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73 per cent of British Columbians want construction of the Site C dam stopped

Liberal premier Christy Clark, NDP leader John Horgan, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver

News 1130 reports, “A vast majority of British Columbians want the provincial government to stop construction of the Site C dam in the Peace Region and to look at alternatives according to a new poll [commissioned by DeSmog Canada]. In total, 73 per cent of those who responded want a pause in the project to look over the budget and to see if there are any ways around it. And 63 per cent of BC Liberal voters want another look.”

The article adds, “If demand for more power increases in the future, nine-in-10 British Columbians support investing in energy efficiency measures and adding more wind, solar and geothermal power to the grid as needed. While just over one-third admit they’re in favour of building large hydro dams.”

Given the environmental implications of the dam (it would add 150,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions to BC’s carbon footprint, the equivalent of putting 27,000 additional cars on the road), the violation of Indigenous rights (it is being built on Treaty 8 territory without free, prior and informed consent), and the $8.8 billion price tag (with concerns the cost could be billions higher), Site C is expected to become a major provincial election issue.

Liberal premier Christy Clark has championed the Site C dam, while NDP leader John Horgan has said he would review the project.

In December 2016, The Globe and Mail reported, “Horgan says while he would be prepared to shut down the hydroelectric dam if a post-election review by the BC Utilities Commission supports that decision, he does not yet have enough information to take a formal position.”

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver says, “Nothing has passed a point of no return. Proceeding with Site C is actively driving clean energy investment out of the province, but it is not too late to correct our province’s power trajectory.”

A recent market-based poll projected that the Liberals would win 42 seats on election night (down from their current 48 seats), that the NDP would win 40 (up from 35 seats), and the Green Party 5 seats (up from the 1 seat they now hold).

The Progressive Conservatives have not held a seat in the BC Legislature since the December 1975 provincial election.

And while the undecided vote is high at 25 per cent, the CBC has reported, “The NDP has been polling at between 37 and 39 per cent over the last three polls, compared to a range of 33 to 37 per cent for the Liberals, 13 to 17 per cent for the Greens and 10 to 13 per cent for the BC Conservatives.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow will be speaking on water protection issues in five British Columbia communities — Courtenay (April 6), Nanaimo (April 7), Victoria (April 8), Williams Lake (April 10), and Kamloops (April 11) — in advance of the May 9 provincial election.

The writ for the election is expected to drop on April 11.

The Council of Canadians first formally expressed its opposition to the 60-metre high, 1,050-metre-long earth-filled Site C dam in October 2014.