Canadian Arctic

From Academic Kids

The Canadian Arctic is a vast region of northern Canada. Technically the term covers that portion of Canada north of the Arctic Circle; a more practical definition is that portion north of the tree line, a definition that includes the country's geographical centre. Canada claims that its territorial waters extend all the way north to the North Pole due to the fact that all the islands in the region are Canadian territory and the waters in question surround these islands. This claim is recognized by most countries with some exceptions, particularly the United States (Denmark, Russia and Norway have made claims similar to those of Canada and are opposed by the EU and the United States).

This is especially important with the Northwest Passage. Canada asserts that it controls this passage due to the fact that the passage is within 12 miles of Canadian islands, the United States believes it should be an international waterway. Today ice and freezing temperatures makes this a minor issue, but global warming may make the passage available to commercial shipping, something that worries the Canadian government and the inhabitants of the environmentally sensitive region.

A political definition consists of Canada's three territories: Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

The entire region is very unpopulated with only about 105,000 people living in a vast area the size of Western Europe. It is heavily endowed with natural resources, but in most cases they are too expensive to extract to be worthwhile. The region remains quite poor, especially when the extremely high cost of most consumer goods is accounted for, and is heavily subsidised by the Canadian government.

The region is home to about half of Canada's Inuit population (mainly in Nunavut), and several groups of First Nations (mainly Chipewyan peoples). About 69% of the population of the three territories is aboriginal, and the three territories each have a greater proportion of aboriginal inhabitants than any of Canada's provinces. There are also many more recent immigrants from around the world; of the territories, Yukon has the largest percentage of non-aboriginal inhabitants. [1] (http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/products/highlight/Aboriginal/Page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo=PR&View=1a&Table=2&StartRec=1&Sort=14&B1=Distribution01&B2=Total)

See also: Canadian arctic islands, Territories of Canada

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