Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut September 02, 2014 - 3:50 pm

Arctic Council brings polluters to Nunavut meeting: Greenpeace

Greenpeace and AC chair Leona Aglukkaq continue to spar

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Leona Aglukkaq presides over the Arctic Economic Council meeting in Iqaluit Sept. 2. (PHOTO COURTESY OF LEONA AGLUKKAQ/FACEBOOK)
Leona Aglukkaq presides over the Arctic Economic Council meeting in Iqaluit Sept. 2. (PHOTO COURTESY OF LEONA AGLUKKAQ/FACEBOOK)
Greenpeace Arctic campaigner Farrah Khan. (FILE PHOTO)
Greenpeace Arctic campaigner Farrah Khan. (FILE PHOTO)

Environmental group Greenpeace dumped on Arctic Council chair Leona Aglukkaq as she hosts closed-door meetings in Iqaluit this week, accusing the federal environment minister of cozying up to “some of the biggest polluters on the planet.”

Greenpeace and Aglukkaq exchanged words publicly Sept. 2, as the two continue to bicker over who better serves Canadian Inuit.

Aglukkaq is hosting the inaugural meeting of the Arctic Economic Council, a body that the federal environment minister boasted would help northerners become real Arctic “decision makers,” Aglukkaq said in a speech at the council’s founding meeting Sept. 2.

The meetings are closed to the public, but in her speech, Aglukkaq took what would be her second public swipe at Greenpeace — her first was at the Inuit Circumpolar Council assembly in July — accusing them and other southern-based groups of exploiting Aboriginal peoples for their own purposes.

“These groups do not base their campaigns on what is in the best interest of northerners, they don’t even base their campaigns on science. They base them on what their agendas are,” she said in the speech, which was emailed to Nunatsiaq News.

Although Aglukkaq didn’t mention Greenpeace by name, she ridiculed a commentary the group published recently in Nunatsiaq News and other newspapers, that apologizes for the damage their anti-sealing campaigns had inflicted on the sustainable Inuit seal hunt.

“An apology is nice but in this case it doesn’t cut it. No letter to the editor will ever undo the damage done through this campaign,” Aglukkaq said.

“For the second time this year, Minister Aglukkaq has criticized Greenpeace for making sincere amends with northern communities,” said Greenpeace’s Arctic campaign spokeswoman Farrah Khan in a Sept. 2 release.

“But, while she hosts closed-door meetings with some of the biggest polluters on the planet, we are cleaning up oil spills in the north of Russia, and are helping to raise awareness about the harms of seismic testing that threaten Baffin Bay.”

Khan went on to accuse the new economic forum, created under Canada’s Arctic Council chairmanship, of having a pro-industry agenda.

“The creation of the Arctic Economic Council has raised concerns from both inside and outside the Arctic Council’s exclusive inner circle since the idea was introduced at the start of Canada’s chairmanship,” Khan said. “It has evolved into an all access pass for big oil to assert direct influence over Arctic decision makers.”

Canada first proposed a standalone, self-supporting circumpolar business forum after assuming the eight-nation Arctic Council’s chairmanship in May 2013.

That concept has evolved into a body that will be self-governing, but linked to the Arctic Council in many ways.

Delegates from Canada, the United States, Russia, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland, along with representatives from various circumpolar businesses and Arctic indigenous peoples, are expected to endorse that and other principles at this week’s meeting in Iqaluit.

Aglukkaq touted the new body as one that will create a business-to-business network across the north, while also acting as a link between business and government.

And, Aglukkaq noted Sept. 2, the Arctic Economic Council will include indigenous peoples in its decision-making process.

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(10) Comments:

#1. Posted by Concerned Citizen on September 02, 2014

Poor Leona. All she can do is attack her critics, not address their concerns. I imagine she is waiting while the PMO writes out her next thoughts for her to think. Leona you have forsaken your people. Shameful. Nice pension though eh?

#2. Posted by Oh Leona! on September 02, 2014

Give me a break, let the hot air out of the balloon please.

Putting all the heads of businesses on this Forum who already have way too much influence over the North impacts us. 
Where are the real thinkers and planners and people who can weigh development vs impact to the environment and way of life?  They should be on there, not a bunch of industry bosses.

Leona and Steve it is like you are raping us with a smile on your face and fancy announcements and closed door meetings. But we have figured it all out and you will be bye bye in the next election.

