Transcript: Canada's Challenges in the Arctic | Jan 07, 2020

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and gray plaid tie.

A caption on screen reads "Canada's challenges in the Arctic. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says WHETHER FROM CLIMATE
CHANGE, THE DRIVE FOR RESOURCE
EXTRACTION, OR TENSIONS WITH
GLOBAL COMPETITORS SUCH AS
RUSSIA, THE ARCTIC IS
INCREASINGLY A STRATEGIC
PRESSURE POINT.
HOW SHOULD THIS COUNTRY POSITION
ITSELF ON THESE AND OTHER
ISSUES?
MICHAEL BYERS IS THE CANADA
RESEARCH CHAIR IN GLOBAL
POLITICS AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH
COLUMBIA AND AUTHOR OF TWO BOOKS
NOW FOR MORE.

Michael is in his fifties, with short, receding brown hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a black suit and a blue shirt.

Steve continues IT'S GOOD TO HAVE YOU IN THAT CHAIR.

Michael says IT'S GREAT
TO BE HERE.
THANK YOU.

Steve says YOU ARE A FRIEND OF
THE PROGRAM, I GUESS WE COULD
SAY.
YOU'VE BEEN ON NUMEROUS TIMES.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU'VE
BEEN IN THE STUDIO?

Michael says IT'S BEEN MORE THAN A DECADE.

Steve says THERE YOU GO.
LONG OVERDUE FOR A VISIT, I
WOULD SAY.
LET'S START WITH THIS: HOW HAS
THE GOVERNMENT LED BY JUSTIN
TRUDEAU APPROACHED ARCTIC POLICY
IN YOUR VIEW COMPARED TO, SAY,
THE WAY STEPHEN HARPER'S
GOVERNMENT DID IT 5 YEARS AGO?

The caption changes to "Michael Byers. University of British Columbia."
Then, it changes again to "A new policy framework."

Michael says WELL, STEPHEN HARPER MADE THE
ARCTIC PART OF HIS BRAND, SO IT
WAS ALL ABOUT USE IT OR LOSE IT,
AND THE TRUE NORTH STRONG AND
FREE.
AND STEPHEN HARPER MADE LOTS OF
VERY BOLD PROMISES TO STRENGTHEN
CANADA'S MILITARY CAPABILITIES
IN THE ARCTIC.
SO THE ARCTIC WAS PORTRAYED AS A
PLACE OF THREAT, WITH
SOVEREIGNTY AT RISK FROM
COUNTRIES LIKE RUSSIA.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU HAS NOT TAKEN ON
ANY OF THAT ARCTIC BRAND, BUT
HE'S ACTUALLY DONE MORE THAN
STEPHEN HARPER EVER DID IN TERMS
OF ACTUALLY INVESTING IN THE
ARCTIC.
BECAUSE THOSE MILITARY PROMISES
THAT STEPHEN HARPER MADE WERE
NEVER FULFILLED DURING HIS
MANDATE.
WE'RE STARTING TO SEE A FEW
TRICKLE-ON EFFECTS NOW.
ARCTIC OFFSHORE PATROL SHIPS
PERHAPS COMING INTO SERVICE
WITHIN THE NEXT YEAR OR TWO.
BUT MOST OF IT WAS
ELECTIONEERING ON THE PART OF
STEPHEN HARPER.
IT WASN'T REAL.
NOW, JUSTIN TRUDEAU ISN'T
INVESTING A LOT IN THE ARCTIC,
BUT HE'S PUTTING AN EFFORT...
HE'S PUTTING SOME MONEY INTO THE
ISSUES THAT REALLY COUNT, WHICH
ARE ADDRESSING THE SOCIAL AND
ECONOMIC CRISIS IN ARCTIC
COMMUNITIES.
HE'S WORKING WITH INUIT AND
FIRST NATIONS LEADERS TO TRY TO
DEAL WITH THE EPIDEMIC OF
SUICIDE, ENDEMIC TUBERCULOSIS
ACROSS THE CANADIAN NORTH,
THINGS THAT ACTUALLY HAVE
REAL-LIFE IMPACTS HERE AND NOW
ON CANADIAN CITIZENS IN THAT
REGION.

