Canada’s Governor General heads north to spotlight Arctic science

Canada’s Governor General Julie Payette, pictured here in October 2017, will visit two Inuit communities in the Canadian Arctic to hear more about scientific research being done in the region. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)
Canada’s Governor General left for the northeastern territory of Nunavut on Thursday for a three-day trip to the Arctic.

Julie Payette, the Queen’s representative in Canada, will arrive in the Inuit community of Pangnirtung on Baffin Island, to meet with the mayor and municipal council Thursday, followed by a community feast.

Payette then travels to Qikiqtarjuaq, a community 175 kilometres north of Pangnirtung, to board the Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen for a science workshop on August 31 and September 1.

Ecology, geology and climatology of Arctic seas

The icebreaker is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year.

“The powerful combination of Canada’s Network of Centres of Excellence ArcticNet and Canada’s research icebreaker the CCGS Amundsen has enabled top-notch research on Inuit Health, Arctic geopolitics, and the ecology, geology and climatology of Arctic seas,” Louis Fortier, the scientific leader of the CCGS Amundsen and scientific director of ArcticNet, a network of researchers that study climate change, said in a news release on Thursday.

Le navire Amundsen. (La Presse Canadienne)
The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Amundsen in 2005. A consortium of Canadian universities,along with the Canadian Coast Guard, mobilized the decommissioned icebreaker CCGS Sir John Franklin for science in 2003 and renamed the ship CCGS Amundsen. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

Payette will be joined on the Amundsen by Mona NemerCanada’s chief science advisor, and  Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s minister of science and sport.

“The Governor General’s visit will underscore the importance of scientific study and data collection in understanding Arctic issues and trends,” the office of the Governor General of Canada said in a separate news release. “These activities allow for evidence-based decision-making and the development of practical solutions.

“This visit will also highlight collaboration by recognizing the knowledge of Inuit and northerners who are at the forefront of the changes taking place in the Arctic.”

The Governor General’s visit ends on Saturday.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Ottawa, Quebec announce $53-million for construction at northern research institute, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finnish researcher testing plants to purify lakes and seas, Yle News

Norway: New building to help boost cooperation for Arctic research center in Northern Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Densely-packed ice makes navigation difficult in Russian Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedish icebreaker reaches North Pole for climate study, The Independent Barents Observer

United States:  Russian and American scientists team up to study Arctic Russia’s weakening sea ice, The Independent Barents Observer

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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