Listen to the North: Cramming northerners’ needs into a southern model just isn’t working (by John Ralston Saul)

Literary Review of Canada – This essay focuses on the Arctic. But the larger context is that we are a northern nation. Two thirds of our country lies in what is normally categorized as North lands. One third of our gross domestic product comes out of the three territories and the equally isolated northern parts of our provinces. And that one third is what makes us a rich, not a poor, country. Our cities, our high-tech service-based lives are built upon the foundation provided by that one third of riches. And now the South believes that the percentage of the GDP coming from the Arctic section of the North will grow. We ought to be a central player in the northern world in general and in particular in the circumpolar world. But first we all need to see ourselves as part of it and, at the moment, we do not.

John Ralston Saul is author of A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada (Penguin, 2008) and chair of the LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium.

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