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Private power a social justice issue: Council of Canadians

Dozens of organizations across the province have signed a letter opposing run of river projects in British Columbia, casting a social rights lens on issue that has been all about the environment.

There are 61 signatories so far that represent a variety of interests. They include, not just the unions and conservation groups that have already emerged as vocal opponents, but also faith-based and social justice groups like the South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy and St. James Anglican Church.

The Council of Canadians (CoC) drafted the letter with the help of the Wilderness Committee, Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union and B.C. Citizens for Public Power, CoC spokesperson Harjap Crewel said.

"In the press, the environmental issues have been played up so much. The social justice aspect is just as important," he said. "It was circulated broadly, I think a lot of the organizations understand the issue regardless of whether they're an environmental organization, or whether they weighed in on public-private debates in the past,"

The letter, which does not call specifically for a moratorium on new power development, states:

We, the undersigned organizations and community groups, believe in achieving green energy policy by promoting a vision of a sustainable community that includes democracy, accountability, conservation and community based public power.  Therefore, we oppose the development of private power projects (also known as "independent power projects" or IPPs or "run of the river") on BC rivers."

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Hook.

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