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Politics

Last gasp initiative underway to cancel Site C dam

The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., on April 18, 2017.
The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

It’s going to be a busy 90 days for Ion Delsol Moruso. The Duncan man has three months to get enough signatures on petition sheets for the initiative to cancel the Site C Dam project.

Elections BC officially kicked off the campaign on Tuesday, and registered canvassers now must collect signatures from at least 10 per cent of the registered voters in each of the province’s 87 electoral districts by Oct. 1.

READ MORE: BC NDP to proceed with Site C dam, total cost raised to $10.7B

“In order to sign the petition, individuals must be registered on the provincial voters list as of today and may only sign the petition sheet for the electoral district in which they are registered,” Chief Electoral Officer Anton Boegman said in a statement.

The $10.7-billion hydro-election mega dam project is set to go ahead. The B.C. NDP government decided in December 2017 to proceed with the project after a review by the B.C. Utilities Commission.

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WATCH HERE: Site C decision – political fallout

Site C decision – political fallout
Site C decision – political fallout

“Although Site C is not the project we would have favoured and it’s not the project we would have started, it must be completed to meet the objectives our government has set,” Premier John Horgan said when he announced the project would go forward. “Cancelling the project would mean a $4 billion hit, an unavoidable $4 billion hit immediately, either on BC Hydro’s books or on the books of the minister of finance.”

READ MORE: Does B.C. really need the Site C dam?

Getting enough signatures to actually qualify under British Columbia’s initiative rules is a major challenge. Elections BC has 10 previous initiative campaigns listed and only the campaign to end the HST received enough signatures. The controversial tax was then cancelled after a majority of voters favoured scrapping the tax in a province-wide referendum.

If a initiative conforms under the rules and gets enough signatures, it goes to a select standing committee of the legislature for review. Currently, there are no registered opponents or any currently registered initiative advertising sponsors for the petition.

So far just 15 people are registered as official canvassers to gather signatures against the Site C dam proceeding.