In early December The Narwhal got an insider news tip that some “big, good news” was going to come from the provincial government within a few days.
Eyebrows were raised. 
As were our suspicions.
‘Good news’ announcements from government are a strange thing for journalists because, more often than not, glossy government PR is designed to serve the interests of those in power, to seize a reporter’s attention, overemphasize favourable things and just, sort of, you know, not mention the unfavourable things.
In this instance the province of B.C. was celebrating what they considered a major conservation win: they were putting an end to controversial clear-cut logging in the ‘Doughnut Hole,’ an unprotected patch of mountainous forest nestled between two provincial parks.
The announcement was well received but it neglected to mention that while no more forestry would occur in this area, mining permits for the area, held by Imperial Metals, are still very much alive … as is the growing concern downstream of the Doughnut Hole, which is at the headwaters of the Skagit River, one of the most productive salmon rivers in the U.S.

The Narwhal jumped on the opportunity to tell the story behind the story of the ‘good news’ announcement, by traveling from the Doughnut Hole down the Skagit River south of the border to hear from those who stand to lose the most from tainted waters.
This week’s on-the-ground feature by journalist Christopher Pollon and photographer Fernando Lessa begins with e-bikes on a snowy mountaintop and ends at the Skagit estuary, where local tribes are joining Canadian First Nations in the fight against the Doughnut Hole mine.
Be sure to read on for much more this week.
Emma Gilchrist

Inside another kind of ‘war room’ — meet the Alberta climate activists who say they’re not scared of Jason Kenney

By Sharon J. Riley

Alberta’s government has promised to clamp down on environmental groups criticizing the oil and gas industry, but these organizers see that more as a rallying cry than a reason to back down. Read more.

Meet the young Indigenous organizers working to bring together ceremony and activism in Alberta

By Sharon J. Riley

For Indigenous activists in Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton), a change in government doesn't necessarily mean a change in tactics. Read more.

Canada’s reindeer ‘at risk of extinction’

By Sharon J. Riley

As governments drag their feet on caribou habitat protections, the iconic species engraved on the Canadian quarter is winking out across the country. The year 2019 saw alarming declines and local extinctions of a species Indigenous peoples hold sacred. Read more.

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The Narwhal · Suite 634 · 185 - 911 Yates St. · Victoria, BC V8V 4Y9 · Canada