An appeal for action from Maude Barlow, Alex Neve and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
In just a few days, a B.C. court will begin hearings on one of the most important legal challenges of our time.
The court case — initiated by the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations — may be British Columbia’s best hope for stopping the massively destructive and wasteful Site C dam.
A vital, irreplaceable cultural and ecological landscape is at stake. But the legal challenge to Site C is about more than the fate of the Peace River Valley. Fundamental issues of human rights and reconciliation are also at stake.
The federal and provincial governments have already admitted that they deliberately ignored their Treaty rights obligations when they decided to flood the Peace Valley. Such blatant disregard for the rights of Indigenous peoples has no place in any country genuinely committed to reconciliation.
The federal and provincial governments have both promised to honour the Treaties and uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It’s time they kept these promises. And if the courts are the only place where the Treaty rights implications of the Site C dam will even be considered, then we must all do everything in our power to ensure that the First Nations get a fair hearing.
As a first step, the First Nations are seeking a temporary injunction to stop construction until the court has made a final ruling.
In May, we learned the welcome news that the federal government had bowed to public pressure and told the court it would not to oppose such an injunction. This is an important step in the right direction. Now the provincial government needs to follow suit.
Here’s what you can do to support the cause of justice.
1. Make Your Voice Heard
Let the federal and provincial governments know that the public is following this case and expects them to honour their commitments to Indigenous peoples. Pledge to be a public witness for justice and human rights at witnessforthepeace.ca/speak-out/
Support the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations as they take a stand for the Treaty relationship. Make a direct donation to their court challenge fund https://witnessforthepeace.ca/donate/ or organize a fundraiser in your community. https://witnessforthepeace.ca/organize/
3. Get others involved
Spread the word on Twitter and Facebook with the link Www.witnessforthepeace.ca and the hashtag #witnessforthepeace
|Maude Barlow||Alex Neve|
Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Council of of Canadians
Amnesty International Canada