Thank you for speaking out against the Site C dam. British Columbia's plan to turn one of the last protected areas of the Peace River Valley in northeastern BC into a gigantic hydro-electric reservoir is an unacceptable violation of Indigenous peoples human rights.
Thanks to everyone who took action we’ve been able to send more than 15,000 electronic signatures to BC Premier Clark urging a halt to the destructive Site C dam, as well as thousands more letters on December 10th for our annual Write for Rights letter-writing marathon.
These actions are part of a growing national movement calling for the rights of First Nations in the Peace Valley to be respected and their voices listened to.
But even as momentum grows, the struggle has become increasingly urgent.
Despite the fact that fundamental concerns about the Treaty rights of First Nations in the Peace Valley are still before the courts, BC Hydro has plunged ahead with clear-cutting the Valley floor.
The before-and-after photos above show some of the destruction that has already taken place. It will get much worse if the dam proceeds, as it would flood more than 80km of the Peace River Valley, including pristine old growth forest and fertile farmlands.
A small group of community members – the Treaty 8 Stewards of the Land – have been able to bring the logging to at least a temporary halt by setting up a camp at an historic site in the path of the destruction. But in doing so they are risking arrest.
When Prime Minister Trudeau was elected, he promised that his government’s highest priority would be to forge a new relationship with Indigenous peoples based on respect for the rights protected in the Treaties, the Canadian Constitution and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
What Prime Minister Trudeau's government does next about Site C will be a crucial test of his promise to respect the Treaties.
The Site C dam is a provincial project but there are also federal permits needed for construction to continue. The federal government has the power to halt construction. And it urgently needs to do so.
That’s why we’ve updated our action. Now, in addition to continuing to collect signatures on a petition to Premier Clark, each time the petition is signed a message will be sent directly to the Prime Minister.
"Recognizing and upholding the human rights of Indigenous peoples in the Peace Valley also has a global importance. Around the world, Indigenous peoples are subjected to extreme impoverishment and widespread violation of their human rights. It is crucial that all levels of government in Canada set positive examples that can help elevate the situation of Indigenous peoples – and not lower the bar by knowingly violating establishing international and domestic norms and standards for the protection of Indigenous rights."
Thank you again for taking action for the human rights of Indigenous peoples in British Columbia.
Craig Benjamin Campaigner, Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples Amnesty International Canada