Site-C dam decision leaves Canadians feeling betrayed (again)

Two-thousand seventeen has been a roller-coaster year for progressives (and I write this as someone who dislikes amusement parks). We started the year on a high note, eager to usher in electoral reform, only to learn that  Liberal PM Justin Trudeau was backing out on his electoral reform promise. A big lie. However, we took heart when we learned of the historical NDP-Green party Coalition in B.C., and we looked to the NDP to make good on their promise to cancel the Site-C dam megaproject. Unfortunately, we were to be disappointed once again, as the NDP decided to renege on that promise. Another lie!

On December 12, 2017, CUSJ wrote a letter to BC Premier John Horgan; BC Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Michelle Mungall; and BC Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman. We are waiting to hear back from these people. A decision to cancel the project would make good business sense (any project manager will tell you that it is unwise to persevere with an losing project just because you have already wasted too much money on it).

The Site C dam project is located on B.C.’s Peace River, shown here in November, 2015. (Photo from the Globe and Mail).

As far as Site C goes, it looks like environmentalists’ only hope is litigation. The Union of BC Indian Chiefs is also forging ahead with their case. No more Mr. Nice Guy, as the saying goes. Thus environmentalists and First Nations are starting the new year full of hope, but it’s not the naive, trusting hope of last year. This time, our hope is what David Orr referred to as ‘a verb with its sleeves rolled up.’

1 thought on “Site-C dam decision leaves Canadians feeling betrayed (again)”

  1. While I agree the NDP government has betrayed its promise to First Nations for full consultation and free, prior, informed consent, I do not agree that it lied about Site C and I would like to suggest we need to be careful with such strong language. It was my understanding that they promised to give Site C a thorough review. I believe they did that. I also believe that the review gave them enough information to know it was a bad business case so I believe they caved to pressure in deciding to go ahead. I don’t know whether the pressure came from the public, the corporate sector, or the public servants who have planned and implemented the dam.


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