CBC Radio: arctic research (transcript)

MediaCBC Radio: arctic research

Transcribed by April Scott

Male announcer: Scientists working in the North, say Canada's falling far behind other circumpolar countries; in it's ability to support arctic research. They say there's not coherent Canadian policy, for research in the North. And, there's a lack of infrastructure and resources. They say many researchers are finding it easier to work in places like Alaska, Greenland, and even Antarctica. Because, they've got the logistics, the equipment, and facilities. Patricia Bell reports.

Patricia Bell : It's expensive to fly to the North. And, even more costly, to get to remote areas; where no commercial airlines fly. Tom Hutchinson says, that's why researchers have to make every dollar count. Hutchinson is the Chair of the Canadian Polar Commission. A main government agency, for polar research. He says the United States, has made large investments in arctic science, over the last 15 years. Scandinavian countries, are maintaining strong research activities. And, have included the Russians. But, Hutchinson says the research in Canada's North, has slipped behind.

Tom Hutchinson: It's actually cheaper to go to work in Southern part. And, you will have a lot better facilities than working in Northern Canada.

Patricia Bell : Hutchinson says, part of the problem, is a lack of coherent polar science and research policy. Dr. John England agrees. England is a Professor at the University of Alberta. And, has studied the North for 40 years.

Dr. John England : It would ensure, that we don't go from boom to bust. In terms of the passing interest, that the North seems to get. Why on earth - when we talk about sovereignty and so on, do we not have a policy. What's our problem?

Patricia Bell : England says, right now there's little coordination between programs in different Federal departments and the three territories. He says, with resources already limited, that leads to inefficiencies. Patricia Bell, CBC News.

MediaCBC Radio: arctic research