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RIM co-founder Jim Balsillie put Franklin ship hunt in motion - The Globe and Mail
JOHN LORINC
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Sep. 12 2014

The risk of having another country locate the vessels “was an enormous concern. We needed to be the nation that finds them,” Mr. Balsillie recalled Wednesday of that initial eye-opening journey in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

Upon his return, the Research In Motion co-founder began to work behind the scenes to ensure that a Canadian search team would make that discovery – a five-year project that culminated with this week’s find....Through the Arctic Research Foundation, a charity he helped establish with veteran Arctic expert Martin Bergmann, Mr. Balsillie put up funds to buy a dedicated search vessel and state-of-the-art search equipment. (Mr. Bergmann died in a plane crash in 2011.) Mr. Balsillie and other foundation officials also pressed news organizations to pay more attention to the search efforts.

Most crucially, Mr. Balsillie used his contacts with the Prime Minister’s Office to persuade Ottawa to commit additional naval and coast guard ships capable of travelling longer distances, as well as technical support from hydrographic and satellite-mapping scientists. “Let’s just be professional and take a systematic approach,” he told top officials in the Conservative government. ... his view of the mission goes far beyond the curiosity value of locating a missing shipwreck.

He said that he has long seen “parallel narratives” between the way the British viewed the Arctic in the mid-19th century and the issues facing the region today. Then and now, scientific, commercial and geopolitical questions hover over the fate of the Arctic, which has been deeply affected by global warming, receding sea ice and the race to tap new energy resources on the ocean floor. “It’s remarkably similar,” observed Mr. Balsillie, whose interest in global governance issues led him to begin thinking about the Arctic in 2007.

Echoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper, he also sees the Franklin find as a “nation-building” exercise, something he feels is lacking in the country these days, apart from projects such as Own the Podium.

“I don’t think we do enough of it.”
John_Lorinc  Jim_Balsillie  expeditions  Franklin_expedition  Artic  sovereignty  history  nation_building  philanthropy  national_identity  exploration  Canadian  systematic_approaches 
september 2014 by jerryking

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