The Women of Building Links

We began the project by engaging women with different kinds of knowledge about resource development and those most likely to be adversely affected by the Muskrat Falls-Maritime Link Hydroelectric Project. 

We extended invitations to women from different social and geographic locations:

  • Indigenous, racialized, and non-Indigenous communities in Labrador, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia;
  • environmental and social justice organizations;
  • the labour movement;
  • various levels of government, and;
  • women engaged in relevant community and university research. 

Twenty women, including twelve invited participants and eight project team members, took up the challenge of engaging in on-going dialogue about the implications of the Muskrat Falls-Maritime Link Hydroelectric Project for women, their families, and communities.

We are proud to present the women of Building Links
(scroll over images for names and bios)

Catherine Abreu is Energy Coordinator of the Ecology Action Centre (EAC), Nova Scotia's oldest environmental advocacy organization. She is also Regional Coordinator of the Atlantic Canada Sustainable Energy Coalition (ACSEC), which harmonizes the energy and climate-related objectives of environmental NGOs in each of the Atlantic Provinces.Gail Baikie is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Dalhousie University in Halifax. She is Inuit, born and raised in Labrador. Her research and advocacy work focus on supporting healing and social development of Indigenous-Aboriginal communities, including helping to engage and empower marginalized women in Labrador to become involved and influence resource development. She is co-lead on the Building Links among Women project.

"We are Labrador people rooted here in the Big Land...We are all impacted when the land is impacted...If you do something to the land, you do something to our lives." - Gail Baikie 

Petrina Beals was born and raised in Labrador.  For many years she worked as the Executive Director of Mokami Status of Women Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and is now an independent consultant. She has been actively engaged in raising awareness about the impact of the Muskrat Falls-Maritime Link Hydroelectric Project on women and their families, including presenting to various levels of government and at environmental assessment hearings.Barbara Clow is an independent consultant providing research, writing and editing, curriculum development, and project management services. For ten years, she worked as Executive Director of the Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health. She was also an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Professions at Dalhousie University in Halifax where she led a large program of research and education on the role of sex, gender, and diversity in the health of diverse populations of women and girls.

"We don't need anyone to speak for us, but we need people to get people to listen to us." - Petrina Beals 

Michelle Cohen has worked for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) for 13 years and is currently the Equality Representative for Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Labrador.  Her interest in the labour movement and her decision to leave academia after completing her MA in Sociology and Equity Studies came from her desire to put feminist theory into practice.Denise Cole works with the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing and Homelessness Network at the Housing Development Coordinator for the Labrador region. She identifies as southern Labrador Inuit and has been working in the not-for-profit sector and as a social activist for nearly 15 years.  She has been actively engaged on issues related to the Muskrat Falls-Maritime Link Hydroelectric Project, working with Grand Riverkeeper Labrador Inc. and others.

"I needed this. I didn't know how much I needed this...Running from meeting to meeting, I've been taking this energy with me." - Denise Cole 


Libby Dean is an independent consultant who has been working within Northcoast Labrador communities for 14 years, particularly with Inuit of Nunatsiavut.  She provides research, writing, educational, and project management services and most recently has been involved in projects that focus on health and environment for national and regional Aboriginal organizations.Sandra Earle moved from New Brunswick to Labrador in 1969, raising her children and some of her grandchildren as a lone parent.  She is an active member of her community – she has volunteered for the Perreault Place Tenants Association for 20 years – and has been involved in several projects focusing on the impact of resource development on women and families in Labrador.

"You can hear the links being built...this whole group was very emotional, in a good way." - Sandra Earle 

Sheila Francis is a member of the Pictou Landing First Nation in Nova Scotia and works as Director of Education in the Band Administration.  She has been involved in a number of projects that aim to gather evidence and increase awareness of the impact of environmental contaminants on the health of women, men, and children in her community.Vicki is an Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is currently working on a collaborative, participatory research project that examines the impact of the Muskrat Falls development on women and families in the surrounding communities of the Upper Lake Melville area and the implications of the proposed links to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia for women and communities there.

