• Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna met with Canadian Geographic editor Aaron Kylie and other members of the Can Geo editorial team in January to brainstorm ideas for the November/December 2018 issue.

    Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna met with Canadian Geographic editor Aaron Kylie and other members of the Can Geo editorial team in January to brainstorm ideas for the November/December 2018 issue. (Photo: Alexandra Pope/Canadian Geographic)

About a year ago I received an unusual invitation. It came from Parks Canada, asking if Canadian Geographic would join a trip to Labrador’s Torngat Mountains National Park. While opportunities like that come along fairly routinely, this one had a unique twist: among the small group of guests on the trip would be Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna.

Getting a few minutes with a federal minister can be a challenge, but the chance to spend days with one is especially rare — so I jumped on it. It gave me an amazing opportunity to learn about the impacts of climate change in the park, but also about the local Indigenous history, Indigenous co-management of the park and much more about the minister herself (read my resulting report here).

Whether you agree or disagree with her opinions, hopefully we can all agree she’s extremely knowledgeable about issues relating to the environment, climate change, wildlife, parks, the North and more. And having access to discuss such topics at length with the minister was superb (read my exclusive interview with her from the trip here).

Coincidentally, many of those subjects are top areas of interest for Can Geo’s audience, so during our time in Torngats I floated the idea to McKenna of her acting as a guest editor for a future issue of Canadian Geographic. We could combine our editorial team’s passion for great storytelling with her perspective on these important issues.

This past January, we met to begin hammering out the specifics. In the weeks and months to come, we’ll be sharing stories guest edited by Minister McKenna on our social and digital channels in the lead up to publishing our November/December 2018 issue, the content of which she’ll have overseen. It’s a phenomenal opportunity to collaborate with one of the nation’s most influential and powerful environment and climate change decision-makers. Stay tuned.