tv Doc Film - Uprising on Peace River - Canadas Conservationists Fight for their... Deutsche Welle September 15, 2018 5:15am-6:01am CEST
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midsummer i learned on canada's pacific coast indigenous people from the most modern first nations have occupied a fish farm here. about for those traditional good burger and you have never been given right to be here don't tell me don't worry you can see i don't know about. the protest is directed at marine harvest our norwegian company the world's biggest salmon producer. two hours away by plane to the northeast in the rocky mountains this river is slated to disappear energy company b.c. hydro is building a dam here the project is the biggest of its kind in north america. with prader-willi this beautiful place and warm i don't know want to see destroyed .
it's a cool foggy morning in early september when we first meet melina dawson. she and her mother are loading supplies on to her uncle mike's booked. will be accompanying molina for the next few weeks. they're bringing the supplies from port mcneil to the fish farm protesters. and from kinchen inlet jury. and then twenty one and got a big family home school. says wild on the in the bones big even when the fish are good and they do you provide a lot to this coast and it's been going down. especially in the areas with these fish factors. the platform appears out of the
fog. inside the nets the farmed fish are jumping. they dock alongside the boat that belongs to molina's grandfather chief willie mon the leader of the protest. a marine harvest employee with binoculars he's keeping a lookout. for the company is allowing the occupiers to stay for the might be really useful. uncle mike summons the family members they've changed into their reality or traditional costumes. oh oh oh. mike sings an ancient song about the creation of the world the protesters have painted signs oh. do you know who are. the first nations depend on the yearly migration
of the wild salmon. one of the. oh oh oh. oh oh oh this character as was taught enough territory and this belongs to our people. never ever gotten right to come into our character or almost that extinction of a first in our territory and we can't allow it to happen because i thought this was what our people lived on and so lived on for hundreds of thousands of years. the territory and the chief moon is referring to is this part of the canadian pacific coast once a year the chinook the native pacific salmon migrate from the open ocean and swim upriver to their spawning grounds. for the grizzly bears the salmon run means
a rich brown. the salmon returned to their birthplace to reproduce and die at least that's how it was in the past but things have changed. and i with will. in the morning in come back. one truly after. hearing where. and they were by. seven fifty sometimes more now. while they were open the same. maybe even longer and will without warning to. the young fish in the aquaculture far more bread on land not just from eggs imported from norway.
they are atlanta examined. they grow fat rapidly in their pans thanks to the concentrated feed spewed out of the rotating hoses. each pan contains sixty thousand fish that means six hundred thousand per farm soon they'll be harvested processed and distributed to supermarkets around the world. aquaculture is a hygiene procedure at least that's the way it's presented in this promotional film salmon farming is worth billions of dollars to british columbia marine harvest employees three thousand people here the company does not contest that wild fish stocks have rapidly declined on this coast but claims that the development has nothing to do with the conditions at the fish farms. my name is ian roberts my title at green harvest is director of public affairs and i've been working with marine harvest in the our culture industry for twenty four years with technology we
employ on the site which is. magically improved over the last ten twenty years allows us to produce a healthy fish quickly and efficiently and more and more lowers the impact on the environment where we operate people trust that we're providing them a food product that is healthy it's nutritious and it's safe. marine biologist and environmental activist alex morton disagrees she's a decided opponent of marine harvest the chiefs of the first nation respect her and have given her the name quite m.z. or big whale. you have to become an activist if you are a scientist and you're seeing part of the world being destroyed you have to be an activist you can't just produce numbers and take a vacation. for sixteen years alex morton has been collecting evidence against marine harvest the company and the activists have been embroiled in legal battles.
