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Harry Borlase is no stranger to the pages of Shared Voices. In fact, just three years ago he was helping to edit this very magazine as an intern at the UArctic International Secretariat. Now he is embarking on a different kind of journey as he runs for Canadian parliament to represent his home region of Labrador.

Harry’s history with UArctic is impressive to say the least: he has taken part in Bachelor of Circumpolar Studies, the GoNorth program, the Arctic Studies Program at the University of Lapland, UArctic’s Intern program, and he also did his Master’s degree in Polar Law in Iceland. For UArctic’s all-around student, all this has been a tremendous advantage.

“Of course living in Finland and working for the University of the Arctic has helped me in my career. UArctic not only started me on my way to working in and visiting northern communities, but it also gave me the opportunity to learn about local, regional and national issues as they pertain to northerners,” Harry explains. “Education is a fundamental right and should be valued by governments as a practical way for influencing positive change and building for the future. Finland was also very influential on me. The strong tradition toward social values in Finland had a major impact on how I understand politics, government and the ability to help in general. It also opened my eyes and allowed me to see a new way of northern living and compare that to the life and environment I grew up in. My Finnish and international friends also shaped me into who I am and what I stand for.”

When asked how his northern knowledge is relevant to Labrador, Harry does not hesitate in the slightest. “Labrador is the North!” he exclaims. “It shares the same economic, geographic and cultural opportunities as other circumpolar jurisdictions. Being able to live and visit so many places across the Circumpolar North gave me a real educational experience on responsible resource development, the importance of local engagement and decision making, respect for indigenous beliefs and values, as well as how governments can both have a positive and negative impact on northerners and their future.”

A northerner through and through, Harry is looking forward to putting his knowledge, skills and experience to good use. “The North is my home. It’s been my classroom, my playground, and hopefully soon it will be my office. I want nothing more than to help Labradorians and other northern jurisdictions benefit and thrive from the potential of their resources and to become drivers in determining their future. Politics is my way of helping people and my way of helping the North.”

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The interview was first published in Shared Voices Magazine 2013.

To read Harry's original student profile, click here.