APF Canada Poll Finds Canadian Experts Reluctant to Give Asian Countries Greater Role in Arctic Governance

Vancouver, B.C. – May 14, 2013 – As Canada takes chairmanship of the Arctic Council this week, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) released a poll today that finds a majority of Canadians oppose giving India (74%), Singapore (70%), South Korea (65%), and China (56%) a greater role in Arctic governance. A majority (54%) do not believe that denying Asian states a voice in Arctic issues would have negative repercussions for Canada-Asia relations.

The latest poll of the Points of View Asia Pacific Opinion Panel, sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways, assesses Canada’s emerging relationship with Asia in the Arctic. Listing environmental issues as the most important priority for Arctic policy, 59% of respondents disagree that potential economic benefits of commercial traffic and resource development from Asian countries outweigh environmental risks.

The poll finds that despite reluctance to include Asian states in governance and commercial initiatives, some 63% of respondents expressed confidence that increased Asian scientific interests would bring favorable outcomes for indigenous populations in the Arctic.

The Points of View Asia Pacific Opinion Panel is a panel of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada comprised of 1,188 individuals who are connected to or engaged in Asia through professional, research or personal interests. Data was collected between April 5 and 19, 2013 with a total of 164 people completing all or part of the survey questionnaire, a 14% response rate. The margin of error for the total sample of 465 is ±7.6%, 19 times out of 20.

The full survey can be viewed here.

In addition to the poll, a new Canada-Asia Agenda policy piece was released today by APF Canada on ‘The Business of Arctic Development: East Asian Economic Interests in the Far North.’ Author Carin Holroyd, Associate Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, argues that Canada’s passiveness on East Asia’s commercial interests in the North underestimates the constructive and long-term role that China, Japan and Korea can and likely will play in the Far North. She argues that the current state of Arctic development is exaggerated, but the long-term potential of the region is underestimated.

Dr. Holroyd offers several policy recommendations to build the potential of East Asian engagement in the North including the establishment of a Canada-East Business and Government Task Force to promote Arctic resource development and a Northern Aboriginal-East Asian task force to educate key East Asian businesses and government agencies on the opportunities related to working with Inuit, First Nations and Métis governments and development corporations.

The full Canada-Asia Agenda can be viewed here.

Finally, as part of the National Conversation on Asia, APF Canada launched a new online conversation today asking Canadians to share their opinions on the topic of ‘Can cooperation with Asian partners have a positive impact on Canada’s Arctic agenda?’ Three experts have shared their opinions including Dr. Rob Huebert, Associate Professor at the University of Calgary and Project Member of ArcticNet, Dr. James Manicom, Research Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and Minister Song Oh, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea. 

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About APF Canada

The Asia Pacific Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization established by an Act of the Federal Parliament in 1984, the Foundation brings together people and knowledge to provide the most current and comprehensive research, analysis and information on Asia and on Canada’s transpacific relations.

For additional information, please contact:

Trang Nguyen
Communications Manager
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Tel: 604-630-1540
Email: trang.nguyen@asiapacific.ca

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