A Despairing Optimist Looks Northward
In the 1970′s the MacKenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry, headed by Justice Tom Berger, and the land claim cases launched by the Québec Cree Indians (against the massive James Bay hydro-electric dam projects on the La Grande River) highlighted the shockingly thin data base available to predict the ecological, social, cultural, and economic impacts of massive development proposals in Northern Canada. Many Canadians became aware of the fact that Canadians had a very tenuous relationship with the Arctic Region.
In part, this led to the commissioning of a comprehensive report for the federal government prepared by Dr. Tom Symons, the founding president of Trent University. His report, “To Know Ourselves” published in 1976, remains as the most systematic and definitive analysis of research in Canada prior to the mid 1970′s.
This report was prepared in 1982 for the President’s Advisory Committee of York University in Toronto, Ontario and Professor Symons. It was a follow-up on Symon’s path-breaking 1976 report.