I am deeply concerned by the way your government has responded to the First Nations legal challenge to the Site C dam. Defending your government’s decision is one thing. Undermining the rights of Indigenous peoples is another.
When government lawyers are allowed to claim that First Nations’ deep cultural ties to the Peace River Valley have nothing to do with their Treaty rights to hunt, fish and trap, you are not pursuing reconciliation. What you are doing is repeating the same abuses of power that have caused so much harm to First Nations throughout our history.
It is deeply unfair that First Nations have to launch a court case just to have their Treaty right considered. Now that the case is before the courts, it is crucial that the government behaves honourably and works toward an outcome that supports rather than undermines rights.
At a minimum, I urge that you
* Agree to halt construction while the case is before the courts,
*Accept the evidence of First Nations elders that the Peace River Valley is crucial to the exercise of their Treaty rights, and,
*Seek independent advice on how to ensure that the province’s legal position is consistent with its human rights obligations.