Category Archives: Democracy

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.

Citizens’ Group Calls for Fracking Investigation

by Laura Busch

(Reprinted from Northern News Services, September 9, 2013)

As the date of the first horizontal hydraulic fracturing program in the NWT draws closer, alarms are sounding over a clause in the water license issued by the Sahtu Land and Water Board (SLWB) that states ConocoPhillips does not need to fully disclose the chemical content of its fracturing fluid if the mixture is deemed a “trade secret.”

“People don’t really understand what they (the company) are doing,” said Tulita’s Begaa Deh Shuh Tah Got’ie Chief David Etchinelle of the project that was approved in June.

A citizens’ organization also takes exception to ConocoPhillips not needing to fully disclose what chemicals they will be putting into the ground in the Sahtu.

“It’s in the public interest to know exactly what’s being pumped into the ground,” said Peter Redvers of the NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians.

Most industries, including the oil and gas industry, are required to clean up any contaminated waste that is released into the environment.

“What is it about fracking that allows these companies to contaminate large volumes of water, to create a real toxic soup, and then simply release those into the environment?” he asked. “Underground, I’m sorry, is still part of the environment.” Read the rest of this entry

Minister to Investigate Secret “Frac” Fluids

by Meagan Wohlberg

(Reprinted from the Northern Journal, September 9, 2013)

Peter Redvers, co-chair of the NWT Council of Canadians chapter, says the issue of fracking and what fracking fluids are made up of is of interest to all citizens.

The new NWT chapter of the Council of Canadians is demanding Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Minister Michael Miltenberger launch an investigation immediately into what chemical agents are being used in the territory’s sole fracking project.

Peter Redvers and Lois Little, co-chairs of the NWT Council chapter, addressed a request to Miltenberger last Tuesday citing the Environmental Rights Act, which permits any two NWT residents to call on the minister to carry out an inquiry into matters that violate protection of the environment and public trust.

Miltenberger is obligated to look into the matter and respond within 90 days.

The two Yellowknife residents argue that allowances made in the water license issued to ConocoPhillips to frack two wells near Tulita, which permit the company to refrain from naming chemicals considered “trade secrets,” are violations of public safety and the environment.

“We believe that because the issue of fracking and, particularly, fracking fluids and how they’re used, where they end up and what they’re made of is of interest to all citizens,” Redvers told The Journal last week. Read the rest of this entry

Fracking Companies’ Trade Secrets Should Not Trump Public Interest

September 3, 2013
Media Release

The NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians has called on the NWT Minister of Environment and Natural Resources to carry out an investigation under the Environmental Rights Act on the use of undisclosed chemicals in fracking operations in the NWT.

In an August 29th letter to the Minister the Council has called for the GNWT to require that the name and quantity of all chemicals used in ConocoPhilips’ five-year hydraulic fracturing program be publicly disclosed.

“The public interest in clean water and an uncontaminated environment should not be compromised by the asserted proprietary interests of ConocoPhilips, the company recently licenced to conduct hydraulic fracturing in the Sahtu,” says the NWT Council of Canadians Chapter’s co-chair, Peter Redvers.

Last June the Sahtu Land and Water Board (SLWB) granted a land use permit and a water licence to ConocoPhillips for exploratory fracking wells near Tulita without requiring a full environmental assessment.

The Chapter’s letter to the NWT Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources states: “The chemicals used to make fracking fluids are far from safe. Scientists have found that 25 percent of fracking chemicals could cause cancer; 37 percent could disrupt the endocrine system; 40 to 50 percent could affect the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems; and more than 75 percent could impair sensory organs and the respiratory system.” These chemicals are also “associated with low birth weight, birth defects, respiratory problems, cancer, and fertility problems.”

Under the Environmental Rights Act “every person resident in the Territories has the right to protect the environment and the public trust.” By keeping certain chemicals secret, ConocoPhilips is violating these rights.

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For more information contact: Peter Redvers at cocnwt@gmail.com or 445-4106