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. 

Activists Launch Mineral Resources Act Consultation Resources Website

A coalition of NWT and national advocacy groups have created a website to
promote informed input into the territorial government consultation on a new
Mineral Resources Act.

The website was created as a result of a review of the
proposed Act by the groups. It contains resources including mining practices and
revenue options research, pertinent media coverage and video resources.

The participating groups are Alternatives North, the Council of Canadians NWT Chapter, Ecology North, Mining Watch Canada, the Northern Territories Federation of Labour, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Association and the Canadian Arctic Resources Committee.

The website resource will provide informed best practices to build a world class
mineral strategy for the NWT that will: reflect current requirements to respect the
inherent, constitutional and international rights of Indigenous Peoples with comanagement
authority over land and resources; maximize revenue generation;
ensure ample infrastructure and legacy funds are built into a mining strategy; and
provide regulations for companies to operate on the highest levels of safety and
environmental accountability. In their input to the consultation, the groups saw the
need to provide information and resources for those wanting to participate, but
lacking expert knowledge of issues and policy alternatives.

The website contains a link to the Government of the Northwest Territories
survey and to the consultation discussion paper. Written submission can also be
contributed to the consultations.

December 1 is the deadline for submissions to the Mineral Resources Act

Download the media release

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

CoC Letter on Premier McLeod’s ‘red alert’

The following letter was submitted to Northern News Services following NWT Premier Bob McLeod’s public remarks on the federal decision to place a five-year moratorium on off-shore oil and gas exploration and development in the Beaufort Sea.

To:  Editor, Northern News Services

Premier Bob McLeod’s mistaken comments on federal “colonialism” denying us the opportunity of offshore fossil fuel development miss the economic reality of today, condemn us to the energy past, and perpetuate the colonialism the Premier complains about.

First, the Premier claims that the federal government has cut our economic throat by denying development of offshore oil and gas resources.  Wake up.  Big oil isn’t even interested in the on-shore oil and gas his government controls, let alone the impossibly expensive development of offshore sources.   An economic development policy balanced on impossibly expensive fuels stranded far from markets is a plan from the past doomed to economic failure.  And, perhaps incidentally to the Premier, there is no demonstrated ability to clean up oil spills in arctic marine environments – the stated reason why the Prime Minister set this moratorium…

Read the entire letter.

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.