Canada Concludes Successful Arctic Council Meeting and Signs Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement

(No. 130 - May 12, 2011 - 3:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today marked the closing of the seventh Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Nuuk, Greenland, where a multilateral search and rescue agreement was signed.

"The signing of this agreement is a pivotal event in the evolution of the Arctic Council,” said Minister Aglukkaq. "This legally binding agreement underscores the capacity of the Council to address emerging Arctic issues.”

Canada also welcomed the increased commitment to cooperation in oil and gas, given the potential for wealth and job creation in Canada’s North. On the environmental front, as a leader in northern science and research, Canada led an important Arctic Council assessment that highlights the impact of mercury on the region.

Minister Aglukkaq thanked the Danish chairmanship of the Arctic Council for its leadership over the past two years and in particular applauded its focus on the human dimension.

"Improving the health and well-being of the people who live in the North is a priority for Canada," the Minister added.

Minister Aglukkaq expressed appreciation to the Canadian indigenous permanent participants representing the Arctic Athabaskan Council, Gwich’in Council International and the Inuit Circumpolar Council. Together with territorial governments, they play a key role in shaping Canada’s Arctic foreign policy.

The Honourable Floyd Roland, Premier of the Northwest Territories, the Honourable Eva Aariak, Premier of Nunavut, and Harley Trudeau, Senior Government Representative, Yukon Intergovernmental Relations, were also part of the Canadian delegation.

Sweden will now take over as chair of the Arctic Council for a period of two years. Canada will assume the chairmanship in 2013.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Jenny Van Alstyne
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
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