Canada’s Arctic Future with Senator Dennis Patterson

Welcome to Uncharted, an Arctic360 series about the impact of COVID-19 on the North American Arctic. All summer long we’re talking to the people who live, work and govern the Arctic, to understand how we move forward from this moment in history. 

In June 2019, the Canadian senate released a report titled Northern Lights: a Wake Up Call for the Future of Canada. It warned of emergency conditions in the Arctic, created through decades of neglect, climate change, and a lack of infrastructure, that leaves the North vulnerable to crisis. But it also predicted that the Arctic could play a central role in Canada’s future. One year later, in the context of a pandemic, has that assessment changed?

One of the people involved in the study is my guest today – Senator Dennis Patterson is the current senator for Nunavut, and a former Premier of the Northwest Territories. He sat down with me to reflect on the findings of the senate report and what has changed as a result of COVID-19 challenges. Mostly, we talk about the way forward – how to implement the necessary tools for economic security in the Canadian North, when the resources already exist.

How much reading time do you have today?

Full Senate Report: https://sencanada.ca/en/info-page/parl-42-1/arct-northern-lights/

Quick CBC summary: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/nunavut-minister-berates-southern-bureaucrats-1.5172375

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