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Category Archives: Prior and informed consent

Https://witnessforthepeace.ca/speakout

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Https://witnessforthepeace.ca/speakout

The new Fight C website https://witnessforthepeace.ca has recently been established by the Vancouver group working tirelessly with First Nations — specifically the Prophet River and Blueberry First Nations — and the Peace Valley Landowners Association in the hopes of bringing the BCNDP/Green Coalition to its senses with regard to stopping the Site C Dam.

The resistance to this dam has been going on for almost 30 years.  Until the BC Liberals pushed forward with work on a new dam slated to flood another 140 km of prime agricultural land the battle was almost won.

The BC NDP, in opposition for many of those years expressed contempt for the Liberal government’s decision to push forward with Site C.  John Horgan, Michelle Mungall and other members of the current government even bought $100 stakes to support the fight to stop Site C.

Yet shortly after forming government the NDP and their partners despite being in a very tenuous position in the BC Legislature and against the advice of hundreds of scientists, economists, and importantly Treaty 8 First Nations and farmers who live and work in the Peace River Valley.

Ben Nelms photo of Peace River FarmlandLike many others who live in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia I’ve never been to the Peace River Valley.  I knew nothing of the people who have lived in the area for hundreds if not thousands of years.  People in my own family went to work on the first damming of the Peace River known as the W.A.C. Bennett Dam after the B.C. Premier who promoted the dam.  No consideration was given to the people whose lands were flooded to create the first dam.  Not until 50 years later when in 2017 BC Hydro apologized for the pain and harm brought about by the dam’s construction.  But that did not stop BC Hydro or the newly minted coalition government from proceeding with a new dam, the Site C despite strong arguments that it will destroy farm more than it will create well being.

The witnessforthepeace.ca . website is up-and-running and asking you to take the following pledge:

“I want Canada and BC to honour their Treaty obligations and respect the rights of Indigenous peoples. I will follow the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nation court case to protect the Peace River Valley and speak out whenever the federal and provincial governments dishonour their obligations or disrespect the rights of Indigenous peoples.     We are all Treaty people.”

Check out the facebook pages for the Peace Valley Landowners Association.  They’ve been fighting against the destruction of this land for a long time and could use help in paying off the debts accumulated in their work in preparation for the BC Utilities Commission Report.  This was the report that the NDP promised to take seriously before and during the election, then abandoned when they approved going ahead with Site C.

Take a look too at the facebook page for the Peace Valley Environmental Association

Stop Site C

Watch for the recently published book that gives you the full story of one of the most important river valleys in British Columbia and in Canada.  Breaching the Peace: The Site C Dam and a Valley’s Stand Against Big Hydro (UBCPress, Spring 2018). by Sarah Cox, an award winning journalist.

I also recommend the online publication DeSmog Canada  although the publication name will be changing in the near future.

Muskrat Falls in Newfoundland, Keeyask Dam in Manitoba and Site C  all follow the devastating and destructive path of the James Bay Power project.  The billions of dollars being spent on these massive projects of destruction have done little to promote truly green energy for Canada.  They have all proceeded over the objections of peoples who have lived on this land for thousands of years.

There is much to answer for.

If you are in Vancouver on any given Friday afternoon join the water protectors at the office  BC Attorney General, David Eby.  12 til’ 2 every friday.  Its at 2909 W Broadway, Vancouver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental Justice As Liberation: No Consent, No Pipeline, No Kinder Morgan

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The headline above is for a piece posted by 

As someone whose SFU Masters Thesis focused on the importance of creativity in resistance I find it exciting and hopeful to see the  Carnival playing out right here, in British Columbia. People’s resistance taking place in so many venues — Indigenous rights and consent, housing affordability and availability throughout the province, pipelines, fracking, massive hydro power dams, fish farms and more.  British Columbians and Canadians right across the country are speaking up and doing so with creativity.

In the Lower Mainland of British Columbia the battle to stop the Kinder Morgan Pipeline is heating up.  This piece by Sarah Beuhler gives an excellent overview of the strategy involved in mobilizing and fighting this project.

Stop KM

Burnaby Mountain, April, 2018

Against the power of governments who were falsely elected on the basis of new, community driven strategies with collusion from corporate driven mainstream media,  the Kinder Morgan pipeline battle in BC, as well as the Fight against Site C and ocean-based fish farms and fracking are  examples of  mobilizations  to protect land and water and the beings who depend on them. They are led by Indigenous leaders from the BC Union of Indian Chiefs to hundreds of small communities whose lives and livelihoods are historically and legally tied to the unceded territories. And settlers are following — finally.

Across Canada, in North and South America and throughout the colonized world, Indigenous Communities are fighting back with vigour and great creativity and are being joined by thousands, millions of settler communities who have learned to respect and understand that without the full and prior consent of the Indigenous in traditional territories , the land’s truth keepers —  sustainable progress will not ensue.

