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Nunavut youth in Ottawa give thumbs down to uranium mine

"I feel like our territory is in very good hands”

BY LISA GREGOIRE

OTTAWA — After a passionate debate last week over whether Nunavut should allow a uranium mine to go forward west of Baker Lake, students at the Ottawa-based Nunavut Sivuniksavut program decided that no, it isn’t worth it.

Some emphasized the need for jobs and economic growth while mitigating impacts on the environment. Others argued the marine and terrestrial environment are too vital to the Kivalliq’s future to be threatened by uranium mining.

In the end, they seemed to side with people like Nicole Hachey from Baker Lake.

“I don’t think the mine should go ahead,” said Hachey, 18, during a conference call from the NS school in downtown Ottawa Dec. 13.

“There is already a gold mine operating now and it’s going good and it’s given people jobs and opportunities, but it’s also increased the alcohol and drug rates in the community and it’s hurting families.”

She said people are also concerned about caribou migration through the area, and worry that another mine will entice people to drop out of school and work menial jobs at the mine, creating short-sighted dependency on jobs that won’t last.

Areva Resources is in the final stages of approval for Nunavut’s first uranium mine, about 80 kilometres west of Baker Lake.

The potential mine, estimated to hold about 51,000 tonnes of uranium, would be located at two sites, Kiggavik and Sissons, and it would include a total of four open-pit mines, an underground mine and a processing mill.

Proposed infrastructure would consist of a landing strip, worker accommodation, access roads to Baker Lake and between the two sites, and a dock and storage facility at Baker Lake.

The NS debate was held as part of the students’ Land Claims I course, which is currently covering the institutions of public government: the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, the Nunavut Water Board, the Nunavut Planning Commission, and the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

Acting as members of the NIRB, students had to read through all the background documents and public comments submitted to the NIRB so far as well as the Areva Resources proposal, said NS instructor Dan Guay.

“It’s very complicated stuff,” Guay said. “I have the highest regard for our students, but I was amazed that they met this challenge head on and ran with it.”

Each student then had to make a speech explaining what side they were on and why.

Because of the number of students enrolled in NS, the class is split into two. Guay said a majority of students in both classes were against the mine.

Two women who disagreed with the majority, and supported the mine, were Marley Dunkers and Uliipika Irngaut.

Dunkers pointed to the huge high school drop-out rate in the territory and the number of Nunavummuit on welfare.

She said so long as Inuit require Areva to adhere to strict mitigation plans and then monitor the outcomes, there’s no reason Nunavut can’t benefit from the jobs and prosperity that would come from the mine.

“I think it should go ahead with conditions,” said Dunkers, 20. “We’re learning a lot about the land claims here at NS.  We’re learning about what we should do to figure out a plan for the future. If we make a proper safety plan, and talked about it with elders and community members, we can discuss proper mitigation.”

Irngaut, 18, agreed. “I believe it’s good because obviously there aren’t a lot of jobs available and that’s always a problem in Nunavut,” she said.

“Two weeks on, two weeks off, is perfect. You get to spend time with your kids and your family and then you work for two weeks, make money for your family.”

But Dunkers and Irngaut stressed that wildlife and environmental concerns would have to be addressed before they would support the mine.

Dunkers said she appreciated the opportunity to speak her mind and be honest without fear of being belittled or criticized. She said too often, youth are told to speak up but then their voices are ignored.

“Everyone always says youth are tomorrow,” Irngaut added, to punctuate the thought. “But youth are today. We are here today.”

Guay said the big lesson he wanted students to take away was that, sure, these decisions are complex, multi-faceted and filled with emotion but back in the 1970s, Ottawa or Yellowknife would have decided what to do whereas now, it’s up to Inuit to decide their own fate.

And if NS students are any indication, the future is bright.

“It gave me a lot of hope for the future of Nunavut. Our northern youth are so smart and just seeing these guys in action through our debate just re-emphasized that for me, just how capable our young people are,” he said.

“Whatever they decide in the future, whether it’s uranium mining or something else, I feel like our territory is in very good hands.”

www.nunatsiaqonline.ca

NUNATSIAQ ONLINE COMMENTS:

#1. Posted by Bob on December 16, 2013

“She said people are also concerned about caribou migration through the area, and worry that another mine will entice people to drop out of school and work menial jobs at the mine, creating short-sighted dependency on jobs that won’t last.”

Instead, they can stay at home, sleep in every day, still not go to school, collect welfare, and still do all the booze and drugs that they want to.

It’s sad that when the choice is between work or welfare, that many people are choosing welfare.

#2. Posted by Yup on December 16, 2013

These kids are free to express their opinions.  But I hope we aren’t taking economic advice from them.

Someone has to pay for the social housing and social assistance.

#3. Posted by North Star on December 16, 2013

Good to hear this kind of learning happening now. This is long overdue, Nunavut Gov’t should be teaching our kids political science that affects our children (northern flavor). Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, if we don’t educate our kids what they need to know and learn, Nunavut will keep spending millions on lawyers, consultants, and other profeesionals with regards to the N.L.C.A.

#4. Posted by That Guy on December 16, 2013

It’s easier to cast aspersions on an entire race than it is to consider that students (clearly people who are not on welfare, and who aren’t living on social assistance) may not agree with their worldview.

Commenters like #1 and #2 find it easier to live in a black and white world where “they” (meaning “we”) are a monolithic, one-dimensional population.

It must eat them up inside that Inuit own all this land.

Désoleé :(

#5. Posted by Realist on December 16, 2013

Don’t be too hard on these kids. Most of them are social promotion victims who are flown to directly Ottawa for an NS program that gives them no real education but lots of propaganda. Forgive them.

