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There's nothing clean about the Site C dam

    February 11, 2016

    Open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
    Canadian organizations condemn Peace River hydroelectric mega-project for human rights violations

    Dear Prime Minister,

    Our organizations are profoundly concerned that construction of the Site C dam is being pushed ahead despite the conclusion of a joint federal-provincial environmental assessment that it 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 other crucial cultural and historical sites.

    SITE C VIOLATES RIGHTS

    The construction of the Site C dam would severely affect Indigenous families.

    Tell the Trudeau government to honour its promises and respect the Treaties.

    The Site C dam is not just another resource development project. It is one of the largest such projects currently underway in Canada. For First Nations such as West Moberly and Prophet River, which continue to challenge the project in court, flooding the Peace Valley would take away one of the last remaining places where they can still practice their cultures and traditions. In other words, it would violate fundamental rights protected by Treaty 8, the Canadian Constitution, and international human rights law.

    When the federal and provincial governments approved the project, they claimed that the severe harm that would be caused by Site C was ‘justified’ by the energy and the jobs it will produce. We strongly disagree.

    Ignoring the rights of Indigenous peoples can never be justified. Furthermore, in this day and age there are far less damaging and less costly methods that could be used to meet British Columbia’s energy needs - many of which would create more jobs than Site C.

    Last month, Canada played a crucial role in achieving an historic global accord on climate change. The Paris Agreement calls on governments to increase the use of renewable energy but also reaffirmed the obligation of all governments to acknowledge and respect human rights, including the rights of Indigenous peoples.

    In other words, energy projects that violate human rights are not clean or green.

    Prime Minister, we urge you and your Cabinet to put the principles you championed in Paris into practice in Canada. We urge that construction of the Site C dam be halted immediately, that all permits be rescinded, and that the previous government’s approval of this project be re-examined. It is crucial that the federal and provincial governments work collaboratively with the Indigenous peoples of the region to reach common agreement on a long-term plan to protect Indigenous land use in the Peace Valley.

    The people of Treaty 8 have said no to Site C. Any government that is truly committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, to respecting human rights, and to promoting truly clean energy must listen.

    Signed,

    Alberta Wilderness Association
    Alliance 4 Democracy
    The Anglican Eco-Justice Unit, Diocese of New Westminster
    Amnesty International Canada
    Blue Planet Project
    BC Women's Institute
    Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion - BROKE
    Canadian Federation of Students
    Canadian Friends Service Committee
    Council of Canadians
    Christian Peacemakers Team, Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Project
    Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) Vancouver
    Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)
    CPAWS-BC
    David Suzuki Foundation
    Earthroots
    Ecojustice
    Greenpeace Canada
    KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
    National Farmers Union
    Oxfam Canada
    Patagonia
    Peace Valley Environment Association
    Peace Valley Landowner Association
    RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs)
    Skeena Wild Conservation Trust
    Sierra Club BC
    STAND

    Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs
    West Coast Environmental Law
    Wilderness Committee
    Wildsight
    Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

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