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The Council welcomes Treaty 8 caravan in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Ottawa

Council of Canadians organizer Brigette DePape (far right in photo) participated in the welcome for the Treaty 8 caravan to Winnipeg.

Council of Canadians organizer Diane Connors (lower left in photo) at the welcome for the Treaty 8 caravan at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton. Photo by Greg Southam/ Edmonton Journal.

The Montreal chapter at a welcoming rally for the Treaty 8 caravan this morning.

The Council of Canadians is greeting the Treaty 8 caravan now travelling across the country in opposition to the Site C dam in northeastern British Columbia.

The Canadian Press reports, “A legal battle over a proposed northeastern British Columbia dam is playing out in a Quebec courtroom. Lawyers for the Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations are before the Federal Court of Appeal in Montreal today to argue the multibillion-dollar Site C dam project violates their clients’ constitutionally protected treaty rights. …The hearing is being heard in Montreal because the court’s docket had a quicker availability than in B.C. …A caravan that set out from British Columbia on Labour Day made several stops before arriving in Montreal on Monday for a rally before the hearing. It will be on Parliament Hill on Tuesday.”

On September 6, Council of Canadians organizer Diane Connors helped welcome the caravan to Edmonton. The Edmonton Journal reported, “A group from Treaty 8 First Nations in northeast British Columbia is travelling across the country to Montreal ahead of a federal court appeal of the dismissal of a challenge that B.C. Hydro’s Site C dam infringes on West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations treaty rights. On Tuesday [September 6] morning, the Treaty 8 Justice for The Peace caravan rolled through Edmonton, making a stop at the Alberta legislature. …The caravan was greeted in Edmonton by a group of supporters who toted signs and donated food to the travelling group.”

On September 8, Council of Canadians organizer Brigette DePape was there to welcome the caravan in Winnipeg. DePape tells us, “It was fantastic to meet with the land defenders from the Treaty 8 caravan. We had a great ‘Meet Me at the Bell Tower’ event to welcome them with local Indigenous youth and community members, smudging, and drumming. We funded Foods not Bombs to prepare a delicious meal of chile, salad, and corn bread. It was meaningful to hear from one of the land defenders that they felt this welcome gave them strength to continue on.”

On September 12, the Council of Canadians Montreal chapter welcomed the Treaty 8 caravan at a rally before the Federal Court of Appeals hearing this morning.

And tomorrow (September 13), the Council of Canadians will be on hand to greet the caravan on Parliament Hill. The outreach for that event notes, “Sept 13, 10:30 am, Ottawa: Rally on Parliament Hill to mark the anniversary of UN adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Welcome to the Algonquin Nation by Claudette Commanda. Drumming and round dance. Statements by caravan participants and supporting organizations. Group photo with solidarity messages, petitions, postcards and other demonstrations of national support for Treaty 8.”

This past summer, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved a Navigation Protection Act (formerly Navigable Waters Protection Act) permit and Fisheries Act permit for the construction of the Site C dam. In response, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said, “The honeymoon is over! Treaty 8 has just been granted a hearing in the Federal Court of Canada this September. Rather than respecting the treaty rights of Prophet River First Nation and West Moberly First Nation and the legal process by pausing or even slowing down site preparation and construction, the Trudeau Government, like cowardly, thuggish thieves in the dark, quietly issued federal permits before a long weekend to allow for the acceleration of construction.”

Site C is a proposed 60-metre high, 1,050-metre-long earth-filled dam and hydroelectric generation station on the Peace River between the communities of Hudson’s Hope and Taylor on Treaty 8 territory in northeastern British Columbia. It would create an 83-kilometre-long reservoir and flood about 5,550 hectares of agricultural land southwest of Fort St. John. It would also submerge 78 First Nations heritage sites, including burial grounds and places of cultural and spiritual significance. Logging and land clearing for the dam began in the summer of 2015.

The Council of Canadians formally expressed its opposition to the Site C dam in October 2014. It the dam proceeds, Site C would be operational by 2024. For numerous blogs on the campaign to stop Site C, please click here.