Leona during here speech yesterday (Photo: Arctic Portal)The overarching theme of the Canadian chairmanship for the Arctic Council will be Development for the People of the North. Upcoming president Leona Aglukkaq declared this in a speech at the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsö.

Canada will have three sub-themes. The first will be Responsible Arctic Resource Development, second is Safe Arctic Shipping and the third one Sustainable Circumpolar Communities.

Aglukkaq introduced herself at the conference as Canada takes over from Sweden as the Chair of Arctic Council this year. Aglukkaq is a member of the parliament in Canada for Nunavut, growing up in the small community Gjoa Haven.

"The traditional knowledge and expertise of the people living in the Arctic was crucial to the success of discovering a new frontier for Amundsen. And I believe it will also be the key to the future success of the Arctic Council."

"The quickly changing state of the Arctic region will present a new frontier for all of us in the next few years. We will be faced with challenges and opportunities - some will be positive, some perhaps not. But if we are to successfully navigate the future of the Arctic, we must build a bridge between the traditional knowledge of the people who live there, and the new realities of the present."

Aglukkaq has already met with Northern Canadians about the Canadian chairmanship and its priorities and since December she has met with all the Arctic Council states.

"My discussions with my counterparts, members of the business community and representatives of the Sami have been very productive and informative. I heard a clear message during all of my domestic and international consultations: the well-being and prosperity of people living in the North must be at the forefront of Canada's Arctic Council priorities."

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Speech by Leona Aglukkaq

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