Tag Archives: Christy Clark

Site C Hunger-Striker Condemns Christy Clark Hours Before Hospitalization


Site C protester Kristin Henry has been camped outside BC Hydro’s office in downtown Vancouver since March 13, 2016, with little more than tea to keep her going. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

National Observer, April 1st 2016

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark “will have blood on her hands” if she continues to move forward with the Site C Dam, said protester Kristin Henry on the 19th day of her hunger strike against the controversial hydroelectric project.

She uttered the words only hours before her hospitalization late Thursday evening, when the 24-year-old’s heart rate dropped to “concerning levels,” according to her protest’s Facebook page. Henry has survived only on water, tea, and vegetable broth since March 13. She admitted to feeling exhausted, dizzy, and light-headed, speaking with National Observer earlier that day.

Construction of the $8.8-billion “clean energy” dam started last summer on the Peace River of northeastern B.C., a river that flows right through the heart of Treaty 8 Territory belonging to the Doig River, Halfway River, Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations. Upon completion, it will produce enough power to light up roughly 450,000 B.C. homes per year, but its reservoir is expected to destroy more than 100 kilometres of river valley bottoms along the Peace River and its tributaries.

These First Nations say it would flood their burial grounds and other culturally important sites, and disrupt vital hunting and fishing activities.

“I don’t plan on living in a world that has the Site C Dam in it,” Henry said from her encampment outside BC Hydro’s office in downtown Vancouver. “I’m hopeful the government will come and engage with me because I think it would show a lot about the society we’re living in if they don’t.”

Beyond a short conversation with the CEO on Day 3 of her hunger strike, Henry said BC Hydro has ignored the presence of the campers on their doorstep. The company did not respond to National Observer’s request for comment in time for publication of this story, but in a Wednesday news release, said:

“Site C will provide clean, reliable and cost-effective electricity in B.C. for more than 100 years.”

“It’s a horrible project and Christy Clark said it herself — she’s trying to get it ‘past the point of no return,’” Henry explained. “I think it’s pretty disgusting that they’re doing irreversible damage to Treaty 8 territory while the legality is still being challenged.”

B.C. Premier Christy Clark addresses clean energy in the province at the 2016 Globe Series in Vancouver on March 2. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark addresses clean energy in the province at the 2016 Globe Series in Vancouver on March 2. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

Beseeching the prime minister

The B.C. and Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council (BC Building Trades) has already filed a lawsuit against BC Hydro for terms in the provincial Crown corporation’s request for proposals that prevent union members from striking during the construction of the Site C dam or recruiting other non-union members into unions.

The Blueberry River First Nations has also launched a court case against the province, alleging its Treaty 8 rights have been violated by decades of development on the territory. The lawsuit could impact construction of the dam as well as the expansion of mineral, oil and gas extraction in the province’s north.

A breach of Indigenous rights should be enough to put the project to rest, said Henry, whose group of out protesters have now appealed to the federal government for help.

“This is a matter of human rights and it is time the Government of Canada afforded Treaty 8 First Nations the same human rights afforded to the rest of its citizens,” reads an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau that has been sent to his office more than 1,000 times by protesters across the country. “Mr. Trudeau, will you keep your promise?”

The letters are currently being circulating outside the BC Hydro office in downtown Vancouver, where Henry said most residents who approach their occupation have never even heard of the Site C Dam to begin with. All it takes is a few moments of explanation, she added, before someone hastily signs a copy in opposition.

“We don’t need the energy but we need everything that the project’s going to destroy — the valley, the farmland, the water,” she insisted.

An artist rendering of the Site C Dam near Fort St. John, B.C. Graphic courtesy of B.C. Hydro.

An artist rendering of the Site C Dam near Fort St. John, B.C. Graphic courtesy of B.C. Hydro.

A symbolic hunger strike

The Site C Dam received federal and provincial environmental approval in October 2014, but the Joint Review Panel evaluating the project found that it would have significant adverse effects on rare plants, fish and fish habitat, put the fishing activities of local First Nations at risk, and threaten several species of birds, butterflies, and bats, and the western toad.

At least 63 endangered, red-listed, blue-listed, at risk, threatened, and of special concern animal species call the Site C area in the Peace River Valley home,according to the project’s protesters, and Henry said her hunger strike is against something far bigger than a single hydroelectric project.

“I’m sick of putting my health on the line to fight our government to do what’s right for us, not industry,” she explained, clutching her water bottle tightly. “The world can go in two directions — they can work with us, respect us, work with nature and we can have a bright future, or they can oppress us and destroy the environment.

“I think Site C is kind of this point — they can make that decision and go one way or another.”

Green Party leader Elizabeth May applauded Henry’s bravery but encouraged her to heed the advice of her doctors on her health. The federal Green Party leader was scheduled to meet her at the camp on Friday, an appointment she kept despite the 24-year-old’s hospitalization.

