CANADA FOLLOWS THROUGH ON MAJOR COMMITMENT TO ARCTIC RESEARCH

February 20, 2009
Iqaluit (February 20, 2009) – The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, today announced an invitation to applicants for a new fund to upgrade Arctic science infrastructure facilities.

“Our Government is making major investments today that will provide a lasting legacy and put Canada on the cutting edge of Arctic research,” said Minister Strahl. “This announcement shows that we are taking the steps required to make it happen and to fulfill the goals of our integrated Northern Strategy.”

“This announcement demonstrates that our Government recognizes how important the North is to Canada’s future,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Nunavut. “The research infrastructure we build today will benefit Northerners and all Canadians for many years to come.”

"Our Government is delivering on its commitment to promote Arctic research facilities," said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology).  "We support research and development because it creates jobs, improves the quality of life for northern Canadian families, and strengthens the economy for future generations."

The Call for Proposals for the Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund builds on a Budget 2009 Economic Action Plan commitment to provide $85 million over the next two years to upgrade key Arctic science and technology facilities.

At the same time, the Government is undertaking a $2 million feasibility study – also promised in Budget 2009 – that will establish preliminary cost and design needs of Canada’s new, world class High Arctic Research Station.

Today’s announcement supports our integrated Northern Strategy that focuses on strengthening Canada’s Arctic sovereignty, protecting the North’s environmental heritage, promoting social and economic development, and improving and devolving northern governance.

The Government of Canada is working in many areas to advance its Northern Strategy objectives. Recent investments include $156 million to support Canadian participation in International Polar Year, as well as other Economic Action Plan investments, including $200 million over two years for the renovation and construction of new housing units in the North, $50 million over five years for the creation of a regional development agency, $90 million over five years for the renewal of the Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development program, and $37.6 million to support initiatives related to the proposed Mackenzie Gas Project.