OTTAWA – New Democrats are blasting the Liberal government’s decision to issue permits allowing for the construction of the Site C dam despite ongoing legal challenges by two First Nations.

“The federal government had a clear responsibility here not to move ahead without meaningfully addressing the concerns raised by First Nations about the enormous environmental and cultural impact of this project,” said NDP Environment Critic Nathan Cullen (Skeena – Bulkley Valley). “Instead of dealing with very real concerns about the skyrocketing cost of the project and the environmental damage it will cause, the Liberals are ramming these permits through, just as many feared the previous government would. That’s not change.”

In 2014, a joint federal-provincial environmental review panel found that the project would have irreversible and permanent negative impacts on fish, fish habitat, Indigenous traditional land use and cultural heritage resources.

“It’s incredibly disappointing,” said NDP Intergovernmental Aboriginal Affairs Critic Romeo Saganash (Abitibi – Baie-James – Nunavik – Eeyou). “Prime Minister Trudeau promised a new nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples – but plowing ahead on projects like this with major concerns from First Nations unaddressed is just more of the same approach that Canadians rejected under the Conservatives. It’s the opposite of reconciliation, and it flies in the face of the Liberal’s promise to adopt and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” concluded Saganash.


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