Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs appeals to Liberal government for Site C permit refusal

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A First Nations lobby of the federal government to change course on the Site C Dam construction file continues.

When he spoke to us yesterday, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, was meeting in Ottawa looking toward building an alliance with First Nations leaders from Manitoba involved in what he called, ‘a similar set of circumstances.’

He believes the new Trudeau government can slow down or halt the Site C project by simply refusing to issue permits that must be in place in order for major works in the river to proceed.

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Specifically, he argues contractors for BC Hydro cannot divert water and place millions of tons of fill into the Peace River without first obtaining the aforementioned permits from the Fisheries and Transportation Ministries.

In a Vancouver Sun story this week, he also notes even though Treaty Eight nations legal challenge of the Harper government’s approval of the project was rejected in Federal Court this summer, the Trudeau government could — and will — be asked to drop federal government opposition to an appeal of that decision by the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations.

Chief Phillip calls Site C a bad project that is of dubious economic and social merit and suggests it offers the new Liberal government the opportunity to pass the critical litmus test it set for itself in the lead-up to the recent federal election.

He says that’s when it promised a new, more respectful relationship with First Nations—and saying no, to Site-C, is a great way to begin.

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