Published:December 20, 2011
As Canada’s focus on Libya shifts from the drama of regime change to the challenges of peace building and reconstruction, could the expertise of Libyan-Canadians be useful to the design and execution of Canada’s efforts in that country? And could diaspora communities contribute to addressing other challenges currently facing Canada’s foreign policy-makers, such as the famine in East Africa, impediments to nation-building in Afghanistan or the armed conflicts along the border between the two Sudans? If so, are federal departments and NGOs well prepared to solicit and use such expertise?
Published:August 30, 2011
After the recent tragic crash of First Air Flight 6560, which resulted in the deaths of 12 people, much of the media attention was focused on the cause of the crash, or "What went wrong?" Little attention has been granted to "What went right?"
"What went right" was the extremely fortuitous presence of the Canadian Forces and Coast Guard in Resolute Bay at the time of the crash as they prepared for - of all things - responding to the simulating downing of an aircraft in the area.
Exactly the kind of people with exactly the kind of equipment preparing for exactly this sort of emer
Published:July 25, 2011
In May 2011, at the Arctic Council meeting in Nuuk, Greenland, Canada signed an agreement to enhance search and rescue cooperation in the North. The new treaty requires Arctic Council countries to coordinate plans and operations in the event of a plane crash, cruise ship sinking or a major oil spill. Having signed the treaty, Canada must now ensure that it has the capacity to meet these obligations.
Published:May 31, 2011
The Arctic Council—an intergovernmental forum on Arctic affairs—met recently in Nuuk, Greenland. At this meeting, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkak and the foreign ministers from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden put their signatures on an agreement for Arctic search and rescue.
Published:March 21, 2011
To celebrate my son’s birthday, our family recently enjoyed Rango, a top-grossing animation feature about a chameleon in the American southwest. “If you control water,” says the Mayor of Dirt, “you control everything!” News this month confirms the aquatic wisdom of the mayor.
Published:January 26, 2011
A new poll asked Canadians and citizens of seven other Arctic countries, “From what you know or have heard, is the Northwest Passage within Canadian waters, an international waterway or in dispute?” Seventy-eight per cent of Canadians living in the three territories and 74 per cent of Canadians living in the provinces said within our waters. A majority of respondents in the other countries – the United States, Russia, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland – said they didn’t know.
Published:January 25, 2011
Even if the majority of Canadians want to assert their full rights over disputed areas such as the Northwest Passage, diplomacy is still the best route
Last September, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg met in Murmansk, Russia, to sign a treaty that puts to rest a 40-year boundary dispute. The agreement divides into two equal parts the 175,000 square kilometre area and stipulates that all oil and gas deposits found along its border can only be developed jointly by both nations.
Published:January 21, 2011
Did you know that Canada is the only one of eight “circumpolar” countries – nations that circle the North Pole – not to have its own circumpolar university? I didn’t, until very recently. Actually, I wasn’t really aware of most of the far-north universities that do exist. Sure, some ring a bell: the University of Alaska at Anchorage, the University of Bergen in Norway, and Reykjavik University in Iceland.
Published:December 31, 2010
...there is a new initiative from the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, possibly the best southern friend that the North has. The foundation has the Canadian North as one of its three main areas of public policy research, and has recently produced a map that shows the number of universities and university campuses around the circumpolar world. It turns out that there are 50 universities and 61 campuses above the Arctic Circle, but not one of them is in Canada.
Published:December 28, 2010
One approach to implementing Mayor Rob Ford’s war on waste would be a war on water waste. The hidden labyrinth of pipes and pumps that transports water to our homes and takes sewage away is under enormous pressure. Wasted water gushes out of the 1,400 water-main breaks that occur annually in the City of Toronto. Leaks are not surprising given the average age of water mains in Toronto is 55 years and that a quarter are 80 years or older. In 2009, a huge sewer line beneath the Don Valley cracked, leading to fears of an outright collapse with catastrophic impacts for the Don River. The next month, a water main break flooded Union Station.