Fortunately, their leaders at NTI and KIA and the other Inuit organizatinos have a better understanding of Nunavut’s economic needs, which is why the Inuit leaders support the mine. The leaders just know a lot more. This is why older people are leaders and young kids like these are not leaders.

#6. Posted by Somebody on December 16, 2013

I don’t know about you guys, but what Nicole said is in fact very true. The risks of uranium contamination to the environment, wildlife and people are not worth an economy boost in the immediate area. Especially if AREVA decides to store the waste on site for hundreds of years. The community will reap the benefits from the uranium currently, how will their future kids and grand kids deal with the contamination that cause cancer and birth defects?  There are many ways to create jobs that create income, don’t depend on the worst possible exploration proposal.

What about investing in tourism and Inuit art for example?

#7. Posted by Kathryn on December 16, 2013

I am a student here at Nunavut Sivuniksavut, and you guys might think that we are learning nothing but YOU GUYS ARE WRONG. A lot of things we are learning what people in our communities should have taught us about our culture we are learning here, things about our people we are learning here. And just a point of view those minerals that are going to be mined ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE so whats the rush? Aren’t the caribou what inuit depend on for traditional food? what abut wolf or foxes those are what we depend on too and they are going to be affected and if the inuit lose those what are we going to turn to?

Just saying as a Nunavut Sivuniksavut student

#8. Posted by Bob on December 16, 2013

@4 It’s not “me” that’s casting aspersions on an entire race. I just repeated what the students themselves said and put it into context.

The “jobs” are not “forcing” people to drink and get high. They’re doing that anyway.  All the public health indicators in Nunavut support that.

How can you know they are clearly not on welfare/social assistance by reading this article? Just by looking at their picture?  I don’t think it matters either way if they were on it or not.  There is the fact that a large number of people in Nunavut are on social assistance. There was an article in NN the other day about it.

The fact is that jobs are desperately needed in Nunavut right now to support its growing population, what it has now is not enough.

Why would it eat me up that you own the land? Even with the land, you’re still getting billions of dollars from the south. I’d rather see Nunavut self sufficient, which mining could help with.

#9. Posted by I'm still here on December 16, 2013

It’s hard to imagine kids anywhere coming out in favour of a uranium mine. This is an unsurprising and predictable outcome. I’m impressed by the two who came out in favour of the mine though, their thoughts seem well balanced to me, and they’ve obviously defended an unpopular position. Good for them.

There are a couple parts of this story I found quite bizarre however. First, that the drug and alcohol rate has increased with the operation of a gold mine in Baker Lake is plausible, but is this problem ‘caused’ by the mine, as implied above? Of course not. The mine has increased the wealth of the community, and so the correlation exists, but only by people’s choices.

Also, that “another mine will entice people to drop out of school and work menial jobs at the mine, creating short-sighted dependency” seems like poor rationale against job creation.

It might be true because of the low value given to education, but what’s the option, welfare?

#10. Posted by Inuk on December 16, 2013

You think that NS students aren’t leaders, and that they aren’t learning anything? From my experience, NS people do learn things that you probably don’t know crap about.

Why would you have such a cold heart to put down people who are actually trying to make a living for the Inuit’s future?? One day you’ll see one of the NS students running the territory of Nunavut, and you’ll regret what you said. Maybe you guys will even be working for them? Haha.

#11. Posted by Leeanne on December 16, 2013

Young kids like us?!? OMG! You’re not not going to live forever, as youth we need to take role. Theres a reason why we are in this school, learning about how to deal with all of this. Dude we’re the future of Nunavut. We want to keep our land and our culture food.

If the mine were to open more and more people will be into drugs and alcohol more then ever. 

Older people are our leaders but when there gone who’s going to be the leaders? Us (the youth). Thats why we are here so we will be the leader. Read the Land Claims Agreement, Art.5 is the biggest, its about NWMB, in order to have our animals we NEED the land!

Commenter #5 
“Don’t be too hard on these kids. Most of them are social promotion victims who are flown to directly Ottawa for an NS program that gives them no real education but lots of propaganda. Forgive them”
Wow I’m not sure who you think you are, but hack I dare you to go check out the school and see if its not real education.

#12. Posted by George Sallerina on December 16, 2013

To post number 5 I am A student of NS and we are getting a great eduaction.

Realist don’t comment on something you dont know about. Inuit have great Inuit organizations that work hard for both the land and it’s people. Also our Inuit elders now that made our land claims were in their early 20’s our age. All students in NS are between 17 and 25 learning about the rights that we have as Inuit.

#13. Posted by Youth on December 16, 2013

Nunavut Sivuniksavut is very much an educational program, and to say ‘young leaders like these are not leaders’ is a big way to crush youths opportunities to speak up and given a voice in problems that are concerning them…

#14. Posted by Somebody on December 16, 2013

I understand that in some communities there is no choice but to live on welfare and that Nunavut is in dire need of an economic boost. I understand that people need income to feed their children and to live comfortably. But in all honesty, why should we be depending on outside sources such as companies like AREVA to provide income? Inuit at one point use to live self sufficiently with nothing but the land and wildlife as their only resources. Inuit were inventive and innovative, they invented some of the worlds best hunting tools such as the buoy and the toggle head sakku. Uranium is dangerous. Uranium tailings and waste rock remain radioactive for thousands of years. It can contaminate the environment, the wildlife and the people. Although science has found solutions to help prevent contamination for this generation, it does not mean the science will remain effective for out grandchildren and their children. Research also shows that there is already approx. 200 million nuclear waste

#15. Posted by Somebody on December 16, 2013

Rods that need to be stored in the Canadian Shield in tunnel systems and that uranium will only be used for approx another 40 years as a power source.

