Do you feel that our democracy is under attack?

                                   Time to Change the Agenda.

                                   We have 6 to 12 months to act!

                             Organizational meeting  Wed. Nov. 5th

                                    Waverley Library Auditorium

                                                   7:00 pm

THE  COUNCIL OF CANADIANS  ACTING FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE                                          THUNDER BAY CHAPTER              




Municipal elections will take place in Thunder Bay and across Ontario on October 27, 2014.

Our Thunder Bay chapter says, “In order to bring the issue [of the Energy East pipeline] to the table in the municipal election, we asked all of the candidates for their position on the [pipeline] so that electors could add this to their understanding of what each candidate stands for.”

They found that, “By far, the majority of the candidates are not in favour of Energy East. Many gave a somewhat qualified response, as they did not feel they had sufficient information to give a truly informed response, but most of them still were not in favour of this pipeline through our boreal forest, wetlands, and crossing rivers and lakes. Only two of the mayoralty candidates are in favour of the pipeline proposal: Shane Judge (a qualified ‘yes’ as he wanted more information), and Henry Wojak. Mayor Keith Hobbs, Ken Boshcoff, Colin Burridge and Douglas MacKay are all opposed to this pipeline proposal.”

Energy East has emerged as an election issue in other communities.

In Kenora, the Daily Miner and News reports, “[Incumbent Mayor Dave] Canfield explained the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association of which he is president is applying for intervenor status to engage in discussions on the project on behalf of all the municipalities in region. He noted pipeline safety and the installation of computerized shut-off valves on either sides of water crossings is a key issue to protect the environment in the event of a spill. …Candidate for council Robert Kitowski commented that the relative merits of oil transport by pipeline, rail and truck through Kenora must be fully analyzed to determine the best option.” In September, Canfield appeared more pro-pipeline when he commented, “For me, I’m a realist. I take a look at ‘is oil going to stop flowing?’ I don’t think so. And if it’s going to flow, what’s the safest way to have it flow? And that’s pipeline. To me, it’s a no-brainer. But not everybody would agree with me with that one.”

In West Nipissing, the Tribune reports on an all-candidates meeting where, “Ward 6 candidates, representing the Northern part of the municipality where the TransCanada Energy East pipeline is projected to cross, were asked if the town should collaborate with North Bay and other communities concerned about the potential impact of this project on our environment and drinking water sources.” Some of their responses can be read here.

In North Bay, the Nugget reports, “The North Bay Civic League is helping to start the process of getting people to think about what they want their next city council to look at as priorities. Committee member Peggy Walsh-Craig said a community values survey has been launched to gauge public interest in various community values and to document residents’ perception of the work of city council. …She said there could be many surprises, however Walsh-Craig is confident safe drinking water remains one of the top five concerns especially with the pipeline project in the news.” The survey results can be read here.

In Ottawa, compiled responses about the Energy East pipeline from municipal candidates. Their responses can be found here. The frontrunner and incumbent mayor Jim Watson says, “I have concerns but I do not support the City doing an assessment of its own. …If there is deemed to be significant risk toOttawa’s natural surroundings and waterways I will oppose it.” Ecology Ottawa will also be releasing its ‘Tar Free 613′ report card on municipal candidates shortly. That will be available here.

We will also be watching the election results in Mattawa. That town sits about 65 kilometres east of North Bay on the path of the pipeline and accepted a $30,000 donation from TransCanada for the purchase of a rescue truck. The agreement contained a clause that says, “The Town of Mattawa will not publicly comment on TransCanada’s operations or business projects.” In response to the controversy, Mattawa Mayor Dean Backer insisted that despite the clause, “At no time have we been put on a gag order.”

We congratulate the Thunder Bay chapter on its report card and see it as a model that could be used in upcoming municipal elections in Manitoba (though they take place this Wednesday), New Brunswick (May 9, 2016). Nova Scotia (October 15, 2016), Saskatchewan (October 26, 2016 with some variations), Alberta(October 16, 2017) and Quebec (November 5, 2017).

