Uranium mining rejected at Iqaluit public forum

Concerned Inuit cite nuclear threat in Japan, environmental risks
CBC News
Posted: Mar 18, 2011 Original article here

Many Nunavummiut who attended a uranium forum Thursday night said they do not want uranium mining in Nunavut, while some even attacked the territory’s Inuit group for supporting uranium development.

More than 120 people in Iqaluit came out to the public forum, which was organized by the Nunavut government as it works on developing its own policy on uranium mining in the territory.

After hearing from officials representing government, the mining industry and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, most of those who spoke made it clear that they want nothing to do with uranium mining.

Panel members at the Nunavut government's uranium forum Thursday night in Iqaluit.

Panel members at the Nunavut government's uranium forum Thursday night in Iqaluit. (Patricia Bell/CBC)

“For me, there’s about four industries that we should never go into, and they’re asbestos, uranium, the tobacco industry and building of weapons,” said Madeleine Cole, a family doctor in the city.

“We cannot agree to something for the next 1,000 years that our descendants have not agreed to. I think it is irresponsible,” resident Aaju Peter said at the forum.

The threat of a nuclear disaster in Japan, which was rocked by a devastating earthquake and tsunami last week, weighed heavily on the minds of many audience members.

“Somebody who’s watching the news over the past few days has to be thinking about the implications of uranium and radioactivity in general on the environment [and] on people,” said Robert Anawak.

Growing mining interest

The territorial government wants to establish its own position on uranium amid growing interest in Nunavut from mining and exploration companies.

Areva Resources Canada wants to build a uranium mine at its Kiggavik site, 85 kilometres west of Baker Lake in Nunavut’s Kivalliq region. The company’s proposal is currently in the regulatory process.

Baker Lake resident Joan Scottie raised environmental and wildlife-related concerns about uranium mining at Thursday's forum.

Baker Lake resident Joan Scottie raised environmental and wildlife-related concerns about uranium mining at Thursday's forum. (Patricia Bell/CBC)

Most of the eight panel members at Thursday’s forum assured the audience that uranium mining in Canada is not a dangerous industry and not much different from other types of mining.

“Uranium mining is a very strictly regulated industry, which has very high standards for safety and environmental protection,” said George Schneider of Golder Associates, which prepared a report for the Nunavut government.

But Baker Lake resident Joan Scottie, who has been fighting proposed uranium projects near her community for more than 20 years, said Inuit elders like herself believe caribou have already been scared away by a gold mine that recently opened in the area.

Having the Kiggavik uranium mine near Baker Lake could take an even bigger toll on caribou and other wildlife, Scottie said.

“It’s going to be worse on the south side of Baker Lake, because that’s a major migration route,” she said.

NTI blasted for owning shares

Some at Thursday’s forum berated Nunavut Tunngavik (NTI), the territory’s Inuit land-claim organization, for supporting uranium mining and having shares in two companies that are exploring for the heavy metal.

“I did not agree as a beneficiary, as a trust member, to own shares in a uranium company,” Iqaluit resident Susan Enuaraq, an Inuit land-claim beneficiary, said during the forum.

Keith Morrison, a senior adviser with Nunavut Tunngavik, told the audience that the organization received shares in exchange for issuing exploration agreements to those companies. No money was paid for those shares, he added.

Sandra Inutiq, a spokesperson for the advocacy group Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit, accused Nunavut Tunngavik of denying its pro-uranium stance and pretending to give out balanced information on the topic.

“The spirit and intent of the land-claim agreement is not being fulfilled,” Inutiq said. “We expected, as Inuit, that we would participate in decision-making.”

Group wants plebiscite

Nunavut Tunngavik president Cathy Towtongie recently said she wants to review her organization’s uranium mining policy, which since 2007 has supported uranium projects in Nunavut as long as they are environmentally and socially responsible.

Inutiq said her group wants a territory-wide plebiscite so Inuit land-claim beneficiaries can vote on whether Nunavut Tunngavik should support uranium mining.

