Debrief: Site C Activist Wendy Holm Visit to NWT

The NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians stands with our neighbours and allies throughout Treaty 8 Territory in opposition to the Site C dam on the Peace River. We oppose this unnecessary, destructive and costly project for its negative downstream impacts, its trampling of Indigenous rights and title, and threats to food sources and water. We are downstream from the Site C dam and want to do our part in calling for its cancellation.

We invited expert and activist Wendy Holm to the NWT from October 7-13, 2018 to build relationships and raise awareness about the impacts of Site C. Wendy is a Professional Agrologist, agricultural economic and public policy expert, and editor of Damming the Peace: The Hidden Costs of the Site C Dam.

Read about Wendy Holm’s visit to the NWT, with links to her presentation and resource materials.

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Accountability Letter to MP Michael McLeod

The NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians has sent the following letter to Northwest Territories Member of Parliament Michael McLeod:

Dear Mr. McLeod:

Re: Looking for Accountability

In the three years since the Liberals 2015 electoral victory, northerners have seen a lot of public consultations.  We’ve faithfully taken part in events and consultations on topics of your party’s  choosing—climate change, electoral reform, international trade, security and intelligence, the lot. 

Often, promises made in these consultations have meant nothing—no action on ending subsidies to Big Oil, no delivery on the “last election under first past the post” promise of electoral reform, no delivery on commitments to progressive trade arrangements, and so-on.  Still, we citizens have done our part, engaging in the processes of a purportedly listening and responsive government.

This summer, we asked you as our Member of Parliament to participate in a public meeting and explain your party’s decision to purchase the Trans-Mountain Pipeline.  You were a no-show, too busy to meet with your constituents.

In August, we attended your community barbeque in Yellowknife and asked for a real opportunity to tell you what we think on issues of our choosing. We especially want to deal with the threat posed by the mounting evidence of the catastrophic effects of climate change and the contributions that the reckless purchase of the TransMountain and tacit approval of tar sands expansion to fill this pipeline pose.  Media reported your willingness “to meet with them (the public) to discuss a number of issues”. 

Since then, the NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians has tried to tie you as our MP down to a date. You have offered a private meeting, but evidently have no desire to meet with your constituents in public to hear our thoughts.

In three years in office, as our MP you have never offered a public session in Yellowknife and to half of your constituents to hear our concerns, state your position on them, defend or clarify your party’s policies, and receive direction from the people you are elected to represent.

Now, more than ever, we need this opportunity. Climate change reports of the last days make it clear that the planet is facing a startling deadline after which action on climate change cannot avert the worst calamities.  Other constituents may have other issues.

The point is, you have a duty to be accountable and you have avoided this responsibility for your entire term in office.  We are asking you to meet with your constituents in Yellowknife in an open public forum, or explain your reasons for not doing so.

signed

Bob Bromley,

NWT Chapter,

Council of Canadians

cc Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Gerald Butts, Principal Secretary

All territorial media

Site C Dam Activist in NWT to Fight Construction

October 4, 2018

A leading opponent of the Site C dam project on the Peace River watershed is coming to Fort Smith and Yellowknife to raise awareness and rally opposition to the mega-project.

Canadian Agrologist, resource economist and journalist Wendy Holm is the editor and contributing author of “Damming the Peace: The Hidden Costs of the Site C Dam”, a compilation of essays by leading journalists and professionals  on Site C’s impacts on the environment, Indigenous rights, food security, climate and water resources.  Her visit is organized by the Council of Canadians NWT Chapter and the Slave River Coalition.

“The Site C Dam Project fails to honor Treaty 8 rights, and fails to consider downstream impacts on the Peace River Valley, the Athabasca River Delta and Slave River,” says Holm.

“The myth of green energy has been used to corrupt democratic process and set a precedent for overriding and ignoring constitutional obligations to First Nations peoples.”

Ms. Holm will travel to Fort Smith for a town hall presentation Tuesday October 9 at Roaring Rapids Hall.  People will gather for stew and bannock at 5:30 before Ms. Holm’s 7 PM presentation.   Ms. Holm will tour the community with members of the Slave River Coalition, including leading water protector Francois Paulette.

In Yellowknife, Ms. Holm will address a brown bag lunch event sponsored by the Council of Canadians and Ecology North, held at noon Friday October 12 at the Ecology North office, 5016 Franklin Avenue.

Holm says “we can’t ignore the destruction of one of the most productive horticultural zones in Canada and the downstream impact that methyl mercury pollution and further disruption of seasonal water flows will have on fish, wildlife and traditional harvesting.”

“With all its hidden costs, the real price of the Site C Dam is more than we can bear. But this fight is far from over.”

See the attached media release, posters for Fort Smith and Yellowknife events, Wendy Holm biography and an overview of “Damming the Peace: The Hidden Costs of the Site C Dam”

MP Called on to Consult on Kinder Morgan

August 14, 2018

NWT Chapter Co-Chair Lois Little presents the request for consultations to MP Michael McLeod

The Council of Canadians NWT Chapter and 350.org partners have called on MP Michael McLeod to meaningfully consult with constituents on his government’s plans to purchase the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline.

Purchase of this pipeline is a dangerous move. It will result in the expansion of tar sands production by one-third; drive up greenhouse gas emissions; increase the pace of climate change; cross and possibly threaten more than 1300 freshwater bodies; undermine Indigenous rights and title; and threaten the Pacific marine environment, among other impacts. The purchase wastes scarce public funds that could fuel new investment, worker retraining and lasting jobs in a clean economy.

