Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut August 22, 2014 - 10:01 am

PM launches northern tour, announces money for Arctic technology

PM Harper's entourage to start Nunavut tour Aug. 23 in Cambridge Bay

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Prime Minister Stephen Harper kicked off his Northern tour Aug. 21 with the launch of the National Research Council Arctic Program. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PMO)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper kicked off his Northern tour Aug. 21 with the launch of the National Research Council Arctic Program. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PMO)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched his annual Northern tour Aug. 21 in Whitehorse, Yukon, announcing money for the development of cold-climate technology in the Canadian Arctic.

During a stop at Yukon College, Harper announced a new partnership between the college’s Cold Climate Innovation Centre and the National Research Council, which will focus its research on resource development in the Canadian Arctic, northern transportation and shipping, and community infrastructure.

The federal government contribution to the eight-year, $17-million dollar Arctic Program is worth about $2.1 million a year. It will look at improving ice management; effective detection and clean-up of oil under ice; and developing technologies to reduce the number of vessel accidents and structural damage, said an Aug. 21 news release from the prime minister’s office.

“Our government recognizes the full potential of the North,” Harper said in the release. “We will continue to support northern development by ensuring sustainable, low impact, responsible resource development in the Arctic, while creating jobs and improving the quality of life for residents of Northern communities.”

As part of the collaboration, the National Research Council will invest roughly $2 million a year into the program, while the agency hopes to pull in another $65 million from private industry.

Harper is on his ninth trip to the northern territories since his first election to the prime minister’s job in 2006. He and a delegation of ministers, including Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, will visit the Northwest Territories Aug. 22 before heading to Nunavut over the weekend.

On Aug. 23, Harper and his delegation will land in Cambridge Bay, where he will visit the site of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station, where construction is starting this year.

This past May, the federal public works department awarded an $84.9 million contract to a joint venture between EllisDon and NCC Dowland Construction Ltd., which is itself a joint venture between the NCC group of companies and an insolvent firm called Dowland Construction Ltd., for construction management and other services in the building of CHARS.

NCC Dowland Construction Ltd. still exists, however, and listed a Bay Street law firm as its current business office at the time of the contract award.

From Cambridge Bay, Harper will fly to Pond Inlet and spend time on the Coast Guard’s HMCS Kingston.

His last stop will be in Iqaluit, from where he’ll visit Operation Nanook, the Canadian Armed Forces’ annual “sovereignty exercise” in the North.

That operation includes responding to a simulation of a 50-passenger cruise ship grounded off of York Sound.

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