“When the review process is complete and the documents resulting from the process have been prepared and released to the public, there should be a plebiscite for beneficiaries of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement on the question of whether or not to allow uranium mining in Nunavut,” Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit said in a statement Thursday.

“Beneficiaries should be given a free and democratic vote on this important question and that vote should settle the question once and for all.”

But Nunavut Conservative Senator Dennis Patterson said a plebiscite would not respect the land claim, particularly for Areva’s Kiggavik proposal.

“It would probably not be in good faith for NTI to change the rules for a project that has already begun,” Patterson said at the forum.

The Nunavut government is holding another public forum in Baker Lake on March 30 and 31. It will then go to Cambridge Bay on April 12-13.

Those who cannot attend the meetings in person can send in comments online, or by email, phone, fax or postal mail.

Russia to Resolute: explorers plan to drive over top of the world to North Pole

Original article here

A group of Canadian and Russian explorers will set out to make history this week by driving from Russia to Canada over the North Pole.

Yes, driving.

“It’s the first time … someone will be crossing the Arctic Ocean with a wheel-based vehicle,” said Mikhail Glan, a Russian emigre living in Vancouver. “It’s a very interesting project.”

The eight-member Polar Ring team, which includes two Canadians, is to leave Thursday from an island in the Russian Arctic and roll straight north until it hits the pole. The team will then gas up and take on supplies at an ice camp used by tourists before heading south to Resolute, Nunavut.

“We plan to drive from Russia to the North Pole … Then we’ll drive all the way to Resolute Bay,” Glan said from Moscow. “It’s pretty simple.”

Simple, that is, until you consider that the trip is expected to take about four months and cover 7,000 kilometres in one of the most forbidding parts of the planet — nearly half of it sea ice.

At the North Pole, the sun won’t even rise until March 19. The average temperature is -34 C.

And while southern lakes may freeze into easily crossed white tabletops, the Arctic Ocean does anything but. The thick ice shifts and moves with winds and currents, throwing up huge ridges when pans bump together and leaving wide stretches of frigid, open water when they don’t.

This year is likely to be even tougher than most. There’s less ocean covered by ice now than there has been in any winter since satellite records began.

“There could be lots of open water,” said Glan. “We’re not sure that it will freeze. Most probably not, so we need to drive around.”

But that’s OK. The ice buggies can float.

“We can cross pretty big pieces of open water, but it definitely will slow us down. We hope that the weather will be more or less friendly.”

The buggies are an entirely new design, Glan said.

Other drive-the-sea-ice expeditions have used vehicles that are heavy and tank-like. A 2009 group drove modified U.S. military Humvees between the Nunavut communities of Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay. Polar Ring’s vehicles, powered by nine-litre diesel engines, are relatively light, and look like beefed-up, closed-in dune buggies with gigantic balloon tires.

Proving the worth of those vehicles is one of the reasons for the trip. Glan said a successful drive would demonstrate that wheeled transportation could be an efficient way to get around in the High Arctic — useful to everyone from scientists to resource companies to search-and-rescue teams.

The Polar Ring members, who will post their progress on the web, will also take myriad scientific measurements and track polar bears.

But Glan said one of the main reasons for the trip is to get people excited about the Arctic and Arctic exploration. The Russia-to-Resolute drive is one leg in a multi-year project to retrace the steps of early explorers and to link circumpolar nations with a thin strand of tire tracks on the ice.

“It will help to promote activities in the Arctic and maintain interest in that,” Glan said. “It helps attract attention to the history of Arctic exploration.

“Our goal is to promote it to attract attention, to make it interesting for people. This is a good eye-catcher.”

Those aren’t the only reasons to go, of course.

“Some people ask, ‘Why do you want to do that?’ Other people, they don’t have to ask,” said Glan.

“It’s exploration. It’s adventure. It’s a great thing.”

The team, funded by a variety of Russian corporations and foundations, hopes to arrive in Resolute by late May or early June.It plans to complete the circle in 2014 by driving from Resolute along the Alaskan coast back to Russia.