Further reading

What to ask candidates for the Ont. municipal election (October 2014 blog by Emma Lui)

Communities express watershed concerns along Energy East route (December 2013 blog)

Municipal Candidates Poll on Energy East


 The Thunder Bay Chapter of the Council of Canadians has been actively opposing the development of the Energy East Pipeline proposed by TransCanada Pipelines. In order to bring the issue to the table in the municipal election, we asked all of the candidates for their position on the EnergyEast Pipeline so that electors could add this to their understanding of what each candidate stands for.

We asked each of the candidates whether or not they were in favour of the proposed plan to convert an existing natural gas pipeline across northern Ontario to carry diluted bitumen (tar sands oil).

By far, the majority of the candidates are not in favour of Energy East.  Many gave a somewhat qualified response, as they did not feel they had sufficient information to give a truly informed response, but most of them still were not in favour of this pipeline through our boreal forest, wetlands, and crossing rivers and lakes.  The full results, name by name, can be found at or tbaycoc/Facebook.

Only two of the mayoralty candidates are in favour of the pipeline proposal:  Shane Judge (a qualified “yes” as he wanted more information), and Henry Wojak.  Mayor Keith Hobbs, Ken Boshcoff, Colin Burridge and Douglas MacKay are all opposed to this pipeline proposal.  There are too many candidates for councillor to list them all here; for councillor candidates’ responses, please consult the complete poll results.

The Thunder Bay Council of Canadians, along with our local allies, would  like to see City Council take a stand on Energy East., and will be pursuing this with the new Mayor and Council.

The Council of Canadians would also like to see a moratorium on Tar Sands extraction, a moratorium on new pipeline construction, large-scale development of renewable energy supplies, the development of a national energy strategy to take into account the needs of Canadians, and an end to corporate-country trade agreements which allow companies to sue our government if they do not make the profits they anticipated.


Energy East: Informing and canvassing Thunder Bay Residents

October 19, 2014


The TransCanada Energy East tar sands pipeline proposal is threatening hundreds of communities across Canada with crude spills and will dramatically increase Canada’s climate pollution.  People inThunder Bay and across the country are stepping up in their communities to say no to this dangerous proposal.

Will you help Thunder Bay residents say no?

On the afternoon of Sunday October 19th, your friends and neighbours will be hitting the streets ofThunder Bay to canvass door to door and speak to people about the risks of Energy East. The day will start with a training session with Sabrina Bowman from Environmental Defence, we’ll go door to door for a few hours and end with an optional social to celebrate and chat about how it went.

Excited and want to sign up now? Fill out this simple form and we’ll be in touch soon with details. Even if you can’t make it on October 19th, fill out the form with your information and we’ll be in touch within a week to chat about other opportunities to get involved.

Want to come but haven’t canvassed before?  No problem!  We’ll start the day with some snacks and an easy-to-understand training session. We’ll also pair everyone who wants to be paired up so you don’t have to go to the door alone. So fill out this form, and come on out!

Hope to see you soon!

Sabrina Bowman

Climate Campaign Organizer

116 Spadina Avenue, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2K6
Tel: 416.323.9521 x249 | Toll Free: 1.877.399.2333 | Fax: 416.323.9301
web: | twitter: @envirodefence | facebook: EnvironmentalDefenceCanada
We are Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

 Say NO to Energy East!


NWT premier promotes 100,000 bpd ‘Arctic Gateway’ tar sands pipeline

Northwest Territories premier Bob McLeod is in Washington, DC promoting a proposed 100,000 barrel-per-day ‘Arctic Gateway’ pipeline, a 2,400 kilometres long pipeline from the tar sands of northern Alberta through the Mackenzie Valley to the port of Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean.

Initial shipments of oil could begin by summer 2015 via an existing rail line and barge system from Alberta to Hay River and Tuktoyaktuk.  Oil would then be loaded onto tankers on the Beaufort Sea. The second and third phases would include additional infrastructure, the reversal of an old pipeline, and finally, within five years, the construction of a brand new pipeline from Fort McMurray to Tuktoyaktuk that could export oil all year round.

Pipeline plans are facing opposition in the West [Northern Gateway, Trans Mountain], the East [Energy East], and the South [Keystone XL].  Now, a Canadian premier is in the U.S. this week promoting this as an alternate route for exporting oil.  McLeod has promoted the plan in meetings with Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute, Canadian diplomats, and in appearances before two Washington think-tanks with numerous members of the Obama administration in attendance.”

