Canadian Arctic Resources Committee (CARC) announced on Feb. 18 that it is permanently shutting down after 50 years of working in the North.
In a news release, the non-governmental organization (NGO) said it has fulfilled its mission of supporting informed decision-making and helping people of the North regain their place in Arctic development.
“There is a tendency for organizations to just keep going,” said CARC chair Lois Little. “We looked at what we had accomplished. We looked at who is in the best position to influence current and future decision-making in the Arctic, and we decided others were better positioned to do this, so we decided to step aside.
“The North is a very different place from what it was 50 years ago. Northerners have regained a lot of control over lands and governance, and they don’t need us to help them to be heard any more.”
CARC originally launched in 1971 around the issue of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, a scrapped proposal to transport natural gas from the Beaufort Sea to northern Alberta.
“1971 was a very different time than it is now. It was a very colonial kind of situation. There weren’t a lot of opportunities for many voices other than government and industry,” Little said.
Since its founding, CARC has taken a stand in mining, wildlife conservation and other lands and industrial development issues.
It also advocated for the formation of the Tallurutiup Imanga national marine conservation area in Nunavut. Tallurutiup Imanga was established in August 2019 in the waters between Baffin, Devon and Somerset islands.
“To the extent that we can claim any influence in these matters, we can now say mission (mostly) accomplished,” Little said. “It’s not that there is nothing to do any more. There are still big questions out there about what sustainable development looks like in the Arctic, and the impacts of international problems such as climate change and contaminants. But we trust that Northerners have the capacity to take on these issues, and to make themselves heard on national and international stages.”
Over its decades of work, CARC had an office in Yellowknife and three of its directors lived in the city, but most of its activity was done from an office in Ottawa, Little said.
Before it sleds off into the sundog-haloed sunset, CARC will undertake its final project of a book chronicling progress made on issues important to the NGO.
The free book will be published online in May or June.