Canada Lax on Negotiating Arctic Sovereignty


mentalfloss
#1
Time, Canada, to negotiate the Northwest Passage


It's never been easy for Canada to talk about the Northwest Passage with the U.S. The passage was the holy grail for explorers from Cabot to Hudson and Franklin, whose discoveries helped define our northern nation. The Northwest Passage also constitutes Canada's most significant long-standing dispute with the U.S. It's a source of both pride and anxiety in our close but asymmetrical relationship.

Still, we've managed to talk before. In 1988, Brian Mulroney resolved the sovereignty challenge posed by U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers. In return for Ronald Reagan agreeing that such ships would request permission from Canada, Mulroney promised that permission would be routinely granted.

Our current prime minister, however, seems to have missed that lesson in pragmatic diplomacy.

In fact, during his very first press conference as prime minister back in January 2006, Stephen Harper took aim at then U.S. ambassador David Wilkins for having simply reiterated Washington's longstanding position — that the Northwest Passage is an international strait open to foreign shipping. "It is the Canadian people we get our mandate from," said Harper, "not the ambassador from the United States."

It was a potentially damaging rebuke, for just a few months earlier, Paul Cellucci, Wilkins's predecessor, had revealed that he had asked the U.S. State Department to re-examine Washington's position. Cellucci's concern was that terrorists might take advantage of ice-free conditions to enter North America or transport weapons of mass destruction via its largely unguarded northern coast.

Cellucci went so far as to suggest publicly that Canada's position — that the Northwest Passage constitutes "internal waters" where foreign vessels are subject to the full force of Canadian law — might now work for the U.S.

Five months later, in July 2007, Harper bluntly stated that "Canada has a choice when it comes to defending our sovereignty in the Arctic. Either we use it or we lose it." The message to the international community was clear: Canada wasn't interesting in compromising its go-it-alone position.

But the scale of the challenges we face in the North changed dramatically in September 2007 when there was a massive retreat of Arctic sea ice and, for the first time, the entire Northwest Passage was open to shipping.

It now appears possible that the thick, hard multi-year ice that poses the greatest risk to ships will disappear forever within five to 10 years. The Northwest Passage will then resemble the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where ice-strengthened vessels and icebreaker-escorted convoys can operate safely throughout the year.

The prospect of increased shipping, of course, brings with it security and environmental risks like smuggling, terrorism and oil spills that often transcend boundaries. And the fact is that neither Canada nor the U.S. with its long Alaskan coastline is able to address these challenges adequately on its own.

It's time to negotiate the Northwest Passage dispute; to talk about the commitments — on access, policing and search-and-rescue — that the U.S. might wish from Canada, in return for recognizing our claim to this passage as "internal waters."


Time, Canada, to negotiate the Northwest Passage - Canada - CBC News
 
CDNBear
#2
Where do you stand on the content of this cut and paste mental?
 
petros
#3
The Arctic is about as sovereign as the rest of the country. It's long gone.
 
taxslave
+2
#4
Far as I'm concerned there is nothing to negotiate. With the possible exception of Alaska it is ours right up to the north pole. I say possibly Alaska because I am not convinced that the Russia had the right to sell what may have really been part of the British Empire to the US.
 
petros
#5
Port of Churchill is a very very good long term investment.
 
taxslave
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Port of Churchill is a very very good long term investment.

Even more so if the global warming theorists are right. Churchill might soon be a year round port.
 
petros
#7
Not likely. It's still dark and cold every winter. When the length of the day at winter solstice is increased then maybe, just maybe winter will go away.
 
china
#8

Arctic seabed 'belongs to Russia'

The Mir-I was used to help plant a Russian flag on the Arctic seabed

A Russian expedition has proved that a ridge of mountains below the Arctic Ocean is part of Russia's continental shelf, government officials have said. The Natural Resources Ministry said tests on soil samples showed Russia was linked to the Lomonosov Ridge.
Moscow has mounted several expeditions recently - and risked tensions with rivals in August by planting a flag in the seabed below the North Pole.
The Arctic is thought to be rich in oil, gas and mineral reserves.

Correspondents say Russia's main rivals for the supposed spoils - the US, Canada and Denmark - have been angered by Moscow's recent aggressive strategy in the region.

