MiningWatch Canada is a federally registered non-profit society.
The Directors have expertise and experience in community economic development, human health, education, resource management, labour rights, organisational management and fund-raising, international development, and Indigenous issues. Individual board members are responsible to the member organisations of MiningWatch as a whole and do not, in their governance capacity, represent specific organisational interests or affiliations.
Co-Chairs: Donna Ashamock, Elysia Petrone Reitberger
Treasurer: Jean Symes
Secretary: Esperanza Moreno
Directors: Justin Connidis, Tracy Glynn, Blaine Grinder, Tara Lamothe, Alexandra Pedersen, Hilu Tagoona
Donna Ashamock, Co-Chair
As an Eeyou/Inninew (Cree) community organizer for over twenty years, Donna Ashamock contributed to the development of Indigenous governance with a self-defined Indigenous community—MoCreebec—in Moosonee and Moose Factory in northeastern Ontario. Donna is a member of the Cree Nation and affiliated with Fort Albany First Nation. Grounded in Cree-centred processes and worldview, she collaborated with fellow MoCreebec citizens to organize innovative community initiatives to support their collective governance and economic self-reliance such as the Cree Village Ecolodge, Community Education and Empowerment Project, and the MoCreebec Constitution. She is an auntie and stepmom and an advocate for family, community and land protection. Along with her late partner, Randy Kapashesit, they actively raised their family by modelling Cree principles in life and home-schooling. As a practitioner and community educator, Donna facilitated numerous employability and leadership programs for Indigenous young leaders through Northern College and MoCreebec non-profit programs. She has worked with non-profit organizations in community development and is currently a contract facilitator and writer in education. Her goal is to continue to build upon knowledge and capacity among inter-Indigenous networks in the north.
Justin is a first generation Canadian from Kingston, Ontario. His parents are from Vardo, Norway’s most northern town on an island off its north east coast and London, England. They emigrated to Canada in 1952. Justin is a lawyer and business person. He is an executive member of Bedford Mining Alert and has been active in advocating for mining law reform in Ontario. He also participates on a Canadian Bar Association advisory committee promoting mining law reform, community rights, and accountability for extractive industries in East Africa. Justin taught several courses at Queen’s University, including mining law, policy, and communities. For many years he practiced business law on Bay Street in Toronto, specializing in public company finance, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance. Justin has served as General Counsel of the Ontario Securities Commission and a director and senior officer of public companies.
Tracy Glynn is an activist from the Miramichi who resides in Fredericton where she works as the Acadian Forest Campaigner with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. She has a keen interest in environmental justice and eradicating Canadian mining abuses overseas and at home, which is rooted in her time spent at mine-affected communities in Indonesia and graduate work on mine pollution. She has written a number of articles for the Dominion and is a co-editor of the Mines and Communities website. She is a 2009 Gordon fellow exploring the impacts of mining on indigenous women in Labrador, Guatemala and Indonesia with the goal of telling women's stories and offering policy recommendations to government. Tracy is an active member of the NB Media Co-op, Fredericton Peace Coalition, Fredericton Palestine Solidarity, the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network and the Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network. She teaches a course on environmental praxis at St. Thomas University.
Blaine Grinder is an Indigenous leader of Tl’etinqox, one of the six communities of the Tsilhqot’in Nation. Blaine was asked by Chiefs as well as Nation members to attend the delegation to represent them to share their fight to protect their rights to clean water and Protect Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) from mining. The Tsilhqot’in Nation is looking to support others in their fight for clean water, get the message out internationally to keep the Canadian Government accountable for their actions. Blaine coordinated the Environmental Impact Assessment of the Prosperity Mine for his community.
Tara is Métis, Jobin family, from the Lesser Slave Lake area in Treaty 8 territory in northern Alberta. She holds an Honours B.Sc. in Biogeography from the University of Toronto, and is currently completing a Masters degree in Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University. Tara’s academic training includes Indigenous resource governance, land-use planning and negotiation, and she works for the Firelight Group on the IBA negotiation and Indigenous Planning teams. Tara also has 7 years of experience working for the Fair Mining Collaborative, a social-justice NGO focussed on supporting Indigenous responses to mining projects, where she collaborated with communities, First Nations leadership groups, legal academics and a range of NGOs on law reform projects in B.C. Tara also researched and published on the regulation and environmental impacts of placer mining in B.C. and edited a comprehensive review of innovative mining laws from around the world that better address Indigenous and environmental issues. Tara lives with her family in W̱SÁNEĆ traditional territory near Victoria, B.C.
Esperanza Moreno, Secretary
Esperanza recently completed her Masters in Political Science at the University of Ottawa. She is an experienced leader and senior manager of not-for-profit organizations – as Deputy Director of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation for over 12 years, and prior to that, in high-level positions in Oxfam Quebec and the Canadian Organization for Solidarity and Development. She has advanced research and analytical abilities that she has used to further her interest in human rights, international cooperation and international solidarity; and she has used those skills as a volunteer on our criminalization of dissent project.
Elysia Petrone Reitberger, Co-Chair
Elysia Petrone Reitberger is from Thunder Bay. She graduated from Lakehead University’s Bora Laskin Faculty of Law in 2016 making her a member of the faculty’s first alumni. She is of mixed Italian, German and Ojibway (Eagle Clan, Fort William First Nation) ancestry. She did her Master’s thesis on Aboriginal Consultation for the Ontario Mining Act modernization process. Before that, she received her Honours BA from the University of Ottawa in Environmental Studies and Geography. Elysia volunteers with the Aboriginal Community Council Program, a diversion program out of the Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Centre. Elysia enjoys biking, fishing and playing basketball.
Jean Symes, Treasurer
Based in Ottawa, Jean Symes is currently responsible for Inter Pares' Africa program, as well as policy analysis and program development on extractive industries and tax justice. Jean's previous work at Inter Pares includes Program Coordinator and Director of Communications. She also spent several years working in Inter Pares' Latin America program, focusing on peacebuilding, refugees and internally displaced people, and bringing a feminist perspective to human rights protection, including developing programming on sexual violence against women in conflict areas. Prior to Inter Pares, Jean's experience includes human rights promotion and monitoring, social policy development, and financial management.
Alexandra (Alex) Pedersen is a Business Development Officer at the McDonald Institute (hosted at Queen’s University) and an Adjunct Professor (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering) teaching in the Master Degree in Earth and Energy Resources Leadership program. Alex, as she prefers, earned a PhD in Geography (Queen’s University) and holds a Master’s in International Studies (University of Northern British Columbia). Her graduate research focused on Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous communities’ experiences with, and resistance to, imposed development. Most often, discussions of imposed development linked back to Canada’s extractive industries. Alex continues her activist academic work through education and outreach.
Hilu Tagoona is from the inland Inuit community of Baker Lake, Nunavut, in the Canadian Arctic. Her people are known as the Caribou Inuit. She is a member of Nunavummiut Makitagunarngningit ('The people of Nunavut can rise up' – ‘Makita’ for short), an independent non-governmental organization formed in 2009 to inform residents of Nunavut about the impacts of uranium mining. Hilu represented Makita in the final review process regarding AREVA's proposed Kiggavik uranium mine 80 kilometres from her home community. She is a mother of two young adults, and has just completed her BA at Carleton University.