Monday, September 12, 2005

The Northwest Passage

The arctic is heating up in more ways than one. Global warming is making shipping in the arctic possible throughout more of the year which creates opportunities for trade as well as a potential threat to Canada's national security, and by extension, the security of the U.S.

Anne McIlroy writes:

Global warming means that in the not-so-distant future, the fabled and usually ice-bound Northwest Passage could become a major shipping route between Asia and Europe. Melting ice, which could be catastrophic for the people and wildlife of the Arctic, could also make it more economically viable to look for undersea resources like oil and gas....

"[Canada is putting up] new patrol the Arctic, and we will be looking at the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. And we're looking at the way in which we can extend a radar protection which we have off the east and the west coast, to put it at the either end of the Northwest Passage so that we could control and ascertain what traffic is taking place there," [Canadian defence minister, Bill Graham] said in a television interview.

In the past, Canada has not felt that it was necessary to have a continuous presence in the Arctic.

"These are new times and there will be new measures," he said.

Will it help [Canada cement its case for owning the Northwest Passage]? It's hard to say. The United States, for example, does not recognize that the Northwest Passage is under Canada's control. It argues the passage is an international waterway, open to foreign ships. |Guardian Unlimited|


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