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December

November

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    MPndp
    CANADA, AS CHAIR OF THE ARCTIC COUNCIL, MUST BE PREPARED TO DEAL WITH SERIOUS ISSUES Next spring the Conservative Government will take over the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council for the next two years starting. Prime Minister Harper broke with international precedent and instead of appointing the Minister of Foreign Affairs chose Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq to chair the council. Minister Aglukkaq stated in the House on the 26th of October that she will begin consultation with Canadians on the agenda for their time as Chair. It’s a good idea to meet with stakeholders, even though environmentalists and polar research scientists are not being consulted, unfortunately these consultations come very late in the game. The real question is, are the Conservatives ready to deliver the international leadership required in this crisis area of the globe, or are they content to idle through their term? The summer of 2012 was a bleak time for the Arctic as we know it. Unprecedented summer storms over the Arctic Ocean destroyed a huge area of sea ice cover. Ninety-four per cent of Greenland's ice cap was melting. Huge chunks of Northern ice shelves broke off into the sea. The melting of the sea ice is so extensive the Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, sailed right past the pole in record time. The Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians 10th Biannual in Akureyri, Iceland was a sombre and serious gathering. The organisation, started up in the early nineties, pre dating the Arctic Council, brings together Parliamentarians of all stripes from all northern countries and, has observers, from places as far away as Singapore. The conference statement is a long and detailed consensus document which provides support and direction to the growth of the Arctic Council as the main multi-lateral body for planning and action in the rapidly changing northern polar land and sea. Containing much advice and direction to the Arctic Council, it was largely rejected by the Conservatives. Prior to attending, the Canadian Delegation received briefing notes from Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade showing the Harper Government's comments on the draft conference statement. These comments clearly showed that the Conservatives have no interest in expanding the role of The Arctic Council, or working multi-laterally with the other Arctic nations Canada’s position out of step with the other Arctic nations . At Akureyri, almost all the delegates were in favour of actions, which Canada is opposed to. Principally the final conference statement contained these initiatives that are contrary to the Canadian position: • “Initiate discussions toward developing the Arctic Council into a formal international organization by adopting an exclusive treaty among the eight Arctic states to give themselves more binding powers;” • “Hold annual Arctic Council ministerial meetings, as well as regular meetings between minister responsible for special sectors important to Arctic cooperation, such as research and education and environmental issues;” • Create a vision for the Arctic on how the Arctic nations can prepare for new opportunities and challenges as a result of a changing Arctic and, as part of this process, hold an Arctic Summit involving heads of state and government of the Arctic Council member states, as well as the heads of the Permanent Participants; • Secure the role and participation of the Permanent Participants and provide mechanisms to increase their financial and human resources to participate fully in all the activities of the Arctic Council; • Encourage Canada and the US to identify joint priorities for their consecutive chairmanships of the Arctic Council” and • Agree on observer status of interested parties to secure the Arctic Council as the primary forum for Arctic cooperation.” The growing crisis in the Arctic can only be addressed through multi-lateral action involving not just the eight members of the Arctic Council but all nations. Unfortunately, due to Canada’s stated opposition to these initiatives more time will be lost before the future of the Arctic can be properly addressed. Lost time which will only make the situation in the Arctic worse. Hopefully, through the consultation minister Aglukkaq has begun, the current Conservative, ‘Head in the Sand’ positions on the Arctic will change. We can only hope all the sea ice is not melted before the Harper government wakes up and provides effective leadership at the Arctic Council. Unfortunately, by appointing the Health minister instead of the Foreign Affairs minister to chair the Arctic Council it is doubtful our chairmanship will be effective on the issues the other Arctic nations have identified and want action on. With our diplomats having to take orders from two masters our time will most likely not be one of effective leadership. Dennis Bevington
    Nov 07, 2012 12:54 pm | Territories (yk, nt, nu), Western Arctic
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    MPndp
    At the Canada West Solar conference in Edmonton, Data from Saskatchewan program puts solar at under 20 cents/ kwh
    Nov 01, 2012 9:17 am | Territories (yk, nt, nu), Western Arctic

October

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    MPndp
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OCTOBER 25, 2012 Conservative answer on protecting Northern rivers shows they don’t know what they are talking about says Bevington. OTTAWA – Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington says the Transport Minister’s answer to his question concerning the Slave River shows he doesn’t know what law applies, which makes him wonder what the government’s motivations are for making these changes. The Conservative’s Omnibus Budget Bill part two, C-45, excludes most of the North’s rivers from protection under the new Navigable Waters Act including the Slave River which has been used for barging for over 100 years. Eighty percent of the water from Alberta flows down the Slave River. “The Minister confused the role of Environmental Assessment Act with the protection of navigation,” said Bevington. “Calgary corporate interests have plans to build a major hydroelectric dam across the Slave. It is passing strange that every other main stem of the Mackenzie River system remains under the protection of the Navigable Waters Act except the Slave. How does this change in status affect the sanctity of our river? Instead of actually answering my question the Minister read a robo-answer from the Prime Minister’s Office which gloated about how they have already gutted the environmental protection of our rivers and lakes in this springs first omnibus budget bill C-38.” Some of the other Northern rivers which are excluded from protection are the Bear River, the Nahanni River, the Laird River, the Peel River, the Hay River, the Arctic Red River, the Yellowknife River, the Thelon River, the Back River, the Horton River and most of the Yukon River. -30-
    Oct 25, 2012 6:48 am | Territories (yk, nt, nu), Western Arctic
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    MPndp
    Honouring Arlene Hache for her great work over 25 years for the disadvantaged in YK http://t.co/6mP012b
    Oct 19, 2012 1:18 pm | Territories (yk, nt, nu), Western Arctic
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    MPndp
    Meeting with Big Brothers and Big Sisters group on the Hill. New Dreamcatcher program in the NWT http://t.co/FG4OH03
    Oct 17, 2012 3:36 pm | Territories (yk, nt, nu), Western Arctic

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Dennis Bevington

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