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Fort St. John

Green Party leader May says there could be other job-creating alternatives to Site C in Peace Region

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May was among the hundreds of participants that took to the Peace River for this year’s Paddle for the Peace on Saturday.

May was among a number of delegates that spoke at the event today that began at the Halfway River Bridge and ended at Bear Flats on the banks of the Peace River.

BC Hydro sent a letter to the Paddle for the Peace organizers yesterday, saying that they “respect the right for people to express their views and opinions in a lawful manner,” and that the event was able to take place on their property. The field in Bear Flats was appropriated by BC Hydro from former owners Ken and Arlene Boon in the time since last year’s event.

May was in attendance for the second year in a row this year, and said that it was important to be in Fort St. John in the wake of recent provincial political developments. She said that contrary to what several pundits say, she believes that the BC NDP and Green parties will be able to make their agreement last for four years until the next scheduled provincial election in 2021. She pointed out several other similar situations in other provinces, including in New Brunswick between 2003 and 2006, and in Ontario in 1985 when the Ontario Liberals led by David Peterson made an agreement with the Bob Rae-led NDP.

When it comes to Premier-designate John Horgan’s announced plans to send Site C to the B.C. Utilities Commission, May said that she’s confident that the Commission will be able to get a proper review completed within the timeframe that Horgan has asked of the Commission. She added that the project should have been sent to the Utilities Commission in the first place, so that B.C. doesn’t end up in the same situation that Newfoundland currently finds itself in with the Muskrat Falls project.

“The Premier at the time, Danny Williams, said ‘oh it’s such a great project I’d put my own money into it,’” said May. “So he refused to send it to public utilities commission, and now the province is bleeding money, begging the federal government for money, and the CEO of Nalcor, the company actually building Muskrat Falls dam is saying ‘it’s a boondoggle.’ That is the kind of position that British Columbians don’t want to find themselves in.” May added that if the BCUC needs more time to conduct a proper review, they’ll be the ones to decide if that is the case.

May also said that there are many other alternatives that BC Hydro could explore that would still create jobs and not have any of the drawbacks that Site C has, including pumped-storage hydroelectric projects, geothermal, and wind power generation. “There’s a lot of other projects that make sense in this region, and I think that’s something that the arguments about jobs and costs need to actually realign and figure out what are our alternatives. What alternative does the most for the B.C. economy, B.C. ratepayers, and still has a benefit to the people of this region.”