UPDATE: Campaign highlights in the Fish Lake win

Brent Patterson
11 years ago
The Council of Canadians congratulates the Tsilhqot’in National Government, and all individuals and groups that worked to stop the destruction of Fish Lake. We extend particular congratulations to John Dressler and the Williams Lake chapter of the Council of Canadians for their tireless efforts on this campaign. There were many highlights that led to this win, here are a few that involved the Council of Canadians: OCTOBER 2008: The Council of Canadians challenged then environment-minister John Baird on the destruction of lakes through the Schedule 2 loophole. JULY 2009: National water campaigner Meera Karunananthan and British Columbia-Yukon organizer Harjap Grewal attended a gathering hosted by the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation at Onion Lake, near Fish Lake, as well as with Tsilhqot’in elders at Fish Lake. FEBRUARY 2010: The Council of Canadians helped facilitate a delegation of chiefs from the Tsilhqot'in Nation to meet with MPs, top bureaucrats and the media in Ottawa. At the panel hearings the next month, bureaucrats from Environment Canada said there were alternatives to destroying Fish Lake, Transport Canada said the project would have adverse effects on navigation, and the Department of Fisheries said it failed to meet the basic requirements of its ‘no net loss’ policy on the destruction of fish habitat. MARCH: Karunananthan, Grewal and John Dressler of the Williams Lake chapter presented our concerns to the federal review panel hearings in Williams Lake. It is the findings of this panel that environment minister Jim Prentice references in his decision against the Prosperity mine. We also participated in a rally outside the hearings that day. MAY: Anticipating that the federal review panel may approve the destruction of the lake, Council of Canadians chairperson spoke in Vancouver in defence of Fish Lake and told the media that, “We will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Tsilhqot’in to protect this lake.” JUNE: The Council of Canadians took part in the launch of a Federal Court legal challenge (that it is also helping to fund) against all Schedule 2 lakes by the Sandy Pond Alliance. Media conferences took place in Ottawa and St. John’s. JUNE: Grewal and other Council of Canadians supporters participated in a rally outside the Taseko annual shareholders meeting in Vancouver. The Council of Canadians is also quoted in a Canadian Geographic magazine article on Schedule 2 and Fish Lake. The magazine has a circulation of approximately 4.5 readers. SEPTEMBER: The Council of Canadians delivered 15,000 petitions from its members across the country opposing Schedule 2 and the destruction of Fish Lake to environment minister Jim Prentice's office on Parliament Hill on the expected eve of his decision. SEPTEMBER: Williams Lake chapter activist John Dressler is interviewed on CTV News and speaks in defence of Fish Lake. Dressler said, “To endanger a whole watershed for a mining project that could be done in another way is not acceptable.” Again, congratulations to everyone on this terrific win!