LETTER: Site C decision ignores Indigenous rights

At Premier Horgan’s recent news conference to announce the continuation of the Site C Dam, he was asked a question about indigenous relations and reconciliation. He said, without explanation, that Scott Fraser, minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation, “could not be with us today.”

The absence of that minister is very telling. This was no small announcement when it comes to First Nations.

I think it speaks volumes for the lack of agreement within the caucus about indigenous relations and the approval of Site C.

However, a few moments later, while talking easily and superiorly about UNDRIP and reconciliation, he said this, and I quote: “I am not the first person to stand before you and disappoint indigenous people.”

To toss that off as a way of justifying this decision is a cynical and abusive dismissal of Indigenous people.

To use the word ‘disappointment’ is to trivialize the sacred sites, burial places, and treaty rights that will forever be lost and that were promised to them in perpetuity by the Crown.

What this statement as a justification of ignoring the rights and title of Peace River Valley First Nations is what amounts to saying, ‘Well, everyone else has done it before so they should be used to it.’

I am appalled that the premier of British Columbia could so cavalierly dismiss the hundreds of years of refusing to admit the entitlements of indigenous people.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has said that this is the kind of thing that must be stopped by every government in Canada including B.C.

To continue racially biased behaviour means there can be no real reconciliation. The premier should be ashamed and clearly, his Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation must be.

Bill Williamson


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