(OTTAWA) July 28, 2016 – The Green Party of Canada released the following statement after learning that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Transport Canada have issued federal permits to allow construction of the Site C dam hydroelectric project to commence:
“I am deeply disappointed that federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, and Transport Minister, the Hon. Marc Garneau, have issued permits to allow BC Hydro to destroy more of the Peace River. I really believed this new government would honour its word to First Nations,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands).
“Now, the Peace River and surrounding pristine land is slated to be destroyed by the Site C dam, a hydroelectric project that will generate power far in excess of the province’s needs at an obscene price tag of $8.8 billion. This project is in clear violation of treaty rights for Treaty 8 First Nations. Site C is an avoidable environmental mess and a failure on the part of this government to shift away from destructive energy projects and towards cleantech, sustainable energy solutions.
“With the issue of Treaty 8 rights to be heard before the Federal Court in September, the permits issued today could be moot very soon. It is agonizing to witness the starting gun for a race between bulldozers and justice,” Ms. May said.
As background, Site C’s joint federal-provincial environmental review, under the pre-2012 Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, was chaired by highly respected former federal deputy minister Harry Swain. The panel found that the project would create economic problems for B.C., that there was no demand for the energy and that BC Hydro had failed in its mandated direction to explore alternative sources of energy.
The panel established as fact that the project would cause permanent environmental damage that cannot be mitigated and that Site C would cause permanent loss of treaty rights to Treaty 8 First Nations.
The Royal Society of Canada, our premier scientific academy, has described the Site C Joint Review Panel report as the strongest and most negative review to be ignored by government. Vast numbers of experts, First Nations and environmental groups want the Trudeau administration to reverse the ideological pronouncement of the previous Cabinet, which claimed economic importance outweighed environmental damage.