with British Columbia’s First Nations in the case of the Site C dam, saying the $10.7-billion dam his cabinet has decided to complete is not really his project.

“It’s my view that activities that began before I was sworn in as Premier are out of my control,” Mr. Horgan said in an interview on Tuesday. “In the case of Site C, I really have to say it is 25-per-cent done. It’s not like I’m going to [start] it – I’m going to finish it.”

I still don’t know how he reconciles that. Particularly since government lawyers have been in court arguing on BC Hydro’s behalf that Treaty 8 doesn’t mean a thing…

As an example of BC Hydro legal arguments the UBCIC said were “consistently diminishing the rights of First Nations,” the letter pointed to BC Hydro’s claim in court that Treaty 8 was never intended to protect First Nations “practical, traditional, cultural, or spiritual connection to any land.”

“This is an arbitrary, one-sided interpretation of the Treaty that runs contrary to the principles of Treaty interpretation already recognized by the courts, and contrary to the interpretation already recognized by the courts, and contrary to the spirit of reconciliation,” wrote the executive.


The UBCIC executive took aim at BC Hydro’s assertion that the “meaningful right” protected by Treaty 8 “can be reduced to the simple act of hunting, fishing or trapping devoid of the traditional knowledge, protocols an and oral histories that make these acts so meaningful and essential to First Nations.”

“This cynical denial of Indigenous peoples’ own understanding of their rights is the basis for BC Hydro’s unscrupulous denial of the crucial importance of the Peace River Valley to Treaty 8 Nations,” said the letter.

It pointed out that B.C.’s Hydro’s oral arguments “also demonstrated disrespect for the wisdom of First Nations elders and tradition keepers, treating their oral evidence as little more than hearsay.”

Benjamin said commitments made by the federal and provincial governments to uphold the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and work towards reconciliation signaled an important shift for legal cases such as the West Moberly First Nations’ injunction application.

West Moberly First Nations and Prophet River First Nationfiled a civil suit in January claiming that the Site C dam and two previous dams on the Peace River are an unjustified infringement on their constitutionally protected rights under Treaty 8.

Until now, it has been generally accepted that government lawyers can go into court and use every argument at their disposal “to fight against recognition and respect for Indigenous rights,” no matter what the same governments say in the public sphere, Benjamin said.

But now government lawyers are expected to be “accountable to the promises made by government in the kinds of arguments they make in court,” he said.

The contradiction is clear. And while prior Site c cases have not resolved in favour of Peace River area First Nations and residents, this current case is different. Treaty rights are constitutionally protected and Hydro’s essentially arguing they don’t matter…an argument that could set dangerous precendents for other treaty holders across Canada.

That it is our current government fighting this in court in opposition to their public stance, is stunning in of itself.

While most have focused their opposition on KinderMorgan while that played out, Peace River First Nations have been largely fighting alone with the support of a small group of dedicated British Columbians and very little media coverage.

It’s been a battle for attention because site c is tucked away in North East BC. As Chief Roland Wilson said, if this was happening down there ( metro Van/southern coastal BC) it would have been shut down by now.

It would be amazing if you all turned your attention to site C, and this case now. Site C is still wrong, financially and socially, and continues to be a gong show of epic proportions. 

West Moberly and Prophet River will be back in court September 4th in Vancouver. They need your support.

Follow @lidsville on Twitter for courtroom updates along with the #sitec hashtag for other observations.

Hearings daily in Vancouver Supreme Courts at around 9 am- please ensure if you are going that you arrive early and check the board for courtroom number.


( meanwhile read this to see how the BC Libs played silly bugger Enron like accounting with BC Hydro-good on the NDP for at least acknowledging the deferrals-they need to get on those IPP contracts though. Bug rate shocks will be coming: )


13 thoughts on “Next stop….Site C

    1. The entire process is flawed and broken .

      Right now we have govt deciding on a project-in the BC Liberals case a project that had been already denied twice before because it was that bad of an idea-then coming in with the neb and doing consultation.
      Consultation after the fact in a flawed process means shit. It’s a sham and it’s wrong. Even many of Christys own supporters didnt support this project on the economics alone, let alone the loss of this valley and treaty infringement.

