The package that never arrived

The package that never arrived r1 ... The Narwhal's masthead logo A gif of a narwhal tusk expanding toward our goal to add 500 new members in May. Wow, thank you. When I shared the news of The Narwhal’s new Manitoba reporter, part of a groundbreaking new partnership with the Winnipeg Free Press, I asked each of you if you could help us take even bigger steps to re-define what’s possible in Canadian media by becoming a member of our pod.

And 80 of you did just that — a show of support that means we’re now a quarter of the way toward our mission to add 500 new members in May. Will you help us reach 500? If just one in 100 people reading this join as a member, we’ll be able to publish three ambitious investigations this year.

At The Narwhal, we know that preaching to the choir isn’t going to change the world — and that’s why it’s such a huge moment for us to be partnering with the largest Canadian newsroom west of Toronto. All of reporter Julia-Simone Rutgers’ stories will be published in both The Narwhal and the Winnipeg Free Press.

This is a major breakthrough that will help fill a void for in-depth and investigative environmental journalism in Manitoba, bringing readers the kinds of stories they can’t find anywhere else.

Investigative environmental journalism is needed now more than ever — and we need your help to pull off three critically important stories that deserve to be told. Will you be among the one in 100 who help to bring these stories to life?

Emma Gilchrist
YES, I’M IN — AND SEND ME A MAG ↓ A spread from our print edition: A spread from our print edition, with a photo of RCMP officers conducting arrests.
Speaking of investigative stories, we just published some pretty, pretty, pretty big ones — including two about the RCMP.

Ever since the police force conducted militarized raids on Wet’suwet’en territory in northwest B.C. this past November, arresting land defenders and journalists, our team has been trying to make sense of what exactly happened.

This week — after a five-month process of collecting and sorting through a large volume of evidence — we have uncovered some stunning revelations.

Peppered with questions from managing editor Mike De Souza and northwest B.C. reporter Matt Simmons, the RCMP offered some contradictory and confounding responses. The Mounties claimed to have trouble locating key documents, including an email that a senior commander sent to himself. The investigation also revealed what some officers were saying about Indigenous land defenders and their allies when police thought nobody was listening.

And at a key moment when a senior RCMP official told Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs — who never consented to the Coastal GasLink pipeline — that the Mounties wanted to negotiate peacefully, the force was also planning a raid led by heavily armed tactical officers and police service dogs.
Militarized police run to cut power, radio and internet supply to a tiny house at Coyote Camp in Gidimt'en territory near Houston, B.C., on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021
“I was skeptical about some of the claims made by the RCMP in November 2021 after they arrested journalists covering Indigenous land defenders and their allies,” Mike says. “I was more skeptical after Matt and I reviewed more than an hour of video and audio recordings, dozens of affidavits filed in court by the RCMP and dozens of pages of internal government records and correspondence, including letters from pipeline company TC Energy. Some things didn’t quite add up.”

Among the things that didn’t quite add up? An email from a senior RCMP commander to the RCMP’s commissioner that alleged the arrested journalists — including photojournalist Amber Bracken, who was on assignment for The Narwhal — were activists, and that a “package” of evidence “bring into question their impartiality and show they have been advocating and assisting the protesters.”

That package of evidence never materialized.

“The idea that they can do this in secret, without needing to produce any evidence is a chilling comment on the state of press freedoms in Canada,” Amber says. “I hold myself to the highest standard of ethical reporting and have not been given an opportunity to respond to these false allegations.”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. These investigations also provide fresh evidence about the role of pipeline company TC Energy and its relationship with the RCMP.

“These stories are important because they show what kind of challenges journalists may face when they report on Indigenous Rights and the fossil fuel industry,” Mike says. “Obstruction, secrecy and even violence and arrests are sadly part of our jobs now. We think the public deserves to know the truth.”

We hope you spend time reading these pieces.

And if you believe in journalism that holds those in power to account, become a member of The Narwhal today for any amount you can afford.

Take care and avoid contradictions,

Arik Ligeti
Director of audience
BECOME A NARWHAL Ontario election event invite We’re hosting an Ontario election event!

We invited the Progressive Conservatives, but they turned us down. Everyone else is coming — and we hope you’ll join us, too.


This week in The Narwhal

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This Ontario election, Doug Ford is promising a road to the Ring of Fire, again. But internal documents show requests for $1 billion in federal funding haven't advanced since 2018.

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Julia-Simone Rutgers Meet Julia-Simone Rutgers, The Narwhal’s new Manitoba reporter in collaboration with the Winnipeg Free Press
By Mike De Souza

What we’re reading

Globe: At winter’s end, glaciologists take annual trek to measure glacier loss. With climate change accelerating, their findings are profound Hakai: Using a Board Game to Plan for a Changing Planet gif of a dog waiting by a window When you’re waiting for a package that never arrives. Tell your friends they can r63

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