(Anita Dey Nuttall/Edmonton Journal, 8 May 2011)** -- Defining itself as "the True North Strong and Free," Canada has moved in recent years to assert that its national and international identity is that of a northern circumpolar country. The Northern Strategy was a cornerstone of the previous Conservative government, yet, curiously, in the run-up to the recently concluded federal election, the leaders of the main parties did not engage in any national discussion on the Arctic or on northern issues. Issues of concern to northern residents hardly featured during any debate, nor did the priorities identified in the Northern Strategy, i.e., sovereignty, environment, social and economic development and governance. The North remained remote and irrelevant to the majority of Canadians who posed questions to the main party leaders. The pulse of the nation seemed to beat mainly south of 60 degrees N. ... While Canada's colonial history may have placed a certain burden of culpability and responsibility that clouds how Canada's south and north relate, our political leaders missed an opportunity to engage in a new and enlightened dialogue that redefines and rebuilds this relationship for the country as a whole, not just between a handful of government departments and northern communities. The outcome of this election has meant a major realignment of the country's political landscape. The shift in the political thinking of the electorate is a measure of a Canadian society that is quickly evolving and changing. ... Canada's international leadership on Arctic issues can only be sustained in a credible way insofar as its domestic policies in the North are carried through successfully. If inaccessibility, remoteness and cost are issues that stop the rest of Canada from engaging with the North and for those in the North to connect with the South, it then becomes especially vital for this new Conservative government to address these limitations. A place is only peripheral and remote if it is allowed to be so.
Posted 10 May 2011; 4:08:15 PM. Permalink
(CBC News, 10 May 2011) -- Type 2 diabetes, once considered rare in Inuit communities, is now comparable to rates in the general population, researchers have found. The Inuit Health Survey was conducted as part of International Polar Year to help fill in gaps on health data for Canadian Inuit, who requested the information on their people. The new findings showed 28 per cent of Inuit were overweight, 35 per cent were obese and nearly 44 per cent had what is considered an unhealthy waist size based on standards for Caucasians, according to the study published in this week's Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Long time ago my parents didn't know anything about diabetes," recalls Flossie Oakoak, a 62-year-old Inuk originally from Cambridge Bay who has Type 2 diabetes. "When there was no white man here, there was only caribou, char. Most of the people are getting bigger and bigger." Oakoak now lives in Yellowknife, where she watches her diet, passing on dessert and opting not to cave in to a craving for pizza hot from an oven over lunch at a downtown women's centre. For the study, researchers from McGill University in Montreal and the University of Toronto looked at data on 2,595 randomly selected participants in 1,901 households in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Labrador to understand the prevalence of high blood sugar levels.
Posted 10 May 2011; 2:49:21 PM. Permalink