A University of Saskatchewan professor says it is high time Canada had a coordinated strategy for northern provincial regions.

Ken Coates, who teaches at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, says the federal government has done a much better job of formulating policy for the Arctic region but less so for the provincial north.

At the same time, he says a government strategy for Canada’s provincial north is desperately needed.

“The poorest part of Canada is the actually the provincial north, the place where Aboriginal people have the least political power is the provincial north, the place where there’s the most limited autonomy in terms of dealing with major economic activity is the provincial north,” he says.

Coates adds although there would certainly be complications, granting more political autonomy to the provincial north is also worth examining.

“In Quebec, the Nunavik regional government system gives an enormous amount of government power to essentially a sub-provincial government system and it works really well.”

He says with provincial northern peoples experiencing higher levels of poverty and social problems than other regions, Canada simply cannot wait to formulate a strategy that addresses this region as a whole.

The U of S professor was at an Arctic Frontiers national conference in Norway last week.

He also had an article in the Globe and Mail outlining the need for a coordinated northern provincial strategy.