Steve says JUST TO PUT THOSE
COMMENTS INTO CONTEXT, WE SHOULD
POINT OUT, OR MAYBE REMIND THOSE
WHO DO REMEMBER, YOU'RE A FORMER
CANDIDATE FOR OFFICE FOR THE NEW
DEMOCRATIC PARTY.
SO YOU DON'T HAVE ANY PARTICULAR
AXE TO GRIND WITH EITHER OF
THESE GUYS, YOU'RE NOT HERE TO
CARRY WATER OR EITHER OF THESE
GUYS EITHER, YOU'RE LOOKING AT
THIS FROM YOUR ANALYTICAL POINT
OF VIEW.

Michael says IT'S POSSIBLE TO HAVE BEEN A
POLITICAL CANDIDATE AND BE A
SERIOUS OBJECTIVE ACADEMIC,
ESPECIALLY GIVEN THAT 11 YEARS
ARE NOW PAST.

Steve says IS IT 11 YEARS SINCE
YOU LAST RAN?

Michael says 11 YEARS.

Steve says I DIDN'T REALIZE IT
WAS THAT LONG.
THE TRUDEAU GOVERNMENT DID PUT
OUT CANADA'S ARCTIC AND NORTHERN
POLICY FRAMEWORK.
WHAT IS THE GIST TO THAT?

Michael says THERE IS NO GIST TO THE
ARCTIC AND NORTHERN POLICY
FRAMEWORK.
HERE I'M GOING TO BE CRITICAL OF
THE TRUDEAU GOVERNMENT.
THE TRUDEAU GOVERNMENT SOUGHT TO
MAKE THIS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF
THEIR COMMITMENT TO
CONSULTATION, AND SO THEY
CONSULTED WITH EVERYONE ON
EVERYTHING CONCERNING THE NORTH.
IT BECAME NOT JUST THE ARCTIC
POLICY FRAMEWORK BUT THE
NORTHERN POLICY FRAMEWORK AND
MORE AND MORE STAKEHOLDERS WERE
INCLUDED.
I READ THE SUCCESSIVE DRAFTS OF
THIS FRAMEWORK AS THEY WERE
BEING PRODUCED, AND IT BECAME
LARGER AND MORE HYDRA-HEADED AND
CONFUSING AS THINGS WENT ON,
BECAUSE EVERYONE'S INPUT WAS
INCLUDED IN THE DOCUMENT.

Steve says ISN'T THAT A GOOD THING?

The caption changes to "Michael Byers, @michael_byers."

Michael says WELL, IT IS, EXCEPT AT SOME
POINT IT HAS TO BE MADE
COHERENT.
IT ACTUALLY HAS TO HAVE
ACTIONABLE RECOMMENDATIONS.
AND THE TRUDEAU GOVERNMENT RAN
OUT OF TIME, AND ULTIMATELY,
JUST BEFORE THE LAST FEDERAL
ELECTION, THEY RELEASED A
DOCUMENT THAT THEY CALLED THE
ARCTIC AND NORTHERN POLICY
FRAMEWORK, BUT IT WASN'T A
SINGLE DOCUMENT.
THERE WAS A CHAPTER WRITTEN BY
GLOBAL AFFAIRS CANADA, ANOTHER
SEPARATE CHAPTER WRITTEN BY THE
DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE,
WITH NO APPARENT CONNECTIONS
BETWEEN THE TWO CHAPTERS, AND
THEN THERE WERE CHAPTERS
SUBMITTED BY THE THREE
TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENTS, AND THE
NATIONAL INUIT ASSOCIATION.
SO A COMPILATION OF SEPARATE
CHAPTERS, EACH REFLECTING
PARTICULAR INPUTS, INTERESTS,
RECOMMENDATIONS, BUT NO
COHERENCY WHATSOEVER.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says NOW THAT THEY'RE
BACK IN, DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO
MORE COHERENCE GOING FORWARD?

