Canada signals new era for Arctic Council

Paul Koring
The Globe and Mail [CA]

Canada quickly established that the Arctic Council – like the fast-melting Arctic – was entering a new era on Wednesday.

China and other Asian powers keen on shipping and development were welcomed to the circumpolar table; so was business. But the European Union was cold-shouldered, as were Greenpeace and other non-governmental organizations.

Leona Aglukkaq, the Conservative Health Minister, Nunavut’s sole MP, and now the first northerner to lead the eight-nation circumpolar council, wasted no time as she took the helm at the ministerial meeting that marked the end of Sweden’s chairmanship.

The focus, she said, of Canada’s two years in the chair – to be followed by the United States – will be on “creating economic development.” That shift will dismay environmental activists, who fear the race to extract resources from an ice-free Arctic would ravish and destroy a fragile ecosystem already under stress from climate change. By some estimates, 90 billion barrels of oil and one-fifth of the planet’s untapped natural gas lie beneath the Arctic Ocean…


The article continues at The Globe and Mail.


Related: Kerry Apologizes for America in Sweden

“…And I have to say that I regret that my own country – and President Obama knows this and is committed to changing it – needs to do more and we are committed to doing more. And we come here to Kiruna with a great understanding of the challenge to the Arctic as the ice melts, as the ecosystem is challenged, the fisheries, and the possibilities of increased commercial traffic as a result of the lack of ice raises a whole set of other issues that we need to face up to. So it’s not just an environmental issue and it’s not just an economic issue. It is a security issue, a fundamental security issue that affects life as we know it on the planet itself, and it demands urgent attention from all of us.”


CAJ note: Evidently Mr. Kerry didn’t hear anything Leona Aglukkaq said.



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