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Summit, security, avalanches

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April 14, 2008
Summit to focus on security, economy
Eyes on the North
Avalanche alert prompts caution

Summit to focus on security, economy
Next week (April 21-22) leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico will meet in New Orleans for the Security and Prosperity Partnership Summit. The SPP was launched in 2005 to focus on trilateral security and economic issues in the shadow of NAFTA. SFU political scientist Alexander Moens recently undertook a study of the SPP for the Fraser Institute, in which he suggests the partnership is so misunderstood it should be relaunched and rebranded. Moens can talk about the summit, its goals and the controversy it stirs.

Alexander Moens, 778.782.4361;

Eyes on the North
A conference involving Arctic security experts from around the world in Vancouver this past weekend has renewed attention to security as well as sovereignty issues related to Canada’s North. John Harriss, director of the School of International Studies at SFU, which hosted the meetings, can elaborate on the discussion and results.

John Harriss (correct spelling), 778.782.7898;

Avalanche alert prompts caution
The weekend’s warm weather has avalanche experts urging backcountry users and travellers along B.C.'s mountain roads to use extreme caution. SFU avalanche expert Pascal Haegeli advises to stay off the slopes completely. “Increasing temperatures and more intense solar radiation in the spring means the solid winter snowpack can quickly turn to moist or slushy snow and completely lose its strength,” says Haegeli. “The result can be powerful wet avalanches with the potential to trigger some of the existing weaknesses buried deeper in the snow pack.” Haegeli says timing is everything – travellers venturing out should do so early in the morning when the snowpack upper layers are still solid, but he cautions that with warmer weather the snowpack may not completely refreeze overnight.

Pascal Haegeli, 604.773.0854;