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Site C; Global Compliance Research Project Presentation, to the BC Utilities Commission PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joan Russow
Thursday, 12 October 2017 12:00

Presentation to the BC Utilities Commission

By Dr Joan Russow,

Global Compliance Research Project

October 11, 2017


The Global Compliance Research Project monitors the compliance and

non-compliance, by member states at the United Nations, with international law.


 It’s 2017!It’s 41 years since Habitat I in Vancouver, where Canada agreed to the following recommendations:

reducing energy consumption …. becom(ing) aware of the need to cease environmentally degrading and wasteful use of energy resources….Identifying and developing new sources of energy…developing and implementing the utilization of solar and geothermal energy(Excerpts from articles from C4 energy, habitat I)

Yet in 2017. Site C, which is not only ecologically but also economically regressive, advances the tolerance for externalities- the cost that affects a party who did not choose to incur that cost


The first externality is the years of costs caused by the irreversible resource destruction that has deprived First Nations of their subsistence within their territories. This destruction violates Article 1 of the legally binding international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

 “In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.”

and contravenes the principle of “free prior informed consent “ in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Canada’s interpretation of free prior informed consent is out of sync with the international interpretation:



A second externality is the loss of  archeological sites and of the potential damage to the Wood Buffalo World Heritage Site  in violation of the UN Convention on the Preservation of Cultural  and Natural Heritage.


A third  externality is the loss of food security, by destroying acres of rich agricultural land and disregarding the warning by the IPCC on loss of food security caused by climate change:



A fourth externality is undermining the potential for instituting a fair and just transition for workers, into sustainable Green energy: solar, wind geothermal wave tidal and future renewables that could be provided with the subsidies that have been used for fossil fuels. Funds for Site C would displace funds for real solutions


A fifth externality is the rights of future generations  a principle  affirmed  through numerous conventions, including the legally binding Convention on Biological Diversity  and the principle embodied in the Bruntland Report:

 Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

SiteC must be cancelled now and the sunk costs absorbed.These costs were incurred from the dereliction of duty on the part of the former BC Liberal governments:


In 2008 for allowing BC hydro to defer expenses for years;



In 2010, for exempting Site C from the usual procedure of sending the  proposal to the  BC Utilities Commission that would have done an in depth analysis of  the exorbitant  externality costs


and  in 2014, for ignoring the Joint Regional panel’s conclusion that the proposed Site C Project would likely cause a number of significant adverse impacts to the rights of Treaty 8 First Nations, and that some of these effects could not be mitigated.

At this point, the precautionary principle should have been invoked, site C Cancelled, not approved.  


If Site C is not cancelled now, externality costs will be exacerbated.


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