morton is convinced that pacific wild salmon get infected with viruses and other pathogens as they swim past the fish farms. that are home she explains the connection to us as she sees it the orange line is the root traveled by young wild salmon the freezers sockeye when they migrate to the pacific after hatching. the dot so the fish farms in the area when one of these farms has a disease outbreak so many viruses come out of the farm that they actually fill the entire channel. and then here come the fraser and they go through this channel and they come out the other end and when the fish go on their contaminated . the viruses she's referring to are no danger to humans but in salmon they're associated with diseases that affect the heart muscle the weakened fish are more
likely to be eaten. by predators in the ocean and so don't return to spawn that's the theory it's time for these companies a start acting like norwegians and stop acting like vikings for the last seventeen years i look at one hundred fish outside to spend every single week between march through june and they're being eaten to death by sea lice they're being infected with the virus. the occupiers are building their camp here. this is where molina will be living in the upcoming weeks. she agrees with her friend alex martin about the harm fish farms can do i love what i love my family and they are both being put in danger by the very plan to be involved as well on the it takes to get these farm. for the protesters it's about the small amount of homeland that still belongs to
them. and a handful of first day sions prevail against the world's biggest farmed salmon producer. one thousand kilometers to the northeast at the foot of the rocky mountains lies the peace river valley. here to a few people are fighting against a large company this time a state owned one. b.c. hydro plans to flood a nearly one hundred kilometer stretch of this river valley. including the bone family's farm. but arlene boone can still prune her wild roses is almost a miracle. a new road was supposed to run through here. her husband can his getting
the machines ready to work the land along the river it's land that no longer belongs to them. we were expelled created we we we refuse to sell to them and and so. they expire prated sure on december fifteenth of two thousand and sixteen last winter day expropriated and. this is fertile soil among the best farmland in all of canada the bones say. everything is so easy gardening in mutable soil you don't you know you can't just do that anywhere and and that's why the land here in the fowlie says so unique we are third generation and farmers here on a piece of property that you know we planned on passing on to our kids and our grandkids. came here in the late forty's and built this house in
about fifty two fifty three in there somewhere and he lived here until he was up in this ninety's this is a photo. of my grampa standing on the steps of the host's first house. the host that he built. and just. it's really. tears me up that a project. can't be justified and a house has been destroyed in the land has been destroyed for a project that's not being justified. the project is the planned side see hydroelectric dam on the peace river. the earth movers have been roaring down in the valley for two and a half years now they're part of british columbia's largest and most expensive construction project. it's already cost two billion canadian dollars.
this is what the earth filled dam is supposed to look like when it's completed in twenty twenty four. the designs call for a yearly output of five thousand one hundred gigawatt hours of electricity for the next one hundred years power for growth and progress for industry and electric cars . the construction site is close to fort st john a transportation hub along the alaskan highway the town is booming. the dam project is filling the order books for local companies and providing thousands of jobs regional assemblyman dan davies says he was elected because he wholeheartedly backed the dam project even though his liberal party lost its majority in the province. i recognize that there are families that are
going to be directly impacted by sightsee. you know and i understand they certainly have a different connection to this project than i would i was the one candidate that ran and a big piece of my campaign was to ensure that site c. was a go ahead i was the only candidate out of all the candidates that ran in the last election that had that as you know as part of the platform and i ended up i won in this riding you know with one of the biggest the biggest margin in the province of a whit i door knocked over two thousand doors many of those here in fourteen john and i think out of out of all of those doors to people told me that they had you know and they were opposed to it but they questioned sightsee they understand the need that you know british columbia is growing our energy needs are increasing and we're going to need this reliable source of electricity. this was once a campground with which the boone family earned a little extra cash alongside the farm until the expropriation
a new bypass road is supposed to run right through it. we opened the campground just temporarily for the paddle for the peace for this event only. things are being readied for the guests hundreds are expected. ken boone is preparing the meadow for the big protest event that will take place the next day. dagger culture capability here of course is just so phenomenal with the low elevation. bottom lands here. everything we need here to to run a successful farm operation and just to live in a beautiful place it's already here. for the first time in years there seems to be
a sense of hope that sight see could be defeated. and all. the guests start arriving from the capital of victoria. for a good to see good of a trip being included environmentalist's green party politicians amnesty international. and spirits are high there's been a changing of the guard in british columbia politicians who pushed through sight see have been voted out of office now the opponents of the dam are pinning their hopes on the new government under john horgan anybody who wants to see the summit of carnage that b.c. hydro did in march just come on over here just cost them at least one hundred fifty grand but probably more like two hundred grand just to do what we see here but i mean the good news is that he n.d.p. there are no government planned so who knows what's going to happen here i don't think we're going to get kicked out of her house on july fifteenth.
