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Global issue 20

Arena Sovereignty Cold war: Canada secures its Arctic borders Russian manoeuvres in the Arctic have prompted Canada to increase its military presence at its northern borders. But many of the country’s northern, mostly aboriginal, population see growing numbers of armed forces as a threat to traditional ways of life and would rather government money was spent on raising living standards www.global -br ief ing.org l 57 The Arctic Circle is an untapped goldmine of natural resources, possessing more than a quarter of the undiscovered energy resources of the planet, according to the US Geological Survey, and countries within the Arctic Circle are hastening to define their northern borders before anyone else can stake a claim. With Canadian ownership of the Northwest Passage, Han’s Island and the waters beyond the Yukon in dispute, alongside Russia’s plans to increase its military presence and develop strategies for exploiting resources, internationally-recognised sovereignty is becoming more important than ever before, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is calling for an improved defence system of surveillance and regulation. The government’s strategy to maintain a strong presence in the north, define the border and augment stewardship has the potential to greatly benefit Canada in an economic sense. “Our government is committing the resources necessary to ensure that Canada secures international recognition of the full extent of its continental shelf, including the North Pole,” says Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. But concerns about militarisation, big-budget infrastructure developments, patrol ships and fighter jets have the population questioning whether spending could be better used elsewhere. Sarah Starkey © Golgo 12 CC BY-SA 3.0 global f i rst quar ter 2015 www.global -br ief ing.org l 57


Global issue 20
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