FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The West Moberly First Nations and Prophet River First Nation have announced their intention to obtain a court injunction to halt construction of the Site C dam and to commence a lawsuit for Treaty Infringement in response to the NDP Government’s decision to push ahead with the $10.7 billion project.
“It was John Horgan’s NDP that demanded a Site C inquiry by the BC Utilities Commission, and the results they received from it were clear: no need for the power, better alternatives once we do, and no advantage to ratepayers to proceed. With those findings, the only responsible choice was to immediately stop destroying the Peace River valley,” said Chief Roland Willson.
In a press release, the two First Nations say that they have discussed their case with a number of highly recognized and successful civil litigators in aboriginal law, and believe the BCUC’s findings have strengthened their case considerably. “If you don’t believe us or our lawyers, ask the Premier himself,” said Prophet River First Nation Chief Lynette Tsakoza.
In a videotaped interview on May 8, 2014, the two First Nations quoted Horgan as saying:
“The fundamental issue is First Nations in the region have entrenched constitutional rights. Not just the requirement for consultation and accommodation, which we always hear about when we’re talking about resource projects. But they have entrenched constitutional rights to practice hunting and fishing as before. And that’s going to be violated by this dam.”
Chief Willson added that the two First Nations are confident that the court will grant the injunction after pointing out various findings of the BCUC’s report. “Usually, courts are reluctant to hold up a project because of economic impacts. But with the BCUC’s report in hand, the court can actually save British Columbia billions of dollars, and protect our constitutional rights at the same time,” said Chief Willson.
“To our allies, we say ‘keep fighting’. And to those of you just now learning about this ruinous decision, don’t stand for it! Contact the Premier’s Office. Contact your MLA. Call, meet, write, email, tweet. This province doesn’t have billions of dollars to waste on a make-work boondoggle for power we don’t even need,” said Chief Tsakoza.