Nunavut cannot serve basic community needs — including safe transportation and the facilitation of responsible economic resource, tourism, fishing and polar shipping development — due to its unique dependence on the sea and a lack of basic maritime transport infrastructure. CIGI Senior Fellow John Higginbotham puts forth the findings and discussions from two Arctic governance workshops into this policy brief, explaining the complexities of Nunavut’s governance structure and the difficulties it faces in trying to reach consensus, the issues caused by melting Arctic ice and the ill-preparedness of Nunavut to overcome maritime challenges. He proposes that the federal government, in collaboration with stakeholders, develop an “Arctic Maritime Corridors and Gateways Initiative” based on a pathway to establish Canada’s maritime and economic leadership in the New Arctic. He concludes that federal investment should be viewed as a nation-building effort, one that echoes achievements such as the Trans-Canada Highway, to identify and address short- and long-term infrastructure priorities in Nunavut.
John Higginbotham is a senior fellow at CIGI and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa. John’s research focuses on Arctic economic and governance development and international relations, Canada’s ties with the United States and China in global context and North American Arctic marine transportation as the Arctic Ocean melts.