Monday December 11, 2017 seems to be the day that Premier John Horgan will make his decision if Site C will proceed or if it will be cancelled. This is a very important moment in the history of BC as the cost of this project will be well over $10 billion of taxpayers money, the biggest capital project ever in BC.
For those people who care, the time it has taken to make this decision has been filled with hope that Site C may be cancelled but also great dread that it could go ahead.
The NDP came into power on June 30, 2017. Premier Horgan sent the question of Site C to the BC Utilities Commission on August 2, 2017 for an independent review on very narrow grounds.
While waiting for the review and further consultations, the province has been on hold for five and a half months awaiting this decision. Not only has the province been on hold, great turmoil has erupted as the public debates the issue of whether Site C should go ahead. We have been put through a very tumultuous time for both sides on the issue.
When John Horgan was campaigning to be Premier of an NDP Government, he wasn’t brave enough to declare that he would kill the Site C Dam project. Instead he promised to bring Site C to a BC Utilities Commission for an independent review. Possibly because he took a middle of the road approach to the Site C Dam he was elected as Premier.
The independent review was not comprehensive, was not on the impact of the dam on First Nations, or the environment, but focussed on economics, a very capitalist approach. Sad, but money is always the most important thing to most governments.
When the NDP government was elected, it was with great hope and positivity for the future for many people. They were wanting a change and they put their trust in the NDP to bring that change. Will that trust be broken tomorrow?
That hope included killing Site C. Site C has been a real boondoggle for this province with people either singing it praises or pointing out its many critical flaws.
Was it right for the NDP to lead people on and give them hope that Site C would be cancelled?
Has this whole review just been a show, or has the government really listened with open minds and as they are always saying “making the right decisions of the families of BC and having a government that works for us (you)”?
We know that there are some First Nations that have always opposed Site C. We also know that some of the First Nations in northern BC told the BC government on their recent visits that while they may have signed benefit agreements over Site C, they don’t want it to go ahead. They were told they would get nothing if they didn’t sign on and the project was approved.
We know that the BC Government did not consult with First Nations in the province that are impacted by the decision by not being able to develop clean energy projects as there will be no demand for their power. We also know that the Minister of Energy would not meet with the BC First Nations Clean Energy Working Group and other First Nations that wanted to meet with her so she would understand their great interest in the clean energy industry as a viable and important industry to them.
We also know the BC government did not ask for a First Nations expert to appear before them while they were receiving advice from experts. Do they not consider First Nations people experts or that they have nothing to add to this very important issue? Being ignored does not fit into the government's commitment to live up the Universal Declaration of Indigenous Rights and the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.
We don’t know what the decision will be tomorrow. Most are expecting the Premier and his government to agree to continue with the project. Since they didn’t put the project on hold while the independent review was being held it spoke volumes.
I keep hoping John Horgan is a leader with courage, a leader who will be brave, who will cancel Site C for all the right reasons. Does he have the leadership capability in him to stand against the forces who support Site C?Tomorrow we will know for sure. Will he be a Hero? or a Wishy Washy Politician?
Or is he like the premiers before him that only wear the title of Premier and keep the status quo of capitalism and not the people and the land? Will he cave to the pressure of the unions and construction jobs?
I say to John Horgan, “be a courageous leader, do the right thing for British Columbians as you always commit to do. Be a visionary and know that in the long run Site C is the wrong choice for BC. Know that either decision you make will alienate some people. If you can’t win all people, make the right decision, not the political decision. Show British Columbians what you are made of and lead this province in a sustainable future for all.”