FightC is a grassroots community organization that has has been working to stop the Site C dam for the last several years. Tremendous effort around Site C took place before and during the 2017 provincial election. The fight continues following the NDP government's ill-advised decision Dec. 11, 2017 to continue this ecological travesty. The cumulative impacts from this destructive megadam are a violation of Treaty 8 Nations rights, and will be irreversible.
The strategic focus now is to raise public attention and support regarding Indigenous treaty rights and the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations legal efforts to protect the Peace River Valley. Two dates to watch for: the Blueberry River First Nation court case on cumulative impacts begins in April 2018. The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations are seeking an interim injunction to halt the project pending a full civil trial that aims to kill Site C. A hearing on the interim injunction application is expected to begin in July. Ahead of this injunction, the two First Nations secured a victory via a major work stoppage in February in critical areas of the Peace this March, delaying (and hopefully eventually preventing) the logging of old growth forest and sacred sites. Look for a Court Watch website to be launched on Earth Day, April 22!
Actions in 2017
Raising awareness of Indigenous land and treaty rights in BC and forging solidarity with those who call he Peace River Valley home is key to protecting the Peace. In addition to extensive canvassing in key provincial riding, FightC held two public events/meetings per month, including a sold-out Poets for the Peace event in March which raised awareness locally and funds for the Yellow Stakes Campaign in support of the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nation' legal actions. Another benefit was held with energy expert Harry Swain and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip in April with 600 attendees, and a 2017 Vancouver Paddle for the Peace vent more than 200 paddlers. Important solidarity alliances have also been forged with groups such as the Sierra Club, Force of Nature, Climate Convergence, Amnesty International and other groups that share inter-connected concerns about land and water.
Post-Betrayal and Ongoing Outreach
A candle light vigil - The Betrayal Vigil - was held outside BC Hydro offices every night for a week immediately following the December announcement. This was followed by the Site C Summit held in Victoria in January with a roster of speakers from Treaty 8 groups, energy experts and environmental groups. FightC members continue to hold regular information pickets outside the Vancouver offices of Attorney-General David Eby and Minister George Heyman to engage citizens on the rights of First Nations and the environmental and financial implications of the dam.
To date, FightC has contributed mightily to the huge effort to stop Site C. Our members have distributed over 25,000 Just the Dam Facts anti-Site C brochures, delivered 3450 post cards to MLA offices throughout the province, and collected more than 6,000 petition signatures. Similar efforts have taken place in Prince George, Quadra Island and Kelowna as well as by other grassroots groups throughout the province, and collectively we have gathered over 120 000 signatures calling for this dam to be halted!
Peace Valley farmer Ken Boon also embarked on a successful tour of coastal communities in March to speak about the devastating impact the Site C dam will have on food security. These well-attended Peace River Solidarity Nights helped raise funds for legal challenges underway. Other speakers attending have made the connections between mega projects, destruction of the land and violence against women, particularly Indigenous women.
Everyone is urged to contribute what they can to First Nations legal funds at www.stakeinthepeace.ca
Where to Next?
The challenge is to keep the Peace River Valley alive and robust. FightC continues to grow and now has a mailing list of hundreds of concerned people. Strategy meeting are held on a monthly basis, and upcoming activities include the Court Watch website and solidarity events in various parts of the province, including a 2018 Paddle for the Peace. If you care about the rights of First Nations, the land, water and generations to come, please join us and lend your voice. When we fight, we win. If we have a movement that’s large and tough enough, we can change the zeitgeist. Stay tuned!