On Thursday, April 18, I was at the University of Akureyri in northern Iceland, where just a few days previously I’d been invited to give a presentation based on my May 2012 Policy Options article, “Nunavut, Greenland and the politics of resource revenues“. I also incorporated elements of my Fall 2012 Northern Public Affairs article, “Political vision …
The defeat of proposed bans on commercial sealing and the international polar bear trade gives some welcome breathing space to Inuit and other Arctic hunting peoples—at least for now.
A proposal to prohibit international commercial trade in polar bears would do little to protect an already well-protected animal further, but much to damage Inuit economic rights and interests.
The fiscal relationship between Ottawa and the three Northern territories will reach a crossroads in little more than a year, when the current federal-territorial fiscal arrangement—known as Territorial Formula Financing (TFF)—comes up for renewal. The territories depend profoundly upon TFF to fund their development, and Ottawa points to it as the principal financial contribution toward its vision of a North of self-reliant individuals, healthy communities and responsible governments. Yet it is unclear whether TFF even covers the extraordinary costs of providing public services in the territories, let alone the costs of realizing Ottawa’s vision. Nowhere is this less clear than in Nunavut, where experts have called into question the adequacy of federal support. Will Ottawa take the upcoming TFF renewal as an opportunity to dispel doubts that its aspirations for the North exceed its willingness to pay for them?
Northerners shouldn’t worry that Canada will abandon its challenge to the EU’s seal-trade ban in favour of a free-trade deal with the EU, but they should worry instead about the damage the ban has done to the very idea of Inuit as economic actors in the modern marketplace.
A recent letter from Greenpeace Canada only strengthens the impression that Greenpeace’s vision for the Arctic doesn’t include the states and peoples who already govern and occupy the region.
An update on this column’s coverage so far—mostly of the disquieting potential consequences for Northerners of proposals to ban various economic activities in the Arctic.
Greenpeace’s new campaign to “save the Arctic” flies in the face of cooperation with the states and indigenous peoples who already govern and occupy the region.
Decisions at the upcoming meeting of the International Whaling Commission might increase pressure on Canada to give the international community a say over the Inuit whale hunt.
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated’s statement on virgin international fisheries in the Arctic Ocean raises a question about Inuit resistance to involving non-arctic states in arctic economic governance.