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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives at the Arctic Ocean Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Chelsea, Quebec on Monday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives at the Arctic Ocean Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Chelsea, Quebec on Monday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s criticism of Canada for not including indigenous people in an Arctic conference earlier this week has kicked up a firestorm. (See previous post, here.)

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.

Gwen Florio

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 at 6:00 pm and is filed under aboriginal, climate change, environment, Inuit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One comment

Sylvia Smith
 1 

I’m a Canadian and we (Canadians) need more than a blast. Good on you Hillary and if more countries had the courage to speak up like this (for once on behalf of Indigenous peoples) it would do us all a world of good.

April 3rd, 2010 at 5:14 am

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