Alaskans emphasize they are not against resource extraction, provided there are adequate environmental and financial safeguards, but believe Canada's record -- most recently illustrated by the Mount Polley mine tailings dam collapse -- shows that B.C.'s regulations are not strong enough to protect downstream communities.
According to the most recent statistics, suicide rates outside Alaska's main cities are four times the national average and among the highest in the world. In 2010 alone, the number of suicide in Alaska's Kuskokwim prompted state and local officials to mount an emergency response. Despite their efforts however, suicide rates in rural Alaska are still high.
When you're on vacation, you do the type of things that you would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER do in your city of residence. For example, on Saturday I took in the traditional starting ceremony of the 1000-mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race. I stood in the cold four hours in Anchorage watching superstar mushers (yes, these men and women are international sport celebrities).
In Dawson City, one step away from the arctic circle, we are working to promote more local food production. Here, more than anywhere else, food matters. We are at the end of the road and conditions are quite crude. Food here is expensive, but mostly fresh, which is already a huge improvement compared to 100 years ago.
A group of Canadian businessmen has obtained the blessing of Alaskan tribes and Canadian First Nations to build a railroad through their lands that could carry up to five million barrels per day from the oil sands to the super tanker port in Valdez, Alaska. This is truly a nation-building project that must be seriously evaluated by all governments and the oil industry.