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.
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).”
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.”
Northern News Services Feature Column–October 26, 2016
“The TPP comes to Yellowknife” (Oct. 21) is a well-researched article that brings to light the many views on trade agreements and levels of understanding of their impacts.
Creating awareness of these impacts was a reason the Council of Canadians NWT Chapter invited Brenda Sayers from Hupacasath First Nation to come to Yellowknife.
Coming October 12, 2016
Brenda 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.
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.
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. ”
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.
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, 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
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.”
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.