Good evening. I’m Petra Bridgeman, and this is The National.
Today the Government of Canada along with the other Arctic nations gathered in Narvik, Norway signed NEENAC (No Extraction Exploration North of the Arctic Circle), the treaty making the Arctic Ocean and the surrounding continental shelves a mining-free zone. As a result of this treaty, all lands and waters north of the Arctic Circle will be out of bounds to extraction exploration and drilling. Minister Greenveldt said that the polar nations, along with all major Canadian oil and mining companies, now clearly see that the Arctic environment is too fragile for industrial development. Furthermore, it was acknowledged, such activity in this multinational region creates a high risk of military confrontation over rights of mining and transportation.
Minister Greenveldt will be back in the House of Commons tomorrow, not just to celebrate this achievement, but to get back to other Department of Peace initiatives waiting for parliamentary approval, notably the International Peace Stations in Kurdistan and northern Nigeria. He will then resume his cross-country tour to persuade Canadians to support these and other peace initiatives by voluntarily re-directing 8% of their federal income tax to the Department of Peace.
Here is a clip from his speech to the legislature in Regina last month: “Canadians, over the last decade and a half, have had their vision clouded by creeping militarism. But today, many have come to realize that they’ve been misled. Many now see that diplomatic negotiations and well-planned actions by people trained in conflict resolution are the best way to solve international problems. In the past we have reacted impulsively and aggressively and, frankly, blindly against those who oppose our interests in their part of the world. In our attempt to stamp out their fire, live sparks started up multiple fires locally and abroad. Despite all our military efforts in the first two decades of this century, there is now a self-styled caliphate in the Middle East basket. Because a significant number of Canadians have seen that violence is not the way to peace they are unwilling to support it with their taxes and have opted instead to support our new Department of Peace.”
Mary Groh and Eric Unger for Conscience Canada