UBCIC: Upholding commitments to reconciliation and Indigenous rights in court regarding the Site C injunction hearings
August 7, 2018
Dear Premier Horgan and Minister Eby:
We are writing to shed light on the unacceptable and disconcerting gap between your political commitments to reconciliation and Indigenous rights, and BC Hydro’s legal arguments in the current
BC Supreme Court Hearings regarding the West Moberly First Nation’s application for an interim injunction while their Treaty case is being heard.
As you are aware, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) has been deeply engaged in supporting the Treaty 8 First Nations in opposing the devastating Site C dam. UBCIC Resolutions, most recently
UBCIC Resolution 2018-05 “Support for Treaty 8 Litigation and Public Opposition to Site C” mandate the UBCIC to do this work.
West Moberly has asked the court for an injunction to either halt construction entirely, or to at least preserve the most ecologically and culturally sensitive areas of the Valley, so that the court can reach a meaningful resolution of the Treaty case.
Your government has committed to reconciliation and to fully implementing the minimum human rights standards affirmed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN
Declaration) and the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Your government has stated time and again the importance of “lasting reconciliation with First Nations in BC.”
The arguments being used by BC Hydro’s legal counsel are consistently diminishing the rights of First Nations and freezing those rights in the past. This is harmful not only for the Treaty 8 First Nations, but for all First Nations across British Columbia and Canada. A few examples are outlined below that illustrate how far this Crown corporation’s legal arguments are from the espoused commitments of your government.
These examples illustrate just how far the Crown’s actions are from the commitments that your Government has made to the people of British Columbia. We call on you to publicly denounce these statements that diminish Indigenous rights in an open letter to the BC Supreme Court, and to apologize formally for the disrespect shown to the Treaty 8 First Nations.
There can be no lasting reconciliation while Indigenous peoples’ rights are being trampled upon, diminished, and frozen in the past. There can be no trust in your government while the words you say to the public ring false in the court rooms where Crown corporation lawyers perpetuate neo-colonization.
On behalf of the UNION OF BC INDIAN CHIEFS
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
Chief Robert Chamberlin
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson