Arctic security on the agenda for Northern Premiers’ Forum

Federal ministers, premiers meet in Iqaluit on Sunday before forum opens in Pond Inlet

Arctic security will be on the agenda this week as federal politicians and territorial premiers meet in Nunavut.

The Northern Premiers’ Forum is being held Monday through Thursday in Pond Inlet, with Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok acting as chairperson. That role is rotated each year between the premiers of Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.

On Sunday in Iqaluit, Akeeagok along with N.W.T. Premier R.J. Simpson and Yukon Premier Ranj Pillai met with federal cabinet ministers including Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal, National Defence Minister Bill Blair and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly.

During the meeting, Blair spoke about Canada’s new defence policy, funding for military operations in the Arctic, and threats from adversaries in the region, according to a statement published by his office afterward.

The group also met with Canadian Rangers and toured the Royal Canadian Air Force’s forward operating location in Iqaluit.

After the meetings, the politicians went to the Nunavut commissioner’s official residence in Iqaluit for a dinner of caribou Wellington and char stew, prepared by Iqaluit chef Sheila Flaherty.

The visit will continue Monday morning in Iqaluit with a roundtable discussion on Arctic security.

In a news release announcing the visit, Blair said he looked forward to working with the northern premiers and Inuit leaders about threats to the North and the Arctic and how they can work together to protect Canada and keep northerners and Indigenous communities safe.

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