Paddle for the Peace… for the 11th Time
Prince George, B.C. – While BC Hydro is celebrating the fact that more than 1,000 British Columbians are now working on the Site C dam project, preparations are set for the eleventh annual Paddle for the Peace a protest aimed at stopping construction.
(at right, past Paddle for the Peace event, image courtesy PVEA)
Organized by the Peace Valley Environment Association (PVEA) and the West Moberly First Nation , the event is set to go tomorrow.
Peace Valley Environment Association spokesperson, Andrea Morison says even though the Site C project is under construction, the protest movement is gaining attention and momentum “Ever since construction commenced, we’ve had more people join the campaign. We’ve had a number of large organizations get involved, such as Amnesty International, Green Peace Canada and a number of NGO’s have come up to the plate. We have the 267 leading scholars from across Canada send a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau telling him to stop this project, so the support is bigger than its ever been even though the construction has already started.”
There are still issues before the Courts on Site C, not the least of which is the action launched by the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations who claim their Aboriginal Rights have not been properly considered. That matter will be heard in mid September.
Morison says it is the issue of Aboriginal rights which may be the one argument that will convince Prime Minister Trudeau to make sure necessary permits for the project are not issued. She points to the recent ruling on the Northern Gateway project, which said First Nations consultation was insufficient, and sent the matter back to Federal Cabinet for consideration.
As has been the case in the past 10 such events, participants are invited to bring canoes, kayaks or rafts for an hour and a half paddle on the Peace River from the Halfway River Bridge ( on highway 29) to Bear Flat.
The protest paddle is not limited to the activities on the Peace River, as solidarity paddles have been set for Kits Beach in Vancouver, the Kootenay in Nelson, and in Sechelt at the Porpoise Bay Provincial Park.
Those who oppose the dam cite a number of issues for stopping the project including loss of heritage for First Nations, threats to wildlife and loss of prime farmland.