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Site C Dam - Contact your Member of Parliament

    Monday, May 9, 2016 - 09:42

    “Our Elders continue to remind us that we must protect the land, and exercise our Indigenous Rights and Treaty Rights. Every week we learn of a new reason why Site C should not proceed….” Chief Roland Willson, West Moberly First Nations

    In the coming weeks, the federal government will make decisions on permits necessary for continued construction of the Site C dam in north-eastern British Columbia.

    If the government rejects or puts these permits on hold, it would buy time for important legal challenges by First Nations and local landowners to be addressed.

    At stake:

    • The future of a unique ecosystem in a region ravaged by extensive resource development
    • The ability of Indigenous peoples to hunt, fish, trap and pass these skills and traditions on to future generations
    • Respect for treaties and the rule of law
    • Justice and reconciliation

    Unfortunately, despite public commitments to respect the rights of Indigenous peoples and ensure transparent and accountable environmental assessment processes, Prime Minister Trudeau and his Cabinet have remained silent on Site C.

    The government needs to hear from constituents that the sincerity of its commitments will be judged by what it does about the Site C dam. We are continuing our online action. More than 41,000 people have already joined this action to send a message to the Prime Minister.

    There is also a new, formal Parliamentary petition that we hope people across Canada will support. This is an important tool because if enough signatures are collected, the government will be required to respond to the House of Commons.

    It's crucial that we build on this momentum. More than anything, we need to show the depth of Canadians' concern on this issue. Individual letters and messages to Members of Parliament are a powerful way to show your commitment.

    Please take action

    1. Find contact information for your member of Parliament here.
       
    2. Express your concern. Call their constituency office or their office on Parliament Hill. Or send a letter. Letters mailed to their House of Commons address don’t require postage. You can send an email as well, but bear in mind that emails may not have the same impact as a more formal letter. However you contact your MP, your message can be short and to the point, Some suggested content is included below,
       
    3. Consider requesting a meeting. This is one of most effective ways to demonstrate just how seriously you take this issue. Parliament is on break during the week of May 24th and most MPs will be in their ridings during that week.

    Key points to raise in a letter, phone call or in person meeting

    • The Site C dam should never have been approved.
       
    • The joint federal-provincial environmental impact assessment concluded that construction of the dam would severely and permanently undermine Indigenous peoples’ use of the land; harm rare plants and other biodiversity; make fishing unsafe for at least a generation; and submerge burial grounds and numerous other crucial cultural and historical sites.
       
    • The federal and provincial approvals for the project were granted on the basis of the claim that these serious, permanent harms to the environment and Indigenous culture were “justified” by the benefits of the project. This claim doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
       
    • The environmental assessment found that there wasn’t enough evidence to determine the actual need for the dam or its cost effectiveness and that alternatives had never been properly considered. The review recommended that the matter be referred to the BC Utilities Commission for independent, expert review of the projected energy needs - something that the provincial government has refused to do.
       
    • The federal government and BC Hydro have both stated in court that the legal implications in respect to the Treaty rights of First Nations were not considered at any point in the decision-making process.
       
    • You can find more information in this new factsheet.

    Keep in mind

    • Federal officials have now repeatedly stated that they can’t comment on Site C because “it’s before the courts.” Don’t let them get away with this non-answer.
       
    • The court process could take years to resolve. In fact, the federal government is telling the court that the current legal process isn't adequate to deal with the underlying issue of whether treaty rights have been violated and that First Nations must initiate an entirely new, and much more lengthy court process if they want this issue addressed.
       
    • Meanwhile construction of the dam continues at a rapid pace. BC Premier Christy Clark has even said that her goal is to get the dam to “the point of no return.”
       
    • When new permits come before the federal government, the government will take a position one way or the other. It’s crucial that the federal governments actions be principled and consistent with its commitments to protect the environment and Indigenous rights.

    Get others involved

    Please continue to promote the online petition by sending this link to friends and sharing it on social media: www.amnesty.ca/sitec

    Learn more

     

     

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