A number of Treaty 8 Chiefs, along with others opposing the ongoing construction of the Site C dam in northern British Columbia, gathered outside the BC legislature Friday to say the provincial NDP party betrayed their commitment.
Dozens were on hand to see three stakes bearing the names of John Horgan, Lana Popham and George Heyman returned to the capital building along with three cheques totalling $300 – the amounts donated by the party members to First Nations’ legal action against the controversial energy project.
The “Stakes in the Peace” had been provided to each of the MLA’s during the 2017 election campaign as a symbol of respect for Treaty 8 and support for all who call the Peace Valley home, according to a news release from the West Moberly First Nations.
“Horgan, Heyman and Popham have betrayed their commitment to us and dishonoured their election promises. We are placing the stakes here at the Legislature as a warning to all British Columbians: voter beware,” said Chief Roland Willson of the West Moberly First Nation.
Chief Lynette Tsakoza of the Prophet River First Nations said the three MLA stakes were part of more than 700 planted on a nearby property that will be flooded for the new dam. The other stakes bear the names of B.C. residents who also donated to the legal expense fund.
“These stakes could have been a proud legacy — something to show your children and grandchildren: I saved the Peace Valley. Instead, you chose to destroy a culture, destroy a valley and saddle all British Columbians with a crippling debt that will be carried down through generations,” Tsakoza said.
Treaty 8 Chiefs returned stakes and donations made by Premier John Horgan, Ministers George Herman and Lana Popham at an event in front of the BC leg today. The stakes had been placed near Site C during the election campaign #bcpoli pic.twitter.com/27iUSRcv7W— Victoria News (@VictoriaNews) January 26, 2018
Earlier this month, the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations launched civil actions for treaty infringement and injections to stop Site C.
Premier Horgan was not at the legislature today. He is in the midst of a trade mission to Asia, where he is visiting China, South Korea and Japan.