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 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 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.


Water Program Specialist 


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

Chapter Comments on GNWT Draft Climate Change Plan

The Council of Canadians NWT Chapter has submitted comments on the territorial government’s draft Climate Change Strategic Framework. 

The submission itemizes shortcomings in the draft, including its:

  • Lack of an appreciation of the urgent need for action
  • Failure to embrace the growing number of community-based innovations that seek sustainable local economies and manage and mitigate climate change impacts
  • Neglect of climate change adaptations and mitigations being introduced throughout the circumpolar north
  • Failure to set departmental responsibilities, budgets, deliverables, and timelines for achievement of meaningful reduction of greenhouse gas.

The submission calls on the GNWT to improve the draft “so it serves northerners and our environment. More importantly however, after what will now be four years of planning, it is critical that the GNWT expedite the action plan and immediate investment in mitigations in recognition of the urgency of the threats of climate change. “

Read the submission.

NGOs encourage GNWT to produce modern mining legislation

Northwest Territories and national public interest groups have filed detailed comments in response to the territorial government discussion paper for consultation on a new Mineral Resources Act.

Alternatives North, Ecology North, the NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society NWT, Northern Territories Federation of Labour, Canadian Arctic Resources Committee and MiningWatch Canada collaborated to analyze the information available to produce submissions expressing the particular concerns of each organization. These submissions, along with much of the information analyzed, are posted to the website Responsible Mining Northwest Territories.

Read the media release, with its link to each organizations’ submission including detailed NGO Engagement Findings and Principles.

NWT Chapter Comments of Proposed Mineral Resources Act

The Council of Canadians NWT Chapter has provided comments into the GNWT consultation on a new Mineral Resources Act.  The Chapter submission provides comments on subjects including gaps in proposed legislation, engagement with Indigenous governments,  incentives to companies and prospectors and the government’s approach to the importance of mining jobs.

Read the full submission.