There are reported to be at least 51 unregulated and unapproved dams in Northern BC built by oil and gas companies for their fracking operations. The two largest facilities, Lily Dam and the Energy Town Dam, both over 15 meters tall, are operated by PETRONAS subsidiary, Progress Energy Canada Ltd. The scale of these dams means that they should be classified as ‘major projects‘ under BC’s Environmental Assessment Act. requiring that they be assessed by the Assessment Office (EAO) prior to construction. On Oct. 31 2017 the provincial Environmental EAO rejected an application by the company seeking to exemption for these structures from an environmental assessment.The dams have reportedly been operational for many years under the watch of the previous Liberal government and the new NDP Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall is reported to have stated that their government is “reviewing the details in order to strengthen oversight going forward,”
On Oct 10th this year, while the Progress Energy application for exemption was still in progress, Okanagan Indigenous leader, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and Ben Parfitt of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives wrote that “If the EAO grants Progress’s request, it sends a terrible signal that BC really is the Wild West. Rules and regulations are simply there to be ignored.” While the EAO has finally applied its own rules, saving us from the Wild West designation, this decision leaves us wondering, how well the authors’ terms, applied to our province in the preceding years of Liberal rule. More pertinently, it leaves us wondering if, under the new NDP/Green regime, we will finally get the proper oversight of such dams and if in future there will be prior consultation with the First Nations on whose traditional lands they are being built.
As part of the Mango of Truth Performances Jane Frankish read her Poems on the Megaphone.
You are the first nations, the first people.
As I was coming in you were going out
you held the door for me and said, ‘good timing.’
I asserted, ‘Yes, indeed, good timing thank you.’
Ascending the stair, I felt my settler state.
My emphases extending everywhere
your body, your speech, your land.
For more please visit Jane and the Library Monkeys
Today is Canada’s 150th birthday! And the celebrations are being carried out on a grand scale. I do not object but I can not participate in the symbols of nation unreflectively. First peoples have set up camp on parliament hill. They have been allowed to do so after initial resistance from the RCMP and our dashing and generous PM has gracefully and photogenically paid his respects. What can I say… I am a recent immigrant living on unceded territory but power, if not justice, is on my side. Will I give up what is now mine in the the name of what is just … probably not without a struggle. But then it is as much a struggle, spiritually speaking, to occupy the place that my family and I have taken under the auspices of the Canadian state. The history is palpable all around us … in place markers, and in derelict lives as well as in proud ones. I feel it, and although I join in the celebrations, I do not do so without recognizing the genocidal legacy into which I am assimilating .
An enduring symbol of Canada is the uniform of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Mounties who wear it are loved and respected by the mainstream of Canadian life but to those on the margins of this order, their symbol bears a different meaning. The RCMP are the front line in hegemonic Canada’s ongoing repression of both the abject dereliction and the proud resistance of Indigenous peoples. There are however a handful of native RCMP officers who operate at the very front of this frontline. It seems to me that they might be the bearers of the impossible burden of the paradox and the pain of being both native and Canadian in one human being. Corporal Ron Francis was one such mountie. His story is tragic, beginning with ideals, followed by 20 years of service and ending in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, medical marijuana, public protest, confiscation of beloved uniform and ultimately, suicide.