Article - 27 novembre 2015

Public Opinion on Canadian Arctic Sovereignty and Security

Mathieu Landriault, Arctic, volume 69, issue 2: 160-168
Previous research on Canadian Arctic sovereignty and security has focused on governmental actions and policy recommendations. While these studies have produced some fine scholarship on those matters, Canadian public opinion on Arctic issues has been mostly assumed or analyzed on an anecdotal basis. This paper aims to correct this shortcoming by drawing the contours of public preferences on Arctic issues and assessing the impact of government activism on those preferences. An examination of 18 opinion polls conducted between 2006 and 2015 that questioned respondents directly or indirectly on circumpolar affairs concluded that Canadians do not prioritize the Arctic among other national priorities, although they rank it high as a foreign policy and defense priority. Additionally, even though increasing military presence in the Arctic seems at first glance to receive an exceptionally high level of support, a more careful examination of the data suggests that a majority of Canadians supports an approach to Arctic sovereignty that is rooted in compromises and negotiations
Mathieu Landriault

Mathieu Landriault

Directeur, Observatoire de la politique et la sécurité de l'Arctique