LETTER: Dam, pipeline at odds with UN declaration

From reader Sandra Hartline

I was pleased to note from the government’s website that implementing the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in B.C. is about ending discrimination, upholding basic human rights and ensuring more economic justice and fairness.

Given the government’s willingness to implement this declaration, I would like to draw attention to two issues: that of the construction of the Site C Dam and the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

1) In 2014, Premier John Horgan stated in a filmed interview that First Nations in the Peace region of the Site C Dam had entrenched constitutional rights that were going to be violated by this dam.

However, on Dec. 11, 2017, the government announced its decision to complete the dam. Following six months of confidential talks with the B.C. government and BC Hydro aimed at avoiding litigation, the West Moberly First Nations has announced it will proceed with a Site C dam court challenge, saying it infringes on their treaty rights. Apparently, the talks went nowhere.

2) Indigenous groups involved in the court challenge against Trans Mountain are the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nations in Metro Vancouver, the Coldwater Indian Band in Merritt and a coalition of First Nations in the Fraser Valley.

Although the court has ruled that upcoming arguments can only focus on whether the latest round of Indigenous consultation was adequate, the Tsleil-Waututh and three environmental groups sought leave to appeal that ruling in the Supreme Court of Canada, claiming the Federal Court was wrong to refuse to hear arguments about the risk of an oil spill or threats to endangered southern killer whales.

Lastly, when the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted in 2007, it introduced the right to free, prior and informed consent for Indigenous Peoples. It is one of the fundamental aspects of the UN declaration and is included in six articles. While all six articles are significant, Article 32.1 is of particular interest to the extractive resource sector in Canada:

“States shall consult and co-operate in good faith with the Indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.”

If the government of B.C. is indeed implementing this declaration, how is it that we are continuing to build the Site C Dam and expand the Trans Mountain pipeline?

Is this not duplicitous on the part of the government?

It’s not possible to pick and choose. Implementing the declaration means that Indigenous peoples have the right to free, prior and informed consent regarding any utilization or exploitation of resources, including the building of the Site C Dam and expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline across Indigenous land.

Sandra Hartline


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Child care severely lacking in Kaslo, says new study

Report says Kaslo needs 10 times the current number of available spaces

Province offers support to safeguard Kootenay fruit pickers

All seasonal fruit pickers will need to take an online COVID-19 awareness course

Nelson Air Cadets receive promotions and awards

The squadron has been operating virtually since March

LETTER: High Street decision disappointing

From reader Tanya Skok Hobbs

Selkirk College offering employees voluntary resignations

The college is canvassing employees for those who may want some time off or reduced work loads

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

Tsilhqot’in Nation demands meeting with feds on declining Fraser River chinook stocks

The Nation wants to partner with DFO to rebuild and recover the stocks

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

VIDEO: Prince William and Kate chat with B.C. hospital staff about COVID-19

Seven-minute video posted to Youtube on Canada Day

Most Read