Black, Black Monday and a bad day for Mother Earth

It is hard to describe how I felt when I heard that the government of BC approved the Site C dam to continue.  That this was the consensus of the cabinet makes it even more incredulous to me and I am very disillusioned with what I had hoped to be a change in values and methods of government.

I feel deep anger, I feel disappointment, I feel foolish that I had any hope that this government would be different and there was a good chance Site C would be cancelled.  I feel fear for Mother Earth that we continue to have a government in power that looks only out for money and jobs and does not care about the environment, critical ecosystems and First Nations sacred sites and rights. There are so many other indescribable feelings that are swirling around in my head and in my heart.

We heard the same old, same old rationale that Site C will make our lives better, and it is the best decision for the people of British Columbia.  I say what crap!! I am so tired of hearing this from Justin Trudeau and his government and now with this provincial government.  It is not right for the people of British Columbia for too many reasons to list.  Horgan said he sat with indigenous peoples, people who live along the Peace but did he listen?  Did he care? 

All I see is a weak cabinet that caved to the pressure of the unions and the whole jobs issues.  There are always construction jobs in this province, and more companies such as Amazon coming here.  The long term jobs for Site C is all of 25.  This is not a long-term benefit for people of British Columbia.  Short term gains for long term damages to an important river system. If this government does not believe in its ability to create jobs for this province outside Site C they should not be in power.

Horgan admitted this was a very, very divisive issue, but this decision will make life more affordable.  I don’t understand how this is possible when the BC Government absorbs 40% of the total cost of Site C, a minimum of $4 billion at this point.  It is also important to note that the transmission grid needs up to $1.4 billion in upgrades that have not been included in the total cost of Site C. 

It is unbelievable that John Horgan said that true reconciliation is part of and parcel of this decision and that includes providing First Nations people jobs in a sustainable way.  Does he think a job means reconciliation? A job that destroys sacred/burial sites and causes more damage to fish, wildlife and birds? There is no reconciliation with First Nations.  True, a few First Nations signed agreements but I repeat, not all of them agreed with Site C but signed on to get benefits because the project would go ahead whether they signed or not.  To use the fact that First Nations are divided for further rationale on why they approved Site C is unacceptable and misplaced.

Horgan't government has said they would implement UNDRIP which includes Free, prior and and informed consent(FPIC). He said because this project had already been approved, FPIC did not apply. That he is picking and choosing when FPIC applies is troubling and not a good sign for future relations.

 A friend of mine, Darcy Lin, posted on Facebook, “Governments need to stop referencing “reconciliation” when they make decisions that further erode indigenous lands and treaty rights that require those lands to be meaningful.  It’s beyond patronizing.”

He said it so well that I wanted to reference his words. 

The rationale Horgan mentioned was Site C was pushed beyond the point of no return and blamed the Liberals for getting the project to that point.  He basically said this project has gone too far to be stopped.  That is not true and that is not what the BCUC said either and it could be stopped at a cost to the province which would likely be less than building a dam at a greater cost than estimated and not being able to sell the power created. He said if they stopped Site C it would affect child care and education and health care.  This is untrue, because the cost of rehabilitating the area is $1.8 billion and is  less than what the government has to invest in taxpayer money of a mininum of $4 billion.

Horgan said he fulfilled his election commitment to be a BCUC independent review. He did a review but only a limited review, certainly not the kind of review that should have taken place and would have taken place before a project was started.

He acknowledged Site C would go ahead at a cost of more than $10 billion but this would be repaid by people buying electricity.  He conveniently forgot that the government has 40% of the cost and that there is no market for the excess electricity.  Christy Clark was trying to sell it to Alberta with no success.  That is one of the biggest issues with Site C, the power is not needed all at once and the demand for power is flat and we don’t need that amount of electricity in 2024.

 Horgan mentioned a few actions to try and make this decision more palatable.  They fall far short of what needs to be done.

He did not address First Nations opportunities to create clean energy as is required in the Clean Energy Act.  They keep overlooking this issue, refusing to meet with First Nations so they could understand the potential, the need and the lack of opportunity.  This decision was made without First Nation involvement on this particular aspect of the fallout of Site C.  Maybe First Nations should bring a class action suit against the government of British Columbia for lack of opportunity to create clean energy.  The government expects First Nation lawsuits, this is one they never thought of. 

 Further rationale by Horgan is that it is not a project that they favour, nor one they would have started.  They had to power to stop it and chose not to use that power.  They made themselves victims of the Liberal Government’s choice to go ahead with Site C.  They showed no courage, no innovation and no leadership on a project they dont want. So incredibly disappointing in the lack of values shown.

 My hope it that Mother Earth rejects this dam in some way or another.  There is uncertainty with the fissure cracks and other issues.  The government may say it can go ahead but they cannot control everything. This is a decisont that will not go away and will forever be a stain on the NDP reputation for years to come. Black, black Monday, a day that won't get better. 

Latest Opportunities

Associate Vice President, Indigenous Education and Engagement

Vancouver Island University
November 23, 2021

Executive Director

Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
October 13, 2021

Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator

Kanaka Bar Indian Band
Kanaka Bar Indian Band
October 7, 2021