Arctic council to create northern business forum

Canada's Arctic Council minister, Leona Aglukkaq, says the government needs to do a better job of including northern business and aboriginal knowledge in its study of climate change.

Canada’s Arctic Council minister, Leona Aglukkaq, says the government needs to do a better job of including northern business and aboriginal knowledge in its study of climate change.

“Over the last 16 years there has been a lot of scientific work conducted through the Arctic Council on climate change. The evidence is there. It is happening,” Aglukkaq said.

“We need to work on incorporating traditional Inuit knowledge with science,” she said.

Aglukkaq was in Whitehorse this week for the first summit of the Arctic Council, which Canada now chairs. She said discussion focused on establishing the council’s priorities for Canada’s term at the helm.

“Arctic states operate on a consensus basis. The ideas were presented to the Arctic states and based on that, our priorities from the consultation were approved,” Aglukkaq said.

“Canada’s priorities are responsible Arctic resource development, safe Arctic shipping and a circumpolar business community,” she said.

The council will establish a circumpolar business forum in January to help northern business across the Arctic communicate with each other and give their feedback on issues like the impacts of climate change.

“We need to continue to monitor what’s happening in the North and the science behind that is very important. We can’t stop. We have to continue to assess what’s going on on the ground,” she said.

But that means including what business and industry are seeing on the ground, she said, especially when it comes to the effectiveness of environmental monitoring.

Industry should have a way of telling Canadians whether they are doing a good job of safeguarding the North, she said.

“From the business community side of things, what they said is that we do all this research and mitigation measures are put forward by environmental assessment groups to ensure that we protect our environment.

“In doing that, the flip side is from the business community is that we can share what we’re seeing. We don’t have a mechanism to share what we’re seeing on the ground. The business forum would be an opportunity to do that,” she said.

Aglukkaq didn’t offer any suggestions about how aboriginal people’s knowledge could be included, but pointed to Outside scientists doing work without consulting the local populations.

“When science is conducted outside of the North on a subject like polar bears without talking to the people on the ground, there’s a bit of a conflict. That’s not necessarily correct.”

Aglukkaq spoke at length about the importance of scientific research in the North, and studying how climate change is affecting the environment north of 60.

Earlier this week, a report released by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada said that hundreds of federal scientists have been asked to exclude or alter technical information in government reports for non-scientific reasons. Thousands of scientists say they’ve been muzzled from speaking to the media or the public.

Contact Jesse Winter at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A bobcat is used to help clear snow in downtown Whitehorse on Nov. 4. According to Environment Canada, the Yukon has experienced record-breaking precipitation this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon will have “delayed spring” after heavy winter snowfall

After record levels of precipitation, cold spring will delay melt

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted online. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted on… Continue reading

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

A Housing First building on Fifth Avenue and Wood Street will be taken over by the Council of Yukon First Nations and John Howard Society later this month. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
CYFN, John Howard Society take over downtown Housing First residence

The organizations have pledged culturally appropriate service for its many Indigenous residents

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. Politicians return for the spring sitting of the assembly March 4. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Analysis: What to expect in spring sitting of the legislature

They’re back on March 4, but election speculation is looming large

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

Most Read