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Arctic Yearbook 2012
State of the Arctic Strategies and Policies – A Summary
historical presence of the Inuit, and with the aim of strengthening military presence and
control in the Arctic through the establishment of an Army Training Centre and the
construction of a power icebreaker. The Strategy refers to existing disagreements, for
example between Canada and the USA, contending that Canada’s sovereignty over its Arctic
lands and islands is “undisputed”. It however says explicitly that there are neither conflicts
nor a “race” and consequently, according to the Statement, Canada is seeking to resolve
these boundary issues. This does not change the position of Ottawa over the NWP, except
that it has been recently renamed the ‘Canadian Northwest Passage’, and the application of
the AWPPA has been extended from 100 to 200 nautical miles, in accordance with the
The Strategy also emphasizes Arctic science and the International Polar Year (IPY), with two
key priority areas: climate change impacts, and human health and well-being. Through its big
investments into the IPY Canada has become, and is, very much a global leader in Arctic
science. Now it seeks to secure that position by establishing a new world-class research
station, and thus trying to become a hub for scientific activities, an image of apparent
importance to Canada.
Economic development, including the exploration and utilization of natural resources, is a
high priority with the Canadian Government whereas transportation appears less so.
Indigenous groups are included in processes leading up to mega-projects regarding the
utilization of natural resources like for example in the Mackenzie Gas Project. This is tied in
with indigenous ownership and land claim negotiations, and is thus an indication of
devolution. An interesting point in the Statement is the implementation of a free trade
agreement with EFTA member countries, as an avenue to enhancing trading relations with
other Arctic states.
All in all, in spite of its criticism within Canada, the Strategy includes a vision about, and for,
the North in the context of the entire country. Final, the documents can be seen as a
reflection, a response even, to the ongoing significant and multi-functional change(s) in the