Why should we invest in something that is only a temporary fix? Why not invest in something that will be around forever such as wind, solar and tidal power?

There are other, safer ways to generate income, it just might take being inventive and innovative.

#16. Posted by just sayin' on December 16, 2013

Great to hear intelligent young NS students articulating their thoughts on important issues of today and tomorrow—and politely disagreeing when it turns out that they have reached different conclusions.

It’s enough to give one a glimmer of hope for the future.

#17. Posted by Inukman on December 16, 2013

Look! The inuit leaders were in their mid 20’s that were fighting for our own territory! isn’t that young? there are more people who are actually working at RIOs went to Nunavut Sivuniksavut! youngest MLA went to NS. just around 30s! and Tommy Akulujuk 29 year old, young adult who just got recently elected was in NS. look, young inuit taking part of their believes for nunavut! yes NUNAVUT! there is one inuk person who went to NS is a guard for Parliament Building!

I am a student at NS and i think that we should be support more about our ideas because one day, we will be your leaders. our leaders today won’t be leaders for long.

#18. Posted by ᐊᐸᕐᖃ on December 16, 2013

As a student attending Nunavut Sivuniksavut, which by the way is a great program, I could not just sit here and bite my tongue about the comments. It’s ironic because people tell us to raise our voices, to chase our dreams and then say disheartening comments like #4. “No real education, but lots of propaganda?” “Social promotion victims?” We have learned a lot, more than we would have if we stayed home. It’s really discouraging to see comments like these. But we are the future, that’s inevitable. We are standing up to our opinions. Some of the students are worked up, we won’t just sit here and be criticized.

#19. Posted by Somebody on December 16, 2013

Apaqqa!!!! XD

#20. Posted by Bill on December 16, 2013

I hope they teach writing at NS, some of the commentators above could use a course or two if they really want to lead Nunavut into the future.

#21. Posted by Bob on December 16, 2013

@15 “Why should we invest in something that is only a temporary fix? Why not invest in something that will be around forever such as wind, solar and tidal power?”

Because none of those sources with the exception of tidal is really viable for Nunavut.  A community needs to have “reliable baseload power”. This means a certain amount of power that is available 100% of the time.  The sun goes up, the sun goes down, so that it’s not solar.  Wind turbines oddly enough can’t be used when it’s too windy. Plus, ice is an issue and climbing to the top of these things for regular maintenance isn’t easy given the weather.

There’s been a proposal to build hydro dams near Iqaluit. The QIA is against it because apparently it interferes with one of their member’s favorite fishing spots…

Watch a movie called “Pandora’s Promise” if you want a factual look at the benefits of nuclear power.

#22. Posted by Nkc on December 16, 2013

NS is a great program that has benefited Inuit students by helping them learn& understand about what Inuit have faced during the years to create Nunavut& help Nunavut reach where it is now. The students taking the program that have had this debate have their own opinions of why they would say yes or no to the uranium mine and that is their opinion, it was just a class not the actual debate. Who are you to say that it isn’t real learning when it has helped students become more successful in life by helping give them a better education to get a better future. NS is their first step out of high school. Taking NS is better than staying home, being on welfare and doing nothing with their lives. If that’s what most people see they should take a look at the NS website, watch the videos and see where ns has taken most of its students and how it’s helped them.

#23. Posted by Somebody on December 16, 2013

Thanks #21. 
A question, I know this could probably be a costly idea, but what if there was a combination of all three sources? The maintenance could be an issue but this could create more jobs for those who are in need would it not? I may not know all the facts, but I am interested in learning. 
If there were a system that could cover off each power source when one wasn’t working due to no sunlight for example, a tidal source could perhaps kick in? Is that even possible?

#24. Posted by Emotions Called Debate? on December 17, 2013

Interesting the students are ok with gold mine, as when a gold mine is closed company can walk away leaving tailing ponds as is – company doesn’t have to monitor it for decades after. Or have financial plan with funding in place to draw from for decommissioning a mine after mine has been closed or walked away.

Uranium mine before the licensing of the mine, a full decommissioning plan must be in place with financial guarantee in place, to be drawn from over decades during decommissioning the mine after it has ended. 

The students are ok with continued burning of fossil fuels, dumping tons of Co2 into the air for electricity production? Without looking at Micro Nuclear Electrical Power Generators (handles baseload) benefiting Nunavut? Heard from Canadian Nuclear Association, Canada Nuclear Safety Commission, Areva,NIRB?

Considered warming Kivalliq possibly causing caribou to leave area? Heard of Baker Lake drinking alcohol, cigarette smoking decades before mine?

#25. Posted by What?!? on December 17, 2013

This seems to be a sensitive issue.  For those discussing the possibility of using nuclear as energy source, think twice! Northerners all know that the new vehcile models (all makes) have modern technologies that will work for few weeks and then the sensors start acting up thus your investment in desperate need of a mechanic, which requires an education that you claim that we don’t have. Now imagine this, say Nunavut got into nuclear energy and we all know dealing with nuclear requires know it all. God forbid the natural disaster. Again, you claim we don’t have education, who else would be able to maintain nuclear energy at -30 to -45C? We all know what happened at Japan’s Fukushima power plant! Problems with containing it and Japan now in dire need of help globally. Now get this, you guys even cannot work together based on comments above. WOW!

#26. Posted by Replying to #23 on December 17, 2013

#23 I am not #21 and will reply to your questions.  A combination of all 3 electrical generating ideas still wouldn’t work as it all comes down to baseload as #21 said.  Base-load is what the power grid can handle steadily hour after hour day after day without causing a black out. 
Creating jobs for electrical power generation would increase power rates, above the current burning of oil.  All would demand lower rates and go back to burning of fossil fuels.  Alternative electrical generation is to get away from burning oil or coal both creating tons of Co2.  It’s urgent now as world has almost hit the 2 degree rise in temperature mark.  Hit 4-6 degrees above, world goes on but humans may not because land can’t grow crops or animals. Google Micro Nuclear Power Generators. A $100,000 unit can handle baseload power for BL over 25 years,  possible lower power rate, no flooding land, no oil burning, by using tiny bit of uranium. Refreshing #23 you’re thirsty for knowledge.

