Category Archives: Healthcare

NWT chapter opposes sale of seniors-care facilities to Chinese company, cites FIPPA concerns

December 18, 2016

The Council of Canadians Northwest Territories chapter has written federal Minister of Innovation Navdeep Bains to request an extension of his ministry’s review under the provisions of the Investment Canada Act of the Ambang Insurance Group’s proposed purchase of the Canadian assets of Retirement Concepts.

Retirement Concepts owns twenty-four seniors-care facilities in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.

Read the blog  and read the letter.

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

Request for an Investigation under the Environmental Rights Act

August 29, 2013

Minister Michael Miltenberger,
Department of Environment and Natural Resources,
Government of the Northwest Territories,
Yellowknife, NWT

Dear Minister Miltenberger:

Re: Request for an Investigation under the Environmental Rights Act

This letter is pursuant to Section 4 (2) of the Environmental Rights Act which states that any two NWT residents who are of the opinion that a contaminant “is likely to be released into the environment, may apply to the Minister for an investigation of the release or the likely release” of the contaminant. We confirm that we are residents of the NWT and not less than 19 years of age.

This letter asks you to investigate the likely release of contaminants not specifically named by ConocoPhilips Canada Resources Corp. under the Type A Land Use Permit (S13A-001) and Type B Water Licence (S12L1-005) in the Tulita District, issued by the Sahtu Land and Water Board, and to require full public disclosure of all chemicals used. The attached declaration provides additional information to proceed with this request.

Section 6 (1) of the Environmental Rights Act states that “every person resident in the Territories has the right to protect the environment and the public trust.” The signatories of this letter assert these rights which we trust will be respected by the GNWT.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Lois Little and Peter Redvers
Co-Chairs, NWT Chapter Council of Canadians

Energy and Mines Ministers Meet in Yellowknife

As Energy and Mines Ministers gather in Yellowknife this week, Alternatives North, the Council of Canadians and Ecology North remind elected officials, industry and the public that there are serious issues around deregulation of the extractive sectors.

We do not want more Giant Mines and urge responsible Ministers to move forward with the remediation of Giant by fully accepting the Review Board Report of Environmental Assessment.

For more information, you can read the media release.

NWT Chapter of the Council of Candians Discussion Paper – May 2013

The Council of Canadians works to:

•    Promote economic and social justice
•    Protect and expand the commons
•    Create a living democracy

The foundation of the Council’s work is education and empowerment of Canadians. At its inaugural meeting in April 2013, the NWT Chapter identified priorities and roles that could be the focus of our work. Over time, we hope to get guidance from Council members and other supporters to help us continue our planning. In the meantime, this short paper is intended to give some ‘food for thought.’

Possible Priorities for the NWT Chapter

1. Water

What are our concerns?

•    Federal deregulation through Bills C-38 and C-45, muzzling scientific research, and cuts to the public service enable industrial development to contaminate our waters.
•    Protection of 99% of Canada’s lakes and rivers was eliminated when the Navigable Waters Protection Act was wiped off the books through Bill C-45 – only three NWT water bodies are protected under the new Act.
•    Increased horizontal fracking in the NWT will use and contaminate large amounts of fresh water, which may interact with groundwater and affect our surface environment.
•    Trade and investment agreements such as CETA, TPP, and FIPPA may enable the commodification and privatization of water.
•    Quality drinking water may be compromised in Yellowknife in light of the City’s plans to relocate the source of potable water from the Yellowknife River to Yellowknife Bay.

What could the NWT Chapter do?

•    Hold public forums to discuss critical water preservation issues and provide direction to decision makers.
•    Learn about the NWT-Provincial bilateral water agreements and advocate for open discussions in the interests of northerners.
•    Educate ourselves and others about the impact of trade and investment agreements such as CETA, TPP, and FIPPA.
•    Inform NWT citizens in all regions of the risks to and loss of water associated with increased and horizontal fracking.
•    Work with governments and NGOs (such as Ecology North) to promote public education on the NWT Water Strategy.
•    Work with NGOs (such as Alternatives North) and other groups to advocate on water rights and protection as a component of the GNWT devolution process.

2. Food Security / Social Justice

What are our concerns?

•    Climate change and industrial disturbance and contamination are impacting on healthy food sources (e.g., fish resources and caribou).
•    Already such social determinants of health as food security, homelessness, and safe environment are colliding to undermine northerners’ health and well-being.
•    Governments’ focus on extractive industries is creating huge income disparities throughout the country and in the NWT.
•    Legislative and regulatory changes in Bills C-38 and C-45, massive public service cuts, and cuts to social and health programs — including to the main fibre of Canada’s social safety net, Employment Insurance — mean food security and social equality is even more precarious.

What could the NWT Chapter do?

•    Hold public forums to educate northerners about the 2013 UN Special Rapporteur’s report on the right to food in Canada.
•    Work with Ecology North, Alternatives North, Territorial Farmers’ Association, NWT/NU Public Health Association and others to educate and empower northerners on food security.
•    Facilitate public dialogue and input into the Canadian Medical Health Association’s town-hall discussions on the social determinants of health.
•    Co-sponsor public events targeting youth, on issues of climate security and social justice.

3. Treaty / Aboriginal Rights and Relationships

What are our concerns?

•    The legal rights of indigenous people are enshrined in the Constitution Act (1982), historic treaties (8 and 11), modern land claim and self-government agreements, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
•    Bills C-38 and C-45, eight other federal laws and proposed bills (C-27, S-2, S-6, S-8, C-428, S-207, S-212, and C-47) undermine the legal rights and interests of indigenous Canadians including indigenous northerners.
•    Undermining rights is dishonorable, in some cases illegal, and strikes at the heart of democracy and social justice.
•    All northerners are negatively affected when inherent rights are ignored or undermined

What could the NWT Chapter do?

•    Work with Idle No More, the Dene Nation, and others to open public discussion on the fulfillment of Treaty and Aboriginal rights and obligations.
•    Educate northerners about Treaty and Aboriginal rights and obligations.