Environment & Economy By Pierre Leblanc 176 Views

A less attractive Northwest Passage is good for Canada

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OTTAWA—Back in 1998, when I was the commander of the Canadian Forces Northern Area, I became concerned with the impact of global warming and the disappearance of the ice in the Canadian Archipelago. Although there were no apparent military threats to the Canadian Arctic at the time, there was nevertheless a concern with increasing risks to human security. As ice would recede, maritime access to the Arctic Archipelago would increase. From a sovereignty point of view, I was concerned with potential challenges to Canada’s sovereignty over the waters of the Arctic Archipelago. Many countries claim that the Northwest Passage, and there are several routes a ship could follow, is an international strait between two oceans which gives them the right of transit. This right would also apply to submerged submarines and aircraft over the strait. Canada’s position is that those waters are internal by historical title.

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