Inuit peoples are declaring victory and Arctic experts are warning that Canada’s approach to the North will have to change after remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“I can only express my support for her comments and her views,” said Duane Smith, head of the Canadian branch of the Inuit Circumpolar Council.
On Monday, Canada was host to a meeting of the United States, Norway, Russia and Denmark to discuss Arctic issues that included boundary disputes and search-and-rescue capabilities.
However, Iceland, Finland and Sweden were not invited — even though they are members of the Arctic Council, a long-standing group that Canada helped create specifically for such issues. Aboriginal groups who also have a place at the Arctic Council were not invited either.
But all three non-invitees publicly complained about the snub, as did the Inuit. And Clinton backed them up.
“Significant international discussions on Arctic issues should include those who have legitimate interests in the region,” she said Monday.
What Clinton said may have been less important than the fact she talked about the Arctic at all — a sign of the growing importance of the region to the U.S.