#27. Posted by Iqaluit on December 17, 2013

@25 Comparing 3rd and 4th generation nuclear power plants with Fukushima really demonstrates that you do not know anything about modern nuclear power plants. Fukushima was built in the late 1960’s-early 1970’s and was a water cooled design.

The only similarity between Fukushima and a 4th generation plant is that both are referred to as “nuclear power plants”.  4th generation plants don’t even use water for cooling, and have passive instead of active cooling systems in place which are inherently safer.

The micro nuclear plants that an earlier poster mentioned don’t even need onsite monitoring.  Between the fiber optic line that would be online in less than 2 years, and a satellite for backup, there’d be enough bandwidth to ensure coverage.

The temperature “outside” has nothing to do with the running of a nuclear plant “inside” since the power lines it uses are the same ones that exist now.

Going nuclear would make more sense than continuing to run diesel generators 24/7.

#28. Posted by Ethelanne on December 17, 2013

I’m currently an NS student!.It’s specifically for getting us ready for college life! Pre-college I’d call this(Nunavut Sivuniksavut)program…We get great experience learning reality(Budget money,paying bills etc), getting familiar with city life and being away from home for a long period of time for the first. This program is a great opportunity to prepare us for College. I sure hope this program keeps going!

#29. Posted by Putuguk on December 17, 2013

Good gracious, this is just a critical thinking exercise that every college or university student would do. An excellent teaching method and well worth doing.

However, we need the follow through. All the IPGs being studied at NS make decisions on a TK, technical and scientific basis. All these areas of thought require huge amounts of subject matter knowledge.

For Inuit to be an effective part of the process, NS Students should be going on to study the sciences, engineering and living on the land. Knowing the NLCA is a good start, but it is not enough.

If we want to be fully involved in these types of decisions, we need Inuit doctors, engineers and physicists. NS Students; please do not stop, keep going after finishing NS and continue with University and College.

#30. Posted by h s p on December 17, 2013

How many NS grads go on and graduate from university?

How many NS students hold down meaningful full time jobs after either partially completing or completing NS?

What is the first year drop out rate for NS students?

Nunavut HS does not prepare Nunavut students for college or university.

And way too much racism on this thread (again). Bloody southerners should stop being so bitter.

#31. Posted by Bob on December 17, 2013

@30 It’s funny that in your rush to call out racism in these responses, where in fact the responses are just pointing out facts based on evidence, that you make a somewhat racist remark yourself by painting all southerners with the same brush.

#32. Posted by really? on December 17, 2013

Pandora’s promise is a load of garbage. It’s unscientific propaganda for the nuclear industry.

The realities of climate change and carbon emissions are so much more complex. Nuclear is no ‘quick fix’—it isn’t capable of resolving the climate crisis. It’s also overly expensive. It also creates a TONNE of very very dangerous waste that must be stored forever.

Bob, if you want to be taken seriously, do some real homework.

#33. Posted by 5 + 5 = 9 on December 17, 2013

Almost 30 years now, I think we are about to see big changes at NS and I hope so.  NS is no different than any institution except they are very good in advertising and looks good from afar.  When I look at NU leaders I admire them, self-made leaders with combination of strong home and strong self.  #30 general public below 60 does not know NS I think the north is talking.  Not many schools with 50 students or less operate with their own board and with 6 to 10 instructors…....success rate should be 80% or higher for both yr. 1 & 2.  It would be interesting, if the former Inuit staff were also interviewed.

#34. Posted by Bob on December 17, 2013

@32 The only people criticizing it are people who are funded by Big Oil and environmentalists whose heads are buried in the sand.  The science in it is quite sound.

Nuclear is the “only” method that’s capable of seriously addressing the climate crisis. It’s zero emission.  It’s only expensive because we don’t build reactors in great quantities yet.  The science of 4th generation nuclear reactors is inherently safe.  And if you knew anything about 4th generation nuclear, you’d know that the waste that is created lasts only a few hundred years (with present technology) compared to the thousands of years that present nuclear waste can last.

Renewables like wind and solar are just not practical for the power needs of 24/7 communities, especially in the Arctic.  Nuclear wouldn’t be as expensive if it was adopted more. It’s all about scale. You build one of something, it costs a lot, you build hundreds of the same thing, costs go down.

#35. Posted by What?!? on December 17, 2013

#34, it’s called mass produced!

#27: monitoring remotely, are you serious? Since we are dealing with nuclear energy, on-site monitoring would be ideal, better yet I would demand on-site monitoring.  Say something happened and it would take two days to get to a community, especially as remote as Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay! I live in a community where I know two government owned buildings are monitored remotely and there is always some technical glitch to it. On few occassions the remote monitor did not do its work.  When maintenance personnel did their rounds, sure enough there was a problem with the system and the remote monitor did not pick up the problem.  Now, having to remotely monitor nuclear energy, that is a disaster waiting to happend like a ticking bomb.

#36. Posted by North Star on December 17, 2013

For the NS students watching this thread. Stay in school! Hope all or most of you will return to NS or continue in your schooling, the education will continue when you get into the workforce. Uranium mining is a sensitive issue as you can read in the thread.