She said Kristen is needed alive and well in the fight against the “disastrous” Site C project.

Praise from Green Party

“It’s not too late to stop it,” said May, speaking with protesters outside the BC Hydro building. “That’s why I’m grateful to Kristen and all of you here for making the point that it’s not too late.”

The Green Party leader said the riparian zones can still be repaired and the clearcut trees can still grow back. Provincial and federal permits have already been issued for the dam, but more federal permits are required under the new Liberal government to make it a fully operational project.

May joined protesters in Vancouver in calling on the prime minister not to issue a single one of them, lest he break one of his most vital election promises:

“Activities that are treaty-protected will be violated,” she explained. “If the Liberals buy into that and allow it to continue, they will have violated their most fundamental commitment from the election campaign, the Throne Speech and the mandate letters from each of the ministers.”

In 2001, May also went on a hunger strike to successfully pressure the federal government to clean up toxic waste in the Cape Breton Sydney Tar Ponds. She said the commitment Henry has made by putting her health on the line represents the Site C views of thousands of Canadians, and prayed for her speedy recovery.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May greets Peace River Valley farmer Sage Birley at the protesters' camp outside BC Hydro on Fri. April 1, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May greets Peace River Valley farmer Sage Birley at the protesters’ camp outside BC Hydro on Fri. April 1, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.


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First Nation Protesters Seek To Stop Test Drilling At Proposed LNG Site

Protest camp at Lelu Island. Photograph by: Facebook

Protest camp at Lelu Island. Photograph by: Facebook

By Gordon Hoekstra | Vancouver Sun, Posted Sept,13, 2015

Petronas-led proposal for Lelu Island is one of leading B.C. projects

Northern B.C. First Nation members say they stopped Malaysian state-controlled Petronas, the company behind an $11.4-billion liquefied natural gas terminal, from starting test ocean drilling in northwest B.C. this weekend.

The 33-metre Quin Delta drill ship, owned by Gregg Marine in California, and a barge were moved into the waters off Lelu Island near Prince Rupert by Pacific NorthWest LNG early Saturday morning.

Some equipment was set up before First Nations went out to the ship and asked the workers to stop, said Joey Wesley, a Lax Kw’alaams First Nation member.

The activity ceased, but the workers appeared to have trouble removing equipment from the ocean floor, including heavy concrete blocks with surface markers, he said. The ship and barge remained in their location on Sunday just off Lelu Island, said Wesley.

“Our intention is to put a stop to it. It’s a really sensitive eco-system,” Wesley said in a phone interview Sunday.

Wesley is part of an “occupation” camp — numbering 45 or so people from various First Nations — set up on the island two weeks ago over concerns the LNG project will harm salmon-rearing habitat in eel grass beds at Flora Bank adjacent to the island and to block development of the terminal.

The occupation group put out a call on Facebook during the weekend for reinforcements to help halt any drilling.

Wesley, whose family claims Lelu Island as a traditional-use area, noted that four or five workers walked onto Flora Bank when it was exposed by the low tide on Sunday, something they had been asked not to do.

Wesley said their concerns have been heightened by a 2013 internal audit that found serious safety issues on Petronas’ offshore Malaysian operations revealed in a Vancouver Sun last week.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority said Sunday it has authorized Pacific NorthWest LNG to drill as part of preliminary site work for a federal assessment. In an email, port authority spokesman Michael Gurney said they respect people’s right to express their opinion safely and peacefully, but noted they have patrol boats in the harbour and anybody jeopardizing safety will be asked to stop.

Pacific NorthWest LNG could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

The drilling vessel Quin Delta (contracted out of Gregg Marine in California by Petronas/PNW LNG and Prince Rupert Port Authority) attempted to drill in Agnew Bank. Photograph by: Facebook

The drilling vessel Quin Delta (contracted out of Gregg Marine in California by Petronas/PNW LNG and Prince Rupert Port Authority) attempted to drill in Agnew Bank.
Photograph by: Facebook

The terminal and its pipeline to northeast B.C. have been viewed as a leading project in the Christy Clark-led Liberal government’s efforts to start a new natural gas export industry to Asia.

Last spring, the Lax Kw’alaams rejected a $1.15-billion benefits package offer from the company and the B.C. government on concerns over Flora Bank.

The Lax Kw’alaams elected leadership told its members three weeks ago it had an agreement that allowed investigative drilling to find an alternative site, away from the Flora Bank. The port has said the elected leadership has agreed to the drilling work.

The company, however, has not answered questions on whether the drilling is to find another location for a suspension bridge and pier that skirts one edge of Flora Bank.

While the province has approved the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, a federal government review is still pending.

It’s been delayed several times as the agency has asked for more information about the effects of the project on salmon-rearing habitat at Flora Bank.