Michael says I WOULD HOPE SO.
OBVIOUSLY IT'S A MINORITY
GOVERNMENT, SO THE TIME FRAMES
ARE A BIT SHORTER IN TERMS OF
ACTUALLY IMPLEMENTING POLICY.
BUT THERE IS SOME SIGNIFICANT
HOPE THAT THEY'VE LEARNED FROM
THIS PROCESS THAT AT SOME POINT
YOU HAVE TO, YOU KNOW, TAKE
CONTROL.
AND WITH ALL THE INFORMATION
YOU'VE GATHERED, ASSIMILATE THAT
AND COME OUT WITH ACTIONABLE
POLICIES.
THAT'S WHAT WE'RE WAITING FOR
NOW, ARE ACTIONABLE POLICIES.
AS I'VE SAID, THEY'VE PUT SOME
MONEY INTO ADDRESSING THE SOCIAL
AND ECONOMIC CRISES OF ARCTIC
COMMUNITIES, BUT THERE'S NO HOW
DO WE GET TO IMPROVEMENTS IN
FIVE, TEN, TWENTY YEARS' TIME.
THERE'S NO PLAN.

Steve says DO YOU THINK WE NEED
TO SPEND MORE MONEY ON DEFENDING
THE ARCTIC?

Michael says NO.
THE ARCTIC IS A REALLY BIG
PLACE.
UNLIKE THE ANTARCTIC, THE ARCTIC
IS CENTERED ON AN OCEAN, A
LARGE, DEEP, MOSTLY ICE-COVERED
OCEAN, THAT'S IN TOTAL DARKNESS
FOR MONTHS EACH YEAR, AND STILL
COVERED SEASONALLY BY SHIFTING
SEA ICE.
IT'S A COLD, DARK, DANGEROUS
PLACE.
RUSSIA IS A LONG WAY AWAY.
IT'S ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS
OCEAN.
AND RUSSIA HAS LOTS OF THE
ARCTIC TO ITSELF ON THE OTHER
SIDE OF THIS OCEAN.
RUSSIA IS, AFTER ALL, THE
LARGEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.
THEY HAVE NO INTEREST IN THE
CANADIAN ARCTIC.

Steve says YOU KNOW WHAT?
WE HAVE A MAP HERE.
IT'S FUNNY HOW OUR VIEWS OF THE
WORLD OFTEN DEPEND ON HOW WE
LOOK AT A MAP OF THE WORLD.
WE'RE SO ACCUSTOMED TO SEEING
NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA, AND
OCEANIA ON THE RIGHT.

A satellite view of Earth appears centered on the Arctic Ocean, with Greenland to the lower left, Canada to the upper left, Alaska to the top, Russia to the right and the Nordic countries to the bottom.

Steve says FOR THOSE LISTENING ON PODCAST,
I'M GOING TO DESCRIBE THIS SOMEWHAT.
THE WAY MICHAEL BYERS JUST
DESCRIBED IT IS REALLY QUITE
ACCURATE.
THAT'S THE VIEW OF THE WORLD
FROM THE TOP.
THERE'S THE ARCTIC OCEAN.
MASSIVE IN SCALE.
THERE'S CANADA ON THE LEFT-HAND
SIDE.
AND THERE'S RUSSIA ON THE RIGHT.
AND IF YOU LOOK AT THE WORLD
FROM THAT POINT OF VIEW,
MICHAEL, IS IT NOT REASONABLE TO
INFER THAT WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE
WORLD THAT WAY, CANADA AND
RUSSIA ARE RIVALS FOR A
PARTICULAR PART OF REAL ESTATE
ON THIS PLANET?

