Nunatsiaq Online
LETTERS: Around the Arctic July 09, 2014 - 7:37 am

Valcourt responds to Nunatsiaq News editorial

"Our government will continue working with its partners to ensure Canada's North remains an attractive place to live, work and invest."


Thank you for the opportunity to clarify recent misinformation printed in your paper concerning seismic testing in the East Baffin Region.

Our Government is committed to encouraging economic development in a manner that balances Northern, and National interests. This means protecting the environment to provide greater prosperity for all Canadians for generations to come. Canada’s Northern Strategy represents the Government’s commitment to this priority.

Due to the recent misinformation printed in your paper, I believe it is important to remind Northerners of the facts in order to ensure they have the correct information.

The process for any organization to receive approval to conduct seismic testing in Canada’s North is rigorous and lengthy.

As a first step, Multi-Klient Invest (MKI) was required to demonstrate that Canadians would be provided with a full and fair opportunity to participate economically from their offshore activities by submitting a Benefits Plan to the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AANDC.) The submission and approval of their Benefits Plan is necessary in order for any organization to proceed to the next step.

On June 10, 2014, AANDC approved the Benefits Plan, allowing MKI to proceed to the next step.

The next steps involve submitting an application to the National Energy Board (NEB), an independent federal agency entrusted with regulating energy exploration and development. The NEB is subject to the Canadian Oil and Gas Operations Act which makes it illegal to conduct any such exploration without consideration for the safety and protection of persons, the environment, and navigable waters.

Further, the National Energy Board carried out a scientific and technical review of the application, which included consideration of community and public concerns. On the basis of this review process, the project was approved by the NEB subject to 15 conditions.

Finally, the NEB decision is related to seismic testing only, it does not allow for offshore drilling or any other type of resource extraction.

Our Government will continue working with its partners to ensure Canada’s North remains an attractive place to live, work and invest.

Bernard Valcourt
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

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(19) Comments:

#1. Posted by IceClass on July 09, 2014

so all Valcourt is saying is: “We heard you but we disagree with you.”

The impacts of seismic testing are well known and documented.

Thanks and goodbye Leona.

#2. Posted by a guy on road to nowhere on July 09, 2014

...and he has even the audacity to reply.

I don’t see any reference to the fact that the communities involved expressed firm disapproval.

How curios.

#3. Posted by East Baffin on July 09, 2014

Same old government tactics. Mr.Valcourt,if you plan to do seismic testing just for fun,cancel it today. Our homeland is already attractive enough without you and your partners.

#4. Posted by old dog on July 09, 2014

What is most interesting about the response is the fact that this is the first time in about a decade that this Government department was able to address anything within a 24 hour period.
  By that measure, the editorial must be very good.
Are the Cons sensitive or what? LOL

#5. Posted by AJM on July 09, 2014

Link to the NEB report on this project. I encourage everyone to read it to understand what seismic testing really is. Also available in Inuktitut. You will see no dynamite is involved!

#6. Posted by earth3rd on July 09, 2014

No dynamite is involved. Do you blast some kind of sound waves instead because it may be cheaper? I have read about animals beaching themselves and dying in the sun to avoid this kind of test.

#7. Posted by Bill C-38 changed NEB and still in house Federal B on July 09, 2014

Bill C-38 took drastic action against the environment and changed National Energy Board(NEB) big time.

NEB isn’t totally an independent board but and in house federal board, now with limited powers. Bill C-38 helped reduce 40 department and agencies who do environmental reviews down to 3. Bill also weakens habitat protection, permanent alteration or destruction of habitats so now no long prohibited to do those things.

Slashed funding to Canadian Environment Agency,firing hundreds of scientist who contribute to environmental review process. Now NEB reviews are fast and less on science.

Bill C-38 took democratic rights away to speak on issues which impact them. Going so far NEB decides who can speak and what they can say. And the environmental harm on animals/ fish may not be considered.

Bill C-38 amends the Coasting Trade Act allowing for more seismic testing, thus leading for quicker off shore drilling. When that happens Bill C-38 further rips away your democratic rights.

#8. Posted by Peter Ivalu on July 10, 2014

Very funny Bernard, “Our Government is committed to… protecting the environment…” blah blah blah. Since when did our government ever decided to protect the environment? We Inuit don’t have a say in any national matters, especially those involving economic development. Canada’s Northern Strategy is one developed in the south for Southerners. We Nunavummiut have nothing to gain from it. “Community and public concerns” must mean those living South of Sixty as Inuit concerns continue to be ignored.

