Ed Struzik, a senior writer at The Edmonton Journal, is the recipient of the 2009 Michener-Deacon Fellowship. The Fellowship was presented during the 2008 Michener Award ceremony held at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on June 10, 2009.
His proposal for a project on Arctic sovereignty was a strong first pick for a majority of judges. They felt that, though the topic is much discussed and reported, Struzik’s credentials show that he is capable of providing new perspectives of national public interest. They believed his stories could make a difference in how Canadians understand the issue of Arctic sovereignty. (Ed Struzik acceptance speech)
In his application, Struzik pointed out that, for a century, the Government of Canada has responded to periodic challenges to sovereignty in the Arctic by temporarily increasing the Canadian presence there. But the rules governing the Arctic are changing. Eight countries have legitimate claims to Arctic areas. Ice is melting at a rate that will allow shipping from the North Atlantic to the Pacific. The rising price of oil has made Arctic stores of the resource a much sought-after commodity while new technologies are making Arctic oil more accessible. What is required now, Struzik says, is a national strategy and an international treaty to govern shipping and oil exploration. He plans to join an expedition of geologists who are building a case for Canada to claim an area the size of the three Prairie provinces. They are also mapping the ocean floor to prepare for safe shipping. (Update – Ed Struzik’s fellowship report his Arctic Sovereignty series is available here).
He has explored and written extensively on Arctic issues for the past 25 years. A skilled photographer and canoeist, he has been writing about environmental issues for the past 28 years and has lived and worked in the Yukon and Northwest Territories and visited every community in the Canadian North.
He recently spent the better part of a year in the Arctic investigating the impact that climate change is having on wildlife, the environment, aboriginal cultures, the economy as well as the threats it poses to security and sovereignty in northern Canada and the United States. During nine separate journeys, he travelled several thousand miles on foot, ski and snowmobile and on icebreakers, helicopters, bush planes and small boats to find out how Inuit hunters, scientists, oil men, miners and politicians view the future in a polar world that is warming fast.
His articles and photographs have appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers, including Canadian Geographic, Equinox, International Wildlife (U.S.), Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and his own newspaper, the Edmonton Journal.
Over the years, Mr. Struzik has received many awards and honours for his work including the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy, the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT at Cambridge, Ma., the Southern Fellowship at the University of Toronto and the Sir Sandford Fleming Medal, which goes to one Canadian each year who has made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of science in Canada. He is the author of two books – Northwest Passage and Ten Rivers Run Through It.
Rideau Hall – June 10, 2009
Judges for the 2009 Michener-Deacon Fellowship:
Lindsay Crysler (chair), former managing editor of The Gazette, Montreal; former director journalism department, Concordia University, Montreal; Clinton Archibald, professor of public ethics, St. Paul University, Ottawa; Lynne Van Luven, associate professor of journalism & creative non-fiction, University of Victoria; Erin Steuter, chair of the sociology department, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB; Professor Marc Raboy, Beaverbrook Chair in Ethics, Media and Communications, McGill University.
The fellowship of the Michener Awards Foundation, introduced in 1987, is known today as the Michener-Deacon Fellowship (named after the late Roland Michener and the late Paul Deacon, a senior media executive and Michener Awards Foundation president). The fellowship is to encourage excellence in investigative print and broadcast journalism that serves the public interest through values that benefit the community. Mature journalists are invited to submit written outlines for studies over four months that will strengthen their competence.