Beluga whale

In a unanimous decision On July 27, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against oil companies and in favor of the Inuit hamlet of Clyde River in a landmark ruling that will have far-reaching and lasting impacts across Canada in terms of Indigenous rights and resource extraction projects, including Arctic oil exploration, tar sands and pipelines.

The 1,000 person community of Clyde River took their case to the highest court in the country to fight seismic blasting, a dangerous form of oil exploration involving firing loud, underwater explosions to map the seabed for oil deposits. The marine life upon which the community has traditionally depended for food security could have be harmed, even killed, by the deafening noise of the blasts.

Farrah Khan, Greenpeace Canada Arctic campaigner, said:

“Today, we send our gratitude to the Clyde River Hamlet, Hunters and Trappers Organization, and former Mayor Jerry Natanine who have fought tirelessly for the last three years to uphold their rights and fight for Arctic protection. Clyde River has been waiting in uncomfortable anticipation as their food sovereignty and entire way of life hung in the balance. This has truly been a life or death case for Clyde River and this ruling provides hope for Indigenous communities to assert their sovereignty and rights over energy resource projects on their lands and in their waters.”

The impacts of this ruling extend far beyond this one region and will result in the protection of marine animals — including beluga, narwhal and bowhead whale populations — and safeguarding our climate from the unnecessary exploitation of Arctic oil reserves.”

Source: Greenpeace Canada – article in French – (27/07/2017)