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Experts Will Explore Key Issues in Site C Forum

Live and online discussion offers insights on controversial decision — and the path forward.

By Tyee Staff 16 Apr 2018 |

More than four months after Premier John Horgan and the NDP government approved the Site C dam, the controversy still rages.

Many business and labour groups have supported the decision, while environmentalists and many First Nations condemned it.

The war of words continues, with debate on environmental impacts, regulatory and energy issues, consequences for First Nations, employment, future electricity demands and fiscal responsibility.

The Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies and the Royal Society of Canada have organized a forum on Site C — live and online — to help citizens gain understanding and discuss the issues.

“We think it’s important to help people develop a shared understanding,” said Graeme Wynn of the Royal Society of Canada. “The forum is a chance to hear from experts about the economics of the hydro scheme, its environmental impacts, and how the dam affects Indigenous communities.”

The forum will be held April 19, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Sage East Conference Room on the University of British Columbia Point Grey campus.

It will also be live streamed on the Wall Institute’s Facebook page.

“This is a province-wide issue, and we look forward to sharing the event with people from the Peace River Valley to Kitimat and beyond,” said Philippe Tortell, director of the Peter Wall Institute.

The forum will bring together three experts who have all offered policy advice on Site C to provide perspective on the decision.

Mark Jaccard is an economist and a professor of sustainable energy in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University. He was nominated to the Royal Society of Canada in 2008 for his career work on energy and climate policy design and analysis.

Karen Bakker is professor, Canada Research Chair, and director of UBC’s Program on Water Governance. She was named one of Canada’s “top 40 under 40” in 2011 and nominated to the Royal Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Scientists and Artists in 2014.

Gordon Christie, professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC, will discuss why it is important all Canadians be concerned about how both Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments interact with Treaty 8 territory (which includes Site C), and how historic treaties function — and should function — in the modern world.

In May 2016, Maryse Lassonde, then president of the Royal Society of Canada, wrote the prime minister expressing concern about the process that led to approval of the project.

Two years later, circumstances have changed, but the differences in opinion about the wisdom of the Site C dam remain entrenched.

“This is a chance to explore the key issues and move toward a shared understanding that, at least, allows for a more productive public discussion,” said Wynn.

Information on registration for the live event is available here. The Sage East Conference Room is at 6331 Crescent Rd., Vancouver.

This forum will be broadcast live on Facebook. To get a notification when the broadcast begins, click here and then click “get reminder.”  [Tyee]

Read more: Energy, BC Politics

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