'Not the outcome I would have liked': B.C. energy minister addresses broken Site C promises
In 2016, NDP MLA Michelle Mungall told voters 'we will work to end Site C'
A day after her government announced it would proceed with the controversial Site C hydroelectric dam, B.C.'s energy minister is addressing criticism that she broke election promises.
"It's not OK to flood 80,000 hectares of agricultural land ... if we're government, then our plan is to go through the B.C. Utilities Commission and we will work to end Site C," said NDP MLA Michelle Mungall in a video from 2016, ahead of the provincial election.
"Our desire is to stop the Site C dam," said Mungall who represents the Kootenay riding of Nelson-Creston in southeastern B.C.
Now, as the provinces' energy minister, Mungall calls the controversial decision to proceed with the project a "very difficult" one, but says it is in the best interest of British Columbians.
'This was not easy'
"I am not thrilled or happy about the decision that we had to make," said Mungall on Tuesday.
"This was not easy ... it's not the outcome I would have liked by any stretch."
The NDP government on Monday decided to continue building the dam on the Peace River in northeastern B.C. — which will displace farmers and flood Indigenous lands — rather than stop work part way through the job.
Mungall said the NDP government did "appropriate analysis" following a report on Site C from the B.C. Utilities Commission.
She did not say whether she voiced concerns about the project as the government was reaching its conclusion.
"Our decision was not based on what might be easy ... it was based on what's the long-term best interest for British Columbians. And I stand by that framework."
Green Party leader suggests recall campaign
Green Party leader Andrew Weaver has suggested a recall campaign against Mungall in light of her change in attitude.
Let's have a look what our energy minister said about Site C on July 9, 2016: <a href="https://t.co/vdBo4hVs7i">https://t.co/vdBo4hVs7i</a> I would suggest a recall campaign in Nelson-Creston would be in order if Site C is approved on her watch as energy minister. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bcpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#bcpoli</a>—@AJWVictoriaBC
"When people are told one thing and that has convinced them to vote the way they did ... they feel betrayed," said Weaver, calling Site C a "purely political decision."
"There are many people right now who feel saddened and betrayed and they want an avenue ... to express their frustration."
"I appreciate that Mr. Weaver often shares his views ... on Twitter, but I think this is more serious than that," responded Mungall.
An estimated $2 billion has been spent so far on the dam, approved by B.C.'s previous Liberal government in 2014.
The government now expects the dam, originally budgeted at $8.3 billion, to cost approximately $10.7 billion to complete.
Listen to more from Michelle Mungall by clicking the link below:
With files from CBC's Daybreak South.