Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday January 27, 2006
Harper Tells U.S. to Drop Arctic Claim
Stephen Harper, elected Monday as prime minister, warned the United States on Thursday to back off from its challenge of Canadian sovereignty in Arctic waters that are fast thawing from global warming.
In the first news conference since his election, Harper upbraided the U.S. ambassador for asserting that the icy polar regions, including the legendary Northwest Passage, are international waters.
Canada claims that its archipelago of some 16,000 islands makes that region Canadian territory.
“The United States defends its sovereignty. The Canadian government will defend our sovereignty,” Harper said. “It’s the Canadian people we get our mandate from, not the ambassador of the United States.”
The two countries — as well as Russia — have had conflicting claims in the Arctic for at least three decades. Harper’s Conservative Party has proposed expanding Canada’s military presence, building new icebreakers and creating an early warning system to detect other ships, all to enforce its claim of sovereignty. (Source: Washington Post)