(Jane George/Nunatsiaq News, 16 March 2012) -- It’s official: Norway can bring home the Maud, although some people in Cambridge Bay may miss the familar sight of the half-sunken wreck outside their community. Canada’s cultural property export review board, which met March 15 in Ottawa, has directed the Border Services Agency to issue an export permit to the Norwegian group that’s eager to bring the ship once sailed by polar explorer Roald Amundsen back to Norway. The board said in its March 16 decision that “the Maud is of outstanding significance to Canada, but that its loss would not significantly diminish the national heritage.” A statement from Canadian Heritage said “the board was sensitive to both sides of the story of the Maud and appreciated all the relevant information presented by the expert examiner and the appellant, the Norwegian Embassy. The Board recognized the shared heritage of Canada, Norway and the world, and after careful consideration of the criteria under the Act, determined that an export permit will be granted for the Maud.” “That is great news for us and we can now go ahead making plans and prepare ourself for the great challenge to finally bring Maud home,” said Jan Wanggaard, manager of the Maud Returns Home project. “It’s a great responsibility we now take on and we will work hard to make this project something everyone can be proud of at the end of the day both in Canada and Norway.” Last December, the Canadian Border Services Agency turned down a request for a federal export permit for the Maud, once sailed by Norway’s Amundsen, the first European adventurer to travel the Northwest Passage in 1906 and the first person to reach the South Pole December 1911. The Norwegian investors wants to raise the Maud with balloons, drag the hulk over to a barge and then tow it from Nunavut back to Norway — a 7,000-kilometre journey. There, the Maud would be exhibited at a futuristic museum in Asker, a suburb of Oslo — where anything to do with Amundsen remains a huge draw.
Posted 16 March 2012; 5:10:04 PM. Permalink
(CBC News, 16 March 2012) -- A major project is about to begin to count caribou on Baffin Island for the first time ever. Last minute logistics are still being worked out in an Iqaluit hotel room which is serving as a operations base. Baffin regional biologist Debbie Jenkins is leading the survey. "So this really is going to provide critical, fundamental, baseline information on this population or populations,” Jenkins said. “We think there's actually 3 different populations of barrengound caribou on the island" Helicopters will fly at low levels over the entire island, to try to get the most accurate count possible. The data could determine conservation measures, or restrict development in some areas. Local communities are involved with the survey in the hope it helps their hunters. Noah Mosesee is the chair of Pangnirtung's Hunters and Trappers organization. “We support the survey and are looking forward to working together with DFO's and wildlife department to find out how many caribou and the location where they have migrated to,” Mosesee said. “This is very important to us.” The helicopters are set to take off from Iqaluit as soon as the weather allows. They'll focus on South Baffin this year and North Baffin next year.
Posted 16 March 2012; 4:59:08 PM. Permalink
(CBC News, 15 March 2012) -- Federal finance minister Jim Flaherty has raised the borrowing limit for the three territories, which allows the governments more financial flexibility. In an announcement this morning, Flaherty said the raise will likely be spent on large infrastructure projects. The debt increase has been called for by the territorial finance ministers. The federal government has invested in the construction of an all-weather road between Inuvik, N.W.T., and Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. Flaherty said he won't micro-manage how territories use the new limit. "These are decisions for the territorial government, not the government here in Ottawa. But I expect that this will help facilitate the territorial contribution to the building of the highways. You know the federal government is committed to the completion of the highway and I would hope that the territorial government would use some of this spending authority to arrive at the same place," he said. The Government of the Northwest Territories can now borrow up to $800 million. Its previous limit was $575 million. Both the Government of Yukon and Nunavut's limits have been increased to $400 million. Yukon's previous limit was $300 million and Nunavut's was $200 million. Michael Miltenberger, Finance Minister for the Northwest Territories, said the new limit will help the territory fund infrastructure projects. "In these times of fiscal uncertainty with very real risks posed by external economic threats and internal cost pressures, the extra buffer between the borrowing limit and GNWT debt is welcome," Miltenberger added. Flaherty said the federal government is open to expanding the limit in the future.
Posted 16 March 2012; 1:29:33 PM. Permalink
(BarentsObserver, 8 February 2012) -- The committee set up to study the future structure of municipalities in Finland presents controversial structural map of how Finland’s local governance will look like by 2015. The government says the number of municipalities can be reduced from today’s 336 to somewhere between 66 and 70. In Lapland, new mega-municipalities will arise. Merging Inari and Utsjoki in the northeast and Enontekiö, Kittilä, Muonio and Kolari into new municipalities will by far be the two largest local administrative units in Western Europe. The Ministry of Finance says in a press-release that merging municipalities will save costs and make public administrations more effective.
Posted 16 March 2012; 1:29:21 PM. Permalink