This image by Farmer Lynda Peterson shows some of the farmland that will be drowned if the dam goes ahead.
The most moving testimony of the week came from Stewart Cameron, former chief of the Saulteau First Nations, who told the panel that "the 'treaty' is not just a word to the members of his band, who became signatories to Treaty 8 in 1899. The treaty covers an area of 840,000 square kilometres in northwestern Canada, including the Peace River region of northeast B.C." Mr. Cameron added, “To us, it’s our way of life. It’s who we are. It’s a meaning.”
Mr. Cameron went on to explain the promises made in a 115-year-old treaty in the words that his 12 year old daughter who wrote in a school assignment: “The treaty I am talking about is an agreement that is based on peace, sharing and co-existence. Basically, the treaty promised our people that we could continue our way of life as we wanted to. It was as if we had never entered the treaty before, meaning we can hunt, fish and trap for as long as the sun keeps shining, the river flows and the grass keeps growing. All in all, this meant forever.”
Of course, we all know that 'forever' means until they the colonizers find some monetary value they can squeeze from. There's no news here, it's the been the same story since the day our ancestors landed, empty promises, empty words, from empty people taken as truth by First Nations.
From the suits came more of the same self-serving drivel, as usual. Chris O’Riley, the executive vice-president for generation at BC Hydro, told the hand picked panel of capitalist ass-kissers that reviewing Site C that "the proposed dam is needed now – and that it will pay dividends for generations to come." Adding that, "Crown utility has been “running full out since 2006” to meet power demands, and needs to expand to keep pace with the growing need."
Remember, not long go the same 'authorities' said Site C's output was absolutely necessary to power the LNG boondoggle. Then when the engineers said they'd be using the gas itself not electricity, like every other LNG plant everywhere does, BC Hydro started this new spin. To be fair BC Hydro's latest crock isn't really new, it's the same crock they used when they tried to sell Site Cthe in two previous attempts that were shot down in past decades.
O’Riley's re-cycled bullshit does contain a few interesting words though. For instance he describes the $7.9-billion estimated cost of damn dam to be an investment "that it will pay dividends for generations to come". The cat leaping out the bag here is that of 'dividends'. Here it's important to remember that BC Hydro investment division is up to its ears in speculative power sales to the US. They've already been fined for manipulating rates in California along with Enron back when our cousins down there were in trouble. From any perspective BC residents don't need more electric power. Right now the shareholders on another BC Govt. boondoggle, IPP, are collecting guaranteed returns while the unneeded power they are producing is thrown away [sent to 'ground'].
BC Hydro is losing money because:
1. BC's government rakes hundreds of millions of dollars out of it every year that they deposit into general revenue so their accountants can say the cooked books look fine to them.
2. Kickback laden, politically driven, banker supported, schemes, like Campbell's IPPs, have done wonders for the BC Liberals war chest and their off-shore bank accounts but continue to be huge mandated losers for BC Hydro's bottom line.
3. BC Hydro and the BC Govt. are totally brainwashed, growth uber-alles, capitalists who can't understand or even utter the word CONSERVATION. Conservation is the only green alternative. The problem for capitalists is that conservation makes no windfall profits for the gluttonous bastards that support the Liberals.
Another 'teachable moment' happened on the last day, Thursday, when the JRP announced they'd reversed their earlier decision, and asked for Agricultural Land Commission's [ALC] input on Site C dam proposal despite a provincial government attempt to keep the ALC out of the process. Last week, the Peace Valley Environmental Association urged the JRP to seek advice from the ALC, saying the loss of 3,000 acres of farmland would be dramatic, but the panel flatly rejected the request.
"Then Joan Sawicki, a former NDP cabinet minister and long-time defender of the ALR, appeared before the JRP. She reminded the panel that while in cabinet in the 1990s, she had been in charge of B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office. And she argued that the JRP couldn’t do its job properly without considering the effect of the proposed dam on agricultural land." - Globe and Mail
At first glance the reversal looks like a minor victory for the all the non-suit folks. But in reality the panel was quietly advised by their lawyers that Sawicki's presentation provided the development's opponents with ample grounds for an appeal through the courts unless the JPR accepted some sort of ALC input. Of course that input can be thrown out immediately, all they have to do is appear to have listened to it. The reversal isn't a victory, it's just another fork-tongued colonial dodge designed to usurp the real long term wealth of the land and convert it to short term monetary gain for their capitalist supporters.
These review panels are all the same crock of shit whose job is to cloak and deceive.