An ambitious framework . . .
The Government of Canada released its long-awaited Arctic policy on Tuesday, six weeks before the federal election. The Arctic and Northern Policy Framework, which was co-developed over the last two years with Indigenous, territorial, and provincial partners, is positioned as a road-map for shaping Canada’s Arctic priorities through 2030. It focuses on eight priorities including health, infrastructure, economic development, and the environment. The document includes a chapter written by each of Canada’s three territories, plus one pan-territorial chapter, each setting out more specific priorities on responsible resource development, economic diversification, investment, and innovation.
But light on detail . . .
Critics of the framework point out that it doesn’t include an implementation plan or spending commitments. Foreign policy, security, and sovereignty issues that were prominent features of the 2009 Northern Strategy and the 2010 Statement on Canada’s Arctic Foreign Policy also seem to take a backseat.
Asia and the Arctic . . .
There has been growing interest in the Arctic by non-Arctic states in recent years, including China, India, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. These Asia Pacific countries are all observers in the Arctic Council, and China (2018), South Korea (2013), and Japan (2015) have released their own Arctic policies. Just yesterday, in fact, China launched its first polar observation satellite, and several Asian states have partnered with Russia on Arctic initiatives. Given that Asian countries have broad interests in the Arctic, encompassing maritime transportation and ship-building, resource development, and scientific research, we can be sure that they will be looking at what Canada’s new framework means for them and for broader relations in the Arctic and circumpolar region.
- APF Canada: China looks north: Carving out a role in the Arctic
- Government of Canada: Canada’s Arctic and northern policy framework
- The Globe and Mail: Federal government releases long-awaited Arctic policy