Thursday, November 8, 2007
Picture from the CASR.
A excerpt from my thesis in progress:
Canadian claims to the Arctic Ocean hinges on their retention of the massive northern archipelago ceded to them by the British in the 1880s. Efforts to enhance the strength of said claims include making the area a separate territory (Nunavut) and subsidies that drive population growth and the economy in the strategically chosen capital, Iqaluit. This falls under the stipulation by international treaty that remote islands and their coastal waters have their title established by a “continuous and peaceful display of state authority”. Besides perhaps Russia, Canada has been most visible with its Arctic claims due to the possibility of controlling access to the newly opened Northwest Passage. The Harper government has commissioned new armed icebreakers and a new deepwater port is planned for the military base on Nanisivik (CASR, 2006). Such shows of force combined with withdrawal from international judicial bodies are an attempt to compensate for the precariousness of Canadian arctic claims.
Land is one thing - comparatively easy to defend a claim on, but the extent of Canadian exclusive claims to the Northwest Passage are going to be difficult to sustain in the face of pressure from every other state with an interest.