Monthly Archives: October 2015

Thunder Bay CoC chapter calls out NOMA on forestry, pipelines

Members of the Thunder Bay Council of Canadians have started public conversations about the influence of big corporations on political process, particularly in Northwestern Ontario.

In a recent story published by reporter Jon Thompson on, activists Ruth Cook and Julee Boan argue that the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association’s decision-making process is more accountable to industry interests than it is to the region’s municipal councils. Read the full story here.

Council of Canadians launches election fraud reporting service

With the election less than two weeks away, the Council of Canadians is launching VoteWatch, a service to report voter suppression Canadians may experience or witness.

“Preventing people from voting has been legalized for this election because of changes brought in by the ‘Fair’ Elections Act,” says Dylan Penner, Democracy Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “We’re launching VoteWatch to make sure that any incidents of voter suppression can be brought to light quickly and effectively.”

Read more from the Council of Canadians website:

Injured Workers’ Open Meeting to discuss Federal Election

Join the Thunder Bay & District injured workers for their monthly open meeting for a discussion about the Federal Election. In addition, news from across      Canada will be on the agenda.

When: Thursday October 15 at 7 pm

Where: Lakehead Labour Centre

Energy East and Thunder Bay: A local sequence of our chapter’s involvement in the pipeline debate

The past few months have seen a lot of active debate over TransCanada’s proposed $12 billion Energy East pipeline. The company is seeking to convert a decades-old pipeline to ship diluted bitumen from Alberta to Eastern Canada for export. At its closest range, Energy East is planned to run 60 km north of Thunder Bay, and just 8 km from Dog Lake and 11 km north if Nipigon. In March of this year, the Council of Canadians Thunder Bay Chapter joined in a deputation to Thunder Bay City Council asking them to formally oppose the project. Here’s what has followed:

July 27: A letter to the editor in The Chronicle-Journal from CoC Thunder Bay underscores safety concerns regarding pipeline leak detection, even among state-of-the-art technologies that have failed in the recent past. Read the full letter here:

July 29: A TransCanada spokesperson counters the letter’s arguments, insisting that pipeline safety is a top priority for the company, which includes constant monitoring and regular inspections.

August 28: A spokesman for the $12 billon project argues that any formal opposition to the project by the City of Thunder Bay is “premature.” As reported in the Chronicle-Journal:

August 31: Nearly 100 people join a coalition representing Environment North, Ontario Nature, Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet, Council of Canadians – Thunder Bay and Fossil Free Lakehead in a rally outside of City Hall to show citizen opposition to the proposed pipeline, and to encourage City Council to formally oppose the project. Council was scheduled to vote on a resolution to formally oppose the project, in a motion put forward by Councillor Paul Pugh and seconded by Coun. Aldo Ruberto.

August 31: Councillors debate the proposed Energy East pipeline that evening, but no final decision is made on the city’s stance on the project. After a motion put forward by Councillor Iain Angus, City Council defers its decision. The delay comes almost six months after a coalition of five citizens’ groups made a deputation to Council urging them to oppose the project (March 2015). From the CBC:

September 3: The Chronicle-Journal publishes an Op-Ed, arguing that Thunder Bay City Council faces a dilemma when weighing the pros and cons of Energy East: jobs vs. the environment. The letter concludes: “But the root of any such discussion must always be the issue of climate change, which is the most pressing issue of our time…If Thunder Bay needs a reason to oppose another pipeline, that is it.”

Stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for continued updates.

NAFTA compromises ability to cut water supply to the tar sands

A long-term study of the Athabasca River warns about the future availability of river water for the tar sands.

The Globe and Mail reports, “Based on a 900-year record obtained from tree rings, researchers found that the Athabasca watershed has historically been subjected to prolonged dry spells that are far more severe than anything the region has experienced since the oil industry arrived there in the 1960s. And with climate change threatening to increase the frequency and severity of droughts, they say, Alberta’s oil producers may be relying on an ‘untenable assumption’ that the river’s flow today is representative of what they can expect in years to come.”

The article highlights, “Currently, oil sands production consumes less than 5 per cent of the river’s annual flow, amounting to 187 million cubic metres in 2012. But water use has been projected to climb to 505 million cubic metres within the next decade.” Right now about 1.08 billion barrels a year (2.98 million bpd) are extracted from the tar sands and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers sees that increasing to 2.35 billion barrels a year (6.44 million bpd) by 2030.

Read the full story here:

Debate on bulk water exports to U.S. resurfaces despite recent droughts in Canada

Recent articles in the Globe and Mail, Yahoo News, and the Vancouver Sun signal that the debates on bulk water exports are resurfacing – and not only because of NDP leader Thomas Mulcair’s comments as environment minister in Quebec.

Read the full story here: