BC election: Communist Party candidates back call to shut down Site C

The five candidates nominated by the Communist Party of BC in the October 24 provincial election have all been involved in movements to defend the environment, reduce carbon emissions, and build solidarity with Indigenous land defenders and water protectors.

On October 6, they issued a joint statement expressing full support for the Open Letter by 12 prominent British Columbians calling for an immediate halt to the Site C dam project.

The Communist Party of BC has been a consistent and vocal critic of the Site C project from its beginning under the Liberal government of Gordon Campbell. When the NDP government of John Horgan announced in the fall of 2017 that it would continue the project, the CP-BC condemned the decision and urged ongoing resistance. “Site C approval has bitterly disappointed advocates of a shift away from the short-sighted policies of profit-driven corporate mega-projects and export of energy and raw materials, towards pro-people strategies such as developing the green energy sector, investing in public transit, expanding social programs, health care and education, and implementing a shorter work week with no loss in take home pay. Those who argue that the government’s decision was necessary to save jobs should be reminded forcefully that the billions of dollars poured into this speculative project would have created far more employment if invested in crucial infrastructure needs and social programs.”

For the past three years of NDP government, opposition to Site C has continued, along with rising concerns about the potential negative impacts and cost-over-runs. The letter from prominent public figures points out that the Horgan government has not halted the project to address those significant problems and consequences, even after it became clear that the eventual price tag could top $15 billion or more.

The CP-BC candidates state that the Open Letter “is exactly right to warn that not cancelling the project is equivalent to writing a blank cheque … We agree with the Open Letter that ‘the prudent course of action – one that respects Indigenous and Treaty rights as well as the interests of all taxpayers and hydro ratepayers – is to immediately suspend all construction activities’, including the imminent and critical river diversion, especially considering the geotechnical problems of unknown magnitude which remain unresolved at the construction site.”

The Communist Party candidates include Tyson Riel Strandlund (Langford-Juan de Fuca, the home riding of Premier John Horgan), Florian Castle (Oak Bay-Gordon Head, won by former Green party leader Andrew Weaver in the 2017 election), Ryan Abbott (Surrey-Whalley), Walt Parsons (Victoria-Swan Lake), and Kimball Cariou (Vancouver Hastings).

In their campaign, they are urging British Columbians to send “a direct and unambiguous message to the Horgan NDP government, by voting for the Communist candidates and for others who pledge to resist completion of this disastrous project. British Columbia needs to move away from an economy based largely on corporate-driven fossil fuel extraction and export projects.”

The party’s platform, which calls for voters to put people and nature first over private profits, is available at cpcbc.ca.

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