Aglukkaq sells vision of development-minded Arctic Council to business leaders in Ottawa
Welcome mat is out for companies, countries with a "socially-responsible approach to business"
Under Canada the Arctic Council plans to put economic development first, along with the needs of Arctic residents.
“The North is open for business. There are massive opportunities North of 60, in everything from natural resources to the service industry” was the message that Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s minister responsible for the Arctic Council, delivered June 5 during a speech to the Economic Club of Canada in Ottawa.
Aglukkaq said that over the next two years the Arctic Council’s overarching theme will be “Development for the People of the North.”
And for “anyone who can seize the opportunity and adopt a socially-responsible approach to business, there is an untapped work force that, with targeted training, want to make a living an invest in local communities, because this is their home.”
Aglukkaq also plugged the council’s new plan to establish a circumpolar business forum.
Aglukkaq said by using trade shows and expos the forum would build “Arctic-to-Arctic partnerships, increase cooperation, and share best practices on common issues such as emerging Arctic-appropriate technologies, clean energy, permafrost, transportation and infrastructure gaps, and social and environmental concerns.”
Speaking to the Economic Club audience, Aglukkaq also waded into political issues.
Aglukkaq warned that under Canada’s leadership, “when other countries make decisions that affect the quality of living in Northern communities — as the uninformed, politically-driven seal ban has done – then we will not hesitate to speak up.”
Aglukkaq did say she looked working with the European Union “to try and bridge the gap between our two sides on this issue.”
Reports say Canada and the EU are talking about setting up some kind of certification system so Inuit who hunt seals can send over seal products to the 27 EU member nations, despite their continuing ban on the import on all seal products except those from indigenous subsistence hunts.