See detailed map of the region
Under a United Nations convention, the country claiming ownership of the region's ocean floor must show evidence that the seabed is an extension of their continental shelf.
Evidence claim
Moscow has repeatedly argued that the Lomonosov Ridge is part of its land mass - and now the Natural Resources Ministry believes it has the proof.
Nasa photo shows ice cover in 2005 and as it was in 1979

The ministry said analysis of samples from the ridge - taken in May and June - showed "the structure of the underwater Lomonosov mountain chain is similar to the world's other continental shelves".
The statement added: "The ridge is therefore part of Russia's land mass."
Marine research official Viktor Posyolov told Russia's Tass news agency the claim could extend Russia's seabed by 1.2m sq km (463,323 sq miles).
He said the territory could potentially yield 10,000 billion tonnes of conventional fuel.
In a further sign of its intent, the Kremlin announced that four strategic bombers were to make training flights over the Arctic and the Atlantic Ocean.
Rival expeditions
Russia's claim to a vast swathe of territory in the Arctic has sparked an increasingly tense rivalry with other countries who believe they have a claim.
After Russia planted its flag in the seabed, Canada vowed to increase its icebreaker fleet and build two new military facilities in the Arctic.
Denmark recently sent a team of scientists to the Arctic ice pack to seek evidence that the Lomonosov Ridge was attached to the Danish territory of Greenland.
And a US Coast Guard icebreaker also set off late last month for a research expedition - although scientists said the trip had been planned well before the Russian move.
Competition for territorial and economic rights has heated up as melting polar ice caps have introduced the possibility of exploiting the previously inaccessible seabed.



1) North Pole:
Russia leaves its flag on the seabed, 4,000m (13,100ft) beneath the surface
2) Lomonosov Ridge:
Russia argues that this underwater feature is an extension of its continental territory
3) 200-nautical mile (370km) line:
Shows how far countries' agreed
4) Russian-claimed territory:
The bid to claim a vast area is being closely watched by other countries


 
petros
#9
That was 4 years ago China.
 
china
#10
....yes it has petros . has anything changed ?
It doesn't mater who claims the ownership petros ,a the end China will buy it all . haha
 
petros
#11
If there is a China in the end.
 
lone wolf
+3
#12  Top Rated Post
It's like fleas arguing over who owns the dog.
 
mentalfloss
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBear View Post

Where do you stand on the content of this cut and paste mental?

Sorry, I had to "post and run" because of personal commitments.

This unfortunate - or fortunate - circumstance depending on how you look at it, came into place entirely because of climate change. The Northwest passage is probably the most important component of arctic sovereignty, as the rest is mostly a few small islands that we can give up to Denmark as a token gesture. Now that the passage has cleared up, it has become imperative for us to either negotiate whether it is accepted internationally as our "internal waters", or if it should be deemed an "international straight."

Here is a good primer for anyone concerned about the state of affairs up there:


‪Michael Byers on Canada and Arctic Sovereignty [FULL]‬‏ - YouTube

For my part, I don't really care either way. However, the sooner we negotiate the terms and conditions of its use, the sooner we can end this diplomatically and avoid military conflict. By stalling, we're essentially accepting the possibility of an unnecessary and costly fight.

What's worse is that we don't even have the right equipment to handle a military conflict in the arctic. Some have pointed to the boondoggle $30 Billion investment into those F-35 jets, but they've been shown to be incapable of taking on that kind of mission - primarily because we require search and rescue planes, and secondly, because they are not geared for conflict over large distances..


The F-35 is a stealth fighter designed to penetrate radar defences on the first day of a war. It's the sort of plane you would use to create “shock and awe” in Baghdad or Tehran.

Unless Canada is planning on being the sharp end of the American spear, we don't need stealth technology. The F-35 is designed for short takeoff and landing, with two of the three versions destined for aircraft carriers. Canada, of course, doesn't have aircraft carriers.


And all that stealth technology and short takeoff and landing capacity comes at a cost. In addition to the price tag of about $135 million per plane, the F-35 has a relatively short range.


This makes it an odd choice for a large, sparsely populated country.


The short range also makes the F-35 more dependent on mid-air refuelling, which is a challenge in remote locations. In parts of Canada's Arctic, it can take eight hours for a C-130 Hercules tanker to arrive.


Canada's most desperate procurement need is for fixed-wing search-and-rescue aircraft that could be built in Canada by Bombardier.