The NWT Chapter invited McLeod to a Kinder Morgan town hall discussion on July 17.  He chose to listen to Ottawa’s orders rather than his own people and declined our invitation, just as Liberal MPs avoided similar events across the country.

Read the full letter.

Kinder Morgan Town Hall and Film Screening—July 17, 7 PM

July 10, 2018

On July 22nd, Justin Trudeau and his government will choose whether or not to finalize their $4.5 billion dollar deal to buy the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline or pull out of the deal.

And despite tens of thousands of people calling on the government to hold public pipeline consultations, they’re making the decision without talking to people.

That’s why the NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians with 350.org is helping citizens take matters into their own hands.  Between July 7th and 22nd, town hall screenings of the film Directly Affected: Pipeline Under Pressure are taking place across Canada.

In Yellowknife, Directly Affected will be screened July 17 at 7 PM at the Northern United Place Auditorium.  Northwest Territories Member of Parliament Michael McLeod has been invited to attend. 

Directly Affected details all the risks this pipeline poses to people and the planet. The goal is to bring together community members to learn about the project the Trudeau government has decided to buy out with billions in public money.

Add your voice, share your thoughts and deliver your message directly to our MP. 

If MP McLeod doesn’t come, attendees will be given postcards to fill out and mail to make sure our MP gets the message about how their constituents really feel about this pipeline deal.

See more details on the screening and on how Trudeau Can Pull Out Of The Kinder Morgan Deal

GNWT Must Honour Its United Nations Endorsements

June 12, 2018

In 2008 the 16th NWT Legislative Assembly unanimously passed a motion to support the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  In 2007 the 15th NWT Legislative Assembly declared, “all peoples have a fundamental human right to water that must be recognized”.

The GNWT is in the process of rewriting its major natural resource and environmental management laws.

The Council of Canadians NWT Chapter has asked the Premier to explain why past consensus government endorsements of UN declarations and covenants are not reflected in the revisions to legislation. 

Read the letter.

See NWT Premier Bob McLeod’s reply to the Chapter’s request for an explanation of the United Nation’s Declaration’s consideration in development of new NWT resource management and other laws.

Read the Letter

 

NWT Petroleum Legislation Proposal Seriously Deficient

April 23, 2018

The NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians has submitted comprehensive comments on the Government of the Northwest Territories’ proposals for legislation governing petroleum development and industry operations.

The Chapter submission points out a wide array of shortcomings in the GNWT’s suggestions for a legislative framework, including:

  • Failure to address and uphold the requirements of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’s, which the NWT Legislative Assembly endorsed unanimously in 2008;
  • The lack of integration and cohesion of the legislation with other renewable and non-renewable regulatory regimes;
  • Its allowance of the acceptability of horizontal fracturing—fracking—for petroleum resources, including the failure to heed best scientific evidence of the environmental and human health harms of the practice, or to carry out regional analysis of fracking in the NWT;
  • The unacceptable ethics of assigning responsibility for regulating petroleum exploration and development to the same ministry responsible for promoting petroleum industry development;
  • The lack of enforceable requirements for the posting of full financial security to meet the costs of environmental remediation and site abandonment, and,
  • A wide variety of other concerns.

See the full letter.

World Water Day Film Celebration March 22

Two short films spotlighting threats to our waters and the activism for environmental protection are screening in celebration of World Water Day.

The films are showing Thursday March 22 at 7 PM in Northern United Place Auditorium.

One River/Many Relations explores the harm of the Alberta Tar Sands to human health and the environment, as seen through the eyes of the Cree, Dene and Metis people of Fort Chipewyan. 

Water Warriors documents the coalition of Mi’kmaq Elsipogtog First Nation and French-and English-speaking New Brunswickers blocking fracking exploration and ultimately changing governments in an election focused on waters protection.

Brenda Dragon, Fort Smith water activist and opponent of the Peace River Site C dam, will share her thoughts in relation to water protection, and experience as part of the Site C Summit held in Victoria, BC., earlier this year.

The films are being presented in partnership by Ecology North, the Council of Canadians NWT Chapter and the City of Yellowknife.

Contact:

BRENDA VAN HAUVART
Water Program Specialist
bren.ecologynorth@gmail.com 

873-6019 

Proposed Federal Environment Law Weak, Indefinite and Narrow

The NWT Chapter filed comments to the federal consultation on Bill C-69, with respect to changes to the Impact Assessment Act, Canadian Energy Regulator Act, and the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

Many concerns were noted, including:

  • The failure to fulfill the campaign promise of reinstating protection on the lakes and rivers stripped of protection by the Harper government;
  • The lack of precision and clarity of the Impact Assessment Act and the imposition of artificial deadlines for completion of reviews;
  • The lack of sweeping and powerful protections on the purity of water, and it’s non-commercial availabilty as a human right; and,
  • The exclusion of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act from the comprehensive review of environmental protection laws.

Read the full submission.

On April 28, 2018, Environment Minister Catherince McKenna replied to our letter.

Read the Environment Minister’s reply.

Waste Management Strategy Input Filed

The Council of Canadians NWT Chapter has provided input into the GNWT’s consultations on a waste management strategy.

The Chapter submission points out that education, incentives, interventions, and clear policy and legislative responsibilities are key to efforts to successfully manage hazardous waste. We believe that the principles, goals, and priorities identified thus far are appropriate elements of this strategy. That said, we recommend that all actions in the strategy be linked to NWT legislation and/or policy order to give the necessary force. Our recommendation is supported by the following experiences. 

Read the submission