Trudeau government must kill Site C dam project to show it cares about natives

Stewart Phillip

At an estimated $9 billion and counting, the proposed Site C dam in northern British Columbia is an economic, environmental and social catastrophe in the making.


It is also, metaphorically, a line in the sand that if crossed would seriously set back relations between Canada’s new federal government and First Nations across the country.

While much destruction from logging and land clearing has occurred at the dam site, major construction has not begun and is still some time off. Meaning there is still time to stop the laying to waste of First Nation lands governed by Treaty 8 and to halt the destruction of some of the best farmland in the country.

If Canada’s new federal government wants to pass the critical litmus test that it set for itself in the lead-up to the recent election when it promised a new, more respectful relationship with First Nations, saying no to Site C is a great way to begin.

And that’s what First Nation leaders from British Columbia, myself included, intend to say in Ottawa this week as we meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and key members of his cabinet, including Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo and Transport Minister Marc Garneau.