The Harper government claims that the F-35 program creates opportunities for the Canadian aerospace industry, and that it needs to commit now so that contractors can secure work related to the F-35 orders expected from other countries.

But opportunities for Canadian industry would be created by sourcing search-and-rescue planes here.

The fact of the matter is, Friday's F-35 announcement has more to do with supporting U.S. companies than Canadian ones.


$16 billion for the wrong planes - thestar.com
 
lone wolf
+1
#14
CC-150 Polaris | Aircraft | Canada’s Air Force
 
CDNBear
+1
#15
You went through all the effort of posting a thread on the Arctic, just to take another failure of a shot at the F-35?



That's a CC 150T, refueling two CF 18's.

Kinda deflates the silly theories.

Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolf View Post

CC-150 Polaris | Aircraft | Canada’s Air Force

Way to beat me to the punch.

 
mentalfloss
#16
Okay, fair enough.

I had no idea about the refueling planes. Still, the effectiveness of conflict over large areas are still hampered with these planes. It would be extremely costly to continually refuel or position so many CC-150s over the map.

That said, if you watch the piece with Byers, it's clear that we can resolve this issue early if we begin talks - starting with Denmark over Hans Island. Byers was able to come to a settlement in minutes with the Danish correspondent, but parliamentary efforts are nil at this point.

Heck, one of the U.S. diplomats even used the argument of a 'terrorism' to our advantage to secure the passage as internal waters.

And the sooner we can make the claim, the better it is for Canadians' and Nunavut security and the economy.
 
CDNBear
+1
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalfloss View Post

Okay, fair enough.

I had no idea about the refueling planes. Still, the effectiveness of conflict over large areas are still hampered with these planes. It would be extremely costly to continually refuel or position so many CC-150s over the map.

This is Canada, why are you contemplating Canada's participation in global conflict?

I thought you were against that sort of thing?

Would buying a plane that wouldn't be good for that, be something you'd support?
Quote:

That said, if you watch the piece with Byers, it's clear that we can resolve this issue early if we begin talks - starting with Denmark over Hans Island. Byers was able to come to a settlement in minutes with the Danish correspondent, but parliamentary efforts are nil at this point.

Heck, one of the U.S. diplomats even used the argument of a 'terrorism' to our advantage to secure the passage as internal waters.

Why are you so quick to negotiate away our sovereignty now? Weren't you one of the crowd that called into question Harpers ties to the US?

Quote:

And the sooner we can make the claim, the better it is for Canadians' and Nunavut security and the economy.

Is there something I missed?

Has someone threatened us, over Harpers steadfast stance on Canada's historical claim to the region?
 
DaSleeper
+1
#18
Paper tigers anyone?
 
mentalfloss
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBear View Post

Has someone threatened us, over Harpers steadfast stance on Canada's historical claim to the region?

Harper's stance is political theater right now. He can go up on stage and say 'use it or lose it - and we use it' (which is admirable), but that won't be enough to have a diplomatic solution that avoids further confrontation. It needs to be internationally recognized that the Northwest Passage constitutes our 'internal waters' to give Harper's rhetoric some clout.

Check out the Byers clip. He's pretty concise, and his expertise on this matter really shows.
 
Mowich
+2
#20
Research quietly backs Canada's claims on Arctic sovereignty

There will be no flag-waving or patriotic chest-thumping, but Canadian scientists are quietly set to make one of this country’s most important assertions of Arctic sovereignty in decades on Friday at a geology conference in Norway.

By Canwest News Service August 6, 2008

“Their landmark findings, the initial result of years of sea floor mapping and millions of dollars in research investments by the Canadian and Danish governments, are to be presented at the 2008 International Geological Congress in Oslo under the innocuous title “Crustal Structure from the Lincoln Sea to the Lomonosov Ridge, Arctic Ocean.”


Research quietly backs Canada's claims on Arctic sovereignty
 
CDNBear
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by Mowich View Post

Research quietly backs Canada's claims on Arctic sovereignty

There will be no flag-waving or patriotic chest-thumping, but Canadian scientists are quietly set to make one of this country’s most important assertions of Arctic sovereignty in decades on Friday at a geology conference in Norway.

By Canwest News Service August 6, 2008

“Their landmark findings, the initial result of years of sea floor mapping and millions of dollars in research investments by the Canadian and Danish governments, are to be presented at the 2008 International Geological Congress in Oslo under the innocuous title “Crustal Structure from the Lincoln Sea to the Lomonosov Ridge, Arctic Ocean.”