Educate youselves, look at where you are now whether it be social passing or hard earned work/studies and years of going through the much discussed education system in Nunavut. (Sounds like most of you should be on welfare, drinking, doing drugs, being part of dysfuctional familes)Like all young generations around the world you are caught in a changing world. I’m sure there were mistakes when Rome was being built, and you can look at the canadian government even after 200+ years of governing, there are still issues we deal with today. 50+ years for Nunavut self government, hang in there students, you are becoming part of a fast changing world! You can have the best of both worlds! Reach for the stars!

#37. Posted by Somebody on December 17, 2013

I still dont like the idea of depending on scientific technologies to insure that the environment will not be contaminated. I mean look at what happened in the golf of Mexico, the EIS said that it was unlikely that something catastrophic would happens to harm the environment and wildlife. Maybe I just won’t budge on my standpoint where I believe nuclear energy is a bad idea. 
After all generators were invented and are placed in building where power is absolutely necessary to function. Nunavut still experiences power outages from time to time and it hasn’t caused any major issues that I know of. Maybe having occasional power outages will give people of break from technology and be forced to actually spend time with each other? Overall, I can’t seem to articulate any major negative impacts on solar, wind and tidal power.

#38. Posted by just sayin' on December 17, 2013

“Bob”, you crazy guy: Nuclear power is only “zero emission” if you ignore everything involved in mining uranium, refining uranium (massively energy intensive), building the reactor, operating the reactor, decommissioning the reactor, and storing the high-level nuclear wastes (which neither Canada nor the US has yet found a safe way to do, despite having spent billions trying). And all the transportation for all of the involved. The total emissions of nuclear power generation are massively greater than zero!

#39. Posted by Denise Bélanger on December 17, 2013

To Inuit students: REMEMBER YOUR CULTURAL IDENTITY.  LOVE FROM YOUR FAMILIES AND FOR YOURSELF. The future is yours’ and all good come your way. smile

#40. Posted by Bob on December 17, 2013

@37 I don’t quite get your argument.

You say you don’t want to depend of scientific technology to ensure the environment will not be contaminated, so what’s your alternative? It seems to me that the only alternative would be to…completely abandon the use of technology…which isn’t a feasible option.

If you’re talking about the big oil spill in the Gulf, something like that is possible in every Nunavut community since they all use diesel generators.

All those generators use millions of liters of diesel fuel every year.  All that exhaust is going into the air we breathe.  People are afraid of nuclear because they are un informed for the most part.

The power outages in Nunavut are causing major problems. They fry electronics, the lack of heat bursts pipes, people can’t work leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost productivity.  An extended outage would be life threatening.

Solar and wind aren’t viable for the reasons stated earlier.

#41. Posted by Bob on December 17, 2013

@38 Nuclear power produces zero carbon emissions during the entire energy production process.

The burning of fossil fuels produce massive amounts of emissions during the mining of the fuels, and during the burning of the fuels during the energy production process. So not once, but twice here.

Refining uranium is not massively energy intensive when you use nuclear power in the first place.

Building and operating the nuclear power plant itself is not that different from other types of electrical generating plants. Everything that you talk about applies to regular power plants as well for the most part.

As I said earlier, the nuclear waste from new 4th generation plants under development lasts only a century or two. The carbon emissions that coal and diesel plants emit stays in the atmosphere for “hundreds” of years, and warms the planet as well.

There is way more transportation involved with fossil fuel plants than nuclear, emitting more emissions.

#42. Posted by mack on December 17, 2013

LIGHTEN UP PEOPLE,they are stimulating debate,for and against, by the way bob, thanks, you have given me more info to think about, sounds like you know what your talking about,

#43. Posted by critic on December 17, 2013

Bob,

You are quite the fan of nuclear power. Aside from all the benefits of nuclear power you see (no bad aspects, at all, apparently?), let me change the subject.

Would you like to live near a Uranium mine? Would you like to work at a Uranium mine? Would you like to ship uranium across your home country land?

That is what the AREVA proposal is about. Not just about making power. It is about mining, transporting, and cleaning up Uranium contamination. In Nunavut.

There are no uranium mines close to southern communities, ie. non-native towns, in Canada. All uranium mined in Canada today is from Aboriginal territory. I wonder why?  Maybe it is because, when Uranium exploration or mining is proposed near non-native towns, people freak out. No way, they say.

If you are going to recommend pandora’s promise (pro-uranium), then I will recommend this article about it:

http://grist.org/climate-energy/some-thoughts-on-pandoras-promise-and-the-nuclear-debate/

ps.u with nti?

#44. Posted by critic on December 17, 2013

Bob, on the Nuclear electricity argument….

Nuclear advocates (like bob) start from a premise that nuke is the only feasible replacement to fossil fuels, especially coal.

Yet, other non-fossil alternatives clearly WORK and DO exist. So implicitly, debate reduces to cost. What’s it cost to reduce carbon emissions? What’s the cheapest, fastest way to do it?

Nuclear has risks that renewables and efficiency do not. Among them cancer, genetic defects, accidents, terrorism and nuclear weapons proliferation (not to be disregarded considering Iran, Iraq, Pakistan,India, N Korea). In Nunavut’s case, possible contamination of caribou calving/post calving grounds forever.

Whatever advantages nuclear has over renewables are presumably worth the additional lost lives & impaired health, or we won’t choose one over the other.

#45. Posted by Bob on December 18, 2013

@43 To your 3 questions… would I like to do it? I’ll admit it’s not in my present skill sets but if I had no other job or career, sure I would.

There have been mines in Ontario and Saskatchewan.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium_mining_in_Canada). 

@44 Non fossil alternatives can work “in some instances”, but they simply lack the ability to produce the amount of power that is required for most large communities, especially if those communities have heavy industrial plants.  Most renewables with the exception of hydro/tidal aren’t feasible for Nunavut either.

