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GEO 605 (2)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Northern Perceptions.docx

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GEO 605
David Atkinson

GEO605 Geography of Northern Canada CHAPTER 1 Northern Perceptions NORTHERN PERCEPTIONS  Canadians perceive the north in two ways: as a resource frontier or as an Aboriginal homeland o Frontier version of the North implies building southern-like communities and developing a resource economy to serve the needs of NA and global economy o Homeland version of the North occurs in areas where Native people comprise the majority of the population, where they hold Aboriginal rights to the land, and where they established a form of self-government DEFINING THE NORTH  Could refer to the three territories, but this definition ignores the natural conditions found on both sides of the sixtieth parallel o The Klondlike gold rush in the late 19 century gave substance to the North as a northern Eldorado  Could refer to the cold environment, where permafrost is commonly found, where ice covers the Arctic Ocean for most of the year, and where winter nights are long and cold  Could refer to homeland definition, where those born and raised in the North have a special, deeper commitment to that place  In geographic sense, North is defined as consisting of two biomes: the Arctic and Subarctic o Southern edge corresponds to the southern limit of permafrost, indicating the interrelationship of climate, natural vegetation, and permafrost o Arctic exists in the three territories and in four provinces (QC, NFL, ON, MA) o Subarctic occurs in all seven provinces with a northern landscape and two territories (NWT, YT) A DIFFERENT REGION  The North has the coldest environment in Canada, with permafrost abounding and the polar ice pack covering much of the Arctic Ocean  The North accounts for 76% of Canada’s geographic area; equally divided between territories and provincial norths  The North region contains fewer than 5% of Canada’s population – less than 1.5 mi2lion people o Of the two biomes, the Arctic has a population density of 0.01 person per km SENSE OF ISOLATION  Aboriginal northerners face psychological barriers, who live in communities where air transportation represents the only means of reaching southern Canada o Northern Canada has a “feeder” system that allows resources to be flown from the North to Canada’s main transportation system  Sense of isolation has a negative effect on recruiting skilled workers and professional people, and account for the high job turnover and out-migration o Companies and governments employ incentives to attract workers  Special income tax deduction (Northern Residents Deduction) allows people to reduce their personal income tax  Northern living allowances for federal employees o “Tax” definition of the North is complicated by two factors: 1. Improvements in the national transportation system that create greater accessibility to northern communities 2. Population increases of northern urban centres that lead to the availability of more public and private services POLITICAL NORTH  Political geography takes three forms 1. Arctic sovereignty, due to vast energy deposits in the Arctic Ocean and political ownership of the Arctic Ocean seabed is still up for grabs 2. Traditional political arrangement of territories and provinces has been shaken by emergence of Aboriginal governance, which has flowed from comprehensive land claim agreements  Aboriginal governance takes two form – ethnic and public government – with Nunavut and Nunavik representing public government and First Nations adhering to ethnic governance 3. Ottawa’s strong presence in the territories GEO605 Geography of Northern Canada  Ottawa provides funds necessary for territorial governments to function, but Ottawa collects royalties from resource projects in the territories  Unlike provinces, territories do not have total control over resource development within their boundaries DUALISM IN THE NORTH  Dualism: two economies operating in the same space but with different goals and values o Non-Aboriginal economy dominates in two areas: 1. Resource sector, which produces most of the wealth 2. Government sector, which accounts for mo
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