Michael says WELL, YOU COULD SAY THAT
THEY'RE NEIGHBOURS.

Steve says OR NEIGHBOURS, OKAY.

Michael says SEPARATED BY A VERY LARGE
POND CALLED THE ARCTIC OCEAN,
WHICH IS THOUSANDS OF KILOMETRES
ACROSS.

The caption changes to "A theatre for conflict?"

Steve says BUT GIVEN THE
CULTURAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN OUR
TWO COUNTRIES AND THE
GEOPOLITICAL DIFFERENCES AS
WELL, ARE WE NOT... I MEAN, IS
IT NOT MORE ACCURATE TO SAY THAT
WE'RE MORE RIVALS THAN
NEIGHBOURS FOR THIS PART OF THE
WORLD?

Michael says WELL, GIVEN THAT NEITHER
CANADA NOR RUSSIA NEEDS OR WANTS
MORE ARCTIC TERRITORY, OR MORE
MARITIME ZONES, WE ACTUALLY ARE
PARTNERS ON THE THINGS THAT ARE
OF COMMON INTEREST.
SEARCH AND RESCUE.
WE COOPERATE VERY CLOSELY WITH
RUSSIA ON SEARCH AND RESCUE,
INCLUDING WITH SATELLITE-BASED
SEARCH AND RESCUE, AND A SYSTEM
THAT CANADA AND THE SOVIET UNION
SET UP IN 1979.
WE WORK VERY CLOSELY ON ARCTIC
SCIENCE WITH RUSSIA.
WE'VE GOT SERIOUS PROBLEMS WITH
RUSSIA IN OTHER PARTS OF THE
WORLD, IN UKRAINE, IN THE MIDDLE
EAST.
BUT IN THE ARCTIC, RUSSIA IS
BEHAVING ITSELF AND CANADA HAS
EVERY INTEREST IN COOPERATING
WITH RUSSIA FOR BOTH THESE
COUNTRIES, THE ARCTIC IS AN
INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE PLACE IN
WHICH TO OPERATE, TO WEAPONIZE
THE ARCTIC WOULD BANKRUPT BOTH
COUNTRIES.
VLADIMIR PUTIN KNOWS THIS.
HE'S A RATIONAL ACTOR.
I'M SURE HE HAS NO PARTICULAR
FONDNESS FOR CANADA, BUT HE
KNOWS THAT HE NEEDS TO WORK WITH
US ON SOME ISSUES, AND HE HAS AN
AWFUL LOT ON HIS PLATE ELSEWHERE
IN THE WORLD.

Steve says INDEED.
LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT WHETHER OR
NOT YOU THINK THERE ARE OTHERS
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WHO ARE
SIMILARLY BEHAVING THEMSELVES,
TO USE YOUR WORDS?
DENMARK.
NORWAY.
UNITED STATES.
HOW ARE THEY ALL BEHAVING?

Michael says OH, WE GET ALONG VERY WELL
WITH DENMARK AND NORWAY.
AND, REMEMBER, DENMARK IS OUR
MOST SIGNIFICANT ARCTIC
NEIGHBOUR BECAUSE OF GREENLAND,
THE LARGEST ISLAND IN THE WORLD
THAT'S NOT A CONTINENT IN ITS
OWN RIGHT.
SO WE WORK VERY CLOSELY... YOU
CAN SEE GREENLAND FROM PARTS OF
CANADA.
THAT'S HOW CLOSE IT IS.
WE WORK VERY WELL WITH THEM.
WE'RE, OF COURSE, PARTNERS IN
NATO WITH BOTH DENMARK AND
NORWAY.
WE'VE PARTICIPATED IN EXERCISES
IN NORWAY, AS PART OF NATO.
SO THERE'S A VERY STRONG
ALLEGIANCE THERE.
THE UNITED STATES IS, OF COURSE,
OUR TRADITIONAL PARTNER, OUR
MOST IMPORTANT NEIGHBOUR.
IT'S A BIT LESS PREDICTABLE THAN
DENMARK AND NORWAY THESE DAYS.