Glan said Polar Ring has filled in all the necessary paperwork to cross the border into Canada.

Content Provided By Canadian Press.


Arctic survey bid hits snag over Franklin ships

CBC News – original article here

An Alberta archeological firm’s proposal to test survey equipment in an Arctic waterway has hit a roadblock over concerns about the long-lost ships of Sir John Franklin. ProCom Marine Survey and Archeology had asked the Nunavut Impact Review Board to approve its proposal to conduct work in Larsen Sound, 195 kilometres northwest of Taloyoak in western Nunavut.

The company’s project, called Polar North, would use autonomous underwater vehicles to “develop solutions relating to offshore surveying for oil and gas in Arctic conditions,” according to proposal documents. If approved, the work would take place in April and August this year. But in a letter to territorial Environment Minister Daniel Shewchuk, the review board recommends that he modify or abandon ProCom’s proposal on the basis of the project’s location and “unacceptable potential adverse impacts to cultural resources.

” National historic sites Larsen Sound is considered to be the final resting spot for one or both of the famed British explorer’s ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, which disappeared during a doomed expedition to chart the Northwest Passage more than 160 years ago. “It was primarily the location of the project, and the fact that there are recognized national historic sites that are believed to be in Larsen Sound,” Ryan Barry, an official with the review board, told CBC News.

“The concerns, primarily from the [Nunavut] Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth, were such that they saw the potential for impact to these historic sites.” ProCom’s latest proposal does not mention Franklin’s ships, but the company ran into trouble with the Nunavut government when it tried to look for the lost ships last fall without the necessary permits. Concerns raised Barry said the board reviewed ProCom’s Polar North application in consultation with community organizations in the hamlets of Taloyoak, Gjoa Haven and Kugaaruk, as well as with officials from the federal and territorial governments and Inuit organizations. Major concerns about the project were raised during those consultations, with the proposed location being most significant, Barry said.

According to the review board, the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth recommends that ProCom relocate the project to another body of water north of Larsen Sound, excluding Lancaster Sound. In a letter to Shewchuk, ProCom president Rob Rondeau said his group is prepared to make changes to its application. “Given the size of Larsen Sound, ProCom would be prepared to relocate the project, from the survey area as proposed, providing an alternative site can be selected, so that it can continue to be based from Taloyoak,” Rondeau wrote. Rondeau told CBC News he would prefer not to comment on the matter until Shewchuk has decided whether ProCom can resubmit its application with changes.

Iqaluit polar bear hunting quota unclear

CBC NewsJanuary 5, 2011
Original article here

There are quotas on how many polar bears can be hunted annually in Nunavut. Hunters in Iqaluit are looking for an increase to their quota, which is usually set at 23. (CBC)

Hunters in Iqaluit may not get to hunt more polar bears this year after all, as the group representing them has to deal with several levels of bureaucracy over the 2011 hunting quota.

Last week, the Amarok Hunters and Trappers Association in Iqaluit announced a big increase in the annual number of polar bears its members can hunt, from the usual quota of 23 bears to 41 in 2011.

The organization attributed the increase to “credits” it received from wildlife regulators for staying below the quota in past years.

But Amarok officials have since learned they do not yet have permission to use all those credits. Vice-chair David Alexander told CBC News he blames the confusion on miscommunication between many decision-making bodies.

The Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board has approved adding only 10 extra polar bears to Iqaluit’s annual hunt, bringing this year’s quota to 33.

Nunavut government officials said they support the Qikiqtaaluk board’s decision, but it’s now up to the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board to give its final approval.

“We have to send out the letter to the right appropriate people, which is the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, as well as with the Nunavut government,” Alexander said Wednesday.

The Nunavut Wildlife Management Board said it has yet to receive an application from the Amarok Hunters and Trappers Association.

