Public Benefit Journalism Project
In partnership with the Centre for Investigative Journalism, I-SEA is pleased to feature quality investigative journalism projects in areas of public interest, with specific emphasis on Indigenous issues and impacts of climate change, and Canada's clean energy technologies.
First Nations Forward
It was an apology decades in the making.
Initially delayed for a day by a storm, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Iqaluit, capital of the Arctic Canadian territory of Nunavut, on March 8, to deliver an historic apology to Inuit communities.
The apology, on behalf of the Crown, was related to the federal government's mismanagement of tuberculosis in the Arctic from the 1940s to the 1960s.
Centuries ago, the Jericho Lands were home to large cedar plank longhouses, where thousands of people from up and down the Pacific Coast would gather.
They would fish for smelt, coho and chum from nearby creeks and the ocean and hunt for deer and elk on the land. The people of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations called it ʔəy ̓alməxʷ or the slightly different Iy ̓álmexw. It was pronounced Ee’yullmough.
Now, the three nations and the Canada Lands Corporation, who together own the land, and the City of Vancouver, are inviting Vancouverites to create a vision for the area’s future.
The national Inuit organization in Canada says the Trudeau government’s new Indigenous languages bill has failed to address Inuit rights.
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) expressed “disappointment” Tuesday in Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez’s new legislation, Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act, calling it a “symbolic gesture.”
The history, power and beauty of Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation’s traditional territories and her descendants speak through at UBC’s Belkin Gallery in a new exhibition. Hexsa’am: To be Here Always, intended to be experienced and embodied, tells stories that date back generations and invites participants to listen to the voices of Dzawada’enuxw ancestors speak to today’s generation.
The Dzawada’enuxw First Nation filed an 'Aboriginal rights' lawsuit against the government of Canada, challenging the federal permits that allow Atlantic farmed salmon farms in their traditional territories. Chiefs, artists and community members traveled to Vancouver Thursday for a press conference and art exhibit at night to kick off the Nation's legal action.
Indigenous journalists do the job differently, and they always have. That's what Tristan Ahtone, Simon Moya-Smith, Angela Sterritt, Candis Callison and Julian Noisecat told National Observer's Emilee Gilpin when she asked about their experiences in the industry and their predictions for the future of a steadily shifting media landscape in North America. Here's what they had to say.
Author Tommy Orange didn't expect his first novel There There to get so much attention. Published in June, he hit The New York Times best seller list right away and stayed for 11 weeks. Orange sat down with National Observer while he visited Vancouver for the annual week-long 2018 Writer's Fest to discuss his novel, his childhood, where he learned to write and the upside of a Trump presidency.
Orange, who's Southern Cheyenne, spent four years (from 2012-2017) crafting 'There There,' a tale following the lives of 12 characters from Oakland, California, whose lives converge at a PowWow at the Oakland Coliseum.
Trays of deer meat, cups of hot coffee, eight fire pits, a tepee full of laughing children and medicines — it was a good day to welcome Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Tsilhqot’in title land.
"Canada’s big chief," as the Tsilhqot’in chiefs like to call him, traveled to Xeni Gwet’in (one of six Tsilhqot'in communities), to exonerate six war chiefs who were killed by the colonial government of 1864/1865 in front of the community. Tsilhqot'in membership traveled from far and wide to attend the historic Nov. 2, 2018 event.
Jatinder Singh never imagined that a street sign in Victoria's Cook Street village would take him on a journey that stretched back to 1864.
He certainly never imagined that curiosity about a street which reminded him of his Punjab homeland would also bring him stories of the village of Maaqtusiis (Ahousaht) on the west coast of what is now known as British Columbia, or that it would connect his Sikh community to Ahousaht today, in the spirit of meaningful reconciliation.
Eden Robinson has been writing ever since she was a "moody teenage girl" who just wanted to hole up in her room and write poetry. She still hides and hibernates, to give birth to her rich, dark, humorous award-winning stories. But sometimes she emerges to share secrets about her inspiration and success.
Canada's Clean Economy
There is mistrust and suspicion of government intentions. There are fears about devastating impacts to communities. There's anxiety over whether officials can deliver on promises. And there's frustration with being disparaged as dirty.
These are some of the stark assessments from the thousands of workers in coal mines and coal-fired power plants across Canada that were captured by 11 experts appointed by the government almost a year ago.
The special task force was launched by Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna on April 25, 2018 to investigate how to fairly provide for these workers as their livelihoods are taken offline over the next decade.
Alberta's NDP government is planning a new auction for renewable energy capacity that is aiming to move it closer to its 2030 target of getting 30 per cent of its electricity supply from wind, solar and other green sources.
The government announced plans on Tuesday to add another 400 megawatts of renewable electricity capacity to its energy mix by way of an auction that mandates that the winning project or projects benefit Indigenous communities.
The auction will be the fourth auction of renewable electricity capacity as the oil-rich province creeps closer to its 2030 target, the government said in a statement. Currently about 10 per cent of Alberta’s electricity generation comes from renewable sources, the statement added.
Alberta's NDP government says that sharp reductions in pollution from electricity production in the oil-rich province over the past two years prove that carbon pricing is effective.
The new numbers are based on the data that the government collects from the electricity-generating facilities themselves and was made available on request to National Observer.
The developers of a long-delayed electricity transmission project to transport hydroelectric power from Quebec to the New York City metropolitan area say that construction will start in 2020.
British Columbia's environment and climate change minister has his work cut out for him. Last month, George Heyman committed to reduce B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions 40 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2030.
Through any lens, it is a tall order. To meet its goal, government will need to do nothing short of transform our communities and industries. Specifically, the province will need to convert everything that now runs on fossil fuels — home furnaces, vehicles, factories, the works — to instead run efficiently on clean and renewable electricity.
Canada is omitting a major source of pollution from its calculations of impacts of a key climate change policy, according to a federal document. The methodology is putting Canada at odds with policies adopted by both the United States and California.
Coal workers and their communities need to be included in the government's coal phase-out discussions, say labour leaders, in order to build trust around environmental initiatives and craft policy that is better connected to real anxieties and concerns.
More than two years after the Trudeau government's first infrastructure budget in 2016, it still has yet to show how much money has gone out the door to fund projects that are underway — valued at over $9 billion so far.
Looming over the discussions, however, was another major issue — one that Trudeau wouldn’t raise until the very end of his remarks. Most climate policy experts say a low-carbon future that addresses climate change will necessarily mean fewer jobs in fossil fuels, and require what labour leaders describe as a "just transition" for displaced workers to find jobs in emerging industries.Looming over the discussions, however, was another major issue — one that Trudeau wouldn’t raise until the very end of his remarks. Most climate policy experts say a low-carbon future that addresses climate change will necessarily mean fewer jobs in fossil fuels, and require what labour leaders describe as a "just transition" for displaced workers to find jobs in emerging industries.
By many accounts, major public transit projects are a ticket to green growth — but only if they can stay on track. Just take a look at Ottawa's beleaguered light rail transit (LRT), writes Carl Meyer.