North

Actress Emma Thompson backs Nunavut community in fight against seismic testing

Emma Thompson called her visit to Clyde River, Nunavut, a "remarkable journey" as she looked to raise awareness about the community's Supreme Court battle over seismic testing in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.

British actress, activist visits Clyde River to boost its court case challenging the National Energy Board

Emma Thompson and former mayor of Clyde River, Jerry Natanine, hold a sign near the community referring to The Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie's call to action to improve Canada's North. (submitted by Greenpeace)

People in Clyde River, Nunavut, are hoping a bit of star power will push their battle against seismic testing into the spotlight. 

British actress Emma Thompson called her visit to the small hamlet a "remarkable journey" as she looked to raise awareness about the community's Supreme Court battle over seismic testing in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.

Thompson has been doing interviews, as well as spreading word on social media. Her celebrity friends are also picking up on the cause.

While visiting Clyde River, Thompson said she was "enraged" with prices in the grocery store where she was surprised to be recognized for her role in Nanny McPhee, which she says became her Inuktitut name.

Thompson was invited by the community through Greenpeace, which is financially backing Clyde River's Supreme Court of Canada battle against the National Energy Board's decision to allow seismic testing in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.

The community has argued the underwater blasts used to search for oil could scare off marine mammals, a vital food supply for the remote Arctic community.

"It was one of the most remarkable journeys I've ever had the privilege to make," Thompson said after returning from the Nunavut hamlet last week.

Thompson square dances at the Clyde River community centre. She noted the similarities with Scottish line dancing. (submitted by Greenpeace)

She described the landscape as "epic," the flora "very Scottish," noting similarities between the lowlands in Clyde River with her home in the hills of Scotland.

"It's not just about the community," Thompson said. "The protection of the Arctic is a global issue."

The days are ticking down to Clyde River's date with the Supreme Court.

"When a community as courageous and determined as this one stands up to big oil, it's up to us to defend them."

Lawyers representing Clyde River, a hamlet of fewer than 1,000 people on Baffin Island, will argue their appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada on Nov. 30

With files from Elyse Skura

now