By Dr. Jessica M. Shadian
I had the fortunate opportunity to discuss Canada's Arctic Sovereignty with the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. I discussed why Canada needs to take its Northern Infrastructure Gap seriously. Canada's sovereignty is not facing a threat from Chinese or Russian battleships. Its greatest challenge will be its failure to create a long term Canadian vision for North as part of a grander vision of the future role of Canada in global politics and economics and what the North has to offer in that respect.
Canada should look to the massive investments that Russia has made to turn its Northern shores into a viable maritime route - The Northern Sea Route. The Russians understand the economic opportunities that its Arctic provides. China's Arctic policy includes a Polar Silk Route that brings the Arctic into its Global Belt and Road Infrastructure Initiative. The Chinese are investing in the Arctic from science to infrastructure to resources with big expectations that one day they will be able to utilise the NW Passage as a sea route.
While China invests its capital into the Arctic, at home in Canada the Arctic is not understood as an economic opportunity. Financial institutions on Bay Street and elsewhere have been left out of the majority of Federal Government discussions on the Arctic including the opportunities for investment that could be possible by working together in partnership with the North.
Listen to the full recording HERE (Dr. Shadian’s testimony begins at the commencement of the recording).