Research quietly backs Canada's claims on Arctic sovereignty

Good thing we didn't listen to some experts and run in to negotiate away our sovereignty, prematurely!!!

 
SLM
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by Mowich View Post

Research quietly backs Canada's claims on Arctic sovereignty

There will be no flag-waving or patriotic chest-thumping, but Canadian scientists are quietly set to make one of this country’s most important assertions of Arctic sovereignty in decades on Friday at a geology conference in Norway.

By Canwest News Service August 6, 2008

“Their landmark findings, the initial result of years of sea floor mapping and millions of dollars in research investments by the Canadian and Danish governments, are to be presented at the 2008 International Geological Congress in Oslo under the innocuous title “Crustal Structure from the Lincoln Sea to the Lomonosov Ridge, Arctic Ocean.”


Research quietly backs Canada's claims on Arctic sovereignty

Of course there was no chest thumping, we're Canadian.
 
Mowich
+2
#23
Canadian Senate issues report on Arctic sovereignty | Foreign Policy Blogs

Current news on what is happening regarding the Arctic - a PDF of the complete 75 page report is available.
 
Ariadne
#24
What's to negotiate. Everything that borders Canadian territory belongs to Canada ... c'est tout. The US can put a line around the Alaskan territory if they want, but Canada obviously owns the bulk and will dominate even outside the line around the Alaskan territory. Canada and Russian can draw a line in the midddle and after that ... there's nothing to discuss.

... or is there something more too it, like Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia? The last three were under protection of Russia in the past ... and so be it. Iceland should be able to choose ... nothing for the US to negotiate. It's Canadian territory and thanks to Harper it has been protected and watched since he's been in charge.
 
mentalfloss
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by Ariadne View Post

What's to negotiate. Everything that borders Canadian territory belongs to Canada ... c'est tout. The US can put a line around the Alaskan territory if they want, but Canada obviously owns the bulk and will dominate even outside the line around the Alaskan territory. Canada and Russian can draw a line in the midddle and after that ... there's nothing to discuss.

... or is there something more too it, like Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia? The last three were under protection of Russia in the past ... and so be it. Iceland should be able to choose ... nothing for the US to negotiate. It's Canadian territory and thanks to Harper it has been protected and watched since he's been in charge.

It's the definition of the Northwest passage which is really the only part that needs to be asserted before arctic sovereignty is clear. Everything else is fine, and even the notion that there will be some grand military intervention is overdone (which is why the jets are pointless other than using as trophies to bolster the economy).

But yes, there is still a dispute as to whether the passage is internationally recognized as "internal waters" or an "international strait". If it is an international straight then the U.S. and other surrounding countries will be able to pass through without our consent, and that supposedly might lead to other problems with the local Inuit and the environment from what I understand.

All said and done, is that the sooner we nail this one down, the less voodoo talk about "crazy russians" and military hyperbole we need to worry about. But we already had one chance when the Americans actually favoured our position by calling it an opportunity for terrorists. For whatever reason, we pussied out.

As per the links above, I agree that we're in the clear for everything other than the Northwest passage.
Last edited by mentalfloss; Aug 7th, 2011 at 09:43 PM..
 
Ariadne
#26
I see ... thanks ... I could never quite figure out how it was in dispute. However, if the US would like the waters to be declared international territories, then indeed Canada would be compromised in several ways. Not only would the Inuit culture be at risk, but Canada would open itself up to an attack from the North. Face to face combat is something from the past, but the Northern border could still come under threat. The US should have no voice in this discussion as it has nothing but Alaska as territories ... and that vote is insignificant in the big picture.

Harper had this one before he was elected, and hopefully he will look after it. The waters will be monitored by submarines with flyovers ... I suppose.

Are the people from the US suggesting that there are weak borders in Canada and if Canada watches over it's territories then terrorists will arrive on the Northern shores?

No dots on the sea floor ... that's like giving away ... water with the air ... giving away the farm ... to a country that cannot manage it's budget. That would be seriously foolish.
 
mentalfloss
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by Ariadne View Post

I see ... thanks ... I could never quite figure out how it was in dispute. However, if the US would like the waters to be declared international territories, then indeed Canada would be compromised in several ways. Not only would the Inuit culture be at risk, but Canada would open itself up to an attack from the North. Face to face combat is something from the past, but the Northern border could still come under threat. The US should have no voice in this discussion as it has nothing but Alaska as territories ... and that vote is insignificant in the big picture.

