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Manitoba and UWinnipeg to Host Arctic Gateway Summit

August 31, 2010


WINNIPEG, MB – Increasing international trade and trade between Nunavut and Manitoba, building sustainable communities, and developing economic opportunities in partnership with northern communities and indigenous peoples will be the focus of an Arctic summit to be hosted by the Manitoba government and the University of Winnipeg, Premier Greg Selinger and University of Winnipeg president Lloyd Axworthy announced today.

The summit, called Northern Directions, will also fulfil a commitment from the June 2009 Canada-Russia Intergovernmental Economic Commission in Moscow, to host trade and transportation discussions in Manitoba.

"Manitoba is well established as a national and international transportation centre and this summit will build on our position as an Arctic gateway to world markets," Selinger said. "The event will bring together transportation and economic leaders, indigenous peoples and northern communities, and key stakeholders in the international community, among others."

"As climate change begins to impact the Arctic region, we must recognize the challenges and opportunities that will come about as a result of this change," Axworthy said. "As with other gateways in Canada, the time is now for governments, the private sector and other organizations to come together to recognize what investments must be made to prepare for an Arctic gateway, while balancing the need for environmental security and to involve indigenous peoples and communities in the decision-making process."

The summit will be held at the University of Winnipeg, Nov. 8 to 10, and up to 200 Canadian and international government, private-sector and other stakeholders are expected to attend including representatives from air, marine and land modalities, community economic development organizations, indigenous peoples and northern communities.

Much of the discussion will take place in intensive workshops, which will allow participants to explore big picture issues and also develop detailed plans to help realize the Arctic's potential as a trade and economic development zone. Ideas exchanged during the summit will help direct future economic policies and strategies to ensure Manitoba is positioned to seize the opportunities of the global economy, Selinger said.

The Port of Churchill is located on the west coast of Hudson Bay with shorter shipping distances and times to many parts of Europe, Russia, and Asia. The proximity of the port to the Arctic region allows Churchill to act as an efficient shipping hub for many Arctic communities. The port also provides unique potential for the export and import of manufactured and resource-based products in addition to the grain and other agricultural products already exported through Churchill now, making it a national asset. OmniTRAX Canada, the owner and operator of the Port of Churchill, is a lead sponsor for the conference.

Manitoba's Arctic summit will complement other Arctic initiatives, such as the Sixth Annual Supply Chain Connections Conference: Northern Exposure, hosted by the University of Manitoba (September – Winnipeg) and Hudson Bay Awareness Summit (April 2011 – Iqaluit), which will further explore the issues of ecological sustainability and Arctic governance.

For more information contact:
Diane Poulin
University of Winnipeg
Phone: 204.988.7135

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University of Winnipeg


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