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October 28, 2017 12:32 am

Feds Announce New Environmental Assessment Process – Update

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 @ 3:54 PM

Ottawa, On – The federal government has announced a new strategy it says will restore trust in environmental assessments in this country.

According to Ottawa, the government will introduce new environmental assessment processes where public input “will be sought and considered.”

“Decisions will be informed by scientific evidence,” reads a government news release. “Indigenous peoples will be more fully engaged in reviewing and monitoring major resource development projects. The process will have greater transparency.”

The new process will be guided by the following principals:

1. No project proponent will be asked to return to the starting line – project reviews will continue within the current legislative framework and in accordance with treaty provisions, under the auspices of relevant responsible authorities and Northern regulatory boards;

2. Decisions will be based on science, traditional knowledge or Indigenous peoples and other relevant evidence;

3. The views of the public and affected communities will be sought and considered;

4. Indigenous peoples will be meaningfully consulted, and where appropriate, impacts on their rights and interests will be accommodated; and

5. Direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions linked to the projects under review will be assessed.

However at least one First Nations chief isn’t sold on the new process.

“I think there has to be more discussion on how this whole process is redeveloped,” says Tribal Chief Terry Teegee of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. “I think is a band-aid solution to an already flawed process so I think there’s going to be more concerns in terms of indigenous people being meaningfully consulted and or making decisions on major projects.”

So what would he would have liked to have seen from the federal government?

“I think for us as indigenous people we need to be more of a decision maker on projects and we’ve been pretty clear with that.”


‘4. Indigenous peoples will be meaningfully consulted, and where appropriate, impacts on their rights and interests will be accommodated;’

That’s almost exactly how the current legislation reads. Unfortunately the loosey goosey language ‘where appropriate’ means that first nations expect accommodation on every single project, every single time, or they’ll tie up the proponent in court for years, set up blockades, etc. Who in the world can define the term ‘where appropriate’?

Last resource company out the door turn off the lights.

Wishy washy language.

Wow! Terry Teegee’s not happy?


The view of the public and affected communities will be sought and considered.

So there you have it. One line to cover the millions of people who work and pay taxes in Canada. We are basically being ignored while the Government, Big Business, and Indigenous people get to make all the decisions.

The Government pretends to represent the people when in fact they represent big business, and are now starting to represent FN, however they completely ignore the rights of other Citizens.

You can use the flooding of the Peace River Valley and all the farm land as an example. Who was consulted on Site C.? Who did they listen too.?

Decisions based on science.. Harper would think that as blasphemy.

Listening to the people.. What, wow, haven’t had that in well over a decade..

From the BC government web site, “the Province is legally obligated to consult and accommodate First Nations, where REQUIRED, on land and resource decisions that COULD impact their Aboriginal Interests.”

For those developers who propose one or more projects, the link below also has a map database which defines the consultative areas.


Looking at the federal statement, while there are likely precedent cases which discuss and make case specific decisions of the application of the words “where appropriate”, in the absence of knowledge of such case law and the absence of a definition of the phrase which may be included in the document, one needs to go to the Oxford English Dictionary which, in its short version, states that it means “suitable or proper in the circumstances”.

Thus, the definition has flexible or variable application and, if there is not clear case law, will have to be adjudicated by the court if there is any dispute which either party thinks they can successfully bring to a court.

In my opinion, the words are very appropriate (as in suitable or proper in the circumstances) since the matters dealing with aboriginal rights are anything but absolute.

Instead of fighting in the battlefields, the fight continues in more humane conditions of the courts. One could say that all parties are now in more evenhanded positions and some simply do not like that.

In the end all the participants must make a decision. It is either Yes or No. That requires that there will have to be some give and take, concessions have to be made. All the participants know that a consensus will have to be reached by negotiation. All the participants know that potential damages must be kept to a minimum and that even the latest technical and scientific advances can not give a 100.00 percent certainty that nothing will ever go wrong. All human activity has some impact on the environment.

If some enter into the negotiations in a fighting mood rather than one of respect and co-operation the whole exercise is futile and doomed to failure right from the start. Let’s hope that we are now looking at a shift in attitudes!

Palopu wrote: “You can use the flooding of the Peace River Valley and all the farm land as an example. Who was consulted on Site C.? Who did they listen too.?”

To which I say the best agricultural land in this province is the Fraser Valley from Chilliwack to the Coast. We have tons of land for growing wheat to the east of the Rockies in our neighbouring provinces.

Who was consulted when piece by piece the individual people who want to live in that part of BC and want a single family residence on a 50 foot frontage paved road with all the shopping centres and other amenities that go to support those people forced the hands of government to allow such development and continue to force the hands of government to keep on building more sprawling countryside?

The additional flooded area of the Peace does not even come close to the devastation of the lower Fraser Valley as a farm belt.

So Gopg2015, written by lawyers for lawyers so that the gravy train continues and the lawyers are the only ones that win.

Sure seamutt …. whatever

I like the obligatory green house BS fitted in. Interesting since there is no verifiable proven science showing if mans miniscule contribution to c02 affects climate. None zilch. Just shows words for lawyers.

Some actual figures relating to the $2.4 billion a year of annual gross farm income in BC and the part that the Peace plays in that compared to the Fraser Valley, the GVRD and the Okanagan.

There are 7 key regions in BC which produce 80% of the $2.4billion in gross, direct farm income each year, based on 2011 figures.

Here are the backgrounder figures.