Good bye next election!

#3. Posted by eskimo joe on September 03, 2014

green peace never, I repeat never allocated any employment to nunavumiut but take away. kids are hungry, parents can’t pay bills. sealing industry was killed and as result look what they did to nunavut sealers with european union. planet will be dead in 100 yrs, moon and other planets will be colonized. who cares about green peace being booted out at this meeting? at least for the next forty years, many kids will something in their plates for nourishment.

#4. Posted by Check@hotmail.ca on September 03, 2014

Many of these companies have terrible environmental and social records in the other countries and places they have operated. Did anyone check that out?

I am uncomfortable with Leona and Harper setting up this forum with such power, to operate in the North and even to begin speaking for it.

Seem wrong to me.

#5. Posted by One Letter on September 03, 2014

It sure looks like “one” letter to the editor of a northern newspaper -  Nunatsiaq News ‘does cut it’ big time. The letter in the Arctic newspaper sure rattled Leona up. If it hadn’t she wouldn’t of said a thing. Showing her influence in the Arctic and across Canada has evaporated – gone.

Wonder why she didn’t or Harper speak-up about the crisis of mental health issues across the Arctic and what help will come? Or High food prices. Poor health? Collapse of caribou – future food source? Environment destruction in bill C-38 and other bills? Climate change? Muzzling of science. Toxic dump fire - like all across Nunavut dumps/sewage. Why she didn’t tour with Harper the Iqaluit jail,(also used as Federal prison) called one of the worst prisons in the World.

Yet none of those rattle her into action since 2008, just GreenPeace, 2014 one letter to the newspaper.

#6. Posted by Oiler on September 03, 2014

The Cons are such an embarrassment when they try to talk about the environment and social issues.

#7. Posted by Dave Hodge on September 03, 2014

Greenpeace has destroyed the seal economy for Inuit!  An apology in the paper with no action by Greenpeace just does not cut it for this Inuk and a lot of Inuit. I was a young adolescent when the sealing Industry was totally wiped out and my parents were left with no income from seal pelts!  That meant poverty for me and my siblings!  Less food on the table!  An apology does not make me forget nor will I forgive what Greenpeace has done to us Inuit. You destroyed a sustainable existence!!  So take your apology and stop and I mean stop exploiting Inuit for your own agenda and cause!!!  We were not born yesterday and will continue to stay and exist in Nunavut for millennia.  By the way, the lady in the picture, Greenpeace Arctic campaigner Farrah Khan is certainly not of Inuit descent.  Does not make her an expert or speak for us Inuit. Exploitation at its best!!  Can never get it right huh??  So please, enough already!!!!

#8. Posted by HoJo on September 04, 2014

Do people not realize what Greenpeace tries to do?The ban on sealskins was because of the way they were killed in Newfoundland,not because of the Inuit.All Leona cares about is what Harper tells her to care for!Which means,the Big Corporations must profit at all costs & to hell with the environment.Bye Bye in 2015!

#9. Posted by Tulugak on September 04, 2014

Look at those two! Leona claims science is backing her while her government is in a war against science, closing down Eureka, firing numerous scientists, gutting environmental laws as well as the Fisheries Act and the other, Greenpeace, running around like a chicken with its head cut off! They killed the sealing industry based on anything - mostly fear mongering politics - except science!

Is there anything else, more serious, coming out of this behind-closed-doors meeting? I guess not.

#10. Posted by No Push on September 04, 2014

Inuit have been and still are free to hunt seals.  There is a small group trying push forward with seal fashions in Nunavut. Continuing the past, depending on one buyer isn’t good for any business and to keep crying you want that gets you further behind.

No sealers or any Inuit Org or ITK pushed Nunavut Mp to make sure Harper had the trade of seals on the EU trade talks.  Not once did you hear Nunavut Mp Leona blasting Harper for not putting seals like he did with cheese, pigs, cows on the European trade talks.  Nor did she scream outrage when he purposely left it off.  Saying he’ll let the courts decide – which was a given no.

Nor do you see any sealers or Inuit Orgs or ITK pushing Nunavut Mp for Canada to develop seal within Canada.  Nor do you see Nunavut pushing hard to develop seal trade products in Nunavut itself, Canada or the world.

To say it’s Greenpeace fault is ludicrous.

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