Making solar panels is a pretty toxic process by the way.

You talk about lives lost. How about when the planet warms up by another 2 degrees over the next century? The permafrost melts, which then increases globlal temps another 6-8 degrees.  Then you’re talking massive flooding and population die offs from starvation…yeah I’d choose nuclear any day with that prospective outcome.

#46. Posted by Critic on December 18, 2013

Bob,

You’re correct, there have been uranium mines in the south. Only past producers in Ontario. Uranium mining banned in BC and Quebec. What do they know that we don’t? Or do we need the money more than them?
I guess this depends on your viewpoint, and what you are prepared to sacrifice for money. Caribou? Nuna? Health? Water?

It is a waste of money too.

“Nuclear’s main problem is economics, which its supporters seem oddly unwilling to discuss, opting instead for one lay psychological diagnosis of their opponents after another. The subject of economics is broached passingly, if at all…

...It is the most socialist of all energy industries, propped up by governments everywhere it exists….

...Nuke plants are hellishly expensive to finance, build, insure, and decommission. It’s one of the most expensive ways to reduce carbon emissions and it’s not getting any cheaper.”

Google Deline Uranium. Google Navajo Uranium. Google Aborigine Uranium. Read and think.

#47. Posted by Max on December 18, 2013

This is the problem with people who make climate change “the” environmental issue. They’re willing to do anything to address it, without any regard for what sort of toxic radioactive crap they leave behind. Further, when climate change is “the” issue, people assume it can be fixed without fundamentally changing society.

To actually address climate change, without causing a host of other environmental injustices, requires us to dramatically change the way we organize ourselves economically. We live in a system where planned obsolescence, massive amounts of waste, and global chains of manufacturing are necessary.

If we can move beyond those problems, to a system that focuses on human needs and environmental health rather than corporate profits, we’d be going in the right direction. A simple technical shift to nuclear is NOT the answer.

 

Idle No More fight continues after tough 12 months

A year after 1st national day of action, activist vows to push for change

By Ryan McMahon 

The other day, during one of our famous Winnipeg winter storms, I watched dozens of parents pull their kids to school on plastic sleds and overpriced toboggans and I thought to myself, “those kids have legs — what the hell are they doing being pulled to school by their parents.”

 

These kids weren’t babies. They weren’t even toddlers. They were grade school kids. Grade school kids with legs.

I heard the parents joke about the fact that dragging their kids to school was the “toughest thing they’d do all day.” I don’t have an anger problem, in general, but I walked home that day fuming.

 

I’m not sure what triggered the anger. My thoughts on parenting aside — it really bothered me that I felt so angry.

It bothered me that I had such a reaction to such a small thing. I smudged on it. Slept on it. Prayed on it.

A day or so later it came to me.

I am tired.

So many indigenous people in Canada are tired. The hardest thing we face in our communities daily is not dragging our kids to school in sleds and toboggans. The list grows daily. The answers elude us. The frustration grows.

Elsipogtog. LubiconCree Nation. Attawapiskat. Northern Manitoba. The fight for our women, The flight for our children. Poverty. Addictions. These are just some of the hardest things we face in our daili lives.

The support wanes. The players change. The teams stay the same. And we fight. And fight.

It’s been a long year. An intense year of focus. Growth. A year of being Idle No More. A year of rebuilding. It’s been beautiful. And ugly. Every day is a struggle. We live in crisis. We work in crisis.

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence gave us the strength to demand a better deal. To sit at the table with all partners in this relationship. Her demand was simple — indigenous communities, government and the Crown together at a table. It easily could have happened — but it didn’t.

The takeaway from a year in the movement — we need to do things differently. We can do things differently.

The conversation has changed this year. Our youth are more engaged on the ground. Our women are taking their rightful places at the front of much of the grassroots planning.

As hard as the fight is, it’s given us much to focus on.

The land is my god

Let me put it this way - the land is my god. All the land gives me, from my traditional territory, is what I use to keep me well.

The land, water, plants and animals are all present at my ceremonies. We don’t separate ourselves from the land.

 

Why do we fight for the land? For practical reasons — yes. Dirty water kills us. Poisoned fish kill us. Clear cutting destroys ecosystems.

But it's also bigger than that. My religious beliefs depend on the land, ise the land and without that, I cannot be Anishinaabe.

Treaty relationship and Indian Act

Treaty is not honoured today in this country and it cannot be honoured inside the Indian Act system. We must not settle for anything less than treaty enforcement.

 

We will continue to lead ourselves out from under the Indian Act. The colonial relationship has to change. It’s fundamental. We need Canadians to demand it. We need indigenous people to demand it.

This outdated, racist and oppressive legislation was meant to kill Indian people in this country. Law and legislation was never written for idigenous people to flourish. It was meant to kill us.

We don’t want the Indian Act tinkered with — we want it gone.

Decolonize everything

We need to remind ourselves that we don’t need permission from any government or politician to be Anishinaabe, Nehiyaw, Mohawk, Mi’kmaq, Metis, Inuit. We can live this way everyday.

 

Not all of us understand what this means. It means language, culture, ceremony and teachings. It means returning to ourselves. It means calling for an end to the violence in our communities — violence experienced in multiple ways by our women, children, men, and elders in our communities.

We must restore the love and support in our relationships.

'I vow to continue to fight'

The largest indigenous movement in this country is in front of us. Yes, it’s still a movement. We’re still working. We’re still pushing. We’re still asking people to join the fight.

 

We have a lot to do. Most people have more questions than answers. Some of the answers are there. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal People and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are decent places to start to look for answers.

I vow to continue to fight. I will take my place in the circle and fight.

