Site C project and Mount Polley dam failure two ways government has failed to protect natural resources relied on by Indigenous Peoples, according to Amnesty International says. (Black Press Media files)

B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley

Amnesty International Canada says governments failed to recognize threats to Indigenous peoples

Amnesty International Canada says the federal and B.C. governments are discriminating against Indigenous peoples when building energy projects, calling it an act of “environmental racism.”

The Canadian arm of the international human rights organization says incidents such as the Mount Polley mining dam failure and the looming Site C hydroelectric project threaten the rivers and lakes that Indigenous groups depend on for their livelihood.

READ MORE: Site C dam project plagued by problems, expert says

“Far too often, governments in Canada have demonstrated that they place little value on the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples and the revitalization of their cultures and traditions,” said campaigner Tara Scurr on Thursday, as part of the group’s latest campaign for World Water Day on Friday.

She pointed to the lengthy court cases against the Mount Polley Mining Corporation after its tailings pond leaked wastewater into Quesnel Lake in August 2014. Crown counsel has until Aug. 4 to lay charges under the Fisheries Act.

READ MORE: Prosecution service halts private case against Mount Polley dam failure

READ MORE: Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Former Xat’sull First Nation chief Bec Sellars had filed private charges against the mining company, but a provincial court judge stayed those in January.

“We have already lost access to our land, traditional foods and medicines,” Sellars said. “We can’t afford to sit back and watch more toxic waste being dumped into our sacred waterways.”

As for the Site C dam, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued a letter to the B.C. and federal governments in December, giving them until April to prove that steps are being taken to suspend construction.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Abbotsford working to ease building permit backlog: mayor

Mayor Henry Braun said tripling of applications has slowed down approval process

Spring/summer season of exhibits opens at The Reach

Opening reception on Thursday, May 23 at Abbotsford gallery-museum

Two week lock down lifted for Kent Institution

A search at the prison found nearly 26 grams of hashish and a cellphone

Abbotsford man to pay Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party $20k over lawsuit

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

LIVE: Abbotsford mayor speaks at annual breakfast

Watch live as Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun delivers address at annual mayor’s breakfast event.

Coquitlam RCMP release video in search for witness to crash that killed girl, 13

Witness is described as a slim Asian man with short, black hair, no facial hair and wearing glasses

TransLink fares to go up on July 1

Fares will increase by a few cents to a few dollars

Roadside device to weed out THC can’t detect impairment, B.C. lawyer says

‘This fact alone is likely to have serious implications for Canadians’ Charter Rights,’ lawyer Sarah Leamon warns

B.C. firefighters rescue frozen dog from ice

The fire crew found a dog stuck in the at Lake Paul on May 20

Most British Columbians agree the ‘big one’ is coming, but only 50% are prepared

Only 46 per cent of British Columbians have prepared an emergency kit with supplies they might need

Sitting and sleeping on downtown sidewalks could net $100 fine in Penticton

The measure, which still requires final approval, would be enforced between May and Sept. 30

Survey finds 15% of Canadian cannabis users with a valid licence drive within two hours of using

Survey also finds middle-aged men are upping their usage following legalization

Most Read