The Council of Canadians supports the Inuit of Clyde River and the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation in the application of their rights to free, prior and informed consent for projects that impact their territories and threaten their culture. These communities are currently making a principled stand against the very damaging effects of the expansion of the fossil fuel economy in their territories.
We call on the Government of Canada to respect its commitment to uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples by implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
On November 30th, on unceded Algonquin territory in Ottawa, Clyde River Inuit and the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation are heading to the Supreme Court of Canada to uphold the legal right of Indigenous Peoples to be consulted on energy projects that will impact their communities. The outcome of these cases could decide what Indigenous consultation on proposed energy projects will look like from now on, hopefully shaping the future of energy development in Canada and beyond for the better.
There are two important ways you can show your support for the Indigenous communities fighting these pivotal cases:
1) Take action online before November 28th to support the people of Clyde River's right to protect their lands, waters and wildlife by calling for an immediate moratorium on seismic testing.
Next Monday November 28th, two days before the Supreme Court hearing, the Council of Canadians and our allies hope to deliver several hundred thousand letters in person to the Prime Minister. We don’t know what the Supreme Court will decide about the National Energy Board's approval of seismic testing off the coast of Clyde River without the community's consent. But we hope you will join us in calling on the government to put a moratorium on this dangerous oil exploration in Inuit waters because it’s the right thing to do. Add your letter to those we will deliver on Monday to Trudeau and the chair of the National Energy Board.
2) Join us on November 30th for a powerful and uplifting day of action outside the Supreme Court in Ottawa.
There are four opportunities during their crucial day in court day to stand up in solidarity with the Clyde River Inuit and the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation:
- Opening Sunrise Ceremony: 6:30 AM (on Victoria Island)
- Morning rally: 8:00 - 9:30 AM (at the Supreme Court of Canada)
- Lunchtime rally: 12:00-2:00 PM (at the Supreme Court of Canada)
- Closing Ceremony: 4:00-5:00 PM (at the Supreme Court of Canada)
More information on the Facebook event page.
The stakes for both of these cases are really high – a win at the court could be a watershed moment for the future of Indigenous rights and environmental justice.
We hope you will join us in taking action online this week as well as in person on November 30th in solidarity with these Indigenous communities fighting on the front lines of fossil fuel extraction.
More information on both cases:
Clyde River, an Inuit community on Baffin Island, is protesting dangerous oil exploration in their waters. A five-year oil exploration project in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait (off Clyde River’s coast) has been approved by the National Energy Board (NEB) without Inuit consent. This project allows seismic blasting — a process of firing loud sound explosions through the ocean to find oil — as a first step towards dangerous Arctic oil drilling. Oil industry activities like seismic blasting seriously threaten Inuit food security by putting at risk the Arctic animals they depend on for their very survival. Two years ago, Clyde River filed a legal challenge against the seismic companies, the NEB, and the federal government for failure to consult. On November 30th, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear their case.
Chippewas of the Thames First Nation (COTTFN) is going to the Supreme Court of Canada to assert their rights as an Indigenous community. The community, near London, Ontario, is challenging the Canadian government to recognize and uphold the Crown’s treaty obligations with regard to an industrial project on their traditional territory. Their court case comes as a response to the failure of the Canadian government to consult the First Nation on Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline reversal project which went online last November and is set to transport tar sands dilbit. Despite a complete lack of consultation with Chippewas of the Thames and the community’s objections to the project, the Canadian government allowed the project to go ahead, breaching their duty towards Indigenous nations as outlined in the Canadian constitution.