Sarah’s piece invites the public to understand the story of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline currently in an expansion mode that could increase the flow of Bitumen by 7 times what is currently transported via pipeline from Alberta.

It would then be loaded onto huge tankers 7 per week and carted off to who knows where.  Bitumen is described in Cambridge English dictionary as  “a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally or as a residue from petroleum distillation. It is used for road surfacing and roofing.” Thin that out for easy flow with toxic chemicals and imagine what is travelling through the mountains across the lands, under the rivers and under the inlet and could increase to the point of danger.

Sarah’s Coast Protector story is the full story of the project and the strategies that have been developed, used, set aside and re-considered.

I hope you find it as instructive as I did.  As for the Carnival, think of the massive strategically organized resistance against the Dakota Pipeline, of the thousands of actions organized by Indigenous people against Canadian and other mining companies in their territories and the demands to stop massive dams, stop polluting rivers, stop exploiting for profit without thought of human survival. Think of all the tiny houses being built along the Trans Mountain Pipeline route, think of the years and years of protests ongoing against the Site C Dam. The songs, performances, cyber actions,  public arrests, the displays of respectful resistance are all marks of the carnival.

In my brief look at carnival I examined resistance against a backdrop of social and political movements whose histories were linked to the carnival through their disdain for power from above and their creative means of subverting that power.

At Kinder Morgan, Site C and throughout the world of resistance, let the carnival continue with thanks.

 

THE SOUTH LAWN (click here to read Sarah’s piece) 

Watchouse

The Watch House

 

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Another extraordinary day: Indigenous blessings, singing, creative brilliance and connecting with the meaning of time

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April 18, 2018 — As we arrived for our court date in the ongoing battle of the people vs Kinder Morgan, Justin Trudeau and the rest we were greeted by the cadence-like movement of of Will George’s characteristic feathered head dress. He was accompanied by a circle of  drummers and participants in dancing the words and prayers of his ancestors.

Today, it was in honour of those of us attending court.  Their voices and rhythm filled the concrete tunnel linking Vancouver’s  Smithe Street Law Courts entrance despite the sound and fumes of the passing cars. The vibration even through the concrete was powerful.

What a difference then walking through the door and confronting the black and white costumed legal bees buzzing throughout the first floor of the Supreme Courthouse and all the way up to Courtroom 55 where the drawn-out proceedings of the Canadian Legal system were shown to be as confusing as ever.

During the approximate three hours in the courtroom the court was silenced twice, at separate intervals, by two Indigenous people who took space in the court to berate the Canadian legal system for its unfairness in daring to seek punishments and to criminalize people who are fighting to save the land and the water and who are acknowledging the principle and the law of  free, prior and informed consent required in the use of Indigenous held lands. There were no media reports either of the morning greeting nor the episodes of drama in the courtroom.

Those two courtroom episodes, (I apologize for not being able to credit them personally) stopped the court in its tracks.  There was silence as each of those people spoke of long term injustice and growing strength in the face of it.  One spoke in her Heiltsuk language. The other speaker presented with the power that comes from centuries of resistance.

And they gave rise to searing applause and shouts of support from the hundreds in the room who are in the process of submitting to the harsh reality of a legal system that does not accept dissent in any meaningful way! The judge listened without cautioning or commenting.

But none of the above was deemed to be news by mainstream BC or Canadian media.

But what was the news media highlight of the day?.  CBC and other news outlets shouted from the roof tops that Angus Reid that “trustworthy” pollster owned by “no” corporate interests, they say, has stated that based on their most recent on-line poll it’s clear that British Columbians want the pipeline to go ahead.  That was the a.m. news and nothing changed about the top story all day. While callers to the noon-hour BC Almanac mostly berated the polling results and questioned the notion that so much credence is given to polls, the methodology and outcomes and issues reported from the poll were credited as fair by host Angela Sterritt.

 

But in, fact no other activities, no counter polls, hardly a mention of the complex sovereign ownership of the land and sea complete with wildlife and resources that are threatened were counted or reviewed by Angus Reid.  No discussion of free, prior and informed consent related to Indigenous People’s rights.

So today a group of primarily settler resistors, in the courtroom,  backed by some powerful Indigenous voices both inside and outside were, once again, ignored by Canadian mainstream media.

For resisting settlers,  it is not so much a brand new experience as a reminder of how long Indigenous Communities in this country some of us call Canada have been resisting.  It is a lesson in time.

Time flies, they say, when you are having fun.  The time, for Indigenous sovereignty, respect and learning exactly what those will mean for all who live in this territory, has come! It is not fun to be in a constant battle over truth and only truth can lead to healing in this territory.

Its up to every one of us, settlers in particular,  to both change and ignore those polls and join the resistance in forceful but peaceful resistance.

 

 

 

 

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