An open letter to Premier John Horgan: Site C job numbers lack public verification

Open Letter to the Honourable John Horgan, Premier and MLA, B.C. Cabinet Ministers and all other Members of the Legislative Assembly

From: Harold Steves, Bob Fedderly, Steve Gray, Mae Burrows, Ken and Arlene Boon and 108 other concerned citizens.

Site C job numbers lack public verification

The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) Inquiry into Site C was long overdue. Its final report is based on an independent review of contradictory evidence, expert testimony, public input and First Nations’ input.

The inquiry process was completed on time and provides compelling information in support of cancelling this project.

We urge you to resist the temptation now to re-test the evidence in the court of public opinion, with lobbyists and with the project proponent. The latter groups already have provided their input to the Commission as have a range of experts and those opposed to the project.

We are of the opinion that your government should respect the findings of the appointed regulator with oversight of these matters. We believe that to do otherwise, would be to sully the decision- making process laid out by government when you charged the BCUC to undertake this review.

The project is late, over-budget and it’s been shown that we don’t need the energy. We can generate more electricity without flooding our farms and sensitive ecosystems. We can avoid encroaching on First Nations land title. And, for every dollar spent, retrofits create twice as many jobs as dam construction.

We think a better energy plan would produce good paying jobs close to home in communities throughout BC. Keeping life affordable under the circumstances means limiting rate increases to only those made necessary by cancellation of the project.

We also recognize and applaud your government’s commitment to improving public infrastructure and creating tens of thousands of construction jobs around BC.

It is against this backdrop that we have become increasingly alarmed about the position of some members of the Legislative Assembly, the ICBA (Independent Contractors Business Association), CLAC (the Christian Labour Association of Canada) and some in the media who persist in making Site C about jobs.

This is a diversion. Their boosterism should not stand in the way of recognizing that Site C must be terminated to respect First Nation land title. It should be terminated for economic, food security and environmental reasons.

It is our view that some of the job numbers being bandied about are significantly inflated. We are concerned that public confusion on this point may make things more complicated for decision- makers, in an already complex situation.

In order to assist decision-makers, we have formulated a list of information requests whose answers may put these concerns to rest. These are presented in the attached Appendix I.

Regarding the jobs claims, the fact is that few, if any, of the trades jobs at Site C would have lasted for the duration of the project. Construction projects don’t offer the same tradesperson a decade-long job, so we feel that it is disingenuous for individuals to claim that they moved to Site C for a ten-year job. Moving from one site to the next is the nature of construction work.

On the other hand, when the project is cancelled the government can implement a better energy and jobs plan. This will help address the legitimate need for employment in trades throughout BC. Cancellation will allow the government to provide more jobs, higher- quality jobs and more permanent jobs, than would be afforded by continuing Site C.

There will also be considerable work required to restore the site upon cancellation. This work should form part of a labour adjustment strategy for the BC resident workforce presently employed at Site C.

In summary, we think it is past due for your government to compel BC Hydro to provide the public a detailed explanation of the human resources deployed in the construction of Site C.

We make this request because it is our view that the public is poorly informed on Site C and, in particular, on the jobs questions that have been raised. We feel that greater transparency would be low-risk, low-cost and provide important information in support of your government’s decision to cancel Site C.

Sincerely yours,

Harold Steves, Richmond
Bob Fedderly, Fort St. John Mae Burrows, Burnaby
Andrea Morrison, Fort St. John
Adrienne Peacock, Belcarra
Rita Wong, Vancouver
Jackie Larkin, Metchosin
D Lynn Chapman, Roberts Creek
Fae Shaw, Kelowna
Candace Batycki, Nelson
Diane Culling, Fort St. John
Claire Kujundzic, Wells
Bill Horne, Wells
Dr. Amy Lubik, Port Moody
Charlotte Ericson, Victoria
Heather Menzies, Gabriola Island
Patricia Hill, Summerland
Alan Dolan, Sooke
Ruth Ann Darnall, Fort St. John
Taryn Skalbnania, Peachland
Terry Dance-Bennink, Victoria
Karen and David Kellett, Prince George
Rob Taylor, Peachland
Si Transken, Prince George
Hedy Conwright, Wells
Ken Forest, Charlie Lake
Ross Peck, Hudson's Hope
Danielle Layman, Fort St. John
Wendy Holm, Bowen Island
Harold Rhenisch, Vernon
Crystal Spicer, Edgewood
Kathryn Cook, Victoria
Susan Clarke, Sooke
Patricia Hill, Summerland
Rob Taylor, Peachland
Dirk van Stralen, Wells
Charlotte Kurta, Quesnel
Theresa Healy, Prince George
Elaine Hooper, Sooke
Lynn Shervill, Smithers
Ken and Arlene Boon, Fort St. John Steve Gray, Victoria
George Smith, Gibsons
Galen Armstrong, Salt Spring Island
Vicky Husband, Saanich
Randy Hadland, Dawson Creek
Eoin Finn, Squamish
Morag Keegan-Henry, Vancouver
Dave Talbot, Comox
Fred Wah, Kootenay Lake
Des Wilson, Belcarra
Laurel Hadland, Baldonnel
Hajime Naka, Kelowna
Carol Kergan, Kelowna
Peter Chataway, Kelowna
Patricia Munro, Kelowna
Mark Haley, East Kelowna
B. Gail Riddell, Sechelt
John Kidder, Ashcroft
Patricia Hill, Summerland
Donna Denison, West Kelowna
Dale Zeich, West Kelowna
Alison Moore, Peachland
Verena Hofmann, Montenay
Jessica Klein, Peachland
Joe Klein, Peachland
John D Turnbull, Roberts Creek
David Y. Khang, Vancouver
Ellen Woodsworth, Vancouver
Jean Swanson, Vancouver
Jane Munro, Vancouver
Fiona T Lam, Vancouver
Kari Hewett, Vancouver
Mimi Gellman, Vancouver
Andrew Faulkner, Victoria
Katie Hayhurst, Bella Coola
Dave Jorgenson, Wells
Joe Foy, New Westminster
Anne Hill, Terrace
Margaret Ouwehand, Kitimat
Karen Kellett, Prince George
Freya Keddie, Victoria
David Kellett, Prince George
Dirk van Stralen, Wells
Harold Rhenisch, Vernon
Eva Manly, Nanaimo
Si Transken, Prince George
Jay Gildon, Smithers
Hedy Conwright, Prince George
Jeffrey Dinsdale, Quesnel
Jacqueline Holler, Prince George
Dennis Kuch, Bella Coola
Pat Moss, Smithers
Nadia Nowak, Prince George
Robert Mellalieu, West Kelowna
Sheila Peters, Smithers
Judy Campbell, Wells
Alison Candela, Smithers
Peter Kerr, Kelowna
Greg Knox, Terrace
Michael Kerr, Kelowna
Lois Beischer, West Kelowna
Janette McIntosh, Vancouver
Des Nobels, Prince Rupert
Wendy Brooks, Prince Rupert
Karen Abramsen, West Kelowna
Charlotte Kurta, Quesnel
Theresa Healy, Prince George
Dave Jorgenson, Wells
Larry Barzelai, Vancouver
Warren Bell, Salmon Arm
Jason Bednar, West Kelowna