Treaty 8 nations to launch injunction against Site C

Ivan Schwartz
December 12, 2017

Monday will be decision day for the controversial Site C dam.

Proposed decades ago as a third Peace River dam, the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) which reviews all B.C. energy projects, rejected Site C in 1981 and 1983 as unnecessary.

Peppard argued that revising B.C. Hydro's procurement procedures to include a project-labour agreement with the council, would be one way of better distributing the benefits of the project to gain support.

"We contacted NDP volunteers, donors and members and trade unionists and said, well, get your views in", Gray said.

Based on current projections, BC Hydro has revised the budget to $10.7 billion.

When asked if this will hurt his relationship with First Nations groups Horgan says he's fairly confident they can work through it.

"It sort of sounds like (government) was check-mated into it a little bit", said Val Litwin, CEO of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, referring the extent to which Horgan's government inherited the thorny issue from former premier Christy Clark.

Allowing construction could force ranchers out of their homes and would likely prompt court challenges from First Nations.

Premier John Horgan addressed the question when speaking to reporters Monday December 11, saying that Weaver has said both privately and publicly that moving Site C forward will not trigger a crisis for his government.

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"We have seen what is happening to ratepayers in Newfoundland because of Muskrat Falls, a similar project, where rates are set to nearly double", Weaver said.

The Opposition Liberals, who started Site C, applauded the NDP's decision.

"But I am the first, I think, to stand before you and said that I am going to do my level best to make amends for a whole host of decisions, that previous governments have made to put indigenous peoples in an unwinnable situation". But Horgan only technically promised a review of the project.

West Moberly First Nations Chief Roland Willson said in a prepared statement that the BCUC's report is clear the power from Site C is not needed.

"This is not a 10-year energy project, this isn't even a 50-year energy project", Litwin said.

In addition to a court-sponsored injunction, the nations also announced they will pursue a civil case against the project for treaty infringement.

Horgan also announced a new Project Assurance Board for oversight that "will provide enhanced oversight to future contract procurement and management, project deliverables, environmental integrity, and quality assurance - all within the mandate of delivering the project on time and budget". "But with the BCUC's report in hand, the court can actually save British Columbia billions of dollars, and protect our constitutional rights at the same time".

"Any hopes I had for a different, progressive BCNDP government are dashed", Sayers wrote.

While B.C. continues to go all-in on major hydro dams for its main source of electricity, Ontario and Quebec have faced their energy futures differently.

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