In 2016, the E.B Campbell Hydroelectric Station’s 50-year operating license came up for renewal. The dam is located in eastern Saskatchewan, has been running since 1966 and is owned by SaskPower – a Crown corporation of the Government of Saskatchewan.
While the dam provides electricity to many communities in the province, it is known to negatively affect the Saskatchewan River Delta and Indigenous communities who live along its banks. These communities feel that the government and SaskPower ignore their rights and exclude them from decision making.
As of January 1, 2017, SaskPower has been running on an interim licence. The provincial government is required to consult with Indigenous peoples before a new licence is issued. This is known as the duty to consult. This new licensing agreement is an opportunity for Indigenous people to have their voices heard before another 50-year lease is signed.
No media coverage has focused on the relationship between SaskPower, the Government of Saskatchewan and the Indigenous communities who live downstream of the E.B. Campbell station. The dam is located on Treaty 5 territory and infringes on Indigenous treaty rights to fish, trap and hunt.
Mainstream media coverage of the Delta has only focused on the ways in which the natural habitat is being destroyed. A Canadian Geographic article touched on the lack of water being released into the Delta, which causes the wetlands to dry up. A Saskatoon StarPhoenix article noted that dams change the natural flooding patterns of the river, which in turn affects mammals and other species.
Andrews, Evan, “Environmental Justice and Dam Management: A Case Study in the Saskatchewan River Delta.” Master’s Thesis, School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, 2015. https://ecommons.usask.ca/bitstream/handle/10388/ETD-2015-12-2337/ANDREWS-THESIS.pdf?sequence=6.
Casey, Allan. “Hope for the Saskatchewan River Delta?” Canadian Geographic. December 1, 2013. https://www.canadiangeographic.ca/article/hope-saskatchewan-river-delta
Charlton, Jonathan. “Cumberland House councillor raises alarm over the 'dying' Saskatchewan River Delta.” Saskatoon Star Phoenix. August 1, 2016. http://thestarphoenix.com/technology/science/cumberland-house-councillor-raises-alarm-over-the-dying-saskatchewan-river-delta.
Gary Carriere. Resident, Northern Village of Cumberland House. Interview with Caitlin Taylor. February 21, 2017.
Government of Saskatchewan. Duty to Consult First Nations and Métis Communities. http://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/first-nations-citizens/duty-to-consult-first-nations-and-metis-communities#duty-to-consult
Jardine, Tim. Assistant Professor, University of Saskatchewan. Interview with Caitlin Taylor. March 14, 2017.
SaskPower. E.B. Campbell Hydroelectric Station. http://www.saskpower.com/our-power-future/our-electricity/our-electrical-system/e-b-campbell-hydroelectric-station/
Student Researcher: Caitlin Taylor (University of Regina)
Faculty Evaluator: Patricia Elliott (University of Regina)