Paddle for the Peace

Paddle for the Peace

Paddle for the Peace was a day to celebrate the Peace River. People came from distant countries to join in the protest against BC Hydro’s Site-C dam. My partner Rita Giesbrecht, prospective candidate for the provincial Green Party, and I also went north to paddle the Peace to see the country, meet the local residents who’s farmland will be lost, and to acquire a better understanding of the issue.

 

Canada, British Columbia, Site-C protest, Paddle for the Peace, environment, Peace River Valley

Along the highway, signs overlooking the Peace River reveal the facts about the Site C dam.

Canada, British Columbia,

View of the Peace River and rich farm lands scheduled to be flooded.

Canada, British Columbia, Site-C protest, Paddle for the Peace, environment, Peace River Valley

Joe Foy, national campaign director of the Wilderness Commitee, was emcee for the event.

Canada, British Columbia, Site-C protest, Paddle for the Peace, environment, Peace River Valley

Ana Simeon is a Peace River Valley campaigner with Sierra Club BC.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally,

Artists and social activists, Claire Kujundzic and Bill Horne, stand with their “All for one and one for all”  banner before boarding their canoe.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally,

Young Keith LaRiviere speaks to the group, explaining why he was participating in the event. He explains, “I am paddling in honour of my cousin who was shot while protesting the Site C dam”.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally,

After his speech, Keith was gathered in by his proud father, Keith LaRiviere senior who says, ” these are the New Faces of Family Environmental Activists.”

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally,

Artist Claire Kujundzic, and leader of the federal Green Party, Elizabeth May

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally,

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, who also paddled the river, stated “It violates every single precept of sound policy making. It’s a monstrosity. It’s a decision that defies economic sense, ecological sense, and human rights.”

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally,

Participants ‘put in’ their canoes and kayaks on Halfway River which joins the Peace River a few hundred metres downstream.

Don Hoffmann us

Rita Giesbrecht, Zoe Ducklow, reporter for the Alaska Highway News, and myself.  Thanks to Don Hoffmann for making this photograph of us!

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally,

Paddling down the Peace River under a gorgeous cloud cover.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally,

Many laughs and light-hearted conversations were had while paddling. Everyone was enjoying the river.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally,

Our 1-2 hour paddle ended at Ken and Arlene Boon’s farm; a farm that is threatened by the proposed flooding.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally,

Speakers, musicians, conversations, and exquisite food, rounded out the day.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally,

Pilot Bob Federly flew me, along with several people from the media, downstream to view the construction of Site C which has already begun.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally, Site-C construction, logging the Peace River Valley,

Clear cut logging in the Valley has begun.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally, logging Peace River Valley, Site-C construction,

Over 13,ooo hectares of agricultural land would be lost.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally, Site-C construction,

A construction site built on rich farming land.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Site-C construction site,

Construction site.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Country, canola crop, Peace River,

Canola crops along the Peace River. Reports commissioned by BC Hydro calculate this area of land could feed one million people annually, in perpetuity. It is the ‘bread basket’ of British Columbia.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Country, canola crop,

“Alluvial soils are the most magical of soils” says agrologist Wendy Holm. “In British Columbia, we import 67% of the vegetables we consume from California who are facing unprecedented droughts. The Peace River Valley is much closer to Vancouver (than California)”.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Country, canola crop,

This is, in my opinion as an agrologist, is one of the greatest transgressions of public policy I’ve ever seen”

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally,

Over 100 canoes made their way to this farm where speakers spoke to the issue and musicians played.

Canada, British Columbia, Peace River Valley, Paddle for the Peace, Stop Site-C rally,

Harry Swain, the chair of the joint federal-provincial panel that reviewed the Site C dam, recently said,

“Of the $9 billion it will cost, at least $7 billion will never be returned. You and I as rate payers will end up paying $7 billion bucks for something we get nothing for.”

4 Comment

  1. Thanks for posting your photos and descriptions, Chris. If I may add one PS from the day:
    At the event at the Boons’ farm following the Paddle, Chief Stewart Phillip asked us all to promise to write the PM & (I think) also the Minister of Fisheries to ask that they don’t sign those Site C permits waiting since March. In case anyone doesn’t have these contact details:

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
    House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 – no postage required
    Phone: 613 995-0253 Fax: 613 947-0310
    justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

    The Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard
    House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 – no postage required
    Phone: 613 992-1020 Fax: 613 992-3053
    dominic.leblanc@parl.gc.ca

    The Hon. Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport
    House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 – no postage required
    Phone: 1 613 996-7267
    Fax: 1 613 995-8632
    marc.garneau@parl.gc.ca

    [I believe paper letters count for more than emails, but everything helps keep the pressure on.]

  2. chris says: Reply

    Thank you Bill for contributing that vital information.

  3. Thank you for your photos and stories, Chris, which describe the event so well. Now, we all have to do our part, and put the pressure on our governments to make the right decision for all.

  4. Lovely photos. That’s a great cause. Hopefully they will listen and not build the dam. Man made dam can take away beautiful natural river that animal lives in. Sad to see that happen here.

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