Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod, centre, said he wants to see at least three ports in his territory support increased shipping traffic in the North, along with more icebreakers.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

Climate change has hurt the northern economy in ways few southern Canadians can appreciate, says Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod, but he also wants to make sure his territory benefits from increased shipping traffic as Arctic sea ice recedes.

“It’s getting harder to resupply our communities,” McLeod said in an interview Tuesday from Saskatoon, where he spoke at the Pacific Northwest Economic Region summit.

“We rely a lot on ice roads. Their life span is getting shorter and shorter,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

McLeod noted fuel had to be flown in to three communities last year.

Declining rainfall meant reservoirs didn’t replenish enough for two hydroelectric facilities to run, meaning diesel generators had to be fired up.

And disappearing wildlife has made it tougher to put food on the table.

“A lot of people can only afford to live in the Arctic because they’re able to harvest their food off the land,” McLeod said.

At the same time, McLeod said he sees opportunities in another effect of climate change – the Beaufort Sea staying clear of ice for longer each year.

“It’s very timely now to do some strategic investing and planning.”

McLeod said he wants to see at least three ports in his territory support increased shipping traffic in the North, along with more icebreakers.

Story continues below advertisement

He has been urging Ottawa to take a stronger stand on asserting Arctic sovereignty, as China, Russia and other international players look to stake their claims to northern shipping routes.

There should be a stronger military presence in the Arctic, an immigration policy that brings more newcomers to the region and investments in research facilities, McLeod said.

He also wants other regions shoulder their fair share of greenhouse gas emissions reductions. For the meagre amount the Northwest Territories emits, it suffers a disproportionate amount from climate change, he said.

“We’re not the problem. Southern Canada is the problem,” he said. “Southern Canadians don’t see the effects of climate change on a daily basis, so you just continue on your merry way doing whatever you’re doing.”

The Northwest Territories has a carbon pricing regime coming in Sept. 1 that takes into account the high cost of heating and aviation fuel.

But he stopped short of criticizing provinces – Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario among them – that have challenged Ottawa’s carbon tax in court.

Story continues below advertisement

“They’re their own jurisdictions,” he said. “I’m not going to tell them what to do.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies