from Andrew Weaver:
The social and environmental impacts will be devastating.
Because of the massive scale of other resource development in northeast BC, including mining, logging and oil and gas development, the Peace River Valley is one of the few remaining places in the region where Indigenous peoples can still practice their cultures and traditions. Flooding the Peace River Valley will have a devastating impact on First Nations hunting, fishing and the gathering of berries and plant medicines. These are activities that are central to Indigenous identity and which continue to play a crucial role in the health and sustenance of Dunne-Zaa and Cree families in northeast BC. The government-appointed environmental impact assessment concluded that the impacts would be severe, permanent and irreversible. This is in addition to the destruction of grave and numerous cultural sites dating back hundreds and thousands of years, as well as the loss of small farms that have been maintained for generations.
There’s no justification for this needless destruction.
The province needs to invest in the long term needs of the people of northeast BC where social services and infrastructure have been neglected for too long. The SIte C dam is simply not the way to do it. On November 1, a government-appointed economic review concluded that even with the money already spent on Site C, continued construction offers little or no financial benefit to the province when compared with other, less destructive alternatives. Furthermore, in some scenarios, halting Site C could actually mean a considerable saving for the province, freeing up potential for more sustain investments in the province's future. Either way, it's clear that the destruction of Indigenous land and livelihoods is unnecessary and that the province could benefit Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike through a new strategy for energy conservation and development.
Completing the Site C dam would be a blow to reconciliation with First Nations.
There’s good reason why international human rights standards, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, require the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples on serious decisions such as resource development on their territories. History tells us that if Indigenous peoples don’t have a real seat at the table, their rights will be swept aside. This is exactly what happened with the approval of the Site C dam. The federal and provincial governments have acknowledged that they never even considered whether the dam was compatible with their Treaty obligations, despite the many serious concerns expressed by Treaty 8 First Nations. Approval of the project under these circumstances was unjust. Allowing the decision to stand would be a further injustice. In contrast, stopping Site C is an important opportunity to send a message to all British Columbians and all Canadians that the lives, cultures and economies of First Nations matter.