MiningWatch Canada Board of Directors

About Us

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 AshamockJean Symes
Treasurer: Ian Thomson
Secretary: Esperanza Moreno
Directors: Natalie CliffordJustin Connidis, Chris GeorgeTracy Glynn, Tara LamotheIsabelle MénardElysia Petrone ReitbergerVerna PowerHilu 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.

Natalie Clifford
Natalie D. Clifford is a lawyer in Halifax. She has Indigenous roots connecting her to Mi’kma’ki through her mother. From a young age she witnessed blatant racism toward the Mi’kmaw, a public attitude that cast a cloud over her understanding of what it meant to be Indigenous. She was taught that the best way to change this would be to become a lawyer. She primarily practices real estate law, and maintains a variety of ongoing projects to help further social, environmental and Indigenous justice. She represented a regional women’s organization at the National Inquiry for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and advises on implementation of the Inquiry’s findings. She has a background in PR and media, and engages with media and film as an avenue to affect change and educate.  She is currently working on a film about an Indigenous woman in Costa Rica whose experiences with resource development, mirror those of Indigenous women in Canada and other colonized jurisdictions.

Justin Connidis
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.

Chris George
Chris George is an Adjunct Professor at St. Thomas University’s Mi’gmaw Wolastoqey Bachelor of Social Work Program and a PhD candidate at the University of New Brunswick. His research focuses on decolonizing education, Indigenous resurgence, and Indigenous language recovery and revitalization. As a person of mixed Indigenous and non-Indigenous ancestry, Chris has seen first-hand how the legacy of settler colonialism evokes emotional and heated reactions, and still sullies Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations throughout Canada. Chris notes that where there is mutual collaboration between Indigenous and Settler societies, Indigenous languages are flourishing, empowering holistic growth process that have historically been stymied by the imposition of settler colonialism.

Tracy Glynn
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.

Tara Lamothe
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.

Isabelle Ménard
Isabelle Ménard is a health and environmental advisor to the CSN Union in Quebec. With a master of science in biology and ecotoxicology, Isabelle has nearly 20 years of experience in the field of environmental and health impact assessment of industrial, government and municipal projects. Isabelle has participated in multiple environmental assessment reviews in the mining, energy and biodiversity sectors on behalf of the CSN Union.

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
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.

Verna Power
Verna Power is an Old Fort member of the Lake Babine Nation in British Columbia and has served as a member of Council for 6 years. With over 20 years of experience and knowledge of the mining industry, Verna has an extensive natural resource background, from equipment operation to the management of natural resources within Lake Babine territory. Verna has first-hand experience in the environmental impact assessment process as a member of the Technical Working Group for Pacific Booker Minerals' Morrison copper-gold project, as well as an advocate for her community. As a single mother of two and grandmother, Verna is a founding member of First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining (FNWARM). She is also a champion for Aboriginal rights and title, and has been engaged with federal and provincial governments to examine relationships to develop approaches of working together towards reconciliation.

Jean Symes, Co-Chair
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.

Hilu Tagoona
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.

Ian Thomson, Treasurer
Ian lives in Ottawa where he works for Oxfam-Canada. Since 2007, he has chaired the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) that unites over 20 Canadian civil society organizations promoting legal reforms to hold corporations accountable in Canada for the human rights and environmental impacts of their international operations. Prior to joining KAIROS, Ian worked as a mining sector analyst at a leading socially responsible investing company in Toronto. He has engineering degrees from the University of Toronto (MASc) and Queen's University (BSc).