VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Union of BC Indian Chiefs has called for the provincial and federal governments to stop Site C construction until the court proceedings regarding the $8.8 billion hydroelectric dam project are resolved, and until the proposal is properly reviewed by the BC Utilities Commission.
President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says he has concerns that BC Hydro’s arrests of protesters recently are increasing tensions on the ground.
In a news release, Grand Chief Phillip stated BC Hydro moved equipment in toward the Rocky Mountain Fort Camp protest. Treaty 8 Stewards of the Land have been camped out at the historic Rocky Mountain Fort Camp since late December to defend their traditional territory.
“Further provocations on the part of BC Hydro will only serve to escalate tensions in an already volatile situation,” he said.
He, along with UBCIC as a whole, is denouncing these ‘deliberately provocative and reckless attempts at fast-tracking construction on the proposed Site C project.’ The union is reportedly ‘outraged’ that Hydro is working on the proposed dam site while ‘critical court proceedings are in motion and a decision on Site C proceeding has yet to be determined,’ he said.
Through formal resolutions, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs fully supports the efforts of Treaty 8 First Nations to ensure that their Aboriginal and Treaty Rights are honoured and preserved.
Hydro’s David Conway has stated that the crown corporation is ‘in discussions with the protesters and local authorities’ to resume construction activities. He adds that BC Hydro respects the rights of protesters to express their opinions in a safe and lawful manner.