First figure = total hectares in ALR; second = total farmed; third is gross annual income per hectare farmed (a financial productivity indictor)

1. East Kottenay RD – 265,900 ha : 167,800 ha : $95/ha

2. Cariboo RD – 935,600 ha : 486,100 ha : $135/ha

3. Peace River RD – 1,289,000 ha : 821,800 ha : $175/ha

4. Cowichan Valley RD – 17,719 ha : 11,600 ha :$4,150/ha

5. Okanagan (North, Central + Similkameen) RDs – 175,000 ha : 36,400 ha : $9,750/ha (note, due to the vineyards, there is an additional tourism income of $140million which then adds up to an income of $13,600/ha farmed.

6. Fraser Valley RD – 75,000 ha : 63,800 ha : $17,250/ha

7. GVRD (half the farms are smaller than 4 ha) – 61,200 : 32,100 ha : $24,600/ha (that is 27% of total BC gross farm income from 1.5% of the land base)

Data source = canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=cb4a72bd-4c32-483e-8454-28952cd26258

The Site C Dam is expected to remove 6,500 ha of land from farm land with a further 5,900 at risk. Assuming that risk scenario happens a total of 12,400 ha will be lost to farming revenue. That gross revenue average $175/ha in 2011. At the rate the lost revenue would be around $2.2million/year. That is 0.1% of the total BC gross farm revenue and 1.5% of the Peace River RD gross farm revenue.

It is not as if there is no more farm land in the Peace. The region has 1.3 million hectares of ALR land to BC’s total of 4.6 million. With almost one third of the ALR land in BC, and more being added almost every year, and the economic productivity of the Peace land being only 1% of that in the Fraser Valley RD, it is very difficult to make any sort of justification to save 1% of the arable land.

Perhaps with some judicious selection of crops which can be grown under plastic or glass to extend the season, the land can become more productively cultivated. Add some cheap electricity from the dam, and the productivity could go up even higher.

As someone said recently, use the resource between the two ears a bit more and one can improve on the resource which comes from the land we stand on. That includes farmers and ranchers in the Peace.

gopg2015 What a specious argument. We all know where and what agricultural land is available in BC. What we don’t know is what will be needed in the future. However the issue is that the land is owned by farmers and FN in the Peace River, and it is being flooded for the generation of Hydro power that is NOT needed.

Seems people cannot get their head around this issue. Site C is being built to provide short term jobs, to help the Liberal Government get re elected. This is also the main reason for the LNG madness.

We can get extra power from our existing dams, and we can also get extra power by building a stand alone natural gas generating plant somewhere in the Peace or in the Interior. BC is one of the few places on Earth that does not have natural gas electric generating plants. This is because we built the previous dams, however the time has come to change direction.

So no need for Site C. So in effect we have people who support flooding peoples property, and relocating people to generate some short term jobs, and give big business some lucrative contracts.

That my friend is short sighted to say the least.

Pollution from large dams can in fact me worse than pollution from gas or coal fired plants. So time to get away from the old idea of ruining someone else’s way of life to generate a short term job, and facilitate the re election of a less than stellar Government.

If we need to generate jobs with tax dollars, then lets build roads, bridges, buildings, sewers, water, recreational facilities, etc; etc;, and get away from this **goofy** Site C idea.

I am sorry Palopu, but I think you have that reversed. Yours was the argument that stated the land was needed to provide food for BC residents. That is the same argument which is made by some residents of the Peace.

I made a counterargument based on the premise you chose to use and showed that the Peace has actually almost half of the ALR land in the province and is adding more. In addition, they are including more and more land into the ALR, more than any other region of the province. But, worst of all, the way the land that is cultivated is being farmed or used for animals is the third least financially productive in the province. In fact, it is 1% as effective from a financial point of view as land in the Fraser Valley outside of the GVRD, and even less than the small farms inside the GVRD. On top of that, distance to market is a major factor as well.

Finally, the amount of land lost by flooding and other effects of the dam is miniscule compared to the land being farmed and even more when considering the additional land available to be farmed protected by the ALR designation.

It is rather obvious that you are against the Site C (goofy) project, at this time and maybe at any time. Make those arguments on some other basis rather than the misleading argument based on the amount of land being flooded. That one would not, should not and has not carried any weight with any reasonable decision makers.


“We all know where and what agricultural land is available in BC”. I guess I am the only one in all BC that did not know the facts. I had an intuitive sense of the order of magnitude of the disparity among the key regions, but I really did not have a good handle on the actual financial variations. I, for one, learned something in that quick exercise. Thanks for bringing up the argument locals are making and have been making without any impact for some very good reasons.

gopg2015. The agriculture land, and FN land in the Peace River can be used by the OWNERS for growing crops, or for other purposes such as hunting, fishing, tourism, etc. That’s their business as they own the land.

The issue here is that the Government and BC Hydro want to hijack this land for building a dam, to produce jobs, and power.

My argument is quite simple. Unless you can show that this dam, and the power it will produce is essential and necessary for the public good, then there is no valid reason for building it, expropriating private land, and displacing people.

If in fact it was necessary, and needed I would not be opposed, however they have not made the case, and quite frankly they cannot make the case, which is why they circumvented the Public Utilities Commission.

Just because Christy Clark runs around making idiotic statements, and contractors who stand to make a lot of money support the building of this dam doesn’t mean its the right thing to do. Right for them perhaps, but wrong for the people who live in the Peace River.

In simplistic terms the worker states. ** I need a job so I am going to flood your land** The owner says **What about me** The worker says ** You can move and live somewhere else, because I need the job**.

Perhaps we should allow the farmer to use the land and hire the worker.Hmmmm.

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