Earlier this month, the Financial Post reported, “A newly released report, commissioned by the Alberta government last year, by Arctic petroleum consultants Canatec Associates International Ltd. … suggests that getting oil-sands bitumen to the Far North port of Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., could be a cheap, efficient and effective way to get Alberta’s landlocked bitumen to oil-hungry Asia.”

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers forcast suggest that total Canadian crude oil production will increase from 3.5 million barrels per day in 2013 to 6.4 million barrels per day in 2030. Most of that increase would come from the tar sands, from 1.8 million barrels per day in 2012 to 5.2 million barrels per day by 2030. But according to the International Energy Agency, two-thirds of the world’s hydrocarbon reserves must stay in the ground in order to limit the rise in average global temperature to the 2-degree-Celsius threshold that climate scientists warn we must not cross.

There may be reason to be optimistic. Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow recently tweeted, “Statoil cancels tar sands project because of lack of pipeline capacity. Our activism is working!” This was in reference to the announcement by Norwegian oil firm Statoil that it was postponing (possibly indefinitely) a 40,000 barrels per day tar sands project in Alberta primarily due to lack of pipeline access. Reuters notes, “While a handful of other projects have also been delayed or canceled this year, due in part to rising costs, Statoil is the first company to explicitly cite the issue of ‘limited pipeline access’ as a reason.”

As we noted in a November 2011 campaign blog, the Globe and Mail has reported, “Protesters have long complained about growing development in the oil sands, but have never been able to slow activity in Alberta’s bitumen-rich north. But by focusing on pipelines, rather than attacking dozens of oil projects themselves, critics have found an effective approach in their effort to thwart expansion in the broader oil sands industry. …Observers argue all of these pipelines are needed to keep up with Canada’s forecast production growth in the oil sands. Blocking one or more means bitumen production will have to slow because existing pipelines will be full by 2015.”

One of Thunder Bay’s Council of Canadian members has stated: “We just get started fighting one pipeline, then another is proposed. The fossil fuel companies and our federal government are truly determined to get this  dirty oil out of the ground and to export market”

Quench App Launched June 18th

More than 100 Mayors, representatives, educators and organizations attended the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Conference hosted by Thunder Bay this week. Discussion focused on the impacts of extreme weather and contaminants such as plastic micro beads and shipping spills and identifying climate change adaptation strategies.  The Thunder Bay Council of Canadians Chapter actively participated in the planning of the conference, which was organized as a Litter Free Green Event to reduce its environmental footprint. The City’s Clean, Green and Beautiful  Initiative provided funding for a refillable water bottle station unveiled as a conference legacy project on June 18th at 1pm at the Water Garden Pavilion at Prince Arthurs Landing.

The event included the launch of EcoSuperior’s exciting new Quench Program. Quench is a free mobile app that instantly connects users to the nearest water bottle refill location or public water fountain. Sponsored by the the Thunder Bay Council of Canadians and the EarthCare Water Working Group, the program is designed to promote municipal tap water and discourage the wasteful consumption of single-use plastic water bottles.

Businesses and organizations are being invited to support this program by providing free tap water for refillable water bottles. Look for Official Quench Refill Station stickers at participants like EcoSuperior, CyclePath, Petrie’s,  Beau Daddy’s, Blue Door, Made Fresh, the Bean Fiend, Sweet Escapes, the True North Co-op, Bay Credit Union, Half-Way Motors Nissan, Our Kids Count, Eat Local Pizza and the Slovak Legion. Thanks to all our participants for helping to promote tap water and create a more healthy, sustainable community and planet.

Drinking fountains are also available in public buildings such as City Hall, the Terry Fox Monument, the Volunteer, Widnall and Churchill Pools, the Canada Games Complex, City Arenas, the Mary JL Black Library, the Current River Community Centre and the 55+ Seniors Centre.

If  your business or organization or one that you know, would like to help us celebrate Superior tap water by participating in Quench,  please contact Jennifer (EcoSuperior) Gail (EarthCare Water Working Group)  or Janice. (TBay Coc Blue Planet Committee at

Here’s a link to the QUENCH program  Quench | The Water Brothers


Council of Canadians – Annual General Meeting

CoC- Annual General Meeting