The Council of Canadians, the Indigenous Environmental Network, the REDOIL Network, and Greenpeace yesterday protested against the Arctic summit. All the groups raised concerns about the impacts of resource exploitation on the environment in the Arctic and the exclusionary nature of the summit itself.
In a surprising development, the Canadian Press reported that, “U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left a summit of Arctic coastal countries Monday after criticizing Canada for not inviting all those with legitimate interests in the polar region. Clinton didn’t attend the news conference scheduled for the end of the one-day meeting of five foreign ministers after saying she’d been contacted by indigenous groups disappointed they were not invited. Clinton also said Arctic states Sweden, Finland and Iceland were similarly concerned they were given the cold shoulder.”
In terms of our protest, Agence France-Presse reported that, “Dozens of protesters from Greenpeace and the Council of Canadians, a political activist group, denounced the scramble for offshore drilling, saying Arctic mineral resources should remain untouched.”
CBC-TV in Ottawa covered the protest on their 6:00 pm broadcast highlighting our concerns around fossil fuel development and indigenous rights.
Le Droit, a French-language daily newspaper with close to 35,000 readers, reported that, “The foreign ministers of Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States were greeted with banners, chants and indigenous drumming, on arrival at Wilson House, just before noon. Spokesperson for Indigenous Environmental Network, Clayton Thomas Muller was burning traditional sage… Spokesperson for the Council of Canadians Andrea Harden-Donahue submitted a letter to the ministers meeting in Chelsea. ‘We are extremely concerned about the potential impact of future oil and gas operations have on the fragile ecosystem whose circumpolar indigenous peoples depend for their food and culture,’ stated the letter, which was eventually accepted by an RCMP officer.”
And the Manila Bulletin (a shipping journal based in the Philippines, with more than one million readers) reported that, “The Indigenous Environmental Network, the Council of Canadians and the Alaska-based REDOIL Network meanwhile in an open letter called for a moratorium on all new fossil fuel exploration in the Arctic.”
The protest was also covered by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. There is a short clip of our action at the 3:30 mark at this web-link, http://www.aptn.ca/pages/news/index.php?wmv=monday/six.