It appears as though the federal government is looking out for Canadian interests on one of our national frontiers, at least.
Flashback: Arctic expert questions Canada’s northern strategy | Northwest Passage surveillance study halted | Military’s ‘Polar Breeze’ cloaked in secrecy | Ignatieff on Obama visit: Crisis an opportunity for continental, global integration | Harper plays down threat to Arctic sovereignty | New policy emphasizes U.S. interests in Northwest Passage | UN Given Power to Mediate in Arctic Disputes | Nunavut taken aback by military plan for drone patrols | Remote-controlled aircraft would patrol Arctic: military
July 31, 2009
Canada will keep a close eye on all military activities in the Arctic region, including watching Russian plans to drop paratroopers in the area next spring, said Defence Minister Peter MacKay on Friday in Halifax.
“Any country that is approaching Canadian airspace, Canadian territory, will be met by Canadians,” MacKay said after an announcement about an international security conference planned for November.
MacKay declined to offer specifics on what Canada’s reaction would be to unauthorized activities, but said the country will defend its national borders.
Earlier this week, a Russian general announced plans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first paratroop drop at the North Pole by sending troops to the same site.
In February, Canada scrambled fighter jets to intercept a Russian bomber flying towards Canadian airspace.
“We have scrambled F-18 jets in the past, and they’ll always be there to meet them,” he said.
Last weekend, the Conservative government outlined a host of initiatives designed to beef up Canada’s Arctic presence.
The dispute over the Arctic has intensified amid growing evidence that global warming is shrinking polar ice, opening up new shipping lanes and new resource development possibilities.
Race to lay claim
Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway have been trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, which is believed to contain as much as 25 per cent of the Earth’s undiscovered oil and gas.
All five nations have agreed to abide by international law while scientists map the Arctic seabed.
Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which Canada ratified in 2003, every country controls the resources under its coastal waters up to 200 nautical miles from its shore. Under the treaty, a country’s territory can be expanded much farther if it can prove the ridges and rock formations underneath the water are connected to the continental shelf.
Next month, Canada and U.S. naval units are launching an expedition in the Beaufort Sea to gather evidence that the North American continental shelf extends many hundreds of kilometres farther into the ocean than was previously believed.
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