Notes from Readings for (Final) In Class Assignment Geography 2011.docx

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Notes from Readings for In Class Assignment
Northern Perceptions (Pg.153-162)
- For aboriginal people, the north is their homeland where comprehensive
land claims provide them with more control over their destiny within Canada
- Place where global warming is predicted to have a greater impact than
elsewhere in Canada
o Possible consequence could lead to summer shipping through the
Northwest Passage, thus providing a shorter route between Asia and
- Canadians perceive the North as either:
o A resource frontier
o Aboriginal homeland
- While the vision of the frontier (building southern-like communities and
developing a resource economy to serve the needs of N. Americans),
dominates the overall direction of northern development, the homeland
theme surfaces in areas where Native people comprise the majority of the
population, where they hold rights to the land, and there they established a
- Fundamental Question: Will the North of tomorrow replicate the course of
development found in southern Canada or will it break away from that
- Already there are signs of a different course:
o Ex: Nunavut represents political divergence (from the other
territories and provinces) and it represents an Inuit response to the
northern homeland question
o Ex: Formation of the Aboriginal Pipeline Group, which can acquire a
one-third ownership in the proposed $7.8 Billion Mackenzie Valley
natural gas pipeline, reflecting both a desire on the part of Northern
Aboriginal people to participate in resource development and
recognition by corporate Canada that Aboriginal participation is
necessary for business in the North
- Development is concerned with economic, social and political factors shaping
society. It follows that development in the Canadian North occurs within the
market economy and is supported by the Canadian political system
- Until late 20th century the place of Aboriginal peoples within Canadian
version of development was often ignored or dismissed
- Since the, legal validation of aboriginal rights, the establishment of modern
land claim negotiation processes, and the participation of Aboriginal groups
in the market economy mark the ‘necessary’ inclusion of Aboriginal peoples
within the Western development process
- In this text, these three images of the North as a northern Eldorado, as a
cold environment and as a homeland are taken into account, but the
geographic extent of the North is defined as consisting of two biomes, the
Arctic and the Subarctic
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- These biomes extend over a cast area nearly 80% of Canada that includes
the three territories and reaches into the territories of seven provinces
- The southern boundary of the North is marked by the places where the
boreal or northern coniferous forest of the Subarctic gives way to other
natural vegetation zones such as the grasslands of the Canadian Prairies
- The North’s southern edge corresponds to the southern limit of permafrost,
indicating the interrelationship of climate, natural vegetation, and
- The Arctic exists in the three territories and in four of the seven
provinces (Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and
- The Subarctic occurs in all seven provinces with a northern landscape
(BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland
and Labrador) and two territories (Northwest territories and Yukon)
- The North has the coldest environment in Canada, with permafrost
permanently frozen ground- abounding and the polar ice pack covering much
of the Arctic Ocean
- Second, The North is by far the largest region in Canada
- Accounts for 76% of Canada’s geographic area
- Less than 1.5million people, fewer than 5% of Canada’s population, lives in
the North
- Climate change more noticeable in the form of higher summer
temperatures is taking place more rapidly in the North than in other
regions of Canada
- Other features are unique to the North, including the sense of isolation, its
political structure, and cultural dualism
- Sense of Isolation:
- For Aboriginal northerners, the North is their home
- This psychological barrier often affects the lives of its newly arrived
residents, who live in communities where air transportation represents the
only means of reaching Southern Canada
- This sense of isolation has a negative effect on recruiting skilled workers and
professional people, and accounts for the high job turnover and out-
- Companies and gov’ts often employ incentives to attract workers to live in
remote centers
o Northerners, for example, receive a special income tax deduction
(Northern Residents Deduction) for living in the North, but this
deduction varies by tax region
o In the more Northerly (less accessible) tax region the deduction is
pegged at 100%, while in the less northerly (somewhat more
accessible) tax region the deduction falls to 50%
- By reducing the amount of taxable income, northerners are able to reduce
their personal income tax (increase there after-tax income)
- A ‘tax’ definition of the North is complicated by 2 factors:
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o Improvements in the national transportation system that create
greater accessibility to northern communities
o Population increases of northern urban centers that lead to the
availability of more public and private services
- Isolation also takes the form of a limited transportation network
- Most striking limitation is the heavy reliance on air transportation
- All communities are served by air transportation but only a few by roads or
ships, and even fewer by railway
o Ex: Nunavut is not connected to the rest of Canada by surface
transportation but air service is available to all 26 communities
- Second characteristic is the north/south orientation of the North’s
transportation system
- Unlike southern Canada, which has an east/west transportation axis,
Northern Canada has a “feeder” system that allows resources to flow from
the North to Canada’s main transportation system
- The Political North
- Political geography takes 3 forms:
o First, the issue of Arctic sovereignty has drawn more attention in the
last decade, partly because of the vast energy deposits in the Arctic
Ocean and because the political ownership of the Arctic Ocean seabed
is still up for grabs
o Second, the traditional political arrangement of territories and
provinces has been shaken by the emergence of Aboriginal
governance, which has flowed from comprehensive land claim
Aboriginal governance takes two forms ethnic and public
governments with Nunavut and Nunavik representing
“public” governments and First Nations adhering to ethnic
o Third, Ottawa continues to have strong presence in the territories
Ottawa provides the bulk of the funds necessary for the
territorial governments to function
However, Ottawa collects royalties from resource projects in
the territories
- Each province treats its northern areas a provincial hinterland that parallels
the core/periphery model
- Provinces, unlike territories, have total control over resource developments
within their boundaries
- Provinces also benefit from the taxation of these developments
- In the past, provinces unlocked their northern resources by promoting
railway and highway construction
o The strategy was simply: by lowering the cost of transporting such
resource to world markets, hinterland development became possible
- North’s political structure also creates a mental divide for many Canadians
who believe the 3 territories represent Canada’s North
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