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Elizabeth May Calls Site C ‘Litmus Test’ for Trudeau’s First Nations Promises in New Video

Justin Trudeau and his cabinet must uphold their promise to respect First Nations rights when it comes to federal decision-making for the Site C dam, federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May told DeSmog Canada while visiting a portion of the Peace River that will be flooded should the $9-billion project proceed.

“To me this project represents the litmus test for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his entire cabinet in their central commitment to establish a nation to nation relationship built on respect for Canada’s Fist Nations,” May said during an interview for a new DeSmog Canada Site C video.

May and DeSmog Canada were in the Peace Valley for the annual Paddle for the Peace where hundreds of people representing local landowners, First Nations, and environmental organizations voiced their opposition to the Site C dam.

“I’ve been working to stop Site C for a long time,” May said. “I've been trying the best I can to make sure every member of Parliament understands we can't give any more permits out without
violating relations with First Nations.”

Chief Roland Willson from the West Moberly First Nations said the project violates the rights of Treaty 8 First Nations.

Tweet: ‘The #SiteC dam impacts us by destroying the last functional 80 km of #PeaceRiver valley we have left’ http://bit.ly/2acalVw #bcpoliThe Site C dam impacts us by destroying the last functional 80 kilometres of the Peace River valley that we have left,” he said.

“We’re fighting Site C in the courts because it’s the right thing to do,” Willson said, adding that under Treaty 8 his nation has the right to hunt, fish and gather medicines on their traditional territory in perpetuity.

“B.C. is ignoring — and Canada is ignoring — its obligation to the treaty.”

The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations are fighting the Site C dam in both B.C. and federal courts.

Over 250 academics, several of Canada’s most prominent environmental organizations and human rights group Amnesty International have criticized the B.C. government’s decision to forge ahead with Site C construction despite the pending legal challenges.

"As a new Liberal government they made promises to science-based evidence-based decision making, to respect for First Nations,” May said. "If they take any of those commitments seriously they can’t issue a single additional permit." 

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Will you join the growing chorus of readers who have stepped up to hold the powerful accountable?
Threats to our environment are often hidden from public view.
So we embarked on a little experiment at The Narwhal: letting our investigative journalists loose to file as many freedom of information requests as their hearts desired.

In just six months, they filed a whopping 233 requests — and with those, they unearthed a veritable mountain of government documents to share with readers across Canada.

But the reality is this kind of digging takes lots of time and no small amount of money.

As many newsrooms cut staff, The Narwhal has doubled down on hiring reporters to do hard-hitting journalism — and we do it all as an independent, non-profit news organization that doesn’t run any advertising.

Will you join the growing chorus of readers who have stepped up to hold the powerful accountable?

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As The Narwhal turns five, I’m thinking about the momentous outpouring of public generosity — a miracle of sorts — that’s allowed us to prove the critics wrong. More than 6,000 people just like you donate whatever they can afford to make independent, high-stakes journalism about the natural world in Canada free for everyone to read. Help us keep the dream alive for another five years by becoming a member today and we’ll mail you a copy of our beautiful 2023 print magazine. — Carol Linnitt, co-founder
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