Category Archives: Water

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”


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.

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

Film Presentation–To the Ends of the Earth Details “Extreme” Energy Impacts and Answers

April 24, 2017 

To the Ends of the Earth—the feature film examining the rise of extreme energy, the end of economic growth, and the people caught in the middle—is screening Thursday May 4 at 7 PM in the Northern United Place auditorium.

 The film examines the state of our energy system today, and the people in critical positions watching global developments unfold. We meet Inuit concerned that undersea seismic testing is harming marine mammals Inuit rely upon for food. Or the environmental lawyer who goes on a journey to areas that produce energy for the Tarsands of Alberta.  Or the river conservationist in Utah who fights to protect the Colorado River from oil shale projects that would disturb its headwaters.

To the Ends of the Earth’ brings forward the voices of those who not only denounce the rise of extreme energy, but also envision the new world that is taking shape instead: a future beyond the resource pyramid, a post- growth economy.

The film is presented by the NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians.  Admission is by donation.

Northwest Territories chapter submits brief on water protection to federal Transport committee

October 31, 2016

The Council of Canadians Northwest Territories chapter has submitted its written brief on the Navigation Protection Act to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

NWT chapter activist Lois Little writes, “Under Omnibus Budget Bill C-45, the previous Conservative Government eliminated environmental protection of 99% of Canada’s lakes and rivers when the Navigable Waters Protection Act was replaced with the Navigation Protection Act (NPA).”

Read the brief 

That change reduced the scope of the Act to just 159 lakes and rivers, leaving more than 31,000 lakes and 2.25 million rivers without federal scrutiny.

Little highlights, “In the NWT, only three water bodies retain some environmental protection – Great Slave Lake, Great Bear Lake and the Mackenzie River. The NPA also exempted large projects such as pipelines from scrutiny so their impacts are no longer assessed for any navigable waterway. Lack of federal protection of our many lakes and rivers is worrisome for residents in the NWT as there is no modern legislation to protect our water against climate change, drought, and risky industrial activities such as fracking and mining, or to enforce trans-boundary water agreements with neighbouring jurisdictions.

And she notes, “Every effort must be made to protect our lakes and rivers and navigable waterways. The June 2013 Rosenberg International Forum report on the Mackenzie River Basin stated that the Basin may be the most threatened in the world by climate change. This is because it is the largest cold water basin on the continent and therefore, the lynch pin that holds the ice-water-weather-climate of North America together. Robust legislation to protect and manage water resources including navigable waterways must be in place to address these modern-day challenges.”

Read more 

Fractured Land Film Screening March 23

FL-WWD poster-Northwest TerritoriesFractured Land, the story of a young Dene lawyer and activist’s battle against fracking in Northern British Columbia, will be screened Wednesday March 23 at 7 PM at Northern United Place.

Fractured Land follows the political awakening of Caleb Ben through community life and law school, sharing knowledge with other Indigenous peoples, speaking to larger and larger audiences, dealing with deep community divisions, and building a movement to fight big oil interests.

Fractured Land offers vital lessons for our movement to prevent fracking in the NWT, and on the need to be vigilant of the up-stream impacts affecting the health of the entire Mackenzie River Basin,” says Council of Canadians Co-Chair Lois Little. 

The 2015 film shows how new leaders like Caleb are forging alliances with scientists and environmentalists, sharing strategies using traditional knowledge and contemporary law, and keeping up the pressure for a total, national ban on fracking.

“Fractured Land demonstrates how people have mobilized to protect our precious heritage of fresh water from poisonous fracking operations,”  Little says, “It’s the kind of unity and determination we need if we are to make the new Mackenzie Basin trans-boundary water agreements mean anything for water protection.”

The Fractured Land screening is part of the 2016 Water Week activities underway to raise awareness of water issues in the NWT.

