THE NEW INSECURITIES
In the Canadian Arctic, new federal policies are challenging the ideals of integrated ocean management. Consolidated
environmental regulatory authority and efforts to subdue and silence environmental research are also placing the
Arctic’s ocean resource-dependent and subsistence-based indigenous communities at risk. Through the lens of Canadian
ocean and coastal governance, this paper is an attempt to identify and address some of the emerging insecurities and
tensions that exist between current federal resource management policies and their ultimate impact on both the people
and environment of the Canadian Arctic.
The reduction of year-round ice cover in the Canadian Arctic has been seen as a momentous
business opportunity by many companies eager to tap the region’s previously inaccessible resources.
In anticipation of this unprecedented investment and development pressure, the policies and
management frameworks that govern these resources warrant attentive consideration – both with
respect to Canada’s response to external globally-driven pressures as well as to the nation’s ability to
sustainably leverage this wealth for long-term human benefit. Although potentially one of the
wealthiest nations on earth – particularly if estimated values of untapped oil, natural gas and minerals
are correct – achieving and sustaining high levels of human well-being has remained incredibly
challenging for Canada in the face of rapid environmental change and the nation’s many competing
Brit Sojka is an Arctic Research Fellow & Canadian Area Studies Fellow at the University of Washington.