Steve says YA THINK?

Michael says YES.
AND THERE HAS BEEN SOME SIGNS
FROM THE U.S. THAT THEY'RE
THINKING ABOUT THE ARCTIC IN
MORE COMPETITIVE TERMS.
MIKE POMPEO GAVE A SPEECH IN
FINLAND EARLIER THIS YEAR THAT
SUGGESTED THAT HE SAW RUSSIA AND
CHINA AS THREATS IN THE ARCTIC.
THERE WAS EVEN A SUGGESTION THAT
HE WANTED TO CHALLENGE CANADA'S
CLAIM IN THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE.
PROFESSIONAL BUREAUCRATS BACK IN
THE STATE DEPARTMENT WOULD HAVE
DAMPENED DOWN THOSE IDEAS PRETTY
QUICKLY BECAUSE CANADA AND THE
UNITED STATES DO WORK VERY
CLOSELY IN THE ARCTIC AND WE
HAVEN'T ACTUALLY HAD A DISPUTE
OVER SOVEREIGNTY THERE THAT HAS
BEEN, YOU KNOW, OF ANY PROBLEM
SINCE 1985.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says DO WE KNOW WHETHER
AMERICAN SUBMARINES GO INTO THE
ARCTIC WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION?

Michael says WELL, WE WOULDN'T WANT TO
KNOW, BECAUSE IF WE KNEW, THAT
MIGHT BE A LEGAL PROBLEM.
LOOK, THEY'RE OUR CLOSEST ALLY.
WE WORK WITH THEM ON MARITIME
SURVEILLANCE, THE AERIAL DEFENCE
OF NORTH AMERICA.
DO U.S. SUBMARINES GO THROUGH
THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE?
PROBABLY.
BUT WILL WE KNOW?
NOT UNLESS ONE OF THEM HAS AN
ACCIDENT, NEEDS TO BE RESCUED BY
THE CANADIAN COAST GUARD.

Steve says BETTER TO HAVE
PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY ABOUT
THE PROBLEM.

Michael says IT'S NO PROBLEM BECAUSE
THEY'RE OUR CLOSEST ALLY.

Steve says YOU MENTIONED CHINA
IN THE MIDST OF THAT ANSWER, A
COUPLE OF ANSWERS AGO.
THAT WAS A COUNTRY THAT I HAD
NOT PUT ON THE LIST EARLIER, BUT
LET'S PUT IT ON THE LIST NOW.
DO YOU SEE CHINA AS BEING IN ANY
WAY PROBLEMATIC TO THE ARCTIC
VIS-A-VIS...

The caption changes to "A dollar silk road."

