OTTAWA – Dec 11, 2017 - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said today’s decision by B.C. Premier John Horgan to move forward with the Site C dam project is a major setback to reconciliation. First Nations will continue to work towards protection and prevention of the destruction of First Nations traditional territory.
"Today’s decision is disappointing," said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. "I am confident that First Nations will continue their efforts to stop Site C and the next step will be legal challenges. We have rights in our traditional territories and, just as important, we have responsibilities to those traditional territories – to protect them, maintain them and sustain them. If this project proceeds it will devastate traditional territories and sacred sites. The B.C. Liberal government pledged to work towards reconciliation and this decision is completely contrary to that. We will ensure governments respect our peoples, our rights and our lands. I commend the people of Treaty 8 for their action and advocacy against Site C and we stand with them as they continue this fight."
The AFN and National Chief Bellegarde have a longstanding position opposing the proposed Site C dam. On October 22, 2016, National Chief Bellegarde along with leadership from the West Moberly First Nation and Prophet River First Nation toured the pristine Treaty 8 territory and the Peace River region. Over the years, Treaty 8 First Nations have taken legal action to overturn approvals of the controversial hydroelectric project that would flood thousands of acres of their traditional territories and prevent them from exercising their rights.
There are a number of AFN resolutions calling for action to stop Site C, including AFN resolution 03/2010, resolution 41/2015 and resolution 71/2015. AFN resolutions can be found at: afn.ca/en/resolutions
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.