Government defends decision to ban narwhal tusk sales

By Randy Boswell, Postmedia News December 17, 2010
Original article here

The Canadian government is defending its controversial decision to ban the export of narwhal tusks from most of the Nunavut communities currently selling the spear-like objects that inspired the unicorn myth.

Officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans told Postmedia News on Friday that Canada’s hands are essentially tied on the issue because of its commitment to the protocols of an international wildlife treaty controlling the global trade in animal parts — including the long, spiralling tooth that serves as a sensor and mating adornment for the iconic Arctic whale.

The tusks, which can grow longer than three metres, are coveted by collectors as rare keepsakes or used by ivory carvers to make canes, figurines and other objects. A few hundred from Arctic Canada are sold annually to buyers abroad, fetching prices of as much as $2,000 each and generating significant supplementary income for many Inuit hunters.

In 2006, a single mounted narwhal tusk sold at a U.S. auction for more than $16,000.

While acknowledging it was a “difficult decision” that will have a financial impact on Inuit communities, DFO spokesman Alain Belle-Isle said: “The result would be even worse if we skirted the rules,” regulating foreign sales of the tusks.

“If we didn’t follow our obligations,” he noted, “we could face sanctions,” including a total ban on all narwhal products from all Canadian suppliers.

The federal department informed Nunavut communities earlier this week that in order to comply with the terms of CITES — the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora — Canada would suspend foreign sales of narwhal tusks harvested in 2010 in 17 of the 22 Inuit communities that are now exporting the objects.

News of the decision prompted outrage from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., which represents Inuit land-claim interests in the territory. Inuit hunters are already facing international pressure over seal and polar bear harvests.

“DFO does not have the right to impose such restrictions upon Inuit, particularly when the (narwhal) population is thriving, and harvest numbers do not threaten the species,” NTI president Cathy Towtongie said in a statement issued this week. “NTI is considering legal options at this time.”

While narwhals are widely seen as one of the Arctic’s most vulnerable species in an era of climate change and melting ice, Canadian scientists using new counting methods recently revised the estimated population of the whales at the north of Baffin Island to 60,000 from 30,000.

DFO said Friday that it’s working with Nunavut wildlife officials, as well as hunters’ and trappers’ organizations and other stakeholders, to review current harvest levels and scientific data with an eye to creating a new, sustainable management plan and reconsidering the export ban next year.

“From a conservation and an international-obligation perspective, the science advice indicated that some of the narwhal populations were at risk and that the harvest levels were not sustainable,” said Sylvie Lapointe, DFO’s director of international fisheries management and the official in charge of CITES compliance.

She said that while the decision has “no impact on the domestic management of narwhals or domestic trade,” the partial ban means that potential foreign sales “won’t be a driver to increase harvest levels” in areas of the Arctic identified as having more vulnerable narwhal populations.

But Okalik Eegeesiak, president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, representing several affected communities at the north end of Baffin Island, said Friday she thinks “the government has to backtrack” on the decision.

Earlier this year, QIA won a court fight with the Canadian government to halt a proposed seismic survey in Lancaster Sound that Inuit group and environmentalists said was planned without proper public consultation or adequate concern about the environmental impact.

And earlier this month, Eegeesiak was in Ottawa to celebrate an announcement by Environment Minister John Baird that a planned Lancaster Sound marine park would proceed and that no further seismic surveys would be conducted.

“We’re surprised,” Eegeesiak said Friday about the decision on narwhal tusks, “that the government has made yet another decision without consulting Inuit about something that could have a huge impact on our communities.”

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

Iqaluit awarded bowhead whale hunt

December 8, 2010 CBC News

Inuit hunters in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, stand atop a 17-metre whale they harvested in August 2009. A similar hunt will take place next summer in Iqaluit, the territorial capital city. (Submitted by Sally and Tagak Curley)

Iqaluit will host one of Nunavut’s prized bowhead whale hunts next summer, giving Inuit hunters there a rare chance to harvest one of the giants of the sea.