I’m going to continue the fight with a sled in my hand though. I’m going out to buy one today. I want my daughters to feel the privilege and entitlement those other kids have if not for just a few minutes a day. They deserve it. And hopefully when they’re my age the fight won’t be as hard.

www.cbc.ca

 

Supporting the Actions of Indigenous Peoples

Idle No More & Defenders of the Land Support the Actions of Indigenous Peoples of Elsipogtog, Barriere Lake & Lubicon Lake Nation to Protect Their Waters, Lands & Forests

Idle No More and Defenders of the Land networks call on Indigenous Peoples and Canadians to support Indigenous Nations currently engaged in protecting their lands and waters against the corporate-sponsored agendas of the federal and provincial governments. 

In the past month, the Mi'kmaq of Elsipogtog, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and the Cree of Lubicon Lake Nation have been involved in land protection struggles to defend against invasive extractive natural resource development (natural gas exploration, drilling for oil & natural gas/fracking and clear cut logging) taking place on their territories without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

In each of these land struggles, there are people camping and protecting lands outside in extreme winter weather conditions before the holidays to keep industry activity at bay. Despite weather dipping to -30º C on some days, men, women, children and Elders continue to protect the land to ensure their grandchildren and future generations have something left for their sustenance and livelihood.

We condemn the collusion between the Federal/Provincial governments and corporations who work together to implement economic development plans and activities that disregard the Inherent Aboriginal and Treaty Rights held by Indigenous Peoples.

Sylvia McAdam, an Idle No More organizer stated "we are against shale gas exploration and fracking. We do not support puppet regimes that endorse extractive industry natural resource development on Indigenous lands. We support the FPIC of the Indigenous People's impacted by extractive resource development on their Indigenous lands."

Russell Diabo, a member of the Defenders of the Land network, added "the Lubicon Lake Nation protectors are rights holders and are to be commended for their personal sacrifice in camping in the bitter cold to stop unauthorized oil and natural gas development on their traditional lands."

"The Canadian and provincial government's current energy and mining policies are designed to destroy the environment. If they are genuinely interested in reshaping Canada's energy policy in a positive direction they must recognize and affirm Aboriginal and Treaty Rights on the ground," said Arthur Manuel, a member of the Defenders of the Land network.

[Note: Idle No More and Defenders of the Land are Networks of Indigenous Peoples/Communities and Canadians who are committed to protecting the environment, waters and lands while promoting the sovereignty and rights of Indigenous Peoples and Nations.]

SOURCE Idle No More

www.digitaljournal.com

 

 

A proposed uranium mine in Nunavut is causing concern in Saskatchewan

The Athabasca Denesuline don't want the uranium moving through — or over — their traditional territory.

At issue is Areva Resources’ Kiggavik project near Baker Lake.

Areva proposes to fly concentrated uranium from Kiggavik to northern Saskatchewan, then move it from there by truck and train.

In a letter to the Nunavut Impact Review Board, the Athabasca Denesuline say they’re worried about possible accidents and "irreversible destruction" to the environment.

Barry McCallum of Areva says the concerns are overblown.

“Impacts to wildlife would be expected to be low, localized and temporary,” he says. “Because spills are relatively easy to clean up. And that's all in the draft environmental impact statement"

Areva plans to fly about 5,000 tonnes of concentrated uranium each year the 800 km from Kiggavik to Points North, Sask., likely using a Hercules C-130 aircraft. 

That would average almost one plane load per day.

The Athabasca Denesuline says the flight path would be almost entirely over their traditional territory.

Nobody from the Athabasca Denesuline was available to speak to CBC.

The Kiggavik project is still under review.

Areva hopes to start mining by 2020, at the earliest.

www.cbc.ca

Nunavut residents consider future of oil and wildlife in Lancaster Sound

"Will the oil and gas potential have a role in this? Absolutely."

BY DAVID MURPHY

There’s an ocean of oil lying under the proposed conservation area of Lancaster Sound, Nunavut.

But the area is also home to more than a million birds, Canada’s largest polar bear subpopulation and an estimated 75 per cent of the world’s narwhals.

Which makes Lancaster Sound spectacular in many ways.

Members of the public heard a lot about oil, gas and wildlife Dec. 2 at a public consultation meeting in Iqaluit to discuss a proposed National Marine Conservation Area in Lancaster Sound, the body of water which separates northern Baffin Island from Devon Island.

If the conservation area is approved, there would be no oil and gas extraction there, but it all depends on how the map is drawn. It’s still in preliminary stages and areas rich in natural resources could be excluded.

There certainly is incentive for that. Based on the most recent Parks Canada research in Lancaster Sound, the seabed contains 13 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 4.5 billion barrels of oil.

“These are very large numbers, ones that we don’t often use,” said Natural Resources Canada project geologist Danny Wright. “It’s hard for us to imagine how much that is.”

That amount of oil is comparable to the Hibernia oil field, off the coast of Newfoundland — the world’s largest oil platform.

Lancaster Sound is not the largest oil field in the world — that title goes to Ghawar in Saudi Arabia, thought to contain more than 100 billion barrels of oil.

But there’s still a lot of oil, explained Wright, enough to supply world demand for 50 days.

He warned that it’s just an estimate. To be sure about how much oil is in the sound, “you would have to go there and do drilling,” Wright said.

Parks Canada didn’t even look at other alternative gases, older rocks,  and a few other ways gas can be stored.

“There could be potentially more oil and gas in Lancaster Sound,” Wright said.

The tentative proposal for the National Marine Conservation Area by Parks Canada would cover just over 40,000 square kilometres.

“It’s actually quite huge,” Carey Elverum of Parks Canada said.

The reason Parks Canada is looking to protect the area is because critical wildlife thrives there.

