Nunavut MP sets off on four-nation Scandinavian tour
Leona Aglukkaq to meet leaders of four Arctic Council states
Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, the federal minister responsible for the Arctic Council, is visiting Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Norway Jan. 14 to Jan. 22 to meet with government representatives, indigenous groups, and members of the business sector in each country, a news release said.
The trip is to help prepare for Canada’s two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council, which begins May 2013.
The trip’s goal is to seek the views of Arctic Council states on “the themes Canada has set out for its chairmanship,” Aglukkaq said in the release.
“Canada is committed to helping the North realize its true potential as a healthy, prosperous and secure region,” she said.
While in Finland Jan. 17 and 18, Aglukkaq met with Finnish president Sauli Niinistö and the country’s foreign minister, Erkki Tuomioja.
A press release issued by the Finnish embassy in Ottawa said Aglukkaq and the Finnish leaders talked about Finland’s Arctic policy and bilateral relations between Finland and Canada.
Aglukkaq was also scheduled to meet representatives of Finnish businesses.
The theme for Canada’s chairmanship will be: development for the people of the North, with sub-themes that include responsible Arctic resource development, safe Arctic shipping, and sustainable circumpolar communities.
“The North is an integral part of our heritage, and holds tremendous promise for the future,” Aglukkaq said.
There should be a greater focus on creating conditions in the North for economic growth, vibrant communities, and healthy ecosystems, she said.
The trip began in Reykjavik, then proceeded to Copenhagen and Helsinki before a final stop in Tromsø, Norway.
“As a proud Inuk from Nunavut, I am passionate about working closely with northerners to make sure that the work of the council reflects their views,” she said.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper named Aglukkaq to the Arctic Council post this past August. She’ll serve as chair of the Arctic Council and as ambassador to the Arctic Council.