Michael says CHINA HAS ARCTIC INTERESTS.
IT HAS A GLOBAL INTEREST IN
SECURING NATURAL RESOURCES AND
IT ALREADY SECURES NATURAL
RESOURCES FROM THE CANADIAN
ARCTIC.
THERE'S A CHINESE-OWNED MINE IN
NORTHERN QUEBEC.
THERE'S A MINE ON BAFFIN ISLAND
THAT SHIPS IRON ORE OCCASIONALLY
TO CHINA.
SO CHINA HAS A RESOURCE
INTEREST.
IT'S GETTING THOSE RESOURCES
THROUGH INTERNATIONAL TRADE,
THROUGH FOREIGN INVESTMENT.
IT HAS NO INTEREST IN CONQUERING
CANADA, NO MORE INTEREST THAN IT
HAS IN CONQUERING COUNTRIES IN
AFRICA OR LATIN AMERICA WHERE IT
ALSO SOURCES ITS RESOURCES.
THE OTHER INTEREST THAT CHINA
HAS IS THAT CHINA IS THE WORLD'S
LARGEST SHIPPING STATE.
IT DEPENDS ON COMMERCIAL
SHIPPING FOR ITS ECONOMY, TO A
VAST EXTENT, AND IT LOOKS AT THE
ARCTIC AND IT SEES SHIPPING
ROUTES OPENING UP DUE TO CLIMATE
CHANGE.
CLIMATE CHANGE IS MORE ADVANCED
IN THE ARCTIC THAN ANYWHERE ELSE
ON EARTH.
AND FOR THE MOST PART, THAT HAS
VERY NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES FOR
THE ARCTIC.
THE ONE POSSIBLE POSITIVE IS
THAT ROUTES LIKE THE NORTHERN
SEA ROUTE ALONG THE COAST OF
RUSSIA, THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE
THROUGH NORTHERN CANADA, ARE
BEGINNING TO OPEN UP, AND THAT
IS OPENING UP THE POSSIBILITY OF
ACCESS TO RESOURCES IN THE
ARCTIC AND TO SHIPPING ROUTES
THAT MIGHT CONNECT, FOR
INSTANCE, THE PACIFIC TO THE
ATLANTIC OCEAN IN WAYS THAT ARE
SHORTER THAN THE CANALS THAT ARE
USED FURTHER SOUTH, THE PANAMA
CANAL, THE SUEZ CANAL.

Steve says EVERYBODY WHO KEEPS
AN EYE ON THE CANADA-CHINA
RELATIONSHIP SAY IT'S PRETTY
DARN CLOSE TO THE WORST IT'S
BEEN NOW.
I WONDER HOW CONCERNED YOU ARE
ABOUT THAT RELATIONSHIP
POISONING WHAT SO FAR IT SOUNDS
LIKE YOU ARE DESCRIBING AS A
PRETTY POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN CANADA AND CHINA AS IT
RELATES TO THE ARCTIC?
DO YOU WORRY ABOUT CONTAGION?

Michael says NO, I DON'T.
IN FACT, I SEE OPPORTUNITY.
I SEE DIPLOMATIC OPPORTUNITY.
I MENTIONED THAT DURING THE COLD
WAR, WE PARTNERED WITH THE
SOVIET UNION ON ARCTIC SEARCH
AND RESCUE.
WE ALSO SHIPPED A LOT OF GRAIN
TO THE SOVIET UNION AND LATER TO
CHINA.
SO DURING TIMES OF INCREASED
TENSION, IT'S OFTEN QUITE USEFUL
TO FIND AREAS OR REGIONS WHERE
THERE IS LESS TENSION AND
THERE'S AN OPPORTUNITY TO
COOPERATE, TO MAINTAIN THE
CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION, TO
BUILD CONFIDENCE.
SO IN TIMES OF CRISIS, THE
ARCTIC BECOMES A PLACE THAT WE
CAN WORK WITH RUSSIA AND WORK
WITH CHINA TO ENSURE THAT THE
RELATIONSHIP DOES NOT GO ON TO A
WAR FOOTING, THAT IT'S STILL AN
INTERDEPENDENCY, AND A LOT OF
SCHOLARS WRITE ABOUT THIS, THAT
OUR INTERCONNECTED WORLD IS A
MAJOR BULWARK AGAINST ARMED
CONFLICT, THAT CHINA AND THE
UNITED STATES WON'T GO TO WAR
BECAUSE THEIR ECONOMIES ARE TOO
CLOSELY LINKED, THAT RUSSIA
WON'T GO TO WAR BECAUSE IT
DEPENDS ECONOMICALLY ON
EXPORTING NATURAL GAS TO THE
EUROPEAN UNION.
SO WE'RE SO CLOSELY TIED THAT
ARMED CONFLICT DOES NOT BECOME A
VIABLE OPTION.
WELL, LET'S KEEP THOSE TIES
CLOSE IN THE ARCTIC BECAUSE THE
ARCTIC IS A LONG WAY AWAY FROM
UKRAINE, FROM THE MIDDLE EAST,
FROM THE SOUTH CHINA SEA.
IT'S A PLACE WHERE WE CAN WORK
TOGETHER, AND THAT INDEED IS
WHAT CANADIAN DIPLOMATS HAVE
BEEN SEEKING TO DO.

