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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

BC Wildfire Service changes training of new firefighter recruits due to COVID-19

‘The BC Wildfire Service will continue to hire staff, including firefighters’

CRD Chair Margo Wagner advises Cariboo to avoid self-isolating in recreational properties

This will help avoid potentially overtaxing local healthcare services

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in Okanagan COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Most Read