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Canada: election victory of the Conservative Party

Indigenous peoples threatened with marginalisation and the plundering of the Arctic

Bolzano/Bozen, Göttingen, 24. January 2006

The Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) fears that the life conditions of the 1.3 million indigenous people in Canada will noticeably deteriorate as a result of the victory of the Conservative Party in the parliamentary elections. In its election manifesto the Conservative Party announced a definite increase in the military security of the Arctic in order to ensure the extraction of mineral resources. "However the extraction of these natural resources will considerably affect the habitat of the 93,000 indigenous people living in the north of the country", warned the human rights organisation.

Apart from this the most prominent figure in the Conservative Party campaign, Stephen Harper, has questioned the 3.5 billion euro programme for the welfare of the indigenous population, which was announced by the government in November 2005 to raise the living standard of the native people. The programme envisaged above all subsidies for education, for housing, health services and their integration in the economic cycle.

Following the conflict with Denmark over the control of the Hans island in 2005 the Conservative Party announced its Eight-Point Plan "Canada First", which provides for a definite strengthening of its military presence in the Arctic. So paratroops are to be stationed at military bases in northern Canada in Cambridge Bay (Nunavut) and unmanned aircraft used for patrolling the Arctic. The most modern under-water technology is to be developed to build up a monitoring network based on sensors for the whole of the Canadian Arctic and the number of warships stationed in the area is to be considerably increased.

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