Canada’s foreign affairs minister talks Arctic, Ukraine with Norway

The Norwegian flag. (iStock)
The Norwegian flag. (iStock)
Arctic issues and Russia’s actions in Ukraine took centre stage as Canada’s foreign affairs minister John Baird wrapped up a visit to Norway on Friday.

“Norway is a strong international partner and NATO ally for Canada,” said Baird in a news release on Friday. ” We continue to enjoy a strong bilateral relationship and work closely on a number of multilateral issues, particularly on the Arctic. We appreciate Norway’s support on this issue.”

Norway was the first stop of Baird’s European trip where he seeks to promote unity with European allies on issues like global security and humanitarian challenges.

Tensions with Russia over Ukraine will be a key issue for Baird on this trip, and was highlighted when he met with Norway’s foreign minister Børge Brende.

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird in Ottawa in May 2014. (Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press)
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird in Ottawa in May 2014. (Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press)

“Minister Brende and I remain united in our support for Ukraine and continue to condemn Russia’s actions,” said Baird. “Canada will continue to work with its allies and partners to put financial and political pressure on those who seek to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Canada has spoken out strongly against Russia’s leadership since the Ukraine crisis began. Canada also currently holds the rotating two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council of which Russia is a member along with Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and the United States.

There’s been much concern about how increasing tensions between the West and Russia will affect  the work of the international forum and Arctic cooperation in general.

In April, Canada boycotted an Arctic Council meeting in Moscow to protest Russian actions in Crimea.

Arctic Council video by the Government of Canada: 

Write to Eilís Quinn  at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Will Russia’s actions in Ukraine affect relations in the Arctic Council?, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Ex-President Ahtisaari calls on Finland to join NATO with Sweden, Yle News

Norway:  Nordics rethink security after Ukraine crisis, Yle News

Sweden: Sweden providing jets to NATO, Radio Sweden

Russia:  Blog – Russia puts countries on edge in the Arctic, Cryopolitics

United States: Can an aggressive Russia remain U.S.’s nice Arctic neighbor?, APRN

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning 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 murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

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

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

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."

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