Asking the cold hard questions about the future of the Arctic this election

We’re hearing it from candidates and pollsters, this election is all about the economy. It’s about whether we’re in a recession and when budgets will be balanced. You would be forgiven for thinking the economy exists in isolation from other issues – like healthcare, international relations, development or the environment – but we all know that’s not how it works. The health of our economy is tightly linked to the health of those other factors.

Nunavut, Canada
Flags waving in the sunlight at the Iqaluit government building, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada.
© Andrew S. Wright / WWF-Canada

Despite having a direct impact on economic and social vitality, environmental issues have not been at the forefront of political campaigns in this election. This is especially true in Canada’s Arctic, where the recent abandonment of offshore oil exploration by oil companies, and the new international sustainable development goals have many wondering about the economic, social and environmental future of the territories.
With two Arctic offices (Inuvik, NWT and Iqaluit, NU) and a long-term commitment to the vitality of Canada’s north, WWF-Canada is concerned about the lack of discussion of the long-term environmental (and therefore social and economic) health of the territories. In response to the lack of debate on this issues, we are asking all federal candidates in Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut to share their positions and commitments on the future of development in the north.
We asked:
1. What do candidates and parties consider to be the most significant environmental issues facing Arctic communities and what would they do to address this issue if elected?
2. Will candidates and parties commit to a process within the next term of government, respecting land claims agreements, for establishing a network of marine protected areas in the Arctic Ocean?
3. Do candidates and parties support offshore oil exploration and development in Arctic waters?
4. What will candidates and parties do to help northern municipalities adapt to climate change?
Below we are sharing the responses we have received to-date. We will add additional responses as they come in.
Northwest Territories:

Yukon Territories:


We encourage you to take time in the last week of the election to ask your own riding’s candidates these questions and more about how they will help ensure a strong foundation for our economy, but ensuring it is in balance with nature.