Thursday, 1 October 2009

Benefits of Inuit role in directing Arctic shipping highlighted

Benefits of Inuit role in directing Arctic shipping highlighted


The leader of Canada's 50,000 Inuit says the country should strengthen its
claims to the disputed Northwest Passage by creating a joint Inuit-federal
"authority" to oversee ship traffic in the Arctic sea route.

In a presentation on Arctic sovereignty to the House of Commons defence
committee, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president Mary Simon said Thursday that
such a "creative partnership" between the federal government and Canada's
original Arctic inhabitants might launch an era of "tackling challenges in
ways that could be freshly beneficial for Inuit and for Canada as a

The Canadian Rangers, a federally funded Inuit patrol troop that monitors
northern outposts, already participates in Arctic search-and-rescue
operations and in security exercises conducted by the Department of
National Defence.

"It might be productive to explore the possibility of a joint
Inuit/federal government Northwest Passage authority that would offer a
pro-active regulatory regime against the expected increase in ship
traffic," Simon said in her presentation. "If we can have a seaway
authority for the St. Lawrence on a joint Canada-U.S. footing, there is
room to consider an analogous authority for the Northwest Passage built
around an Inuit/federal government partnership."

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