Next summer will mark the first time in recent history that Iqaluit hunters will get to harvest one of the massive marine mammals, which can feed hundreds of Inuit in the area with meat and muktaaq.

“It’s very important. It’s been tradition for a long time. I always wanted to go bowhead whale hunt, if I got a chance,” said longtime Iqaluit hunter Solomon Awa, who has never hunted a mighty bowhead.

While whaling has long been a revered tradition in Inuit culture, which emphasizes the ability to live off the land, the bowhead whale was completely off-limits to hunting for decades. As a result, many modern Inuit in Nunavut have not had a chance to go after the large whales.

Licence required

But as the whale’s numbers started to rebound in the mid-1990s, hunters have been slowly getting their chance. Today, the bowhead whale remains the only animal for which Inuit communities need a licence to hunt.

Nunavut’s Inuit land-claims organization, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., has fought hard to open up the harvest.

The group convinced the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board to recommend raising the annual quota from two to three whales a year. That recommendation was approved by federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea last year.

“It’s very important for younger people to learn. I mean, they have enough distractions already in today’s modern world,” said Gabriel Nirlungayuk, Nunavut Tunngavik’s wildlife director.

“There’s nothing like it to go out on the land, and coming home with dinner.”

So every year, three Nunavut communities are awarded licences to hunt one bowhead whale each. This year, hunts took place in Kugaaruk, Pond Inlet and Repulse Bay, with whalers in the latter two communities having successful hunts.

No guarantees

While hunters like Awa say they are excited with the opportunity, they are quick to note there is no guarantee that they will actually take home a whale.

“Yes, it’s going to be really fun having a bowhead whale hunt here in Iqaluit; [it is] like we’re given a licence [for] opportunity. The question is, are we going to be successful?” Awa said.

“It’s all up to the environment. It’s not up to us. That’s how we always look at it.”

The Amarok Hunters and Trappers Organization in Iqaluit, which is organizing next summer’s hunt, has not yet set an exact date.

Vice-chairman David Alexander said he expects a lot of hunters will want to be in the whaling crew that will go out onto the water and pursue a bowhead.

“It won’t be an easy task as to who will be able to … to be out on this hunt. Hopefully we’ll be able to do the right selection process to get the right people,” Alexander said.

Hunting, butchering work

Awa said he hopes to be part of the whaling crew, but he added that he’ll be happy doing whatever he can.

“The hunting part is fun, but the butchering part is also a lot of work,” he said.

While whale hunting is tied to the Inuit people’s past, the technology hunters use today is modern — a grenade is speared into the giant animal in order to avoid a drawn-out death, Nirlungayuk said.

“You try and aim it for either the brain or the heart or the lungs or both. There’s a gap, about a five- to six-second gap, and then it explodes,” Nirlungayuk said.

Alexander said the chance to hunt a bowhead whale will make up for years in which the beluga whale harvest proved to be disappointing.

He added that the hunt will give Inuit hunters a chance to pass on traditional knowledge to young people, while hopefully feeding a lot of people.
Original article here.


Mystery Arctic box unearthed, may contain Franklin’s log, but more likely Amundsens magnetic observations

Wally Porter (left) shows the cairn where his grandfather buried what may be the logbooks from the ill-fated Franklin expedition to writer Ken McGoogan. Photograph by: Sheena Fraser McGoogan, Postmedia News

Vancouver Sun via Circumpolar Musings:
By Ken McGoogan, Postmedia News September 5, 2010

An old wooden box excavated from beneath an Arctic cairn is being flown unopened Monday to Ottawa from the Nunavut hamlet of Gjoa Haven.

The Nunavut-government launched the excavation after an Inuit family relayed oral history suggesting that the cairn contained records from the ill-fated 1845 expedition led by Sir John Franklin in search of the Northwest Passage.

But Canadian historian Kenn Harper, who has spent months researching the cairn, says the box will prove to contain records left in 1905 by explorer Roald Amundsen during the first-ever navigation of the Passage.

