Inflation, security still impacting Nunavut one year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

On anniversary of invasion, Nunavut premier says territory feeling economic effects, wants increased Arctic security

Nunavut is still feeling the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine through higher prices, Premier P.J. Akeeagok told Nunatsiaq News. He said his government continues to lobby the Department of National Defence to be informed on discussions on Arctic security and sovereignty. (File photo)

By David Lochead

At the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the global effects of that war continue to be felt in territories like Nunavut, Premier P.J. Akeeagok told Nunatsiaq News in a statement.

On Feb. 24, 2022, Russia unilaterally launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine that continues today.

Arctic and Western countries, including Canada, condemned and sanctioned Russia for the invasion.

In the aftermath, Akeeagok began his first statement of the Nunavut legislature’s winter sitting by declaring: “Nunavut stands with the people of Ukraine and Ukrainians around the world.”

Nunavut also pledged $25,000 to support Ukraine during the winter 2022 legislature sitting.

Akeeagok told Nunatsiaq News that his territory feels the effects of the war through inflation. Specifically, with the increased cost of fuel and food.

Following the invasion, Russia restricted its supply of oil exports. As a result, the price of oil jumped to a 14-year high which spurred inflation globally, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Arctic security took on new urgency and became an issue Akeeagok advocated for, as he and the territorial premiers met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in April 2022 to discuss Arctic security and sovereignty.

Before that meeting, Akeeagok, along with his other northern colleagues, co-signed a letter to Trudeau regarding Russia’s threat to the North.

“As Russia’s global investments and interests grow, we fear that Russia’s aggression will inevitably present itself into Arctic affairs,” the letter stated.

On Wednesday, Akeeagok said his government continues to lobby the federal department of Defence Department to keep Inuit and Nunavut informed in Arctic security and sovereignty discussions.

“Canada has limited capacity to respond to security threats in the Arctic,” Akeeagok stated.

“Our government wants to see people and community considered as key supports to sovereignty as we look to see nation-building investments in infrastructure for the Arctic.”

Akeeagok has previously noted that by building infrastructure in the Arctic, such as housing, Inuit and Nunavummiut can show sovereignty over their land by living in healthy communities.

Akeeagok has done a good job of making it clear that sovereignty in the Arctic can mean living healthily in your own land, said Prof. Whitney Lackenbauer, the Canada research chair in the study of the Canadian North and network lead at North American Arctic Defense and Security Network.

“I think it presents a pretty compelling case that ultimately security is about creating the conditions to live full, satisfying lives,” he said.

Hopefully, he said, spending on Arctic security and defence can help to address the infrastructure gaps in Nunavut, such as telecommunications and transportation.

Canada’s commitment to spend $4.9 billion to modernize Arctic defence, announced in June 2022, was significant, Lackenbauer said.

“When we think about defence and security in North America, the Arctic is a key part of that,” he said.

In terms of future discussions at the global level about Arctic security, Lackenbauer called it critical that Inuit voices be heard on international organizations like the Arctic Council to ensure decisions made are “for the benefit of northerners.”

“Those voices cannot be lost in the global geopolitics that are occurring,” Lackenbauer said.

The federal Department of National Defence did not respond to a request for comment by Nunatsiaq News.


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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by iThink on

    “ultimately security is about creating the conditions to live full, satisfying lives,” he said.”

    This expansive definition, taken from the ‘human security’ paradigm, has a place in conversations around human development. Yet I can’t help but find it opportunistic and distracting when applied to the more precise context of military aggression and, here specifically, and expanding Empire.

    In terms of the kind of security we are, or should be, most interested in, within this context, we need to be focused and not delusional. People living happy fulfilling lives is great, let’s pursue that. But let’s not pretend that is a serious defence strategy and preventative against foreign aggression.

    • Posted by Concept Creep on

      Like most of our political class, PJ has a very limited scope beyond the north, and is even limited within that.

      Here we see him doing the only thing he truly knows how, finding ways to get the federal government to give him more stuff.

      I’d be curious what his perspectives are around economic development within Nunavut. Do we plan to use the resources and abundance here to forward our own growth? Or do we expect esoteric claims around the nexus of development and security to see us through to the promised land?

  2. Posted by Ministry of Truth on

    I don’t doubt that the Ukraine war has caused prices to increase, particularly petroleum and things that require lots of petroleum inputs.

    But inflation was well underway before February 2022. They called it “transitory”, due to supply chain issues.

    Those supply chain issues were caused by all the pandemic restrictions. A big part of all this inflation comes from that as well as overspending on pandemic relief.

    Why are we trying to pretend that didn’t happen or wasn’t important?

    • Posted by iThink on

      This unidimensional analysis, focusing only on oil price is definitely lacking in explanatory power. But it does serve a purpose; placing the ‘threat’ posed by Russia at the front of our minds. For PJ the point is to rally public opinion and move the federal government. So, we are asked to pretend the orthogonal goal of infrastructure development is a serious response to an immediate physical threat. It is not. In reality there is very little, if any real threat to us from Russia, but I digress…

      Of course, as a politician PJ enjoys the freedom to spin the story in whatever direction suits him. This is how the political class works, everywhere.

      Of greater concern, in my opinion, are the times when media fails to give account of broader complexity and context; to dispassionately evaluate what our leadership class would have us believe.

      Too often this news source simply reports what *so and so* said, subtly implying much of the time that what was said is just true. Push back, questions, sometimes ridicule are left to the pundits who frequent the comments section. Yet there is something insufficient in this.

      As an institution that functions to ‘sense make’ the publication itself needs to ask questions, push back on exaggerations, and on occasion dare to gore a sacred cow.

      We need a better, more robust information eco-system. But how to create it?

  3. Posted by michael on

    all this worries from russia , and yet the feds want to take our firearms away lol

  4. Posted by S on

    “Nunavut premier says territory feeling economic effects, wants increased Arctic security”

    It’s a certainty that the Nunavut Premier is not qualified to make that statement

  5. Posted by S on

    “Specifically, with the increased cost of fuel and food.”

    is not a sentence.

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