First Nations Leaders Say It’s Back To Barricades If They Don’t Get A Deal With Christy Clark

From left to right, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Grand Chief Edward John and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark listen during a gathering with cabinet ministers and First Nations leaders in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday September 11, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck ORG XMIT: VCRD108

From left to right, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Grand Chief Edward John and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark listen during a gathering with cabinet ministers and First Nations leaders in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday September 11, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS

By Dirk Meissner / The Canadian Press

B.C. Premier Christy Clark is expected to try and bridge the chasm that separates her government and the leaders of the province’s First Nations at a meeting in Vancouver today.

About 500 First Nations leaders are meeting with Clark and members of her cabinet again today with the aim of signing a joint government-First Nations working agreement.

But the chasm that separates her government and First Nations was clearly defined yesterday when talks got underway at a Vancouver hotel for the second annual all-chiefs meetings.

While B.C.’s Aboriginal Relations Minister John Rustad said there has been remarkable achievements on economic and social fronts with First Nations, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said they’re giving the government a one-year deadline to negotiate a reconciliation deal.

“The underlying message is if we don’t make any progress within the space of the next year, I would suggest all of this will fall through and it will be back to the courts and pretty much back to the barricades,” said Phillip.

Landmark ruling

Last year’s landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision that granted the Tsilhqot’in Nation aboriginal title to 1,700 square kilometres of land in B.C.’s Nemiah Valley remains the driving force behind the reconciliation initiative prompted by Clark and First Nations leaders.

The decision is the first in Canadian history where aboriginals have been granted title to land they claimed as their own. Tsilhqot’in Chief Roger William said the ruling gives First Nations a legal tool to use as leverage in negotiations with governments and resource developers.

Legal scholars and political experts have suggested the ruling gives aboriginals massive powers on land-use issues, especially resource development. B.C. First Nations are seeking government support for aboriginal rights and title to lands, which also includes revenue sharing.

Phillip said all involved must have the courage to move forward, build consensus and silence those who predict Armageddon if First Nations are given an equal voice in building and sharing B.C.’s economic future.

Clark has said ignoring the Supreme Court ruling puts B.C.’s future in peril, prompting her to meet with the chiefs and councillors from B.C.’s more than 200 First Nations.

Phillip said chiefs left last year’s meeting disappointed because the province did not adopt a four-point statement that established government support for their rights and title to lands.

“The last time we couldn’t even agree on a public statement,” said Phillip, adding when it comes to reconciliation B.C. is at “strike two.”

“We need a legislative framework and a policy framework we can rely on that allows us to reconcile aboriginal title rights interests and other Crown and industry interests. We don’t have that.”

Phillip said the economy of B.C. hangs in the balance and all parties are aware of the gravity of the situation.

Rustad said the provincial government’s relations with First Nations over the last decade on numerous economic and social fronts have been ground-breaking.

The handful of First Nations who have negotiated land-claims treaties have produced spectacular results, but the process takes too long, he said.

“We need to be able to find a way to do this in a much more expedited manner.”

While much of the conference is closed to the media, Clark is expected to make a public address before the chiefs on Thursday.

Source: http://fw.to/gQ0XAfX

First Nations Chiefs End Occupation Of Christy Clark’s Office

Chiefs are ending occupation of Christy Clark's office.

First Nations chiefs have ended their occupation of Premier Christy Clark’s office.

By Red Power Media Staff

First Nations Chiefs have ended their occupation of Premier Christy Clark’s office in West Kelowna after being guaranteed a high-level meeting with government officials (Tuesday) in Merritt.

The six day occupation started after Chiefs said they were unable to have an open dialogue with the province over their concerns regarding the trucking of sewage sludge from the Central Okanagan to land near Merritt.

“We decided we had no choice but to begin the occupation once it became clear that the province was refusing to take our concerns seriously,” said Upper Nicola Indian Band Chief Harvey McLeod.

“The province should have sought our consent before allowing any kind of biowaste dumping on our lands. Instead, the Province refused to give us proper information about the effects of biowaste and went ahead and allowed the operations without even consulting us.”

At the time, Chief Aaron Sam of the Lower Nicola Indian Band said leaders had met Environment Minister Mary Polak twice and asked her to disclose where the waste was being spread, but the government only provided a partial list.

The leaders said they were worried about impacts on land, water, traditional foods and health and noted the government is legally obligated to consult with aboriginals.

“It is time to move forward with resolving this issue on a government-to-government basis,” Coldwater Indian Band Chief Lee Spahan said in a release.

During the occupation RCMP members were on site both day and night ensuring the protest remained peaceful.

Cpl. Joe Duncan told Castanet there had been no issues with the demonstrators and officers wished to show their appreciation for the peaceful protest.

“Supt. Tim Head gave Chief Sam a blanket, a symbol of respect for going through these peaceful negotiations and having an open and honest dialogue.”

Although he had never seen a gesture such as this before, Cpl. Duncan did say the RCMP giving the blanket was a positive step in any negotiations and that officers respect everyone in the community.