Is it time for a northern university?

James Stauch of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation writes:

“It is time to create a university in Northern Canada, one that is both made in the North and nationally treasured. Northerners are younger, on average, than the rest of Canadians, and they are resilient – brimming with creative potential and vast amounts of unique knowledge to share and build upon. If Canada wants to be taken seriously as a leader (and confident sovereign) in the Arctic globally, and if we believe that Canadians should enjoy the same opportunities irrespective of geography, then we must create a Northern university.”

I’m amazed that we are still having this debate, which has been going on for several decades now. Stauch is right that it’s time to build a university in the north, with campuses in all three territories. Indeed, it’s been the right time for many years! If there is region where policy-relevant information is very much needed but is also place-specific, it’s the territorial north. These days, much of the policy information for the North tends to be generated in the south so it makes sense to build a university in the territories, which would serve as a hub for Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, practitioners, and students, to produce knowledge relevant to northern problems and contexts.

The Stauch article comes from the inaugural issue of Northern Public Affairs, a new magazine decided to public policy debate in Northern Canada.