The Senate's Energy and Environment Committee released a timely report last Thursday called With Respect, the North. Among its 9 recommendations, it called upon the Government of Canada to "place a high priority on local decision making, honouring existing collaborative frameworks and encouraging full local participation to help assure outcomes that work for northerners." That advice prompted one northerner to comment: "It is a nice change to hear some common sense come from the government. It is a surprise to me that is comes from the senate. I hope that the recommendations are taken seriously."
It would appear that Mr. Harper is not listening. Despite strenuous efforts to portray the Arctic as a Canadian possession, his famous maxim ('use it or lose it') appears to focus on aggressive international PR blitzes more than collaboration with homelanders. The Pan-Arctic Inuit Council strenuously asserted this point just three weeks ago. "In a stinging rebuke of the five polar nations ringing the Arctic Ocean, the organization representing the world's 150,000 Inuit has issued a declaration on Arctic sovereignty, decrying the 'neglect' that 'outsiders' — led by the governments of Canada, Russia, the United States, Denmark and Norway — have shown towards the region's native inhabitants at a time of unprecedented global interest in the Far North."
I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. As our current government demonstrates in everything it undertakes, attack mode is preferred every time. With respect, Mr. Harper, Canada would be a much stronger nation if only you'd learn how to build partnerships, both here at home and abroad.
Posted On Jun 01 11:06AM
As you've said, partnership is the key here -- and the only meaningful solution. Sadly, the Harper government has made it clear that it is not interested in partnerships on any front, and that this government is only interested in 'top down' solutions. How strange, really, when there is a pretty clear track record that 'top down' solutions have never worked, especially where the rights of native people are concerned.
Glad to hear the Senate report is respectful and thoughtful on this front. Now, if only the House would pay more attention to the good work of the Senate -- esp. Senate reports, which always seem to be top notch.
Posted On May 21 11:19PM
Have you read John Ralston Saul's "A Fair Country" yet? This sounds a lot like the kind of langage he uses when discussing arctic policy and what a uniquely Canadian approach might look like. Well done.
Posted On May 19 03:39PM
I am gald that you blogged on something other than Mulroney. OK. so he took handfulls on money, and it was not the most savvy thing to to and while it deseves to be reviewd, must the news reel be filled with this mug all day? Anyway I digress.
The comments in the Globe Article were interesting to read, with focus on building the NAVY and icebreakers. Regrettably, there was little acknowledgement that we seemed to care very little about the region until it came under threat.
Posted On May 19 12:42PM
Hey, welcome back Senator! This whole business about Arctic sovereignty is going to take some aggression, I'm afraid. After years of neglect, Canada does need to put its case forward in no uncertain terms. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't build partnerships, especially here at home. I took a quick run through the Senate's report & very much enjoyed its emphasis on homeland for northerners and how it's a different place from what we southerners think about. We're so conditioned by singing Oh Canada and romanticizing igloos, polar bears and the like that we've got a completely skewed view of the North. We could do with a lot more education on this topic. It really would help if our leaders in Ottawa used rhetoric that builds national unity "from sea to sea to sea", in the process of which maybe we'd all get to understand and respect northerners a great deal more.