Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 480

  Commentary MOVING FORWARD IN A RESILIENT NORTH Anja Jeffrey, Adam Fiser & Stefan Fournier The Canadian North has become a focal point for debates about our national sovereignty, security, and economic prosperity. But far more than a frontier for resource development and border disputes, the North is a homeland for many Aboriginal peoples. Across three coasts, it encompasses a diversity of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit communities. While there is growing national interest in transforming the North through economic development, science, and high technology, many Northerners continue to pursue traditional lifestyles alongside the wage economy. This blending of traditional and modern is both a source of conflicts, and a driver of some remarkable innovations. Our work has sought to understand how Northerners best cope with and capitalize on their opportunities and challenges. What we have found is that one of the most important conditions for a prosperous North is the presence of healthy and resilient communities. Resilient, healthy communities are capable of addressing local level goals and needs, and are vital to our nation’s sovereignty, security, and economic prosperity. This vision of a secure, prosperous, and resilient North is one that emphasizes an active policy role for capable Northern communities. We believe that Northern communities are much more than endpoints for service delivery and policy programming. At their best, they are sources of personal and collective resilience – places where local community governments, businesses, and civil society, are actively engaged in supporting their members' well-being, and in steering the major projects that are realizing Canada’s Northern economic potential. It is this kind of community presence that bolsters our Arctic sovereignty. Anja Jeffrey is the Director of Northern and Aboriginal Policy, Adam Fiser is a Senior Research Associate, and Stefan Fournier is a Research Associate at the Conference Board of Canada’s Centre for the North.