      This stretch of valley is the last bit that govt hasnt altered. Im not sure how a price can be attached to its loss.


  1. Light at the end of the tunnel?
    Recently I was permitted entry into BC Hydro’s inner sanctum (Fort Knox?) and granted an audience by a senior manager. I mentioned that I had just become an IPP, having installed a grid tied Solar power system (One of ONLY 1,360 residences that have taken advantage of this (so far) free natural resource). I also shared that it had a 12-15 year payback. He lamented the fact that there was no financial support for those that could not afford to make the initial investment and said I would not be sorry about the payback interval WHEN Hydro goes private! Not IF, but WHEN! I queried his statement and he said the writing was ‘on the wall’ – the IPP’s, the Accenture decision and Site C were all steps toward privatization.
    I believe the decision to proceed with Site C was NOT Horgan’s decision, but that he was TOLD not to cancel it.
    I was also told that the additional power was not needed as when various electrical devices are replaced it is with devices that consume only 10% of power, hence demand is flatlined in spite of population growth. BC needs the agricultural resource, not the power.


    1. In review the hobbling of BC Hydro appears to be intentional bankrupting that pays colluders dividends interim to privatizing —selling—the public enterprise for pennies on the dollar to crony insiders. There was one initiator, BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell, and many colluders in what should be recognized as a massive breach of public trust since there was absolutely no mandate from voters or electricity consumers to do anything but maintain a publicly owned system and the lowest electricity rates in on the continent (profiteers considered the economy-of-scale savings the BC citizenry enjoyed through public ownership as “unfairly” depriving them of opportunities to get those monies for themselves). It is galling to think that there are now two political colluders perpetrating this massive breach of public trust.

      While anybody who believes our public enterprise should not be so sabotaged, blatantly, in preparation for a corrupt privatization, should support Treay No.8 First Nations’ efforts to stop Site-C on grounds of Aboriginal Right (the matter of Aboriginal Title relates, so far, to traditional FN territories which haven’t yet gotten treaties; it’s application to treaty lands is obscure but might yet evolve through subsequent court findings), the more glaring opportunity to put an end to this massive breach of public trust is to forensically investigate every policy initiated at BC Hydro since 2001 (when the BC Liberals took over), and all administrative activity, on those very grounds—breach of public trust.

      The BC government’s cynical dismissal of Aboriginal Right in the Peace River Valley is very, very suspicious. Is there some precedent it is trying to avoid creating by recognizing rights —treaty rights—in this regard? Otherwise we don’t see an cogent, rational economic argument for continuing with construction. Even more, we understand that if Site-C was suspended at any time during its construction it would still be—good money after bad—a net savings for British Columbians, as well as remediation of the attempted sabotage of an important public enterprise and positive step along the path of reconciliation with indigenous nations.


      1. Excellent comment Scotty. BC Hydro is the easiest and most blatant act of mismanagement by the BC Liberals to point people too. Not even mismanagement actually,it was downright corrupt and Norm Farrell has such an excellent ongoing coverage of it.


    2. Privatization has been a common concern among hydro watchers as you know, for years because of the economic mess its in.

      I doubt though that Horgan was told by anyone to keep the dam. Considering they were negotiating with another FN while they were allegedly deliberating I think he never had any intention of it.
      Good read here on Ontarios woes. Sound like a path the BC Libs were on?


  2. Going to the Kinder Blunder, I trust the courts will recind all those protest/contemp convictions over a project that the FCA says should never have existed.


  3. Site C Injunction resumed yesterday. What a great opportunity for the “Hinterlanders” if they do shut down “Chrispy/John’s Folly”. River boats leaving the Site C Hilton after a hearty breakfast of bannock and smoked salmon, continuing up river to see all the Indigenous Sites that were almost wiped out, the fields of produce along the river side now that Hydro has released the properties that have been tied up for decades and tour the ‘White Elephant’ site. See the mud slides!
    What an opportunity to expose the southern City Folks to the wonders and beauties of the North, almost like a meeting of two societies that until now had never met. Plus the International exposure! We could pay for the ‘sunk costs’ in time flat, save $10 billion in dam costs and perhaps even save BC Hydro from privation! Win. Win. Win.


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