#9. Posted by Nothing to gain? on July 10, 2014

We have plenty to gain! The only way our Territory will ever be self sufficient is through the development of our natural resources in a responsible matter.

How can we do that if we dont know how much and where our resources are? Is there a way of doing this without impacting the environment in anyway? No but there are ways of limiting that impact. See here.

The decision has been made to move forward with the testing. Concerned groups should now focus on how the testing is going to be carried out, monitored and what safeguards are in place to minimize the impact.

#10. Posted by NU vs. PC Government on July 10, 2014

Our Government is committed to encouraging economic development in a manner that balances Northern, and National interests. This means protecting the environment to provide greater prosperity for all Canadians for generations to come.

Translation, Southern Canada doesn’t give a rats ass in protecting, preserving or advancing the beneficiaries of Nunavut. Take what we can to sell off to other Countries and leave the Northerners to figure out how to fix it.

#11. Posted by Concerned Citizen on July 10, 2014

He won’t be Minister when the first oil disaster strikes.

#12. Posted by Nunavut Demand Truths on July 10, 2014

Valcourt sounds like Rob Ford, where facts and truths about the environment are not told.

Look over this list the-canadian-war-on-science-a-long-unexaggerated-devastating-chronological-indictment found here:

Shows you a very grim and worrisome picture on what little science is left and how the environment is being tossed out like garbage, as being in the way.

Another and shorter article gives Nunavut’s MP comments about the environment, then gives you the facts which the Environment minister doesn’t.

We all know about Ms. Aglukkaq’s Jackpine tar sands ok, making it scary what will happen to the Arctic. Like indigenous people are nothings.

“I determined that the designated project is likely to cause significance adverse environmental effects,”... “decided that the significant adverse environmental effects that the designated project is likely to cause, are justified in the circumstances,”

#13. Posted by Jim Milne on July 10, 2014

Remember, if you criticize this government on environmental issues, you are an extremist. Extremists get put onto the government’s enemies list. That list must be getting awfully long by now.

#14. Posted by Northerner on July 10, 2014

I live in Nunavut, and am a NLCB, I knew the feds could override anything in our lands claims, I voted no because we did not have enough power, I hoped back then the announcement would be no. just so you all know, feds have final say, no matter what NTI, QIA or the two KIA’s say…feds can override any decision.

#15. Posted by earth3rd on July 10, 2014

If I am to believe what I read in the Nunatsiaq News the NTI and QIA are in favour of this project. If your not happy with that I suggest you deluge them in complaints.

#16. Posted by David on July 10, 2014

The Conservative government has done nothing for the north except lie and ignore missing aboriginal women. Time to vote Liberal!

#17. Posted by #13 - Yes "Enemy of the State" on July 10, 2014

Yes #13 Harper’s way to bully, suppress the public from speaking out the truth by labelling them an “Enemy of the state”. Putting you on a list to be watched, spied on for being concerned for your food source now and your kids future food source.

Why is Nunavut MP so against Nunavut people, animals, sea animals, our food sources and life?

Another question is how much is QIA and KIA’s helping Nunavut Mp build the ‘enemy of the state’ list of people across Nunavut?  All Federal departments have been given the letter to pass on any and all names.

Your democratic rights are rapidly being stripped away as Canada becomes Dictator ruled.  Nunavut’s MP is leading the charge tossing environmental protection and environmental science out the window.

Here is a book about what is happening to Canada:

The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper’s Canada

#18. Posted by Concerned Citizen on July 11, 2014

If only Nunavut had an MP who gave a damn about anything other than being a mouthpiece for the PM. Next election.

#19. Posted by Taqulik on July 11, 2014

Valcourt is another of Harper’s jokers! They are funny those neo-cons: they gut all environmental laws, make the NEB a government’s puppet, eliminate most of the legislation protecting fish habitat and then they have the nerve to say they’re committed to protecting the environment!

It’s true that voters have a short attention span but not to that extent! Valcourt’s comments are hollow, mean absolutely nothing and tell Nunavummiut basically to FO. The feds have the power to do whatever they want and they’ll use it.

Now, for the Inuit, if you want to protect your land and your culture perhaps it would be worth looking at the Tsilhqot’in decision of the Supreme Court of Canada and see if it could give you some legal tools to face the Harper government and save your land.

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