Concerns over Canada’s Arctic Council chairmanship

Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, Canada. (Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic, Radio Canada International)
Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, Canada. (Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic, Radio Canada International)

Canada will take centre stage on northern issues when it assumes chairmanship of the Arctic Council from Sweden on May 15th.

But already, some observers are voicing concerns about Canada’s two-year stewardship of the organization.

Canada has stated that promoting northern development for northerners will be among its priorities.

But with pan-Arctic issues like climate change needing the attention of the circumpolar community like never before, the development focus has some analysts scratching their heads.

“The issue of development is something that the Canadians are driving pretty tough now,” says Kristofer Bergh, a researcher with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. “I think northern communities in Canada are completely different from northern communities in Sweden or Finland or Noway.

“There’s a perception that a lot of the issues being brought forward will further Canadian development rather than Arctic development.”

To find out more, I sat down with Kristofer Bergh when he visited Montreal, Canada to participate in the conference “Canada and the Arctic Council” at the École nationale d’administration publique (The National School of Public Administration).

To listen to the interview on Radio Canada International, click here

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project.

Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the violent death of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on violence and trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

Twitter: @Arctic_EQ

Email: eilis.quinn(at)

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