Nunavut, Nunavik MPs want Biden to address Arctic security in visit

·2 min read

MPs from Nunavut and Nunavik say they hope U.S. President Joe Biden addresses Arctic security during his first trip to Canada this week.

Biden will be in Ottawa on Thursday and Friday. He will be greeted at the airport by Gov. Gen. Mary Simon, meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and address Parliament.

Sylvie Bérube, the Bloc Quebecois MP for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, touched on Arctic defence as one of the issues she’s looking forward hearing Biden speak on.

Last week, security and sovereignty dominated the schedule of the House of Commons Indigenous and Northern Affairs committee’s visit to the North, which Bérubé took part.

In a French interview, she said her party’s leader, Yves-François Blanchet, has a list of priorities for the presidential visit.

Over the past week, Blanchet has used his time in the House of Commons to press the Liberal government on allegations of Chinese interference in Canadian elections and democracies around the world, as well as immigration and national security.

“It’s certain that there are many things concerning the Arctic, the defence of the Arctic,” Bérubé told Nunatsiaq News. “We’ll see the discussion he has.”

Lori Idlout, the MP for Nunavut, said Arctic security is the main issue she hopes Biden will address.

Specifically, she wants Biden to commit to supporting improvements to North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, warning systems. She said that would enable Canadian Rangers to play a more active role in securing the North.

“I hope that investments will be made for people that live in the Arctic, like the Canadian Rangers, the search and rescue teams,” Idlout said.

“They want to actively be a part of the Arctic sovereignty and in order to do that, as I said, they need to have the proper resources to be able to be fully engaged.”

Jeff Pelletier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News