Tribal Chief Liz Logan told the crowd that 85 per cent of the residents some of the Treaty 8 First Nations have surveyed are opposed to the project. She’s working off that mandate, and maintains that the four groups she’s speaking on behalf of are not in negotiations with B.C. Hydro.
“Our treaty rights are not for sale.”
The Peace Valley Environment Association has been working with Treaty 8, and Coordinator Andrea Morison argues that they’ve been building strong support in their fight against the dam.
“We’ve stopped it twice before, and we’re going to stop it again once and for all,” she says. “It’s amazing the resources that we’ve pulled together to battle against this mammoth project. All the while, B.C. Hydro has access to millions of dollars, millions of our dollars, and they’re working so hard against us, and yet, as I listen, it’s clear that we’re winning this battle already.”
Dr. Faisal Moola of the David Suzuki Foundation, who will be speaking at the public hearing today, brought greetings from David Suzuki, who is too sick to attend himself. From his scientific research, he says there’s no question the land in the Peace Valley is sacred, as First Nation elders have said.
“We now know that the land not only provides homes and habitat for wildlife like caribou and deer and moose, but it literally forms the life support systems of our families and our communities,” he explains. “But if this Site C dam is built, it is unprecedented in terms of the impacts that it will have on wildlife. It is unprecedented in terms of the impacts it will have on farmland, not to mention the chaos that it will bring to working farm families and Aboriginal communities in the Peace Region.”
The Site C public hearings continue Wednesday and Thursday in Fort St. John with general sessions, featuring affected landowners Arlene and Ken Boon, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association. PRRD Area B Director Karen Goodings replaces Steve Thorlakson and Senator Richard Neufeld, who have been taken off Wednesday’s list.