Draft Water Strategy Plan Comments Given

The NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians has provided comments to the Government of the Northwest Territories on the Draft NWT Water Stewardship Strategy Action Plan 2016-2020.  

See a copy of the letter commenting on the draft plan.


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

Clean Energy for the NWT

February 23, 2016

The Fracking Action North Coalition has called on Members of the NWT Legislative Assembly to confirm their vision for a new energy economy based upon renewable sources and ending the dependence upon the fossil fuels destroying our ecosystem.

FAN’s letter to MLAs says that “We look forward to hearing back from each of you, as many of you indicated prior to the election that this is a matter of utmost importance to the public of the NWT.”

Read the letter and contact your MLA asking for a commitment to a clean energy future for the NWT.

Ingredients for a Sustainable Community—A Round Table Discussion

What makes a community sustainable?

What do we know, and what do we need to know about community sustainability?

What are the social, cultural, economic and environmental necessities of community sustainability?

What are your ideas on the important features of such a community?

We’re getting together to share, learn and apply our knowledge:

Thursday, January 21 7:00-8:45 PM

Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre – Auditorium

You’ll hear brief presentations and panel discussion by participants representing

  • NWT Biomass Energy Association
  • Community of Gamètì
  • City of Yellowknife
  • Yellowknife Community Gardens
  • Ecology North
  • Council of Canadians
  • NWT Association of Communities

Audience discussion will gather ideas on a vision for sustainable northern communities.

Ingredients for a Sustainable Community is organized by the Council of Canadians NWT Chapter as a member of the Fracking Action North Coalition. 

Download an overview of the event and a poster for printing.001-Sustainable-Community-Event-Poster-web

Results of Territorial Candidates Survey on Fracking Released

November 16, 2015

The NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians has released the results of the survey on horizontal hydraulic fracturing sent to territorial general election candidates on behalf of the Fracking Action North (FAN) coalition.

The survey asked:

  1. Will you support a moratorium or a ban on horizontal hydraulic fracturing? Why or why not, and under which conditions would you allow fracking in the NWT?
  1. Will you commit to proposing or supporting a motion in the NWT Legislative Assembly calling for a moratorium on fracking until a comprehensive, transparent and public review of the risks and public acceptability of fracking in the NWT is completed? Yes or no?

See the results as a spread sheet of textual responses, and a summary of the questionnaire process, background and questions.

Read the commentary on the results of the fracking survey by Council of Canadians NWT C0-Chair Lois Little.

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

This Changes Everything

Film Presentation

fb imageThis Changes Everything, the documentary film based on the acclaimed nonfiction best-seller by award-winning journalist and author, Naomi Klein is being screened Thursday November 19 at 7 PM in the Northern United Place Auditorium.

The presentation is sponsored by the Council of Canadians NWT Chapter and Ecology North.  Admission is free.

Screenings of the film This Changes Everything are part of the book, film and public engagement project demonstrating why the changes we need to avert climate chaos are our best chance to build the more equitable, livable and healthier societies world citizens want and need.

See the media release from the September 13 Toronto International Film Festival launch of the film, the press pack from the film launch, and download the poster providing details of the Yellowknife screening.

The GNWT’s Dangerous Affair With China

Opinion Piece by NWT Chapter Co-Chair Lois Little

The Edge October 27, 2015

The Government of the NWT under Premier Bob McLeod is having an affair with China. The premier has made five trips to China, offered the Chinese eight NWT rivers for hydroelectric development, and, with Minister Dave Ramsay, tried to recruit 2,000 Chinese immigrants. In September, McLeod pursued this affair on home turf while touring China’s ambassador to Canada around the North.

So what’s behind the GNWT’s interest in China? We’re told that the hundreds of thousands spent courting the Chinese is about ‘spending money to make money’ to grow the NWT economy with Chinese investment. But a closer look shows that it has an uncanny, almost eerie similarity to recently ousted Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s obsession with China. In fact, the similarities are so striking one wonders when McLeod will propose bringing panda bears to the NWT.

Read More

We Can Do Better—Social Justice Advocates Plan Common Front

September 21, 2015

Alternatives North and the Council of Canadians NWT Chapter staged the “We Can Do Better  planning session September 19 in Yellowknife to  work toward  an NWT common front movement to promote social justice and plan actions to encourage northerners to vote.

Common front movements draw together social and environmental justice advocates to coordinate actions based on shared goals and priorities.  By combining the public profile of many organizations, these solidarity movements multiply their political influence and effectiveness. More than 40 people from  social, environmental, economic, labour and First Nations justice organizations attended. 

“With federal, territorial and municipal elections taking place in October and November, northerners can make their voices heard and help elect candidates who support social justice priorities,” says Council of Canadians NWT Co-Chair Lois Little.  “We Can Do Better was a forum to identify common values and priorities and examine ways to  promote social, political, economic and environmental justice in the NWT.”

“Panel and group discussions linked these shared values to the issues which federal, territorial and municipal candidates could influence and support,” says Alternatives North spokesperson Craig Yeo, “We examined ways to help each other to  push progressive solutions to issues facing our communities and getting candidates’ positions on record.” 

Participants discussed how general objectives such as economic justice could be achieved through such measures such as a living wage or improved access to housing, or environmental progress served by increasing the use of renewable energies.

Patti Dalton, President of the London and District Labour Council addressed delegates on the history and influence of common front movements.  Panelists representing labour, social, environmental, economic and indigenous justice movements shared their priorities for the coming elections. They overwhelming agreed that while thinking globally, we all have the power to act and change our circumstances locally.   

See the agenda for planning session details and speakers.

The event was made possible by the financial assistance of the Northern Territories Federation of Labour, Public Service Alliance of Canada North, and Union of Northern Workers.

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Husky Withdraws Fracking Sand Application

The NWT Chapter of the Council of Canadians congratulates Husky Oil Operations Limited for withdrawing its application to explore, with the intent to develop, a silica sand mining operation in the Whitebeach Point area of the North Arm of Great Slave Lake.

There has been growing opposition to this project by affected First Nations, particularly the Tlîchô Government and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, and by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal residents of the surrounding area.  The area has historical, cultural, spiritual, environmental, and recreational value.   

“This is no place for a mine, particularly a mine that, aside from being damaging in its own right, would support the environmentally destructive practice of horizontal hydraulic fracturing (shale fracking),” says Peter Redvers, Co-Chair of the NWT Chapter.

“It’s time that industry and public governments recognize that the continued exploitation and use of non-renewable energy sources is not socially, environmentally, or economically sustainable.  The future lies in renewable energy sources and a healthy, diverse, and abundant environment,” Redvers says. 

In light of Husky’s decision, CoC-NWT supports the Tlîchô Government in its efforts to establish the Dinàgà Wek’èhodì protected area in the North Arm and, where appropriate, to expand that protected area to include Whitebeach Point. CoC-NWT will also support ‘Wake Up! Whitebeach Point’, a local effort to educate area residents about the richness of this area.

Download the media release