G7 Ministers Debate Hot Topic in Cold, Canadian Arctic:
Finance Ministers review financial regulation after the Great Meltdown
[01.21.10 - WATERBURY, VT] – The hot topic of financial regulation will be debated by G7 Finance Ministers in cold Iqaluit, Canada, just south of the Arctic Circle, February 5 and 6, 2010. The mean temperature of minus 15°F (minus 26°C) is cold enough to freeze a can of 10W30. Note, however, the oil that greases the wheels of diplomacy has been known to freeze at much higher temperatures.
Why would Canada, the host of the event, choose a sub-zero location where Finance Ministers will be in the dark – literally – for 16.5 out of 24 hours each day? Sovereignty – the right to govern the Arctic without interference. The possibility that the northern sea route will be ice free all-year-round has some governments lobbying to have Canada's Northwest Passage declared international waters.
The Federal Government, by hosting the Finance Ministers of Japan, Germany, Italy, France and the United States in the tiny territorial capital, is making the point that the High Arctic is Canadian. At stake are taxes, port charges and entrance fees as well as revenue from Natural Resources.
Russia, a G8 member, was not invited to attend the meeting. That Arctic country is building a case for sovereignty over the North Pole, an invisible, but politically charged, point on the compass – 90N.
Getting to the Canadian Arctic is a challenge for politicians and travelers alike. Iqaluit can be reached only by air or sea. The town is the disembarkation point for Iceland, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic, an 18-day expedition aboard Akademik Ioffe, from August 3 to August 20, 2010 that contrasts three distinct Arctic countries.