A show of sovereignty on top of the world
Description: RESOLUTE BAY, NUNAVUT -- Next time you sing the national anthem and get to the line "True North strong and free," think of Noah Mosesee. "I love this land. It's ours. That's why I'm out here," the 24-year-old resident of Pangnirtung, Nunavut, s
Date: 17 April 2006
Author: Katherine Harding
Source: The Globe and Mail
For centuries, this desolate collection of frozen land and waterways [in the Western Arctic] has defeated, or at least severely tested, almost all who tried to tame it. English poet John Milton once described it as "Mountains of ice, that stop the imagined way."
Now, rising temperatures are melting those mountains of ice and transforming this region's accessibility, and Canada is reasserting its historic claim to an area the size of Europe that makes up nearly 40 per cent of its total land mass.
While concerns have mainly been for sovereignty over the Northwest Passage and a small area of the Beaufort Sea, military officials say it is important to establish a presence throughout the region.
Before this, disputes between Canada and other countries over boundaries have largely been academic.
Now, many experts are arguing that the situation is reaching a crucial point, as previously frozen waterways, including the fabled Northwest Passage -- an invaluable maritime shortcut between Asia and Europe -- have become open for longer periods and the rush for access and control of land and water in this resource-rich pocket of the world intensifies among energy-hungry nations....
In January, David Wilkins, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, repeated his country's long-held position that it doesn't "recognize Canada's claims to the waters" and that it is an international waterway, open to all.
Mr. Harper shot back that it belongs to Canada.
University of British Columbia professor Michael Byers, who co-directs a project on Arctic sovereignty, said the government needs to do more than sovereignty missions across the region -- which experts say likely has a quarter of the world's oil and natural gas deposits -- if it wants to be taken seriously on the international stage...
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