As It Happens

B.C. chief calls out 'muzzled' justice minister over Site C dam silence

B.C. Chief Roland Willson says he hopes the justice minister has been muzzled after she goes from protests to silence on the Site C dam.
Roland Willson, Chief of the West Moberly First Nation (l) and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould (r). (Sean Kilpatrick/Adrian Wyld/CP)

B.C. Chief Roland Willson says he hopes Canada's justice minister has been muzzled. He doesn't want to consider the alternative. 

The Site C dam would flood a vast swath of West Moberly traditional territory. In 2012, protesters were joined by Jody Wilson-Raybould for a protest against the dam. Wilson-Raybould was Regional Chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations at the time. Standing just metres from Chief Willson, she warned the Harper government against proceeding with the project and "running roughshod over Aboriginal title."

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, centre, joined by protesters and David Suzuki, third from the right, at a Site C protest camp at Rocky Mountain Fort on Jan 12, 2016. (Yvonne Tupper/Facebook)

Now, Jody Wilson-Raybould is Canada's justice minister and the Trudeau government has approved a permit for Site C. But Wilson-Raybould has ignored questions on the subject in the House of Commons.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould speaks to media in Ottawa on Monday, January 23, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Chief Willson spoke with As It Happens host Carol Off. We requested an interview with Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. She was not available. 

Chief Roland Willson: To say this is a decision that was made by a different government and we have to live with it, well, that's a pile of crock. That's the easy way out.

Carol Off: Why do you think she's been silent?

RW: Well, I have to hope that she has not abandoned us. I have to believe that Trudeau and the other cabinet ministers, the senior cabinet ministers, have said you need stay quiet on this, you need to toe the Liberal line here on this one. 

RELATED: "I gave my word" Liberal MP Ouellette breaks with Liberals over B.C. hydro dam

CO:  Do you think she's being muzzled?

RW:  Totally. Well, I hope so, because the alternative is...I can't, I can't. I'm unwilling to accept the alternative that she's abandoning us and she's just looking out for her pension.

CO:   How could she prove to you that she hasn't abandoned you?

RW:  Well, I think she should do what [Liberal MP] Robert-Falcon Ouellette did. There's an old saying, that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing, and that's what's happening here. She knows the facts. She knows this is wrong. She knows the alternatives. She was involved in all the discussions, seen all the goings on in BC. She knows what the process was like, that there has been no consultations, she knows all that information. She's the justice minister, the one person who could hit the pause button on Site C and stop it. 
A map of B.C. Hydro's proposed Site C dam project (B.C. Hydro)

CO:  We asked Mr. Ouellette on the show, whether he would stand up against his own government if it didn't respect the First Nations rights on Site C, and he said that he would. What do you think that Minister Wilson-Raybould should do?

RW:  She should do the same thing. I mean, is she turning her back on her people? What's right is right and she knows that what she's doing here is wrong.

For more on this story, listen to our full interview with Chief Roland Willson.


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