Steve says LET'S GET PAROCHIAL
FOR A SECOND.
HOW MUCH DOES CLIMATE CHANGE
AFFECT HOW CANADA SEES ITS
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE NORTH AND
WHAT IT POTENTIALLY WOULD LIKE
TO ACHIEVE VIS-A-VIS THE NORTH?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Michael says WELL, CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE
BIG DARK CLOUD THAT HANGS OVER
EVERYTHING.
WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE ARCTIC,
WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE WORLD.
YOU KNOW, WE'RE SEEING CHANGING
WEATHER PATTERNS IN SOUTHERN
CANADA THAT ARE LINKED TO THINGS
THAT ARE HAPPENING IN THE
ARCTIC, THAT ARE LINKED TO
CLIMATE CHANGE MELTING THE SEA
ICE, EXPOSING MORE AND MORE OPEN
WATER IN THE ARCTIC OCEAN, AND
WE'RE GOING TO SEE MORE OF THAT.
THE ARCTIC IS NOT SEPARATE
CLIMATICALLY.
IT'S PART OF THE REALITY IN
WHICH WE LIVE HERE IN SOUTHERN
CANADA, AND THAT'S BAD NEWS.
IN THE ARCTIC ITSELF, THE PEOPLE
WHO LIVE THERE ARE STRUGGLING.
THEIR TRADITIONAL WAY OF LIFE IS
BEING TAKEN AWAY BY CLIMATE
CHANGE.
THE SEA ICE IS NOT ONLY MELTING.
WHEN THE ICE IS THERE, IT'S
UNPREDICTABLE.
IT CAN BE ROTTEN AND DANGEROUS.
INUIT HUNTERS GO THROUGH THE SEA
ICE ON THEIR SNOWMOBILES, PAYING
THE ULTIMATE PRICE FOR CLIMATE
CHANGE.
SO ACCESS TO THAT TRADITIONAL
WAY OF LIFE, TO TRADITIONAL FOOD
SOURCES... WHICH ARE STILL
REALLY IMPORTANT IN ARCTIC
COMMUNITIES... ALL THAT IS BEING
COMPROMISED, AND THAT THEN FEEDS
INTO THE SOCIAL AND HEALTH
CRISES THAT WE'RE SEEING ALSO.
IS THERE OPPORTUNITY?
YES.
IMPROVED ACCESS TO RESOURCES ON
THE OCEAN.
BUT LESS EASY ACCESS ON LAND
BECAUSE... GUESS WHAT?...
THE PERMAFROST IS MELTING.
THE ICE ROADS CAN'T LAST FOR AS
LONG IN THE WINTER BECAUSE THE
LAKES ARE MELTING EARLIER.
SO ACCESS TO RESOURCES AND LAND
IS ACTUALLY GETTING WORSE.
ACCESS ON THE WATER IS GETTING
BETTER.
IS THAT A PLUS OR A MINUS IN
TERMS OF THE ULTIMATE
CALCULATION?
ONLY TIME WILL TELL.
WHAT I TELL PEOPLE IS THAT THERE
IS MAJOR OPPORTUNITY IN THE
ARCTIC FOR A COUNTRY LIKE CANADA
BECAUSE WE'VE NEGLECTED IT FOR
SO LONG.
THIS IS 40 percent OF THE SECOND
LARGEST COUNTRY ON EARTH AND
THIS IS A PLACE WHERE DREAMS CAN
BE MADE, WHERE GOVERNMENTS CAN,
YOU KNOW, DEFINE REAL GOALS AND
IMPLEMENT REAL ACTION.
SO WE DO NEED IMPROVED
INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE ARCTIC.
WE DO NEED TO RAISE THE LIVING
STANDARDS OF NORTHERN CANADIANS
TO THOSE THAT ARE EXPECTED IN
SOUTHERN CANADA.
AND WE NEED TO, YOU KNOW,
REVITALIZE THE NATIONAL PRIDE
THAT CANADIANS FOR DECADES HAD
IN THINKING OF THEMSELVES AS AN
ARCTIC COUNTRY.
THERE'S A LOT THERE FOR US TO
DO.
AND WHAT I SOMETIMES CHALLENGE
PEOPLE TO IMAGINE IS WHAT
ANOTHER COUNTRY WOULD DO WITH
THE OPPORTUNITY THAT WE HAVE IN
THE ARCTIC.

