This week the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development continued its study of Canada’s Arctic Foreign Policy.
On February 26th, 2013, the committee heard testimony from Ted McDormand, an international law professor from the University of Victoria about his expertise on international law of the sea. The committee also heard evidence from representatives the Governments of Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon. The delegates from the territories discussed the importance to northerners of Canada becoming chairperson of the Arctic Council in May 2013 as well as the impact of development on Arctic Canada. The impact of climate change, increasing shipping traffic and the overall development of infrastructure and resource development were issues discussed by all representatives from the territories.
On February 28th, 2013, the committee heard testimony from witnesses from the Department of Transport and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on icebreaking, search and rescue capabilities environmental disaster response capabilities and climate change adaptability of the Coast Guard and in the North. A witness from Prolog Canada Inc. provided testimony on transportation in the north and demonstrated to the committee that while there is development in the north, a lack of infrastructure and transportation is hindering development.