Opening the Canadian Arctic

Leyland Cecco

. . . While world leaders meet in Paris for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issues dire warnings about the Arctic, the country’s Inuit worry they will be sidestepped when it comes to administering, monitoring and protecting the passage.

“We have never been the people sitting at a table. We’ve never been accorded that role,” says Aaju Peter, an Inuit activist based in Iqaluit. “It is continuously a lack of understanding or lack of respect or a lack of seeing Inuit as equal partners or autonomous.” At present, the Inuit have no formalized way to flag environmental concerns. An agreement between the Inuit and the federal government to form a marine council, through which the Inuit would advise the federal government, has yet to come to fruition, after years of false starts.