There are “several species at risk” in the area, which include “bowhead, beluga, narwhal, and polar bear, that rely on Lancaster sound for critical life stages,” said Francine Mercier of Parks Canada.

About 75 per cent of the world’s narwhal population and 20 per cent of the beluga population reside in Lancaster Sound.

In addition, it’s home to 17 per cent of the Canadian polar bear population — the largest subpopulation in Canada.

“It also supports the largest seabird colonies in the Canadian Arctic. There’s about 350,000 pairs of seabirds. And if you count the non-sea birds, there’s about a million birds there,” Mercier said.

The amount of oil in Lancaster Sound doesn’t necessarily put the conservation area in jeopardy, said David Monteith of Nunavut Parks and Special Places. 

“The end result of the feasibility study is going to be a report that will have a variety of options,” Monteith said.

“Will the oil and gas potential have a role in this? Absolutely. We’re just not sure what that will be,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say the oil and gas potential will be the deciding factor — I think it’s just one component,” Monteith said.

The president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and the environmental ministers for the governments of Nunavut and Canada all have to agree on a proposed plan.

But there’s a long way to go before the proposal takes shape.

Parks Canada is still in its feasibility assessment stage. After that, a steering committee report, an Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement and an interim management plan all need be completed before Parliament can pass the proposed conservation area. 

For now there are some discrepancies on what the map should look like.

The QIA travelled with Parks Canada to the affected communities of Grise Fiord, Resolute Bay, Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet, and Clyde River.

The regional Inuit association then compiled data based on Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. Their proposed area extends both west and east — at each opening of the Sound — from what Parks Canada is recommending.

The QIA boundary also cuts through land that has been leased out by the Canadian government to oil company Shell.

It is unknown how long the lease lasts, but the lease began several decades ago, according to the QIA.

“We’ve got to take in all information that feeds into the decision. Once we’ve been to all the communities, gathered all the information,” Elverum said, “the six steering committee members will sit down and look at all the information we have to make a decision on a recommendation.”

The QIA and Parks Canada will travel to the six communities again in early 2014 to get more feedback on their revised plans. 

www.nunatsiaqonline.com

NUNATSIAQ NEWS Comments:

#1. Posted by eskimo joe on December 04, 2013

here’s how any deal should be like; iiba should change as follows: closet communities to sites for developments should receive 50% of any royalties of any sort (mining, oil doesn’t matter), 40% to the people of the region where development will be and the reminder to rio’s. sounds good? make this happen baffin then you will hear qia whistling a different tune. why should all that $$ goes to qia? so the staff can travel more? higher wages? benefit of the staff? better staff housing, more company vehicles? when inuit orgs screw up, they do screw big time. case in point baker lake should have taken most of the meadow bank benefits, not david and company.

#2. Posted by Selling Out?! on December 04, 2013

Seriously, why would this even be a consideration?! The impact this would have, aside from the possibility of a catastrophic accident, is so outrageous I, for one, have to strongly protest. This area, among others and all for that matter, is so entirely critical to the species that will be affected it is another step in the wrong direction for Canadians, humans and sadly the wildlife, which again come last in our selfish processes! Shame on us!

LJP

#3. Posted by jimmyy on December 04, 2013

Enough to supply world demand for fifty days?

Is that worth risking damage to the environment?

I have no idea!!

#4. Posted by Selling Out?! on December 04, 2013

Meant to add that as well, jimmyy. 50 days…sickening!

#5. Posted by Think about the consequences on December 04, 2013

I can’t believe eskimo joe is already considering the money involved. Although I know that big oil is a mammoth monster and under the conservative government, it has been hard to stop their progress, but I would hope that everyone would consider the future of Nunavut’s environment. 

Listen to this: 16 of the worlds largest cargo ships emit as much sulphur pollution as ALL CARS OF THE WORLD COMBINED. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1229857/How-16-ships-create-pollution-cars-world.html)
Now consider the fact that the IIBA for the Mary River Iron ore project was just approved and shipping to the north will increase dramatically starting in the summer of 2015 and increase year by year, eventually shipping year-round. 
The money flowing into Nunavut will be good economically, but will be an environmental disaster from just the increase in emissions. Destruction of our earth for generations, all in the name of advancement today. losing faith in humankind.

#6. Posted by Psea on December 04, 2013

I cant get my head around that this has even remotely been considered. The current government will not address the effect of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming so forget about them backing the people of the north and protecting their livelihood and way of life. This is some of last untamed wilderness on earth. Say no to this rape of the earth. Money spent on oil and gas exploration would go a long way into sustainable green energy.  TAKE A SNIFF HARPER . You cant even run your own office above board why should you run the country any differently. David Suziki was right.

#7. Posted by Bob on December 04, 2013

@5 There really isn’t that much money flowing into Nunavut from these projects, compared to the amount of money that the federal government injects into the GN each and every year.

The only money that Nunavut/GN could receive, would be a percentage of the “after cost” revenue that is generated.  Production costs in Nunavut for any mining/oil/gas project are incredibly high, so the money left after isn’t much, and most is pocketed by the select associations and their close associates.

Most of the consumables these mining projects use are not bought locally, they’re brought up from the South.  The same is true for most of the workforce. 

The vast majority of the Nunavut population will not see any benefit from these projects.

#8. Posted by jimmyy on December 05, 2013

Well I am not an expert, but Iknow that there are a lot of Inuit employed at the Mary River Project.

The said employees pay taxes, and support their families.

I might be wrong, but this is not costing the GN any money, I don’t think they are even involved in training, although the GN has trained a lot of HEO over the years.

This is now paying off!!

#9. Posted by jimmyy on December 05, 2013

Whatever the reason hamlets are in debt and laying off employees.

We have to support (feed) our families!!