Category Archives: Democracy

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”


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.

Standing Rock Protest Documentary “Awake” November 16

“Awake, A Dream from Standing Rock”, the three-part documentary film profiling the dramatic protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, is being presented Thursday November 16 at 7 PM in the Northern United Place Auditorium by the NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians.

Awake follows the rise of the historic #NODAPL First Nations-led resistance at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.   Thousands of activists converged to stand in solidarity with the water protector activists.  The pipeline is intended to carry fracked oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields through sovereign land and under the Missouri River, the water source for the Standing Rock reservation and 17 million people downstream.

The collaborative documentary  is created in three chapters directed by Academy Award nominated filmmaker and activist Josh Fox (Gasland), Academy Award nominated filmmaker James Spione (Silenced, Incident in New Baghdad) and indigenous filmmaker and Digital Smoke Signals founder Myron Dewey.  It is described as “part of the rallying cry for indigenous sovereignty and clean water that has resonated across the globe”. 

As well as dramatic footage of peaceful protest against militarized local police and private security teams and of day-to-day life of the camp community, the film explores the unity of opposition across cultural lines focused against another environmental tragedy.

Admission is free with donations. 

Download the poster.

Contact:   867 445 2149

Noam Chomsky Film, “Requiem For the American Dream” Feb. 2

requiem-posterRequiem For the American Dream”—Noam Chomsky’s 2016 overview of a half-century of policies designed to favour the most wealthy at the expense of the majority—is being screened Thursday February 2 at 7 PM in the Northern United Place Auditorium.

Widely regarded as the most important intellectual commentator alive, Professor Chomsky dissects the defining characteristic of our time – the deliberate concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a select few.  Chomsky blends history, philosophy and ideology into a sobering vision of a society in an accelerating decline through the death of the middle class. 

The screening is organized by the NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians. 

Requiem For the American Dream is a potent reminder that power ultimately rests in the hands of the governed,” says NWT Chapter Co-Chair Lois Little. “Requiem is required viewing for all who maintain hope in a shared stake in the future.”

The film is presented through the support of Public Service Alliance of Canada North.  Admission is free with donations appreciated.

NWT chapter expresses concerns about C-51 and C-22 ‘national security’ legislation

December 18, 2016

The Council of Canadians Northwest Territories chapter made a presentation on C-51 and C-22 at a recent town hall meeting in Yellowknife.

Chapter activist Craig Yeo tells us, “I attended the ‘National Security Framework Consultation Town Hall’ hosted by Sean Casey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice. It was a moderated tables format, but there were few enough people that folks just gave remarks. Main points were accountability, oversight, the definitions of security and terrorism and the control of data.”

Read the blog

NWT Chapter Calls for North’s Inclusion in National EA Processes Review

November 21, 2016

The Council of Canadians NWT Chapter has called on the federal Environment and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Ministers to include the Northwest Territories in the upcoming national Review of Environmental Assessment Processes, and to collaborate in bringing forward the promised review of northern processes.  The Chapter also requested full provision for funding of public participant groups in the consultations.

See the letter.


Special Presentation in Yellowknife Warns of TPP Trade Deal Dangers

Coming October 12, 2016

photo-by-franBrenda Sayers, the BC First Nation councillor who led the court challenge against the Canada-China investor promotion and protection agreement will speak on the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal October 12 in Yellowknife.

The Council of Canadians NWT Chapter is hosting the event Wednesday October 12 at 7 PM in the Northern United Place Auditorium.

Ms. Sayers led the court challenge on behalf of Hupacasath First Nation. Since then she has represented the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) in promoting and defending Indigenous rights by combatting the possible adoption of the TPP and other corporate rights deals such as the Canada-European Trade Agreement (CETA).

“TPP and associated processes usurp the ability of public and First Nations governments to legislate progressive environmental, social and economic measures.  They threaten Indigenous title and treaty rights.  They can result in the assignment of damage payments to foreign companies for any action which influences their corporate profits,” Ms. Sayers says.

“They are an outrageous infringement of the democratic authority of Parliament and the  sovereignty of Indigenous nations, and they must be stopped.”

While in Yellowknife, Ms. Sayers will also be leading an afternoon teach-in and meet with representatives of labour and other social justice organizations.

See the poster, media advisory and backgrounder on Brenda Sayers and the TPP, and an infographic and factsheet on Investor State Dispute Settlement arrangements.

CoC NWT Asks for Municipalities’ Support Fighting TPP

April 29, 2016

The Council of Canadians NWT Chapter has asked the City of Yellowknife and the NWT Association of Municipalities to join in opposing the passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership investor-state, or so-called “trade”, agreement.  The Chapter points out TPP’s harmful provisions restricting the ability to support local economies and vulnerability to damages suits and payments as a result of the rulings of non-judicial tribunals, with no right of appeal.  The NWT Teachers Association has joined in circulating this information opposing the passage of TPP.  TPP Factsheet_Page_1

As the letter says, “The TPP is extremely detrimental for the democratic authority and decision making power of municipalities and should not be ratified as written. The NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians respectfully requests that the City of Yellowknife formally oppose this deal and bring its opposition to the NWT Association of Communities requesting NWTAC to do likewise and make this opposition known to the GNWT and the Federal Government in the form of a motion requesting that the Canadian government not ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership. ”

See the letter to the City of Yellowknife letter, and a fact sheet outlining the consequences of TPP adoption.

Ingredients of a Sustainable Community

On January 21, 2016, the Council of Canadians, Alternatives North, and Ecology North co-sponsored a panel discussion on sustainable communities in the North.  Presenters included the Executive Director of the NWT Association of Communities, the Mayor of Yellowknife, representatives from Yellowknife Community Gardens Collective, Ecology North, and the NWT Biomass Energy Association. 

Roundtable presenters and audience members made a number of recommendations and suggestions on the “Ingredients of a Sustainable Community”

A summary of the proceedings, and of the recommendations has been prepared and sent to Members of the Legislative Assembly.

See a copy of the recommendations letter.

GNWT Abdicates Responsibility for Protecting Environment and Public Trust

The NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians disagrees with the GNWT Environment and Natural Resource Minister’s refusal to carry out an investigation of fracking chemicals under the Environmental Rights Act (ERA) and believes that he is abdicating his legal responsibility for protecting the environment and public trust.

Minister Miltenberger has essentially told the Chapter that the legislation guiding the National Energy Board and the Sahtu Land and Water Board override his authority to protect the public trust and the environment as required under the ERA. This assertion was made in Minister Miltenberger’s October 22, 2013 response to the NWT Chapter’s request for an investigation into, and full disclosure of the specific name and quantity of fracking chemicals to be used in ConocoPhilips’ hydraulic fracturing program in the Sahtu. In its letter back to Minister Miltenberger, the Chapter quotes from the ERA (section 2.3) which clearly states that the ERA will prevail in cases of conflict with other legislation.

The NWT Chapter contends that the Minister responsible for the ERA is obligated to carry out the requested investigation unless he believes that the release or likely release of contaminants does not pose a threat to the environment or the public trust. Since the Minister has refused to investigate, the NWT Chapter has written a response to Minister Miltenberger asking if this is in fact the GNWT’s position and if it is, how this decision was made.