But the people at the center of the controversy are glad Clinton spoke up, according to Agence France-Presse.
“I’m grateful for her comments and I hope it encourages Canada to be more inclusive, or at the very least to consider inviting northern inhabitants at meetings such as this,” Duane Smith, head of the Canadian branch of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), tells the news agency, here.
Smith says his group, which lobbies on behalf of northern peoples, had asked to be included in the Arctic Coastal conference, but was turned down.
Clinton criticized that exclusion, as well as that of Iceland, Sweden and Finland, whose interests in the region also are legitimate, she said.
Canada is newly protective of the Arctic, because climate change is opening up new shipping lanes that could provide better access to huge mineral and fuel reserves. Other northern countries also lay claim to those.
Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon has said this week’s meeting “was not made to replace or undermine the Arctic Council,” which comprises northern nations and indigenous groups, meets biannually, according to AFP.
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