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Steve says A MORE AMBITIOUS COUNTRY.

Michael says A MORE AMBITIOUS COUNTRY.
ONE CAN ACTUALLY GO TO OTHER
ARCTIC COUNTRIES, ONE CAN GO TO
NORWAY, ONE CAN GO TO GREENLAND
AND SEE THE AMAZING THINGS
THEY'VE DONE IN TERMS OF THE
QUALITY OF LIFE THAT THEY
PROVIDE TO CITIZENS THERE.
THE TOURISM THAT TAKES PLACE IN
NORTHERN COUNTRIES.
MUCH OF IT MUCH MORE
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY THAN
NATURAL RESOURCE EXTRACTION.
PLACES LIKE FINLAND AND NORWAY
AND ICELAND HAVE MADE TOURISM,
ARCTIC TOURISM, A MULTI-BILLION
DOLLAR INDUSTRY.
AND I CAN GO ON AND ON.
SO THERE REALLY IS OPPORTUNITY
IN THE ARCTIC.
WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL TO BALANCE
THAT WITH A SENSE OF THE
CHALLENGE AND RESPONSIBILITY.
THIS IS NOT EASY.
BUT WE'RE A G-7 COUNTRY, RIGHT?
THIS IS SOMETHING WE SHOULD BE
ABLE TO DO, THAT WE SHOULD BE
ABLE TO EMBRACE.
AND SO COMING BACK TO THE NEW
GOVERNMENT IN OTTAWA.
YES, IT'S A MINORITY GOVERNMENT.
BUT YOU PUT FORWARD A SERIOUS
AGENDA FOR DEVELOPING THE ARCTIC
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH INDIGENOUS
PEOPLES IN AN ENVIRONMENTALLY
RESPONSIBLE WAY, AND YOU GET A
LOT OF BUY-IN FROM OTHER
PARTIES.
THE BLOC QUEBECOIS COMES FROM AN
ARCTIC PROVINCE.
QUEBEC IS ONE-THIRD ARCTIC,
RIGHT?
THE NDP NOW HOLDS THE ONLY SEAT
IN NUNAVUT, RIGHT?
SO THEY'RE IN THIS BIG-TIME.
AND THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY WANTS
TO SEE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, IT
WANTS TO SEE THE DEVELOPMENT OF
CANADA'S NATURAL RESOURCES.
WELL, THE ARCTIC IS A REALLY
GOOD PLACE TO DO THAT.

Steve says LOTS OF INCENTIVE
ALWAYS AROUND FOR PEOPLE TO GET
ALONG ON THIS ONE.

Michael says YES.

The caption changes to "Producer: Colin Ellis, @ColinEllis81."

Steve says GOOD.
THAT'S MICHAEL BYERS, HE'S THE
CANADA RESEARCH CHAIR IN GLOBAL
POLITICS AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
AT UBC.
MICHAEL, WE'RE DELIGHTED YOU
MADE TIME FOR US HERE IN UPPER
CANADA THIS WEEK.
GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Michael says IT'S GREAT TO BE HERE.
THANK YOU.

Watch: Canada's Challenges in the Arctic