OTTAWA – An independent study shows that the government has failed to keep promises to certain groups and address concerns regarding the Site C Mega Dam project.
The study done by scholars, political scientists, water scientists, and environmental scientists showed that the government has not met conditions and reconciliation with First Nations.
“Based on evidence raised across our many disciplines, we have concluded that there were significant gaps and inadequacies in the regulatory review and environmental assessment process for the Site C Project,” reads the statement of concern. “Our assessment is that this process did not accord with the commitments of both the provincial and federal governments to reconciliation with and legal obligations to First Nations, protection of the environment, and evidence-based decision-making with scientific integrity.”
The study found issues with environment, legal issues and First Nations issues.
“It is troubling that the Site C Project is proceeding even though there are outstanding court cases on First Nations treaty and Aboriginal rights issues which have not yet been resolved. Past projects often neglected or ignored Aboriginal peoples and their concerns–with adverse and lingering consequences. Those days are supposed to be over.”
Researchers also found that there was lack of evidence-based decision-making with scientific integrity.
“It is also particularly troubling that the assessment process did not comprehensively assess cumulative environmental effects and impacts.”
In a release, the Statement of Concern makes a total of 4 recommendations.
The federal government to revisit the Order in Council approving the Project1 by directing the Department of Justice to complete an analysis of (i) whether the Project infringes upon the treaty and aboriginal rights guaranteed by the Constitution Act, 1982 (s. 35), and (ii) whether any such infringement can be justified under the framework established in Sparrow.2 We expect the present government, with its strong commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, will make public the analysis received from the Department of Justice.3 We ask that the federal government suspend the issuance of further permits or authorizations pursuant to the Order In Council until this analysis has been completed and publicized;
Both governments to explain why the unprecedented imposition of numerous significant adverse environmental effects is justified by a Project whose electricity output is presently unnecessary and for which less expensive and less environmentally damaging alternatives exist;
The provincial government to refer the Project for review and recommendations under Section 5 of the BC Utilities Commission Act;
Both governments to delay issuance of any further permits or authorizations until the courts decide on the First Nations’ issues at stake, and until the BC Utilities Commission has completed its review.