Cullen Blasts Trudeau’s Green Light To Site C
Prince George, B.C. – Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen says it is obvious nothing has changed in the federal government’s treatment of the environment and First Nations, despite the replacement of Stephen Harper with Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister.
Cullen, the NDP Environment and Climate Change critic, says “unfortunately, it seems to be the same game, just different players.”
He is referring to the Trudeau government’s authorization this week of its first set of Site C permits, allowing construction to continue on the highly controversial, $8.8 billion hydroelectric dam on the Peace River. The permits allow B.C. Hydro to block the flow of the Peace and disrupt fisheries, actions which require federal approval. The initial permits allowing construction to begin were issued by the Harper government.
Cullen says the green light Liberals gave on Site C is sending up more red flags about Justin Trudeau’s commitment to a clean environment, sustainable energy and First Nations treaty rights. “We’ve all been hoping against hope that Mr. Trudeau would stick to his repeated promises to invest in clean energy, climate change and a green economy. Honouring these promises, of course, would absolutely mean putting the brakes on Site C, not issuing permits to fire up the bulldozers.
“Giving Site C the green light, along with back pedalling on Northern Gateway and a tanker ban on BC’s North Coast, really throws into question Mr. Trudeau’s commitment to the environment and First Nations.”
“It’s hard to square Mr. Trudeau’s actions and words,” said Cullen, pointing to strong findings from the Site C joint federal-provincial environmental review that the project would cause permanent environmental damage and loss of treaty rights to Treaty 8 First Nations.
“Allowing Site C hardly falls into line with Mr. Trudeau’s promises to renew a “nation-to-nation” relationship with First Nations,” Cullen said, noting the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations will be in federal court in Montreal in September to fight the impact flooding the Peace River Valley will have on traditional food gathering and other treaty rights.
Cullen said Canadians expect the Liberals to promote sustainable energy projects, a categorization that cannot be applied to Site C. “You can’t blame Canadians for wondering if anything has really changed on these fronts since the October federal election.”