Harper had this one before he was elected, and hopefully he will look after it. The waters will be monitored by submarines with flyovers ... I suppose.

Are the people from the US suggesting that there are weak borders in Canada and if Canada watches over it's territories then terrorists will arrive on the Northern shores?

No no.. the U.S. position at some point was that if the Northwest passage was an international straight, then there would be less security than if Canada enforced the passage as "internal waters". That was our chance to step in and add the point to our bullet list and work towards asserting the most important part in this sovereignty deal.

Since we didn't - we now have this lingering rhetoric about the possibility of attack from the russians or martians from Alaska. That creates an uncertainty about the territory that is partially legitimate, but could also be used as fear mongering.

We need to use words instead of swords to get international recognition of the area as internal waters. That would make Canada a much safer place, and would reduce our dependency on pumping the military-industrial complex.

Now that Baird is done buttering up China, he should add brain to the algorithm that includes his nuts and start working on an agreement.
 
lone wolf
#28
Technically, there are a lot of choke points in the archipelago that close off the Passage. I see no reason - other than things like Liberian-registrations and potential Exxon Valdiz(es) to keep it from being a money-maker like the Seaway.
 
petros
#29
The passage will indeed be in use very shortly. It's the only way we can develope and transport the unbelieveable amounts of mineral wealth in the high Arctic.
 
mentalfloss
#30
...and so it begins...

Canada "too small" to develop Northwest Passage shipping, diplomat says


Canada will lose out to Russia's Arctic shipping routes because it is too small to finance the infrastructure, France's ambassador for the polar regions said Monday.

Melting polar ice will make Canada's Northwest Passage more accessible in the next decades, but Canada does not seem interested in exploiting it for shipping, said Michel Rocard, who recently returned from a tour of the Arctic aboard the Canadian icebreaker Amundsen.

"I have the impression that Canada has given up on the competition to attract a large part of the traffic in 25 or 30 years," Rocard said.

The former French prime minister said Canada is "too small to finance itself the infrastructure" needed to spur commercial shipping through its Northwest Passage — a shorter route between European and Asian markets than the Suez and Panama canals. In contrast, Rocard said, Russia is an "Arctic force" with several icebreakers, including four new nuclear-powered ones.

Rob Huebert, a professor in circumpolar relations at the University of Calgary, said it's not a question of being "too small" but rather one of political will and economics determining how fast Canada moves on developing transpolar trade.

"We still haven't really made up our minds if we want international shipping coming though our waterways," Huebert said. "Because there's still ice there's not the economic argument for transpolar shipping."

Huebert said shipping companies that transit through the Panama Canal or around the tip of South America still can't be convinced to take the northern route because it requires an icebreaker escort and the shipping season is shorter.

He added there is no "concentrated effort" to chart Canada's Arctic waterways to reflect recent changes in sea ice, making it dangerous in some cases for vessels to travel through.

U.S. researchers have said global warming could leave the region ice-free by 2030.

Michael Byers, an expert in international law and the Arctic at the University of British Columbia, said the Northwest Passage will "almost certainly" be open in September and October for vessels of any kind, not just icebreakers, because the sea ice is growing weaker.

"The 'deepwater route' from Lancaster Sound through Barrow Strait . . . has the depth and width to easily accommodate supertankers and other supersized vessels," Byers told Postmedia News in an email.

However, Byers said, opening up to transpolar shipping raises some difficult questions on how Canada will protect against oil spills or criminal activity — while its sovereignty over the waterway is still a matter of dispute.

"Foreign shipping companies want world class navigation aids, charts, search and rescue, ports of refuge, policing and icebreaker assistance. If Canada builds an 'Arctic Gateway' to the world through these kinds of investments, foreign companies and governments will quickly become more accepting of Canadian sovereignty," Byers said.

Rocard said that Russia's Arctic passage along the Siberian coast is less winding and has fewer islands than Canada's Northwest Passage, but it is a bit longer. And while Resolute Bay in Canada's far north has a mere 280 inhabitants, Russia's northernmost port cities of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk are home to 300,000 and 350,000 people, respectively.


Canada "too small" to develop Northwest Passage shipping, diplomat says


 

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