Nlaka'pamux Nation Tribal Council; Okanagan Nation Alliance

June 11, 2009 14:50 ET

Campbell Government insults First Nation with ILM approval

Campbell Government insults Aboriginal People by approving the Interior to Lower Mainland Transmission Line Project

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Environment Editor, Energy Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor VANCOUVER, BC, PRESS RELEASE--(Marketwire - June 11, 2009) - First Nations throughout the interior of British Columbia and the Lower Mainland are astonished by the Campbell government's blatant bad faith in issuing an environmental assessment certificate for the proposed Interior to Lower Mainland Transmission Project. For several months First Nations had been awaiting a proposal from the government on a meaningful and honourable consultation process that would address the First Nations' fundamental concerns with the proposed project. Instead of honouring this commitment, the Campbell government simply issued the certificate without any further discussion.

"The Campbell government has not been truthful with us", said Chief Bob Pasco of the Nlaka'pamux Nation Tribal Council. "We were in the middle of a discussion about how the process could work to appropriately address our legitimate concerns, and then as soon as they return from their election campaign, they simply issued the project approval. It is clear that the Campbell government is not serious about working with us."

The Campbell government's actions are in stark contrast to how it responded to opposition of Delta residents to proposed transmission lines. In that instance, the Campbell government forced BC Hydro to spend millions of dollars to buy up people's homes. "I don't know how to avoid the conclusion that race is a factor. When we raise legitimate issues about use of our lands and the placement of high-voltage transmission lines throughout our communities, we are ignored. When non-Aboriginal citizens in suburbs of Vancouver raise concerns, they get immediate results", said Chief Tim Manuel. "The Campbell government treats us like second-class citizens and insults the longstanding effort we have been making to find an efficient, effective process to review this proposed project. It is dishonourable to sit with us and discuss an appropriate process to address our concerns while at the same time moving forward to approve the project. This is insulting."

The Province's decision is also another example of a long history of the Campbell government ignoring court decisions. "In February the Court of Appeal ruled that there must be serious study and consultation on alternatives to the proposed transmission line. There has not yet been a serious review of alternatives, yet the Campbell government has gone ahead and approved BC Hydro's preferred alternative. The government is thumbing its nose at the highest court in the province", said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Chair of the Okanagan Nation Alliance and President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. "It is decisions like these which properly lead to First Nations questioning the sincerity of the Campbell government when it speaks of recognition of Aboriginal Title and Rights. There has been no recognition and no shared decision-making on this project - this action is in total conflict and completely contradicts the spirit and intent of the Recognition legislation."
/For further information: Chief Tim Manuel, Upper Nicola Band, (250) 378-1986
Chief Bob Pasco, Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council, (250) 371-0775

Contact Information

  • Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Chair, Okanagan Nation Alliance
    Primary Phone: 250-490-5314