"We need to know what people on the ground are experiencing and the only way of doing that is to get out into the community and ask people what’s happening in their lives." - Vicki Hallett 

Lynn Jones has spent much of her life fighting for the civil rights of African Nova Scotians and other racialized populations.  She was active in the Public Service Alliance of Canada and became the first woman of colour to serve as Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress. She works as an independent consultant, most recently on several projects related to environmental racism.Diana (Dee) Campbell, a Mi'kmaq from Nova Scotia, has a Master of Resource and Environmental Management Degree from Dalhousie University and is working on her PhD thesis in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University, focusing on the impact of a pulp and paper mill on a First Nation community on the north shore of Nova Scotia.  She works closely with Aboriginal women to help them understand how to mobilize around resource development that affects their lives.

"Oh woman, oh woman, oh what can she be, wherever she is, she is ne-ce-ssar-y!" - Lynn Jones 

Leah Levac is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Guelph.  She is particularly interested in women’s engagement in policy development, including decision-making around resource development, and strategies and institutions/governance structures that facilitate (young) women’s leadership opportunities. She also led the design of the Community Vitality Index, a tool created in Happy Valley-Goose Bay to track changes in the wellbeing of diverse women.Susan Manning grew up in a tiny out-port community in Newfoundland and is currently working on her MA in Women and Gender Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University. Her research focuses on diverse women’s experiences of displacement in rural Newfoundland through colonization, resettlement, and outmigration.

"I'm so happy to have been able to come here and grateful to all the Labrador women for being so welcoming and sharing their incredibly powerful stories with us." - Susan Manning 

Cathy Martin is a member of the Millbrook First Nation in Nova Scotia, an independent film producer and the first Mi'kmaq film maker in the Atlantic Region. She has won many national and international awards for her work.  She is also a past Chairperson of the Board of Directors for Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and has been involved in the development of many policies and programs within Canadian cultural and arts institutions to advance First Nations artists in their respective disciplines.Trish Nash is the Fish and Wildlife Coordinator for NunatuKavut Community Council, Inc., an organization leading land claims for the Southern Inuit of Labrador.  She has a BSc in Zoology from the University of Guelph and has worked on environmental projects in Labrador since 2000.  She is also working to increase cooperation among Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, families, and communities in Labrador.

"This is what this is all about, bringing people together to minimize the impacts. It's about women working together for the benefit of all."- Trish Nash 

Carla Pamak is the Inuit Research Advisor for the Nunatsiavut Government.  She serves as the first point of contact for researchers interested in working in Nunatsiavut communities, ensures that the results of research are shared with the communities, and coordinates a new research centre in Nain.  Deborah Stienstra is a Professor of Disability Studies at the University of Manitoba and currently holds The Nancy's Chair in Women's Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University.  She has led many projects and authored many publications on women and disabilities, disability rights in Canada, and disabilities and palliative care. She is Co-Director of FemNorthNet, a community-university research alliance focused on developing women-centred approaches to resource development in northern communities in Canada, and co-lead on the Building Links among Women project.

"This place was wilderness last year and soon its going to be gone..."- Carla Pamak 

Jane Stinson worked for the Canadian Union of Public Employees for 30 years, first as a Research Assistant and then in a variety of jobs including Research Officer, Research Director, Managing Director of National Services, and Managing Director of Union Development. Jane has promoted economic equality and social justice through her work at CUPE and in other organizations, including on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW). She is the Principal Investigator and Co-Director of CRIAW’s FemNorthNet project.Johanna Tuglavina was born in Nain, Nunatsiavut and raised on the land and sea in that traditional Inuit way of life.  She earned a BA in Sociology from Acadia University and has worked as a researcher in Labrador for many years.  She is currently employed with AnânauKatiget Tumingit Regional Inuit Women’s Association as the Project Coordinator for a Status of Women project to help increase women’s economic security in remote communities in Canada, specifically Hopedale and Nain.