Ottawa, August 11, 2006
Mr. Duane Smith, President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Canada today
applauded the Prime Minister, visiting Iqaluit, for initiating Operation Lancaster, a
major deployment of Canadas armed forces in the Canadian Eastern Arctic to bolster
Canadas sovereignty over the Northwest Passage. He also applauded the Prime
Ministers commitment to expand the Inuit RangersCanadas eyes and ears in the
Mr. Smith noted that climate change is opening the Northwest Passage, making it ever
more important for Canada to assert and affirm its Arctic sovereignty. The 2004 Arctic
Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), prepared by more than 300 scientists and Arctic
Indigenous peoples, reported significant thinning and melting of sea ice and projected an
ice-free Arctic in summer in coming decades.
The Prime Minister recently characterized Canada as an emerging energy superpower
enabled, in part, by increased exploration and development on the Arctic frontier.
Climate change is easing shipping access to the Northwest Passage and the Arctic Ocean,
and is promoting further exploration for oil, gas, and minerals in the North.
Mr. Smith said: The eight-nation Arctic Council, in which ICC and other Arctic
Indigenous Peoples are permanent participants, is assessing the likely level of shipping
in the Northwest Passage and throughout the Arctic in 2020 and 2050. The councils
report will be submitted to governments in November 2008 and will illustrate the nature
and potential magnitude of the threat to Canadas Arctic sovereignty by foreign
shipping. The Prime Ministers visit to Iqaluit is timely.
The Government of Canada is scheduled to release its made in Canada climate change
plan this autumn. ICC called on the Prime Minister to link assertion of Canadas Arctic
sovereignty with an Arctic and Inuit dimension to Canadas national climate change plan.
As well, ICC recommended that the Minister of Foreign Affairs announce the Arctic
dimension to Canadas climate change plan and Canadas Arctic sovereignty strategy at
the meeting of the Arctic Council in Russia in late October, 2006.
For additional information contact:
Mr. Duane Smith 867-777-4201
Inuit Circumpolar Council
170 Laurier Avenue W., Suite 504
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1P 5V5
Tel: 613-563-2642 Fax: 613-565-3089