Site C dam protesters in B.C. prepare for arrests

VANCOUVER - First Nations protesting the construction of the $9-billion Site C dam in northeastern British Columbia are preparing for their own arrests while they implore Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intervene to stop the hydroelectric project.

See Full Article

Helen Knott of the Prophet River First Nation said in an interview from the protest site that she and six other demonstrators are camped at Rocky Mountain Fort, the former site of a North West Company fur-trading post established in 1794 on the west side of the Moberly River, near Fort St. John.

RCMP said they arrested three protesters on Wednesday who had been blocking an access road needed by BC Hydro crews to begin work in the creation of the dam that will be the third on the Peace River. The dam will create an 83-kilometre-long reservoir and flood the area where the protesters are camping.

BC Hydro and Power Authority has issued an eviction notice, warning protesters that all contents of the camp set up on Dec. 31 will be removed and delivered to the RCMP.

Knott said the protesters are hunkering down and weathering snow and temperatures as low as -20 C, awaiting the possibility of arrest.

"It's not necessarily anybody goes into it with that idea, like 'yeah, we're going to be arrested,' right? It's that, 'yeah, we're committed to saving this tract of land and to, you know, actively use our treaty rights here," she said.

Knott said she would rather not be arrested but is willing to be at the camp and take a stand on an issue in which she believes.

Several First Nations and local residents have filed legal challenges over the dam, raising concerns about flooding and the impact the lake will create.

Art Napoleon of the Saulteau First Nation said in a phone interview from Victoria that the lake will flood the historic site and other sacred areas.

"That whole area was a culturally significant area for us, for hunting, trapping, fishing, gathering, a lot of history, all of our history, so that's our cultural institution and it's being raped, and it's still not enough," he said, adding he hopes Trudeau can get involved.

"Well, I don't know what exactly he can do but it's worth a shot, isn't it?," said Napoleon. "I believe we're after the possibility of ... governments taking a more-serious look at some of the alternatives that have been presented. They look pretty dam viable to me."

He said protesters still think smaller dams, and maybe even under water dams with turbines, are alternatives.

Peace River Valley resident Verena Hofmann said earlier this week that critics of the dam have asked Trudeau to reassess the environmental approval that was grated by the former federal Conservative government.

BC Hydro spokesman Craig Fitzsimmons has said the Crown corporation respects the rights of individuals to peacefully protest and express their opinions in a safe and lawful manner. He said Hydro hopes the issue can be resolved and it is in discussions with protesters.

The protest camp is in a remote area. Knott said once protesters leave the main highway, they must drive on rough, secondary roads for 90 minutes to two hours, before making another seven-kilometre trip by foot or snowmobile.

BC Hydro announced in December it would pay the Peace River Hydro Partners $1.75 billion to build the earthen dam, foundation, two diversion tunnels and spillways.

The partners are ACCIONA Infrastructure Canada Inc., Petrowest Corporation and Samsung C&T Canada Ltd.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Libraries in Canada hit by wave of hate, threats, as right-wing groups protest all-age drag events

    Canada News CBC News
    Family-friendly drag events across Canada, many hosted by municipal libraries, have been targeted by a deluge of hateful comments and threats during Pride month, prompting multiple police investigations and renewed concerns about the safety of the LGBTQ community. Source
  • The pandemic upset how we assess students. Experts worry that's also hampered recovery efforts

    Canada News CBC News
    Some young learners are struggling to build early reading skills while others stumble over math concepts. Repeated pandemic pivots have left students out of practice with classroom learning, impacted their mental health and distanced them from peers. Source
  • Canada can now seize, sell off Russian assets. What's next?

    Canada News CBC News
    Selling Russian-owned assets to pay for Ukraine's reconstruction may sound like a logical approach to restitution, but as the Canadian government gains new powers to begin this process, questions remain about how it will work, and whether some issues are headed to court. Source
  • Parents, caregivers face new juggling act as employers evaluate work-from-home policies

    Canada News CBC News
    There's no daily commute for Amy McQuaid-England these days. That's because she's advising clients on social media matters from her home in Brighton, Ont., without having to cross her doorstep. The communications professional said this "life-changing" style of flexible work allows her to manage the needs of her young family while also managing her business. Source
  • Zelensky expected to ask for more support in address to G7 leaders

    World News CBC News
    The ongoing war in Ukraine will move from being an distant conflict to something more tangible for the leaders of the world's seven wealthiest democracies on Monday with an address by the embattled country's president. Volodymyr Zelensky said he's going to tell G7 leaders that despite their efforts to arms his country and to isolate the regime of Russia President Vladimir Putin, more needs to be done — and fast. Source
  • Connecting Indigenous inmates to their culture: Grand Chief performs at Manitoba prison

    Canada News CTV News
    Behind prison walls, National Indigenous People’s Day was celebrated this month, with inmates at a Manitoba federal prison granted access to music, drumming and sharing circles — positive steps forward to reconnect Indigenous inmates with their culture and rehabilitate a group that is incarcerated at a disproportionate rate. Source
  • Infrastructure fixes to halt floods on Peguis First Nation sorely needed, emergency head says

    Canada News CBC News
    All levels of government need to come together to help solve flood-related infrastructure issues on Manitoba's largest First Nation, the community's director of emergency management says. "There is serious work to do," said William Sutherland in an interview Sunday, as the flood-battered community north of Winnipeg was toiling to again try and shore up structures, roads and homes on Peguis First Nation as water levels rise from recent rainfall. Source
  • Infrastructure fixes to halt floods on Peguis First Nation sorely needed, leaders say

    Canada News CBC News
    All levels of government need to come together to help solve flood-related infrastructure issues on Manitoba's largest First Nation, the community's director of emergency management says. "There is serious work to do," said William Sutherland in an interview Sunday, as the flood-battered community north of Winnipeg was toiling to again try and shore up structures, roads and homes on Peguis First Nation as water levels rise from recent rainfall. Source
  • Lawyer releases pages from Brian Laundrie's notebook in which he admits to killing Gabby Petito

    World News CTV News
    WARNING: This story contains details that may be disturbing The attorney for the family of Brian Laundrie on Friday released eight pages from Laundrie's notebook that was found near his remains in Florida in October last year, according to a news release obtained by CNN affiliate WINK. Source
  • Pride marked by celebrations, arrests and grief around the world

    Canada News CBC News
    After a pandemic hiatus, Pride events returned to many cities around the world on Sunday. Streets were once again filled with celebrations and parades, but many others were held under drastically different moods. Here's a look at how Pride was marked around the world: Source