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New Book by Former MP and Professor Emeritus Peter Adams Explores Canada’s Ability to Govern the Arctic


Trent, McGill and the North Celebrates Trent University’s Contributions to Canadian Arctic Sovereignty

Monday, September 24, 2007, Peterborough

Peter Adams drilling in Axel HeibergFormer MP and Trent University Professor Emeritus Peter Adams has published a new book entitled Trent, McGill and the North: a story of Canada’s growth as a sovereign polar nation examining how Canada’s governing authority in the Arctic has matured over the last 50 years.

“To be responsibly sovereign, a nation must have the capacity to fulfil its sovereign obligations,” explained Prof. Adams, who served as Liberal MP for Peterborough from 1993 to 2006. “That involves developing a capacity to govern, to the highest international standards, the territory concerned, year in and year out, politically, socially and environmentally.”

Throughout his book, Prof. Adams describes Trent University as a vanguard in polar research creating the educational and scientific foundation for meaningful government in the north. “Trent recognized northern studies from its earliest days, in the 1960s,” said Prof. Adams. “It was a pioneer in indigenous peoples studies and in extending northern studies to the undergraduate levels.”

Prof. Adams’ book chronicles his active research career in the north where he studied snow and ice hydrometeorology and led dozens of arctic field courses for Trent geography students. Much of their research on Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut was some of the earliest work recognizing climate change through glacier retreat.

University research and teaching projects remain a critical expression of Canada’s governing authority as global attention turns northward notes Prof. Adams. “There is renewed concern about sovereignty in the North, now driven by climate change because surface vessels are able to penetrate our increasingly open northern waters and by quite immediate prospects for oil and gas.”

When Prof. Adams began studying the Arctic 50 years ago, he notes that Canada was heavily dependent on the U.S. for logistical support and that northern residents had little or no political representation; in fact, they could not even vote. He credits improvements in technology, and the scientific and sociological research contributions of universities like Trent and McGill, that enabled the north to become “Canadianized”.

“Trent has done more than its fair share in encouraging First Nations and Inuit students and in producing both a remarkable new generation of citizens with a deep interest in the polar regions and polar researchers who are involved in the current International Polar Year,” he said.

A book launch will be held at Trent University during the Head of the Trent festivities on Saturday, September 29, 2007 at 3 p.m. Trent, McGill and the North costs $20.00 and can be ordered in advance at Package Plus, located at 171A Rink St. in Peterborough by calling (705) 749-1661. Further information about the book launch and advance ordering can also be found online.

Prof. Peter Adams was the founding chair of the Geography Department and former Dean of Graduate Studies at Trent University. He also was the Executive Director of the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies.


For further information, please contact Peter Adams, (705) 745-9604

Digital copies of original photos and video taken during Prof. Adam’s polar expeditions are available by contacting Brittany Cadence, Communications Officer, Trent University at (705) 748-1011, ext. 6185.