The box, which measures 14.5 x 11 x 6.5 inches, will be opened and its contents preserved at the Canadian Conservation Institute.

Harper, author of the best-selling Inuit biography Give Me My Fathers Body, and also Honorary Danish Consul in Nunavut, says the box contains papers that Amundsen buried after spending almost two years in Gjoa Haven tracking the movements of the North Magnetic Pole.

He began investigating the cairn after learning of the claim by descendants of George Washington Porter II, a Hudson’s Bay Company manager based in that hamlet on King William Island.

Harper says that Eric Mitchell of the HBC, the senior man in the territory, dug up the Amundsen records in 1958, with the help of Porter II. The two men found documents that had first been discovered in 1927 by William Paddy Gibson, an HBC inspector who reburied them.

Gibson wrote in The Beaver magazine of finding the records, which included a signed photograph of Georg V. Neumayer, a German scientist who had sparked Amundsens interest in the North Magnetic Pole.

Harper predicted that the Saturday excavation would turn up an old HBC ammunition box. Andrew Porter, who runs a tourism business in Gjoa Haven, says that just such a box was found three feet beneath the cairn.

Harper says the unopened box contains a metal canister in a bed of tallow. Inside the canister, conservators will find the Amundsen documents in an envelope sewn into an oilskin packet and wrapped in pages from a 1950s Nautical Almanac and an Edmonton newspaper.

Harper, who has lived in the Arctic for over 30 years, doubts that any Franklin documents will be found. He believes that oral history has confused Franklin and Amundsen.

Original article here

Amundsen honoured in Gjoa Haven

(CBC News, 25 August 2010) — Residents of Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, held a special flag-raising ceremony with Norwegian officials this week to honour Roald Amundsen, who spent two years in the community during his famed quest through the Northwest Passage. The Norwegian ambassador attended Monday’s ceremony, in which the Canadian and Norwegian flags were raised near the Amundsen Centenary Cairn in Gjoa Haven. Also in attendance was Gier Klover, the director of the Fram Museum in Oslo, Norway. “I’ve been interested in polar histories since I was a kid, so Gjoa Haven, that’s the place I’ve read about for 30 years,” Klover told CBC News on Tuesday. “Just to be here, and the incredible friendliness and hospitality of the community, is very touching.” Klover said his museum is dedicated to polar explorers like Amundsen, who set sail for the Northwest Passage in 1903 in his ship, Gjoa. The museum is building an extension to house the Gjoa, he added. Amundsen spent two winters near King William Island, in what is now Gjoa Haven, learning from local Inuit as he prepared for his expedition. “He perfected the skills, making him the ultimate polar explorer,” Klover said. “He had huge respect for local learnings and local knowledge, and he spent every day trying to learn as much as possible there, as opposed to many other explorers.” Amundsen made history when he completed the east-to-west voyage across the passage in 1906. Klover said Monday’s ceremony commemorates the growing partnership between his museum and the community of Gjoa Haven. He said he brought some photographs that were taken by Amundsen, as a gift to the community.

Via the excellent polar newsring Circumpolar Musings
Original article here

Canada flexes military muscle: arctic sovereignty Operation NANOOK

Below is a straight up press release from The Department of National Defense, Canada Command. They’re heavily increasing their military presence, and note how they stress “sovereignty” and “presence”. Those are fightin’ words, as a great many countries want their tradeships to pass through the arctic unhindered, and many view the North West passage as international waters. They are also in a strategic collaboration with their “arctic allies” USA and Denmark, who participate in the operation. On the other hand, they are also practicing for possible oil spills, but we’d like to see as little traffic as possible in the Arctic, military or commercial. Jonas/Hornorkesteret

Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

Canada Command

Canada Command

Aug 06, 2010 17:19 ET

Canada Begins Annual Arctic Sovereignty Operation

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Aug. 6, 2010) – The Canadian Forces’ largest annual demonstration of Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic, known as Operation NANOOK, began today as the Canadian-led Naval Task Group crossed the 60th parallel en route to the High Arctic.

