“The first principal we need to operate on is that every one of us in Canada is a partner in reconciliation,” said Lola Murray, one of the Site C protestors on Quadra Island, quoting Chief Robert Joseph.
Chief Robert Joseph’s message through reconciliation Canada rings true for a group of Quadra Islanders who are gathering signatures on letters opposing the NDP Government’s Site C Dam decision, on Friday.
“You can’t just honour treaty rights when it is convenient and when it is not convenient to ignore them,” said Sonja Charlesworth.
The NDP government gave the go ahead to the project earlier in December.
“It’s clear that Site C should never have been started,” Premier John Horgan said at the time. “But to cancel it now would add billions to the province’s debt – putting at risk our ability to deliver housing, child care, schools and hospitals across B.C. And that’s a price we’re not willing to pay.”
The Quadra Island group is joining others across the province who are holding candle light vigils and planting yellow stakes in the ground in solidarity with the Profit River and West Moberly First Nations who are seeking an injunction to stop the project.
“People are really discouraged,” Charlesworth said. “If the NDP government is okay-ing this when they initially said they would support Treaty 8, what’s the point?”
The group is also taking issue with the project for various other reasons. In their opinion the farmland in the Peace Region is too valuable to flood and they believe food security is important and will become more important as climate change continues and the world population grows. They also expressed concern about the area being a wildlife corridor.
“All of B.C.’s birds end up in the Peace Region at some point,” said Susan Westren.
They feel that the United Nations and Amnesty International condemnation of the project as well as the recent BC Utilities Commission report are also good reasons to stop the project.
The group set up signs and approached passersby in front of Tru Value Foods on Quadra Island. They will be installing yellow stakes and the signs in front of the shopping complex for MLA Claire Trevena to see when she next returns home.
The organisers said that if you would like to lend your voice to the cause you can support the First Nations communities’ legal challenge by donating at stakeinthepeace.com or by writing a letter to Premier John Horgan.