You are on page 1of 3

Post Office Box 90, Moberly Lake, British Columbia, V0C 1X0

November 19, 2019

Via Email

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)


Human Rights Treaties Division (HRTD)
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson - 52, rue des Pâquis CH-1201 Geneva (Switzerland)

Attention: Members of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Sirs/Mesdames, Je aa haanach’e:

Re: Request for Final Report on the Site C Dam and Canada’s Noncompliance with
International Human Rights Standards

I am the Chief of West Moberly First Nations (“WMFN”). It has now been over four years
since Canada began constructing the Site C hydroelectric dam despite the vigorous
opposition of Indigenous peoples and the blatant abuse of our human rights. Canada has
repeatedly repudiated directives from CERD to suspend work until free, prior and informed
consent is obtained. The world looks to Canada for leadership on human rights and a strong
message needs to be delivered. We therefore strongly urge CERD to issue its final report
on Canada’s failure to obtain free, prior, and informed consent on Site C and its
noncompliance with international human rights standards.

In September 13, 2017, CERD recommended that Canada “immediately suspend all
permits and approvals for the construction of the Site C dam”. It advised Canada to “[e]nd
the substitution of costly legal challenges as post facto recourse in place of obtaining
meaningful free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples”.1

In December 14, 2018, CERD reiterated its concern regarding Canada’s “lack of measures
taken to ensure the right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent with regard to the
Site C dam.”2 CERD warned that construction of Site C without free, prior and informed consent
“would infringe Indigenous peoples’ rights protected under the International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

1Available online: https://witnessforthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/G1726687.pdf


2Available online:
https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CERD/Shared%20Documents/CAN/INT_CERD_ALE_CAN_8818_E.
pdf

Pg. 1 of 3
Canada has failed to remedy its misconduct and has repeatedly rebuffed CERD’s
recommendations. Canada has even refused recommendations by CERD, the Union of BC
Indian Chiefs and West Moberly First Nations to seek independent advice from the Expert
Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP).

Canada’s written responses to CERD information requests have been belated and obtuse. In its
most recent letter to CERD (undated, received in June 2019), Canada attempted to
excuse its refusal to suspend construction by claiming, incredulously, that it had actually
obtained free, prior and informed consent. Northing could be further from the truth:

• West Moberly First Nations has never consented to the construction of Site C, nor
have many other affected Indigenous peoples including Blueberry River First
Nation, Prophet River First Nation, or Fort Nelson First Nation.

• The “consent” from some indigenous groups was not free. British Columbia’s
former Premier Christy Clark infamously vowed she would push the project past
the point of now return. There was never any intent by Canada or British Columbia
to consider alternatives offered by Indigenous peoples.

• That consent was not prior. Not a single Indigenous group supported Site C before
Canada had issued all major approvals, and some groups that signed an
agreement on the project afterwards stated publicly that they had never consented.

• It was not informed. Bogus estimates about future energy demand were used
during consultations by the Province of British Columbia and BC Hydro to
manufacture a need for the dam and to disregard less impactful alternatives such
as wind and solar. These estimates have now been debunked by the BC Utilities
Commission, British Columbia’s own independent utilities regulator.

Despite all of this, construction of Site C continues unabated.

We understand that CERD has asked Canada to provide additional information by


November 18, 2019 regarding its refusal to suspend construction until free, prior and
informed consent is obtained. We also understand CERD is meeting from November 25
to December 13, 2019.

We respectfully implore CERD to issue its final determination on Site C and Canada’s
noncompliance with human rights standards at this upcoming session. We respectfully
ask that CERD do so irrespective of whether Canada once again misses this deadline for
responding to CERD’s information request.

Pg. 2 of 3
Thank you for contributing to the exposure and rectification of international human rights
abuses through clearly reasoned pronouncements upholding the rights of our First Nation
and all Indigenous peoples.

Wuujo aasana laa,

Chief Roland Willson


West Moberly First Nations

Pg. 3 of 3