Hudson Bay communities hold first meeting to talk climate, development (Hamilton Spectator/Canadian Press – February 27, 2018)

MONTREAL—The 27 communities that ring Hudson Bay are scheduled to meet Tuesday for the first time to talk about climate change, environmental protection and the impact of development in their vast and complex region.

“It’s always been the Arctic region that falls through the cracks,” said Joel Heath, a scientist with the Arctic Eider Society, which is helping organize the inaugural Hudson Bay Summit.

Responsibility for Hudson Bay and its shorelines is divided between Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Nunavut, as well as the federal government. There are also at least five land claims that cover the region, all of which have overlapping agreements.

The communities are also divided by the difficulty of travelling between them. The group will meet in Montreal because it’s easier to get there than any of the towns or hamlets along the coast. “In order for people from west Hudson Bay to get to a community in east Hudson Bay, we’re talking three days of travel,” Heath said.

That makes it tough to get together on issues that concern everyone around the world’s second-largest bay. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t common problems, said Heath.

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