British Columbia

First Nations chief insults premier and BC Hydro CEO over Site C

West Moberly First Nation Chief Roland Willson has lashed out at Premier Christy Clark and BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald in Facebook post. The West Moberly are one of two First Nations fighting the Site C dam project in federal court.

Roland Willson gives a virtual middle finger to Site C proponents

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has spoken about sexism in politics in the past. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

West Moberly First Nation Chief Roland Willson has lashed out at Premier Christy Clark and BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald in a Facebook post calling them "evil bitches".

The West Moberly are one of two First Nations fighting Hydro's Site C dam project in federal court.

The post is a photo of a yellow stake planted on the property of Ken and Arlene Boon, two landowners who will have to leave their family home to make way for the megaproject.

For five days the caption included the insult and read, "Placed the first stake this morning. What Christy Clark and Jessica McDonald are doing to the Boons is beyond words!"

In the comments section, Willson posted a photo of a cartoon middle finger with the caption, "Hey Christy and Jessica!"

A Facebook post from West Moberly First Nation chief Roland Willson takes aim at Premier Christy Clark and BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald. (Roland Willson/Facebook)

Willson in legal battle against Site C

In July, the $9-billion megaproject was permitted by the federal government and was quickly criticized by environmentalists and First Nations groups who called it a betrayal by the Trudeau government.

The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations are trying to stop the construction through a legal battle against Site C in federal court, arguing the project infringes on their treaty rights by flooding their traditional land, affecting hunting, fishing and trapping.

The governing B.C. Liberals and BC Hydro are proponents of the project, arguing Site C is needed to meet the province's future power needs.

Non-Indigenous landowners are also fighting Site C under the banner of the Peace Valley Landowner Association. Some, like Ken and Arlene Boon, would be forced out of their homes in order to make way for the project.

The Yellow Stake Campaign, launched the same day Willson's post went up, invites the public to purchase a yellow stake and have it symbolically planted on the Boon's farmland to show solidarity with those fighting Site C.

'An expression of frustration'

"I think that it is a very difficult time for everybody who is involved in trying to save the Peace River and stop this project," said Wendy Holm, the organizer of the Yellow Stake Campaign.

Site C would flood 83 kilometres or 5,550 hectares of land in the Peace River Valley. (B.C. Hydro)

"I think that unfortunate comments ... are an expression of the frustration, the extreme frustration, on this."

Holm, a retired agrologist, argues Site C will flood valuable farmland in order to create energy the province doesn't need.

When asked if she thought the language in Willson's post could hurt her argument, Holm replied, "I can't see anything that's going to hurt this cause because ... this is just the stupidest thing the province could be undertaking."

Clark has flagged sexism in the past

Christy Clark has declined to comment on the post, but she has talked about the challenges of being a female politician in the past.

In an interview with CBC earlier this year, she spoke about being ignored in favour of men while meeting with other leaders, and in 2014 she applauded a website called Madam Premier that compiled sexist tweets aimed at female politicians. 

Retired agrologist and resource economist Wendy Holm has been active in the campaign against Site C. (Wendy Holm/Twitter)

"If that vitriolic anger that we see directed at women is collected in one place for all of us to get a chance to talk about, I think that's a major contribution that having women in public office will make to our country and to our civic life," she said.

Multiple requests for comment from Willson have been unanswered, though he originally amended the post to remove the word "bitches." 

However, late Thursday, the offending term was re-inserted into the post and Willson made another post defending his comments, saying "There is an old adage[:] If the shoe fits then wear it!"

BC Hydro declined to comment.

now