Canada's North Essay

1805 words - 8 pages

Canada’s North is often seen as the country’s national identity. In actuality, it stems far beyond the isolated land of picturesque vistas used to often describe Canada’s rugged landscape. The lived Canadian environment reflects a regional perspective that does not encompass the true reality of the country as a whole. The North links the diversity of Indigenous peoples to the land they have occupied for centuries, a place where they have built their own distinct culture, language and identity. Those ideals have been increasingly challenged in the twenty-first century, in spite of the imagined sense of ‘Canadianness’ in the North but because of the transitioning economy and environment in the ...view middle of the document...

The resources that can be expropriated from the region – oil, gas and diamonds – will eventually push the Northwest Territories to the status of a more autonomous territory and create a mutually beneficial economic relationship between the territory and the larger Canadian nation (Cric Papers 3). The increased development of the North is only a small piece of the larger national picture but its economic transition has been significantly influenced by its Aboriginal population and has affected their social well being, language and culture (Bone 225). Early Indigenous ideals in the North have been subject to change, they have to develop the financial and economic side of their culture in order to become a more distinct cultural entity since some Aboriginals in the North, do in fact, still live in subsistence due to the mass claim that the Innu Nation and Inuit have to the North (Friederes 299).
The traditional economy in the north can no longer be used to support the Arctic. The North is solely dependent on the federal government for financial backing, funds comes from the federal government based on transfer payments. New developments in the region will need significant backing to reach a place where they will be able to contribute to the economy as a sustainable measure of subsistence. The Northern development has been southern-driven and only benefits the northern peoples on some levels (Friederes 297) because their environment and needs are different than the practices in southern parts of the country. The pushback to see the traditional-based economy survive is still alive in some regions. In order for the North to be seen as a contributing member of the larger nation it needs to advance its “community-based economic opportunities that meet the needs of northern residents” (Friederes 297-298). The Northern land-based economy is estimated to be $60 million per year (298). The wage economy in the territories differs based on available jobs and need for production, construction and development; however, a plan of action needs to be established to increase the regions capital. The growth must benefit all three territories as well as the wider Canadian nation.
Northern expansion requires Aboriginal participation and with increased support they are able to capitalize on resource extraction. Between 1999 and 2005, the Northwest Territories mining, oil and gas industries rose by 207% in comparison to the 15% rise throughout the rest of Canada (Angell 67). The resources that stand to be extracted from Canada’s North are not a surprise and speculation is present amongst to the rest of the country, and world ¬– “there may be billions of dollars to be extracted from what [has] long been seen as ice- and snow- covered wastes” (Coates 137). Economic backing of the North by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has been an off-again, on-again in reference to claims agreements within government policy for years. Harper outlines valued potential within...

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