they drive stakes into the ground as a sign of their commitment to the protest the dam was an emotive issue in the election campaign. the newly elected government has promised to critically reexamine the costly project. it's encouraging you know it's it's a little tiring and but it's great you know and to have the conversation with everybody and how upbeat they are on doing this together as united throughout the province and the country and everything. it just gives us so much more energy to go on today's kind of like a little celebration of you know to recognize a lot of the people taking part in it and to celebrate where we're at right now what we have achieved and what we're you know what looks to be coming our way right now. this is the twelfth time the paddle for peace has been held although the
river valley now belongs to b.c. hydro and although orders worth billions of dollars have already been tendered the opponents are feeling optimistic. paddling in front is clarence wilson of the west moberly first nations. if you come here and smell this place and and see what's here it's going to be hard to make that to seem to destroy it. the decision makers who are contemplating destroying the valley have not come to the palace for the peace and they should. the ancestors of the first nations are buried in this valley these were their hunting grounds there's no other spaces like the peace river valley it's a it's just different because of it's the climate there are moves else here that valley would be absolutely critical to those animal survival they use those the
river and the islands on the river they use those for calving. the first nations and the farmers have formed an alliance to defend their homeland against b.c. hydro and sightsee. of the world. first moberly women ply the visitors with bacon sausages and cakes sustenance for the hot summer day. they are pleased to have prominent supporters of. the royal society of canada a respected scientific organization has taken up their cause. amnesty international has started an international campaign for the. thousands of letters from well wishers have arrived. at
a more abstract. and separate i heard that there are first nations in this region who have lived here for generations this is their territory there's a treaty that recognizes that that goes way back to the founding of canada it's an essential part of who canada is as a nation that treaty has been disregarded and the canadian government has shown a complete indifference as to whether or not the sightsee dam is even going to violate or not treaty rights i mean we can almost celebrate but the leader of canada's green party has also come for the first time the greens are part of a coalition government in british columbia on them we have seen the winds of change blow through victoria and there have blown christie clark on her promise of taking this past the point of no return to right out the door.
but will the new government have the courage to halt. north america's largest down project after so much money has already been spent on. molina dawson has been at the fish farm on the pacific coast
for forty days now people also received encouragement from the greens and the social democrats during the election campaign. some politicians have promised to revoke the fish farms licenses. i'd like to see. possible for us to. live off of our wild fish again and to start bringing more of our families back into or new
and start living on a place like future island with some wild i know i've been over who i think would like her but right now it's hard. to return home like. fishing industry. been declining for the farms
and the tourism industry is going through. not going to last with a wild animal either so there's really not very many off. while small communities like. the transport ship is bringing more young fish for the farmers. you know hold our son on growing on land for a year after hatching from eggs from norway. now the juvenile
salmon are going to be released into the pens. the protesters are waiting for them despite warnings from marine harvest staff. rocky's either they're your dream team you saw how we came in right in the tide don't just think. i'm asking you very clearly do not go in there it's a mystery hazard. get this down. for the little boy. will. be a pillar of the in the river delta order. to move out you can't kill off our wild salmon to make money growing farmed salmon. farms i mean does not feed the world i'm sorry but that's just a complete myth but if you want to go salmon farming all means there were do it in
tank don't kill off the natural world just to grow a cheap salmon product that kind of looks like this. during the occupation members of the marine conservation n.g.o.s sea shepherd captures some film footage underwater. the material shows many healthy looking fish but also some that seem diseased. later our ex morton analyzes the images onboard the escort ship. i'm seeing this footage for the first time. so there's fish with huge huge swelling on its side i don't know if that's a tumor or a big sore that's about to burst and release some kind of infectious bacteria or virus. she shows us pictures of obviously diseased fish taken by the environmental activists out of their fish farms. where
harvest is the most aggressive of all the companies they're the biggest they run the show why should i be allowed to test these fish because they are in public water everything in the span except the fish themselves is coming out of the pens. marine harvest says six fish are removed from the pens so only healthy salmon reach the consumer in a t.v. interview become pretty said alex morton's claims are not scientifically sound i think every business needs their critics i would just hope that critics of the discussion around our business is one based on facts and science and not just opinion and belief are your forms. killing off the wild so you know and that's not just my opinion that's that's fact and that's science. the occupiers have hung out a banner with a reference to peace scene rio virus or p.r. be it implies that the virus is spreading from the fish farms to the fish in the
open ocean. or why it's from marine harvest sends employees to take it down down the center or any other hereditary leader molina dawson steps in to defend it she says the banner belongs to the first nations and can't be taken away forever for us to give it back we're not touching any your things as we have continued to do so you just touched our thing it was one step too far that. but it's the truth it was one step too far. we discussed the latest scientific findings on the scene rio virus here at the pacific biological station and imo. this is where kristi m. miller carries out research on the general mix of fish populations. her team has managed to detect the scene rio virus and canada. all these little red dots are virus if you actually up the magnification you see even more little red all every single little red dot here is
