March 7, 2019

The Trudeau and Horgan governments clearly have no idea how to respond to a UN human rights committee that has repeatedly and urgently called for a halt to the Site C dam.

As previously discussed on this site, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has twice called for a halt to the construction of Site C..

The first time that this independent expert committee took on this issue, in August 2017, it included Site C as part of a request for Canada to report back within one year on action taken on the committee’s most urgent concerns about human rights in Canada.

Not only did Canada miss that deadline by more than six months, but the interim report that has just been submitted doesn’t even attempt to answer the committee’s concerns about Site C.

The excuse? Ironically, Canada is using the fact that the committee has also raised concern about Site C under a special “Urgent Action” procedure as a reason to delay even longer. The federal government, on behalf of itself and BC, wrote,

“On December 14, 2018, Canada received a request from the CERD under its Early Warning Urgent Action Procedure (CERD/EWUAP/Canada-Site C dam/2018/JP/ks) for information on the Site C dam. Given the similarity of the concerns raised and information requested on the Site C dam for both the Interim Report and the EWUA, Canada will defer providing information on the Site C dam in this report. Canada will provide a fulsome response to the Site C issues in its response to the CERD EWUA request.”

The interim gives no indication when Canada intends to respond to the Committee’s Urgent Action request on Site C.

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