Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 378

Commentary Yukon as a Regional & Circumpolar Actor Hon. Currie Dixon As the Arctic and its variety of governance institutions and intergovernmental forums have gained significant international attention, sub-national governments in the circumpolar north have begun to play an increasingly important role on the international stage. While high level foreign policy and international relations continue to be in the realm of national governments, sub-nationals like provinces, territories, states, autonomous regions, First Nations and Aboriginal governments are participating and interacting in many new ways. While this involvement is a welcome step forward, enhanced roles for sub-national governments should come with some greater scrutiny and analysis of their respective positions and policies. Such a review will elucidate why and how sub-national governments conduct themselves outside of their own borders and may reveal observations not only about how these governments are viewed by others, but how they view themselves. As an initial contribution to this end, the Yukon provides interesting subject matter. I would argue that the Yukon adopts and assumes multiple identities as it conducts its business outside of its territorial borders. It would seem that there are four such identities, which are defined by the Yukon’s geography, economy, population, and political institutions. First and foremost, Yukon is quite clearly an Arctic territory. It participates actively in intergovernmental Arctic forums like the Arctic Council and the Northern Forum. During Canada’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council (2013-2015), Yukon led Canadian efforts on Arctic Council Working Groups, typically focusing on issues related to climate change research and adaptation. Currie Dixon is a Member of the Yukon Legislative Assembly, and is Minister of Community Services and Minister Responsible for the Public Service Commission.