The Green Party of Canada says it recognizes the importance of Canada’s North and now has a strategy to develop its resources while protecting its unique landscape.
In a news release issued Wednesday, the party states Canada’s North is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the country and is already experiencing significant environmental changes including melting permafrost and disappearing sea ice.
“We are on the front lines of climate change,” said Lenore Morris, the Green Party candidate in Yukon. “We see the impacts every day. We need to send Greens to Ottawa to pursue a real climate plan that will help Northeners adapt to the changes.”
The Green Party states it is committed to assisting the North to produce more of its food by supporting local food initiatives while ensuring that the price of food and essentials is affordable for all Northerners.
The party says the cost of energy in the North will be addressed by assisting all communities to transition to renewable energy.
A special fund will be established to assist remote communities get rid of their diesel generators, the Greens say.
“We will help every homeowner, local government and business in the North to install the most efficient technology to drastically reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and light our homes,” said Paul Falvo, the Green Party candidate in Northwest Territories. “We will rely on First Nations, Métis and Inuit knowledge and science to protect fragile hunting grounds, ecosystems and marine areas.”
The disappearing sea ice will put Canada’s North at the centre of growing international interest and pressure from other countries as the sea lanes open up and resources become more accessible, the party states.
Greens say they will provide our military with the ships, aircraft and training they need to patrol the North and protect our sovereignty.
“Greens don’t have all the answers, but we have one advantage over the other parties,” said Douglas Roy, the Green candidate in Nunavut. “We listen to local people and work with them to identify the best solutions. Then we will go to Ottawa and fight for what is best for the North.”
For more information see below the highlights of the Green Party’s Northern Strategy
As part of its Northern Strategy, a Green government will:
• Recognize and respect that our Arctic sovereignty is already established through the presence of Canadians in the North, including the continuous use and occupation of Arctic lands and waters by First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.
• Reinforce Canada’s Arctic sovereignty through community infrastructure development, regional sustainability projects, northern research, northern culture, and other regional socio-economic activities rather than through military presence.
• Recognize the sovereignty of the Inuit over the Arctic. Honour the spirit and intent of Land Claims Agreements, and uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
• Expand funding for Arctic research, including support for and recognition of traditional knowledge, particularly critical in light of the increasing climate change threat.
• Improve and increase monitoring of indigenous food (e.g. caribou, salmon, etc.) to ensure Inuit and First Nations, particularly pregnant women and nursing mothers, are not being over-exposed to persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals that build up through the global food chain and pool at high levels in the Arctic. Work to develop collaborative community based education programs to promote the consumption of food with less toxicity.
• Address issues of food security and the unacceptably high prices for food for Canada’s Northern residents.
• Invest in renewable local energy sources to avoid the dependency on very expensive and polluting imported diesel.
• Support training and equipping the Canadian Rangers, many of whom are Inuit and First Nations people who live in the North and are experienced survival experts on land and sea, to comprise the backbone of emergency support throughout the Arctic.
• Commission a major class of icebreaker, capable of rescue work with any likely depth of ice.
• Develop a comprehensive pan-Arctic waste management strategy that addresses issues like dumping of wastes into water and open dump burning on land, and that integrates community, mining, fishing, tourism, shipping, and military waste management strategies.
• Establish, in partnership with First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, protected areas – terrestrial, marine, and ice – in an ecologically representative network in the three northern territories.
• Restore the post of Ambassador to the Circumpolar North.
• Extend Canada’s sovereignty of Arctic sub-sea resources through a submission to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Engage Canadians in an open discussion to create a development/protection plan for any new sub-sea territory and include in that discussion northern voices.
• Advocate for the Arctic Council to be the primary forum for the diplomatic resolution of Arctic territorial disputes and the negotiation of multilateral treaties, thus allowing for the formal participation of territorial and First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders.
• Seek a constructive multilateral Arctic maritime treaty, negotiated through the Arctic Council, to regulate all maritime activity in the Arctic, with the exception of traditional Aboriginal activity, such that the health and well-being of the Arctic ecosystem and its northern inhabitants are safeguarded.
• Promote the creation of an internationally- recognized Arctic Protected Zone where no mineral exploration will be permitted by any country, similar to the internationally- recognized Antarctic Protected Area.