A dozen creative actions were held in British Columbia Saturday. Most were in Vancouver, where 70 volunteers helped organize events like a “Yoga-thon,” “Guerrilla” Chalk mural and “Drums for the Peace” ceremony. There also events in Victoria, Kelowna and Fort St John. Today, in time for the opening of the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations’ court case, the solidarity protests against Site C reach Montreal.
The Canadian and British Columbian governments may wish to ignore perceived treaty violations of the Site C Dam project, but this determined group of people will not let them. Their bus left Ken and Arlene Boon’s farm, in the Peace River Valley, Monday. They want to be present when a Federal judge hears the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations argue that this BC Hydro project infringes on their constitutionally protected rights to hunt, fish and trap the lands that will be submerged. The Treaty 8 Justice for the Peace Caravan will arrive in Montreal Sunday.
British Columbia grows less than half of the fresh produce it needs. Much of what we consume comes from California. The ongoing drought conditions, and a weak loony, have sent vegetable prices spiralling 11.7% this year. Fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables are becoming an occasional luxury for some middle-low income B.C. families. Though this will only worsen worse as global temperatures continue to rise, the government of BC is far more preoccupied with the get-rich promise of mega-energy projects. Once it is completed, Site C will submerge prime agricultural lands.
The battle to save the Peace River Valley is not over. First Nations and local farmers are continuing the fight in court. Though Premier Clark’s government intends to destroy the existing ecosystem to “the point of no return,” in the weeks to come the Canadian government decides whether to issue new Site C permits.
Chief Roland Willson, of West Moberly First Nation, said his people celebrated the 100th anniversary of Treaty #8 in 2014. One of the provisions is that they will be allowed to use the land about to be submerged by the Site C Dam “as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the river flows.” This appears to be the Treaty Canada wants to forget.