This year, the 20-day event will be based out of Resolute, Nunavut—the northernmost location to host the operation since its inception in 2007. Operation NANOOK will feature sovereignty and presence patrolling, military exercises, and will culminate with a whole-of-government exercise that focuses on fuel spill containment and remediation of a simulated leak in the Resolute Bay area.

“The NANOOK operations are an important demonstration of our Government’s commitment to the Arctic region” said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. “Building from experience and successes of previous operations, Operation NANOOK is the most complex operation of its kind, demonstrating our increased capacity and confidence in operating in the high Arctic.”

“Operation NANOOK is a clear demonstration of the Canadian Forces fulfilling our primary mission as stated in the Canada First Defence Strategy,” said General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff. “We are committed to ensuring the security of all Canadians and to enhancing our presence in the Arctic by conducting sovereignty exercises and operations in cooperation with other government departments.”

As part of the Arctic Reserve Company Group, members of southern-Ontario Army Reserve units will conduct training exercises with Canadian Rangers in Resolute Bay and Pond Inlet. The Air Force will be providing air movement and mission support through the CC-177 Globemaster III, CC-130 Hercules, CP-140 Aurora, CH-146 Griffon, and CC-138 Twin Otter aircraft. The maritime component will include Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Montreal, Glace Bay and Goose Bay; and Canadian Coast Guard Ships CCGS Des Groseilliers and CCGS Henry Larsen;

Canada has also invited the American naval destroyer USS Porter from the United States Second Fleet; the United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Alder; and the Royal Danish Navy ocean patrol vessel HDMS Vaedderen and offshore patrol vessel HDMS Knud Rasmussen for the purpose of exercising and increasing our interoperability with Arctic allies.

Operation NANOOK is based in the Eastern Arctic and is one of three major recurring sovereignty operations conducted annually by the CF in Canada’s Arctic, along with Operation NUNALIVUT in the High Arctic, and Operation NUNAKPUT in the Western Arctic. Planned and directed by Joint Task Force North in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, these annual operations highlight interoperability, command and control, and cooperation with interdepartmental and intergovernmental partners in the North.

Note to Editors:

Still imagery will be available for download throughout the operation on the Canadian Forces Image Gallery at: www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca.

Video B-Roll will also be available for download on the Canadian Forces Combat Camera Video Download Site: www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca/common/combatcamera/news.

For more information about Canada Command and Operation NANOOK visit the Canada Command website: http://www.canadacom.forces.gc.ca/daily/archive-nanook-eng.asp.

For more information on Operation NANOOK 10 please contact Lieutenant-Commander Albert Wong, Public Affairs Officer, at (416) 738-3099.

For more information, please contact

MLO Media Liaison Office

Original article here

Arctic exploitation stopped in Nunavut!

Arctic exploration stopped

By BRIAN LILLEY, Parliamentary Bureau

OTTAWA – Attempts to explore the contents of the earth below Canada’s Arctic waters near Lancaster Sound have been put on hold by a Nunavut judge.

The joint project of the federal government’s natural resources department and the German Alfred Wegner Institute for Polar and Marine Research was supposed to begin as early as this week.

The plan was to use seismic testing, which involves blasting sound waves off of the earth below the sea to map out what lies below the waters.

Two agencies of the Nunavut government had signed off on the testing but not everyone was happy. Some Inuit groups and environmentalists opposed the testing, claiming it could damage wildlife in the area.

In a ruling issued Sunday, Justice Sue Cooper agreed and granted an injunction.

Cooper sided with those seeking the injunction who argued that the air guns used to blast sound waves through the water would damage the hearing of marine mammals.

Cooper’s decision notes that there are protocols in place to lessen the impact of hearing loss, with the judge saying the fact that such protocols exist means there could be an impact on wildlife and the food supply of the Inuit communities near the testing.

“On the whole of the evidence presented, I am satisfied that Inuit in the five affected communities will suffer irreparable harm if an injunction is not granted,” the decision reads.