a virus. we were able to show that the disease here has the same linkage with the pacino earth a real virus as has been observed in other parts of the world just this year the p.r.b. or the perceived or three a virus was shown to be the cause of that disease but is the virus spreading. here or samples of specific wild salmon from a fish farm the virus causes liver and kidney cells to die off a condition known as jaundice. every fish that has is is diagnosed with jaundice has high loads of the p.c. north a real virus the damage in the the in the liver the damage in the kidney the viruses surrounding the cells and inside of the cells that are becoming a chronic and dying. her findings contradict claims made by marine harvest. miller explains why fish farms pose
a risk to free swimming wild salmon on this coast. even if you have an early stage of disease it could be a death knell to a wild fish because they can't keep up if they are if they are physiologically compromised and they can't swim and they can't feed and their vision is affected their dead fish swimming. the towering totem pole in alert bay is the cultural center of the first nation people here on the pacific. it's october tenth and john horgan the new premier of british columbia has come to listen to the tribal protestors did make it. will he deliver on his party's campaign promises and revoke the salmon farms license. molina dawson is here among the chiefs and speaks with the premier. cloudless. she speaks about the determination of her people not to give up no matter how long
it takes me. to find me. john horgan chooses his words carefully the day i came to here i came to get levels of material and we need to work together. to live there to protect the salmon are all well you will you not deny those fruits when they come back. when that decision is made a quick way where everyone can see it not just the people in this room today but all across the front. that doesn't sound like a firm commitment to shutting down the farms. aquaculture is a growing sector a big source of jobs for the region. autumn
has come to peace river the government has set up a review panel to answer some pressing questions about the dam project how much will the dam really cost is the power actually needed are wind and solar power sensible alternatives. and. and have the first nations been treated fairly. we've come back to see clarence will send it moberly lake where he lives with his wife denise. canada has made treaties with its aboriginal peoples promising them hunting and fishing rights in perpetuity on their territory. but the first nations say that catching their nets here maybe i'm fit for consumption once the dam comes. the fish in the still waters of the dam reservoir
will become contaminated with toxic mercury and may be able to swim in the west moberly first nations lake. when they flood the reservoir the flood all the trees and everything that are in there in their spare stumps of the trees and all that organic matter be turned into methylmercury it's releases from the trees that are flooded and it gets into the food chain the passion we have for the land will never leave us and i hope that our children would be the same but this is to be this is it this is god gave us creator gave us this beautiful place and. i just don't want to see destroyed. part of consultation should have been asking us in the first place what would work for you that didn't happen. we were told we're building site see how
would you like to talk about that so it it's you know the cart was far ahead of the horse they had already made their decision we weren't part of the decision making process and that's a vital part of consultation that we should have been concerned you know included in the conversation of boat whether or not the project was needed the electricity was needed we have all kinds of wind farm developments. solar projects that are being proposed but destroying that valley when we don't need that power that's who are thinking. the bones are harvesting their pumpkins. they're thankful that the addiction order has been put on hold they can continue to run their farm for the moment at least.
and there's some more good news for them. the review panel has determined that the operator b.c. hydro hugely overestimated the power demand in british columbia you know order to justify the project. the construction of the dam has many risks the schedule can't be met and the dam will be considerably more expensive than planned are these findings enough to get the new government to rescind the massive project. what came out in the process was that the projects over budget are ready and and over schedule and began to supply a whole lot more respect could cause it to go further over budget so much has changed this year in and i mean this spring things were pretty grim. you know and if we'd. didn't have
a change of government they'd be really grim right now i think they'd be building a road race where we are right now so we're thankful. i am very optimistic that we will be eating the garden and the fields in the spring. this process looks really hopeful for us the information that's coming out is you know positive for us. things are looking a little more hopeful than they were you know two three months ago for sure. victoria the capital of british columbia this is where the provincial government will be making its decision. close by is the headquarters of the state owned company b.c. hydro. more and more details are coming to light media reports say the company has doctored the figures related to the dam project massively overestimating the province's energy needs and that the company is heavily in debt. in the
provincial capital a retiree is adding his voice to the debate. gary swain is probably more familiar with the planning of the project than anyone. in two thousand and fourteen he had a panel that examined sightsee for the government i think the economic case was bad at the time we did the review and it's got worse i think that the people of british columbia either as rate payers or taxpayers are on the hook for billions of dollars that didn't need to be sponsible have no economic benefit. earlier swain was federal deputy minister of indian affairs he says he's discouraged by the treatment of the first nations i'm not sure that i'm angry i don't care it's quite the right word i'm disappointed. or i'm a little angry for the politicians who cooked the books. i'm
