William Gagnon’s departure from the GNWTs Department of Infrastructure on Earth Day, April 22, once again drew attention to this government’s failure to deal with the climate change crisis.

But we’ve known that for a long time — now we have it on paper. No amount of green-washing can mask the GNWTs dismal attempt to deal with a crisis raging out of control and now putting lives at risk. So bogged down in red tape and years of endless study that almost nothing is being done to stave off the crisis’s impact.

In his resignation letter, widely circulated throughout the department, Gagnon, an engineer by training who was the department’s climate change strategic lead, said he felt “irrelevant, confused and gaslit.”

A quote in his resignation letter reads, “I felt bullied into not including reports that point to climate risks on northern infrastructure in my work and I felt ridiculed when I was called ‘alarmist’ and ‘irresponsible’ for writing ‘climate crisis’ in a work document.”

Some government personnel seem to be more concerned with SPP (security, pay cheques and pension plans) than following through on real action.

Regardless of the reason why, we’re not seeing results and the government’s failure to address that is putting northerners at risk.

Maybe it’s time the public demand a monthly accounting card from the department telling us how those action plans are coming along.

We haven’t forgotten that an election is just over a year away.

Break up is around the corner and flooding in Fort Providence and Fort Good Hope is expected to be worse this year than last. We still haven’t recovered from the floods of 2021.

This issue is critical to our survival. This government has shown that it cannot develop a workable action plan—it’s in the middle of another one now. The climate-change-crisis file needs to be turned over to non-governmental agencies who can get the work done.

This government has shown that it can’t and we don’t have time for more waffling.

To the GNWT, if you can’t take Gagnon’s word for it, maybe you will listen to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who issued this stern warning last month at the launch of the third intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

“We are on a pathway to global warming of more than double the 1.5 C limit agreed in Paris,” he said. “Some government and business leaders are saying one thing but doing another. Simply put, they are lying. And the result will be catastrophic. This is a climate emergency.”


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