By Bev Sellars, Chair, FNWARM. Former Chief of the Xat’Sull (Soda Creek) First Nation
So, B.C. will finally review its sadly weak environmental-assessment process. About time! But can First Nations trust the NDP government to work with them to address the glaring problems and make real and meaningful changes?
The B.C. process has been a bad joke. Travesties such as B.C.’s repeated approval of the soundly discredited and federally rejected Prosperity/New Prosperity mine proposals, and the approval of the unsafe and ultimately disastrous Mount Polley tailings dam have long made clear to many that the process is designed to help mining companies, not to truly protect the environment and Indigenous rights.
I would like to believe the government intends to live up to its word in terms of respecting Indigenous rights and protecting the environment. First Nations have been given reason to hope the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be implemented, together with a requirement for free prior and informed consent for mining or other natural-resource developments affecting First Nations.
But recent events have raised doubts as to the government’s sincerity. So, I have the following question: Premier John Horgan, where are you on Mount Polley?