Mosaika lightshow on Parliament Hill,  showing the Canadian Flag - or Greymouser. (Photo: Tony Webster)
Mosaika lightshow on Parliament Hill, showing the Canadian Flag - or Greymouser. (Photo: Tony Webster)

Northern Lights Conference 2016: Bringing the North Down South


– Our guiding principles continue to be the business, socio-economic and cultural development of Nunavut, Nunavik, Labrador and Nunatsiavut, Co-Chair Ike Haulli said in his welcome adress at the Northern Lights conference in Ottawa, Canada.

The snow fell from the sky as people skated on the frozen Rideau Canal below, French, English, and Inuktitut were all being spoken; people walked around in seal coats, traditional Inuit outfit, suits, and jeans while throat singers performed.  

Welcome to the Northern Lights Business and Cultural Showcase, which took place from January 26th to January 30th in the Shaw Centre in downtown Ottawa.  

This was the fifth time this conference was able to display Canada’s Eastern Arctic and North’s industry and culture in the capital of the country.  Only a stone’s throw away from the capitol building, politicians, artists, and industry leaders all congregated to discuss and share experiences of the Canadian Eastern Arctic and North.  

Varied program

This event involved discussions as far ranging as the role of drones in the north, to the economic and community benefits to investing in northern infrastructure, to adapting the north with the impacts of weather transformation.

Not only were there serious discussions, but there was a celebration of what it means to be a Northerner, including an Arts & Culture Pavilion and a Trade Show.

The Northern Lights also presented what was to be a 1 million dollar, but became a 1.5 million dollar Arctic Inspiration Prize to three very worthy causes, including Better Hearing in Education For Northern Youth, QAGGIQ: Nurturing the Arctic Performance Arts, and Tri-Territorial Training Project.  

A Chance for Collaboration

What the Northern Lights truly does is showcase the importance and the opportunity in investing in Canada’s Eastern Arctic and North.  Furthermore, it gives both industries and artists from this region an opportunity to come to the capital and share their experiences and their trades with potential buyers and investors.

It also gives politicians and academics a platform to discuss and deal with some of the prevalent issues in an ever-changing part of the world, specifically the consistently changing climate and what seemed to be a recurring theme of ensuring northern knowledge and northern input on issues dealing with the north.

What makes the Northern Lights unique is its true focus on industry.  This was an opportunity to discuss and help further the investment in the north and share in the current successes.  As Ike Haulli, the Co-Chair of the Northern Lights said in his welcome address:

– Our guiding principles continue to be the business, socio-economic and cultural development of Nunavut, Nunavik, Labrador and Nunatsiavut.

Success Again

The Northern Lights Business and Cultural Showcase was once again a huge success. One that allowed the sharing and learning of people from not only Canada’s north, but the entire country, and in some cases more globally.  

Youth from the north, as well as leaders, decision-makers, artists, and educators all interacted with each other as well as with their counterparts in the south.

The Northern Lights Business and Cultural Showcase welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Governor General of Canada, Juno award winner Tanya Tagaq and CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge.  The event was a manifestation of what it means to be Canadian, sharing culture, speaking with each other in meaningful conversations, and building bridges for present and future success.

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