In this episode, iconic orca mom, Tahlequah, talks to host Mark Leiren-Young about the upcoming US elections and what life is like for a whale in the Trump-era.

Skaana connects you to stories about oceans, eco-ethics and the environment.

Check out this special video content we made to go along with the episode: 

USA Voter Information:

And if you’d like to know which policies are worrying us — and Tahlequah…

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· The Killer Whale Who Changed the World  

· Orcas Everywhere


  • 0:00– Intro
  • 0:45– Interview with Tahlequah
  • 1:10– Tahlequah’s thoughts on off-shore drilling
  • 1:27– Who Tahlequah is voting for
  • 2:13– Where you can find information on how to vote
  • 2:40– One last word from Tahlequah

Skaana (skaanapod) host Mark Leiren-Young (leirenyoung) talks Tahlequah and expectant southern resident orcas on the Adam Stirling Show (Adam_Stirling) on CFAX radio (@cfax1070).
“This was the story that captured the imagination of the entire world” – Mark Leiren-Young

Skaana connects you to stories about oceans, eco-ethics and the environment.

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“Your Magical Week” – meditation with Rayne Benu….
The Killer Whale Who Changed the World… 

Photo by SR3 and NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in 2019 and SR3 and SEA in 2020, collected under NMFS research permit 19091

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Ken Dunn – Tahlequah

The Southern Resident Orcas Talk Trudeau

The Southern Resident Orcas do not have a voice in Canada’s federal election.  We wanted to give them a chance to speak their truth.  Here it is, with a little commentary from Mark Leiren-Young.

The Liberal Party Platform

Read the official Liberal Party Platform here:

The Liberals wish our friends at the Canadian Orca Rescue Society would stop carrying their adorable orca balloons at every West Coast protest and reminding voters about pipelines and bitumen. Justin Trudeau supporters also claim the prime minister was fond of dressing up as a Blackfish. Oops… that’s not in the official platform.

Officially… Team Trudeau boldly declares #whalelivesmatter.

“From coast to coast to coast, the health of Canada’s oceans matters—to the people whose livelihoods depend on them and to the marine species, including whales and commercial fishing stocks, that cannot exist without them.”

Someone in the PMO also finally read the Cohen report—or listened to the unsinkable Alexandra Morton—and are looking to “transition from open net pen salmon farming in coastal waters to closed containment systems by 2025”.

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The Killer Whale Who Changed the World….

Orcas Everywhere

A message from the producer Rayne Benu:

Decisions being made by our leaders over the next four years will change the course of history and could be the key factor in whether our Southern Residents survive and thrive.

I can’t tell you who to vote for this election.

I carry a deep sadness in my heart that none of the parties have any official policy on the Southern Residents.  I have a longing in my soul for someone to stand up and represent the species that live here on our beautiful planet, that do not have a voice.   Many people and organizations are willing to stand up and use the images of the orcas when it’s convenient for them to make a political point, or to sell an idea, but when it comes down to the fundamental truths that they live by, forget to mention the Orcas in their policies, core platforms and overall vision.

If a party had a policy or had even mentioned the SROs in their platforms, that is who I would be championing.    

With the federal election, and what’s happening down south, it’s hard not to feel discouraged by it all.  I look around and there’s a lot public mudslinging, so much it’s getting hard to see the actual people with all the mud on their faces (ok, some of that is probably just the brown-face….)

I worry a lot about how partisan we are all getting – how tribal and us vs them things can be.

I encourage you with all my heart to ask good questions of the individuals involved right now, instead of throwing more mud.

I know you have a million things to do this week,  but I want to encourage you to take a moment to try to meet or get to know something about the person you’re considering voting for in your riding.    There’s still time.

Are they someone you could talk to or bring concerns to?   Do they want to serve the people, or is running for office an ego trip?  Do their volunteers like them? Is the campaign office a positive and welcoming place to be?   How do they work with others?   Are they integral?  Honest?   Clear on their objectives?  Are they kind?

Because if you can have a conversation, there’s room to grow.  No matter which party wins the election, your representative is there for you, and we all better make sure that they care about their communities.  You are the only voice in this election that the Southern Residents have.    

Please use your voice responsibly, and consider those who can not speak and whose family, culture and future are on the line this election.

Peace out


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The post Orcas on Trudeau: The Southern Residents Dish Dirt on Canada’s Federal Election appeared first on MLY.

Dyna Tuytel
“Ecojustice is a national environmental organization, so we have offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa, and our mandate is to use the law to protect and restore the environment, mostly through litigation.  And we try to prioritize cases where we can set a precedent, so one case can have a broader impact beyond the specific facts of that case.” 

“They modelled the effects of decreased salmon prey, they modelled the effects of noise, they modelled the effects of oil spills and potential collisions with ships, individually and together, and the result of this modelling was a conclusion that with the project they have a greater than fifty percent chance of being effectively extinct this century. Which is pretty stark.” 

“Of course the tankers should have been considered, and of course the species at risk act should have been applied because there’s no practical way that the shipping isn’t part of the project.” 

“People will flock to the side of the ferry to see the whales, and get so excited and go on whale watching tours, and clearly love this species, but maybe don’t know how few of them there are, or how much they depend on this specific area that they live in, or just how unique they are.   The fact that they have their own language and culture, and don’t interbreed with other killer whales, and that there are different types of killer whales.   I think that that information really galvanizes people to care about the whales and to take action.” 

“I feel like I’m fighting on my client’s behalf, but that we are all fighting on the Orcas’ behalf.   Everyone is so committed to protecting this amazing species.  I would describe us as a team that is working for the Orcas.” 

“The start of the problem is that when the NEB reviewed the project, they separated out the pipeline and the marine terminal from the ships.  So they’ve defined the project as ending at Westridge marine terminal, and shipping being related to the project, but not part of it.   And so what that approach means, is that under the environmental assessment act, the environmental assessment is only of the pipeline and the marine terminal, and the tankers were considered and reviewed but only under the more general provisions of the National Energy Board Act, where they consider the public interest broadly speaking and weigh the pros and cons.” 

“So by not considering the tankers as part of the project, and not subjecting them to the same environmental assessment, the NEB has said that the species at risk requirements that are triggered by an environmental assessment don’t apply to its review of the tankers.   So there’s a key provision of the Species at Risk Act, that’s triggered by an environmental assessment, that says that when a project is under review you have to ensure that there are measures to avoid or lessen the impacts on endangered species.  So by treating the ships as separate from the environmental assessment and separate from the project, they’ve said that this provision of the species at risk act does not apply in this case.” 

“The whales themselves can not get standing, but my clients can get public interest standing to represent the interests of the whales, and the environment.” 

“I think the risk of oil spills has somehow been downplayed throughout the review process and since. And just the fact that even in the official DFO recovery strategy it says clearly that an oil spill would be potentially catastrophic for this population is something that doesn’t get talked about very much.  And I think there’s also a tendency to downplay the additive effect of this project.  Sort of saying “oh, it will only be such and such percentage of shipping traffic in the area” or something, whereas it’s really important to keep in mind that the threats facing them, everything is already too bad.  We need to stop adding new threats, and we also need to mitigate existing threats.” 







The Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion could wipe out the Southern Resident Orcas. The orca’s unofficial lawyer, Dyna Tuytel from Ecojustice (@ecojustice_ca), is challenging their plans in court.

“I feel like I’m fighting on my client’s behalf, but that we are all fighting on the Orcas’ behalf.”  

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The Killer Whale Who Changed the World…

The NEB and how to contact them

Reports mentioned

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The Living Oceans Society

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