dissembled song on this issue and i have not faced the issue there are large unanswered questions about treaty rights infringement about the rights of the first nations and her. these have not been addressed they were to have been addressed by the two governments on their bringing. the construction site in autumn two thousand and seventeen the mood has changed b.c. hydro seems nervous they refuse us permission to film anywhere here. these are the barracks for the two thousand construction workers we're not allowed in but we get one of them to join us outside. people here are rattled a day ago two hundred employees were laid off. those go down when you hear stuff like that when you see stuff like that as a shutdown as a friend of mine says i mean it just be that the most expensive landscape in the world to shut this down we've got to put him back to somewhat what how it was
before so you just going to have you know a couple billion dollars landscape. this concern in fort st john on the alaska highway businesses suppliers and construction companies here all profit from the billions of dollars in orders connected with the down. the hearing is taking place at a local hotel unions employers and citizens opposed to the dam are all putting pressure on the government. counsel and take that loss the lawsuits would go on for a long time but it would be a lawyers dream to have that take place those would be in the courts forever and hydra would be paying out money and was still have to go and get that hydro generator it's easy when you're not in government to campaign against something it's easy to say that's a bad choice when you're not in government but i think they're finding now that they're in government it's not as easy to make those decisions because the entire
province is looking at them not just that small percentage of people that are protesting or or against it they also have to look at well who's in favor of this project who's in favor of seeing this project move forward and that's where the leadership comes in and that's going to be a choice now that that that the n.d.p. government has to make right now is is this project best for the province as you move forward. mid november on day eighty three of her protest molina is leaving the occupied fish for our. marine harvest took out an injunction against her charging her with trespassing and impeding the day to day work of the company. we've never thought their production. they might have slowed down because of our presence but those were all this is we. didn't take part in they have chosen not to restock even though
if you look at the videos very closely you can see that none of our buildings or things actually completely stopped. has been summoned to appear in court in victoria. the judge declares the occupation illegal and says it interfered with marine harvests operations really no supporters wait for her at. courthouse door whatever happened. we cannot quit but we will not but this might. not wait. helpers take down the protest camp the hut where marlina held on for nearly three months. now she lives with her grandmother in the town of comics. the young woman has become a symbol of resistance. play
for third base i will have been informed of. these winter on the peace river valley. the construction freeze that seemed imminent last autumn has now been moved to the distant future. industry and the unions have put immense pressure on the new government not to cancel orders worth ten billion dollars so this may be the last winter arlene and can boon can spend on their farm. even with such a good solid report that came out the show so much politics in the spin doctoring going on right now and you know so you know it's going to come down to
a political decision just kill it and get it over with like right now it's almost like we're being hung fire rolled and they you know either tighten up that noose and get it over with us or cut the rope and let us get on with life. clarence wilson from the west moberly first nations has given up hope. he was present when the chiefs met the ministers from the new provincial government just days ago now he is disillusioned. they were hearing us talk but they weren't hearing. the feeling and they. they don't they don't get that because they weren't raised like that but they don't they don't look at the lad and see how the animals are living on that land they look at the lad and they look for money you know they're looking for a way to to benefit we need we look at the ladder we don't want to change we want
to left alone. and such a big thing it's a c.s. . i'll never forgive them. thirty days later the machines are working day and night and will continue to do so the provincial government decided to finish sightsee despite all the promises. although sightsee is not the project we would have favored and it's not the project we would have started it must be completed so meet the objectives our government to set this was not an easy decision i can't think that in the thirty years i've been involved in public policy of a choice that was more difficult than this one. clarence wilson and other first nations have filed a lawsuit against the dam with the supreme court of british columbia janet arlene boone can only hope for america. this is
a fight about the land and about what constitutes progress. and at what price. to be a spy since off on a mission. to take away the us works as a conservationist helping to protect elephants from cheer in kenya poachers of hunting the package mc the brink of extinction we're the generation that can take this on and stop. what is fake we have a strategy. three thousand and thirty minutes on d w.
nine hundred sixteen and i'll cry and go around the world. young people build against their balance generation. it was an awesome dusty from the stupidity inclusions to major men did nothing less than a whole society. wide maelstrom of euphoria violence with the vietnam war playing the role of the marjah operation watch the book war every day. our documentary takes a look a while times how do those mornings come under the sun for the first time i had a feeling of being part of something. that. means of those events today.
assumes the civil rights of peace. movement the women's movement more planned during this period. in sixty eight we're going. to. tropical storm florence continues to batter the united states southeast coast at least five people have been reported killed in accidents hundreds of thousands are without power police in north carolina have called looters breaking into evacuated homes florence is expected to dump rain across the weekend bringing floods to inland areas. on the other side of the globe a storm almost twice as powerful as florence has struck the philippines typhoon mungo it is packing winds of over two hundred.