Breaching the Peace: The Site C Dam and a Valley's Stand against Big Hydro, by Sara Cox
Many readers will recall the day in December 2017 when the new BC premier, John Horgan, announced that the Site C dam, to be built on the Peace River in Northern BC, would be going ahead. During the election the then-NDP opposition had not taken a firm position for or against building the dam, instead pledging to send it for a review by the BC Utilities Commission. Nonetheless, their decision to proceed with the dame came as a shock to many.
In Breaching the Peace, journalist Sarah Cox has done an immense service in describing in detail the issues, the people, and the organizations involved in Site C, and the steps that brought us to this place. While many BCers are familiar with the outlines of the Site C debate, the complete, often-convoluted, story is less well know.
As Cox presents it, at the heart of this conflict are the people (First Nation and settlers) who are called on to defend the land and its creatures in an unequal contest with the BC and Federal governments and BC Hydro. Xox is a journalist who specializes in energy an environmental issues and has worked for the Sierra Club - a background that comes through in her detailed discussion of the many rare and little-studied ecosystems and species that will be impacted (and in some cases completely destroyed) by the building of the dam. This is a tragic tale that nonetheless leaves me hoping that the battle may not be completely irrevocably lost - but this may only be because the decision to proceed with the dam is clearly so unethical and irrational.