Idle No More Ontario and Amnesty International have announced a solidarity campaign, supporting the Inuit of Clyde River in their struggle against offshore seismic surveys for the oil and gas industry.
In 2011, a consortium of geophysical companies submitted a proposal to the National Energy Board (NEB) to conduct seismic surveys off the coast of Baffin Island, Nunavut. Inuit responded to the proposal with firm and unified opposition. Residents of several communities made their opposition clear through petitions and statements at public meetings.
The Hamlet Council and Hunters and Trappers Organization of Clyde River passed several joint motions opposing the proposal. A meeting of all mayors from Baffin Island passed a resolution opposing the surveys. Representative Inuit organizations and land claims regulatory boards urged the NEB to withhold permission for seismic surveys until further studies are carried out.
Despite this unified opposition, the NEB approved the surveys in June 2014. The community of Clyde River responded with local protests and sought a court injunction against the seismic surveys. The case will be heard by the Federal Court of Appeal in Toronto on April 20, 2015.
Idle No More Ontario is organizing public speaking events for the Mayor of Clyde River, Jerry Natanine, in Toronto in the days leading up to the trial on April 20. Idle No More is also organizing a public support event the day of the court hearing.
Idle No More Ontario representative Tori Cress told the Two Row Times, “We stand in solidarity with our relations in the north protecting the lands, water and rights of the indigenous people for the generations to come.”
According to a March 13 press release, Amnesty International applied to intervene in the court proceedings, but the application was dismissed by the court in December 2014. The press release claimed that Amnesty intended to argue in court that international human rights standards should be considered in the court’s judgement.
“Amnesty International believes that projects of this nature should only proceed with the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples, as set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international human rights standards”
Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, said that the outcome of the Clyde River case may set an important precedent for how future energy extraction proceeds in Northern Canada.
“With oil and gas development at the heart of the federal growth strategy, the Clyde River case provides an important opportunity to ensure that decisions about which projects go ahead, and which are rejected, comply with the global human rights protections that Canada has endorsed.”
Amnesty International will be co-hosting the public speaking events in Toronto, along with Idle No More Ontario.
In addition to the support of Idle No More Ontario and Amnesty International, several other organizations have joined the campaign in support of Clyde River. The Council of Canadians, Sum Of Us, and Greenpeace Canada have publicly supported the community’s struggle, and have initiated on-line petitions calling on the Federal Government to revoke the permit for seismic surveys.
Follow the Two Row Times for further information about the planned public speaking and support events as they become available.