Download the poster

NWT Chapter draws water from Great Slave Lake

DrawingWaterGreatSlaveLakeThe Council of Canadians Northwest Territories chapter has drawn a jar of water from Great Slave Lake to send to Justin Trudeau. The water will be part of a ‘climate welcome’ action in Ottawa on Nov. 7 to remind the new prime minister about the threats posed by tar sands expansion and pipelines to waterways across this country.

The Athabasca River, which is near many tar sands projects, flows north into the Peace-Athabasca Delta, south of Fort Chipewyan, and then into Slave River and Great Slave Lake. The Natural Resources Defense Council has commented, “Northern communities living downstream from the massive [tar sands] tailings dams are aware and concerned about risks presented by the tar-sands industry upstream. A larger spill could threaten not just the Athabasca river but the Peace-Athabasca delta, Lake Athabasca, the Slave river and delta, Great Slave Lake, and the Mackenzie river and delta, all of which empty into the Beaufort sea. Cleaning such a spill could cost billion of dollars.”

Read More

Film Screening–Water On the Table

Tuesday March 17, 7 PM Northern United Place

WaterOnTheTable_Poster3As part of the events marking Water Week, the Council of Canadians NWT Chapter and Ecology North present the new documentary featuring water warrior and Council of Canadians President Maude Barlow.

Water On The Table explores Canada’s relationship to its freshwater, arguably its most precious natural resource. Is water a commercial good like running shoes or Coca-Cola? Or, is water a human right like air?

The film features Maude Barlow, who is considered an “international water-warrior” for her crusade to have water declared a human right.

”Water must be declared a public trust and a human right that belongs to the people, the ecosystem and the future, and preserved for all time and practice in law. Clean water must be delivered as a public service, not a profitable commodity,” says Barlow.

The film received the Donald Brittain Award for Best Social Political Documentary and is nominated for this year’s Gemini Award as best theatrical and broadcast documentary. See more details at the Water on the Table website.

Shipping bitumen up the Mackenzie? No way!

News/North Guest Column

Peter Redvers

Co-Chair, NWT Chapter, Council of Canadians

Dear editor,

Over the past year, there have been a number of news reports on the possibility of shipping diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands north along the Mackenzie Valley via pipeline to Tuktoyaktuk, where it would then be loaded on tankers for overseas export. This pipeline is being referred to as the Arctic Gateway project.

A study commissioned by the Alberta government and released this past September called this initiative “feasible,” to the apparent delight of our premier, Bob McLeod.

Our Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Dave Ramsay, who is also the regulatory minister for NWT oil and gas development, was recently quoted in the Globe and Mail as saying that “We’re hoping to see the concept expanded upon and moved forward here soon.”

But wait a minute! Isn’t bitumen (also known as asphalt or tar) one of the dirtiest and riskiest forms of fossil fuels on the planet?


NWT Joins Worldwide Fracking Protest—Global Frackdown 2014

October 1, 2014

posterNWT citizens are joining the worldwide Global Frackdown event Saturday, October 11th to highlight concerns with the dangers of fracking for our waters and climate.

People will gather in Somba K’e Park at noon Saturday and march to Northern United Place to participate in an information session on the dangers of fracking.  The documentary “Showdown”, which focuses on the anti-fracking protests in New Brunswick, will be screened.

Participation in the worldwide event is being organized by the NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians.

“Global Frackdown will unite concerned citizens around the globe to tell elected officials that we want a future lit by clean, renewable energy; not dirty, polluting fossil fuels.” says Council of Canadians spokesperson Lorraine Hewlett. “The journey to a renewable energy future will not be fueled by oil and gas.”

“Horizontal fracking is moving forward in the Sahtu without even an environmental assessment.  We have no detailed understanding of the short- or long-term impacts of this technology on Sahtu water resources;  we don’t know the full details of the composition or quantity of chemicals that will remain underground;, and have no certainty that highly contaminated waste fluids will be managed properly toprevent leaks and spills into our northern waters.    

Read the full media release and download the poster.