Sierra Club, Amnesty International urge government to stop Site-C in open letters

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On Tuesday, Sierra Club of BC Foundation sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as the members of the cabinet committee on climate change, calling on them to stop Site-C because of it’s contribution to global warming and climate change.

The letter is signed by representatives of the Wilderness Committee, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, and Alliance4Democracy in addition to the Sierra Club — but also by Andrea Morison of the Peace Valley Environment Association and Ken Boon of the Peace Valley Landowners Association; both prominent figures on the local opposition of the Site-C dam.

We believe that the Site-C dam will be a net contributor to climate change both directly and indirectly. The dam is strongly opposed by Treaty 8 First Nations, as well as local governments across the province (by unanimous resolution of the Union of BC Municipalities), labour and civil society groups. In addition to its severe impacts on First Nations, which the Joint Review Panel1 found ‘cannot be mitigated’, there are severe ecosystem impacts including massive biodiversity loss in an area already suffering extreme cumulative impacts from existing and planned resource extraction.

In addition to these claims, Sierra Club says the flooding of farmland in the Peace Valley caused by Site-C would “significantly hamper any meaningful attempts to increase food security, resilience and adaptation to climate change.”

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They added that the unique soil and micro-climate allow for enough produce to be grown to meet the nutritional needs of one million people each year — or one quarter the BC population.

The Sierra Club’s letter can be found here.

The next day, Amnesty International sent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and BC Premier Christy Clark an open letter expressing concern about “the violations of Indigenous peoples’ human rights that would result from the construction of the Site-C dam.”

The letter states, “The harm caused by the Site-C dam would deny Indigenous peoples the ability to exercise fundamental human rights protected under both Canadian and international law.”

The letter also states, “Instead of meeting the rigorous standard of decision- making required by Canada’s obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of Indigenous peoples, the decision to allow the Site C dam to proceed was deeply flawed.”

The letter concludes that the governments of Canada and British Columbia have a duty to uphold the rights for First Nations, and that “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.

Read the full letter from Amnesty International here.



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