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POLI 220: Politics of the Arctic

The Arctic seabed contains a treasure trove of natural resources, such as oil fields, natural gas, and iron ore becoming more accessible as the ice covering melts permanently. Five Arctic nations, Canada predominant, are claiming the right to exploit. This course examines the contested nature of political sovereignty. There are disputes among states over just where the precise boundaries lie. Some of the disputes that will be considered involve the Beaufort Sea, the Northwest Passage and the Arctic Seabed. What positive contribution could the Canadian government make to ensure that the Arctic remains peaceful? Non-governmental institutions could play a beneficial role. While some political actors view the Arctic primarily as a source of natural resources, the same region is the home of aboriginal people. Which policy alternatives will best prepare the Inuit and other Canadian aboriginals to take advantage of climate change in the Arctic?