4 February, 2011
Northern Sovereignty-Canada Against the World
The gradual melting of the Arctic ice cap is rapidly exposing the Northwest Passage- a shipping route that could cut five thousand nautical miles from the current routes, and save billions of dollars. Canada considers the passage completely under our control, while other nations see it as an international strait. The arctic land is also believed to be rich in oil, mineral deposits and other valuable Arctic resources. Canada needs to take charge and reinforce our declared ownership over the disputed territory that is the north. The Arctic should be claimed as Canada??™s for three motives: Canada??™s national security, environmental protection of the North, and the fact that the land is rightfully Canada??™s.
To begin with, reinforcing Canada??™s ownership of the North would ensure the nation??™s security.
In addition, the Arctic ecosystem is extremely fragile, and allowing other nations to exploit its resources and use the Northwest Passage would compromise the wellbeing of Canada??™s environment. Randy Boswell, from CanWest News Service writes, ?????¦declaring the Northwest Passage international could cause potential threats to the Arctic??™s ???fragile ecosystem??™ from increased shipping and oil exploration.??? (Boswell) Having the territory internationally owned would greatly damage the northern environment, as an amplified foraging of resources, and a heavier flow of traffic through the Passage would cause a great deal of pollution, leaving the Arctic residents to deal with the after effects. Canada needs to take responsibility for the Northern territory in order to protect the sensitive northern environment.
Finally, the Canadian people have a historic link with the Arctic, and the land is part of Canada??™s identity. On this matter, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said, “Canadas sovereignty over our Arctic region is rooted in an historic connection to the land, its continued habitation by the Inuit people and our constant assertion of our sovereign claims.”
Andrea Charron, policy advisor for the Privy Council Office in the Secretary and the Intelligence Secretariat, writes, ???The Arctic is not only a part of Canada, it is part of Canadian greatness. The policy of ?the Canadian government is to preserve the Canadian greatness undiminished. Canada??™s ?sovereignty in the Arctic is indivisible. It embraces land, sea and ice. It extends without? interruption to the seaward-facing coasts of the Arctic islands. These islands are joined,? and not divided, by the waters between them. They are bridged for most of the year by ?ice. From time immemorial Canada??™s Inuit people have used and occupied the ice as? they have used and occupied the land. The policy of the Government is to maintain the? natural unity of the Canadian Arctic archipelago and to preserve Canada??™s sovereignty ?over land, sea and ice undiminished and undivided.??? (Charron)
In conclusion, Canada needs to assert its Northern Sovereignty on the basis that: maintaining control will reinforce national security, the Arctic environment is delicate and requires protection, and that the North is part of Canadian heritage, and, in no way, should its famous history be sold. The Great Canadian North is a vital component to Canada??™s identity; it cannot be compromised.
Borgerson, Scott. “Arctic Meltdown.” Foreign Affairs (2008): 1. Web. 3 Feb 2011.
Borgerson, Scott. “The Great Game Moves North.” Foreign Affairs (2009): 3. Web. 3 Feb 2011.
Boswell, Randy. “Harpers Vision Fails to Protect Fragile Arctic: Expert.” Decision Canada (2009): 13. Web. 3 Feb 2011.
Charron, Andrea. “The Northwest Passage Shipping Channel: Is Canada??™s Sovereignty Really Floating Away.” War Studies Programme (2004): 7-9. Web. 3 Feb 2011.
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