B.C. Hydro’s Site C dam motion strikes out in court

B.C. Hydro’s Site C dam suffered a legal setback on Friday when a judge ruled against an attempt to stop a judicial review from hearing certain aspects of their case.

A Federal hearing on the matter is now set for the week of July 20.

Multiple Treaty 8 First Nations in Northeast B.C. are attempting to use the courts to stop the project from going ahead. The latest attempt involves asking a judicial review to determine whether or not the decision to build the dam is legal.

On Friday, a Federal judge heard an attempt from B.C. Hydro to strike parts of the Treaty 8 First Nations judicial review application.

This motion to strike, according to John Gailus, a lawyer representing the First Nations, was meant to strike the allegation that the government was required to do certain things.

Specifically, it was whether or not the government should consider “the Site C project either on its own or in combination with the existing dams on the Peace River and the industrial developments in the northeast would be an infringement of their treaty rights.”

Gailus went on to say that the judge held that Treaty 8 were not “bereft of any chance of success.” The judge held that should be addressed by a judicial review application hearing.

“The threshold for striking pleadings in judicial reviews is very high,” said Allisun Rana, another lawyer working for First Nations against Site C. “Canada needed to essentially establish that the First Nation's infringement of treaty rights argument had no chance of success whatsoever and the court said Canada was not able to establish that.”

Treaty 8 First Nations are against the dam because of the impacts they say it would have on their treaty rights.

According to a Joint Review panel report, certain impacts on these treaty rights to hunt, fish, and trap“cannot be mitigated.”

Calls to B.C. Hydro asking for comment on the recent decision were not returned as of press time.

Earlier comments from the B.C. government indicate that they still believe the project will start this summer despite numerous legal challenges.

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