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#withthePeaceRiver

    November 09, 2017

     

    "Reconciliation could start here, today, with the cancellation of the Site C dam," Chief Roland Willson, West Moberly First Nations, on the steps of the BC Legislature, November 1, 2017

    The fate of the Peace River Valley hangs in the balance.

    In the coming weeks, the British Columbia government will make a decision whether to finally halt construction of the massively destructive Site C dam.

    Premier John Horgan has already made important commitments to uphold the human rights of Indigenous peoples.

    The Premier has also acknowledged that the Site C dam’s impact on the Treaty rights of the Dunne-Za and Cree peoples has never been properly addressed.

    If the Premier intends to keep his promise to uphold Indigenous rights, he must stop Site C so that First Nations cultures and traditions can be respected and protected.

    Unfortunately, that there is still enormous pressure on the province to allow the construction of the $8 billion dam to continue, regardless of the consequences.

    October 27, 2017

    One of the first acts of the recently elected provincial government of British Columbia was to order an independent review of the economic case for and against the massive Site C hydro-electric project. After releasing an interim report in September, the BC Utilities Commission held a series of public meetings across the province. The final report is due November 1 after which the decision on the fate of the project - and the Peace River Valley - will rest with the provincial government.

    Gary Ockenden, the Vice President of Amnesty International Canada shared this note from a hearing that he attended:

    The Chair and three Commissioners of the BC Utilities Commission came to Nelson, BC on September 26th and held a public hearing on the Site C project. I was fortunate enough to get a five minute slot to present to them as a BC ratepayer.

    September 21, 2017

    “Canada is built on the ancestral land of Indigenous peoples but regrettably it is also a country that came into being without the meaningful participation of those who were there first. And even where Treaties had been formed to provide a basis for proper relations, they have not been fully honoured or implemented.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressing the UN General Assembly the day after an interim report on the Site C dam was released

    “The joint federal-provincial environmental impact assessment of the Site C dam was clear that flooding the Peace River Valley would destroy hundreds of graves and other cultural sites and cause severe, permanent and irreversible harm to the natural environment on which we rely. All this was pushed aside in the rush to build Site C.” Prophet River Chief Lynette Tsakoza responding to the Site C interim report

    Three years ago, the federal government approved one of the most environmentally destructive resource development projects in Canada, over the opposition of profoundly affected First Nations.

    July 10, 2017

    Amnesty International is deeply concerned that farm families in northeast British Columbia face the imminent threat of destruction of their homes to make way for a dam that may never be completed.

    Although flooding of the Peace River Valley is years away – and may never happen if the incoming provincial government cancels construction of the Site C dam or if significant, outstanding First Nations concerns are finally addressed – a number of farm families face threat of immediate destruction of their homes and lands to allow the relocation of portions of the main road through the valley.

    In our view, the circumstances surrounding the construction of the Site C dam are such that any eviction or destruction of homes at this point would breach international human rights standards that all governments in Canada are obligated to uphold.

    International law recognizes that there are instances when individuals may need to be displaced from their land for a larger public benefit. However, strict standards are required to protect the rights of those individuals and prevent abuse of power by government.

    July 06, 2017

    "We will continue to bring unrelenting opposition to a project that can only be described as an unqualified disaster." -Chief Lynette Tsakoza, Prophet River responding to Supreme Court of Canada ruling closing off one part to justice in the Site C struggle

    Whatever your feelings about British Columbia’s Site C dam, whether you think the hydro-electric megaproject is needed or if you think there are better ways to invest in the province’s future, it should be clear that an unacceptable injustice is taking place.

    The 100 km of the Peace River and its tributaries that will be flooded by Site C are part of the territory of Treaty 8, an historic Treaty between First Nations and Canada. Like other Treaties, the rights protected under Treaty 8 are recognized and affirmed in the Canadian Constitution. In other words, they are part of the highest law of the land.

    Yet, the federal and provincial governments openly admit that they approved the Site C dam without ever considering whether the “severe”, “permanent” and “irreversible” harms identified by their own environmental assessment would violate Treaty 8.

    January 24, 2017

    This week's Federal Court of Appeal decision leaves unanswered the critical question of whether the construction of the Site C hydro-electric dam in northeast British Columbia violates the Constitutionally-protected Treaty rights of the First Nations who live in and depend on the Peace River Valley.

    The court accepted the federal government’s argument that, because the Canadian Environmental Act doesn’t explicitly require consideration of Treaty rights, it was “reasonable” to approve the project without first determining whether it would cause unjustifiable harm to the exercise of these rights.

    If the decision stands, it has the potential to set a dangerous precedent for rights protection in Canada as it effectively allows the terms of an individual piece of legislation to trump wider Constitutional rights protections.

    November 03, 2016

    Decades of unchecked resource development and government policy failures have strained the social fabric of communities in northeast British Columbia (BC), Canada, and have put the lives and safety of Indigenous women and girls at great risk, Amnesty International said in a new report.

    The report, Out of Sight, Out of Mind, demonstrates how resource development in northeast BC has eroded the land base that provides the foundation for First Nations and Métis health and wellness in the region, while influxes of transient workers have driven up local prices for essentials such as housing. Increased rates of violent crime and diminished access to social services have placed Indigenous women and girls at increased risk of harm, while denying them the protections and support they need. Northeast BC has one of the highest violent crime rates in Canada.

    The Paddle for the Peace is held annually to celebrate and recognize the need to protect the Valley and retain its critical ecosystem values in the face of the threat of the Site C dam.

    The Paddle is a day long event that begins on the Peace River, at the Halfway River Bridge on Highway 29, approximately a half hour drive from Fort St. John.

    You will start the day with a full, hearty breakfast, sponsored by the West Moberly First Nations at the launch site between 9 and 11 a.m. Following breakfast, keynote speakers and dignitaries will address the need to protect this precious valley.  The canoes and safety boats will launch at noon. You will enjoy a leisurely 1.5 hour paddle or cruise through this incredibly scenic river valley alongside hundreds of others who care deeply for it. The paddle culminates at Bear Flat and will be followed by a BBQ lunch hosted by the Prophet River First Nations, keynote speakers, musical entertainment as well as the opportunity to visit with other event participants.

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