(Vancouver, BC) The BC Métis Federation and the members and communities continue to better understand Métis consultation in terms of the process and how to make informed decisions. In a statement released yesterday by the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) there were a number of factually incorrect MNBC claims about a recent meeting with BC Hydro representatives.
BC Hydro is proposing to construct a third dam on the Peace River near Fort St. John, BC. The proposed Site C Hydroelectric Dam is an estimated five (5) billion dollars and the provincial and federal governments have established a Joint Review Panel to review the project. Essentially there are five stages that BC Hydro has defined as their process for approval to construction and today BC Hydro is in
Stage 3 – Regulatory – Environmental Assessment.
BC Métis Federation President Henry stated, “The claims by MNBC about the crown corporation recognizing Métis rights are not accurate or correct. MNBC has continued to push the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) with a policy that MNBC, through BCMANR, speaks for all Métis people, including any community in BC. We absolutely believe this is backwards and is taking money from capacity building at the community level where projects, such as the proposed Site C, are located throughout this province. Look at the pictures of who attended and it is mostly MNBC representatives from other parts of BC. How much did this cost for this meeting and who paid for this?”
BC Métis Federation President Henry added, “The claim this is the first time Métis were recognized with a duty to consult is 100% wrong. For example the Kelly Lake Métis Settlement Society, who is involved with the BC Métis Federation, has been recognized for consultation for years. In fact I have attached a letter from CEAA to illustrate my point that MNBC is incorrect and without their facts in order once more. This community is actively engaged with the support of the BC Métis Federation and in a recent meeting with BC Hydro we also provided our perspective on engagement with Métis in other impacted areas of the proposed hydro electric dam. We urged BC Hydro to begin meeting with the Fort St. John Métis Society and others who actually live in the area and be potentially impacted. My point is MNBC claims are politically motivated and groundless in evidence.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded, “The MNBC is posturing without facts. Worse yet MNBC showcases to me that they completely disrespect protocol with Métis organizations in Fort St. John. The Fort St. John Métis Society has been established for years and made it clear their leaders do not support MNBC. Regardless MNBC attempts to use a few Métis people to make it appear they had communities involved but where is the protocol here with the actual elected leaders in Fort St. John? MNBC continues to assert this policy of consultation through MNBC with CEAA and industry because they can find ways to secure new funding, taking away resources from the communities that need to be properly engaged and involved. This MNBC approach defies good governance and demonstrates how this organization will continue to interfere at the community level. It is so unfortunate that more of our people do not understand the regulatory process and the serious impacts to decisions and consultation records. ”
BC Métis Federation
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You can follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis