Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Arctic Sovereignty?

We've been hearing a lot of rhetoric from our Prime Minister concerning protecting Canada's interests in the far north in the Canadian arctic archipelago. He states he is worried, as are many Canadians, that larger maritime interests such as the US and Russia will ply to the open waters of the Northwest Passage with impunity once global warming has melted the sea ice and made it "navigable".

His solution is military: show the Canadian flag at a deep sea naval port, probably using the abandoned mining facilities at Nanisivik on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island; run arctic military exercises out on the ice at the entrance to the Northwest Passage; launch satellites to monitor activity in the high arctic; refit submarines to patrol our arctic waterways; and the list is sure to go on as we edge ever closer to an election, but note Harper's proposals always have a military theme. "Use it or lose it" is the soundbite our PM's likes to trot out.

To my way of thinking "use it" implies having people living there, rather than staging military parades on ice. But what is Canada's New Government® (that phrase is really starting to rankle after the past two years) doing to make it easier for people to live there?

The cost of living here is 2 to 3 times higher than in the south of Canada, but apart from a meager northern resident's deduction, we pay taxes proportionately much higher than southerners. And our elders and unemployed receive government assistance at exactly the same rate as someone in Toronto, with no indexation to reflect the cost of living differential.

So, Mr. Harper, if you want to really show Canada's colours on our frozen landscape, at least make it possible for us to live there. Otherwise, you are blowing smoke up our collective butts.

BTW, anyone wonder why George Bush has voiced no opposition to Canada's increased military presence in our Arctic?

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Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Everyone is scrambling for a piece of the North Pole. The USSR claims it is all part of Siberia and they took deep sea soil samples and planted their flag.

I think you have the right idea, about increasing use in the North. It might not be a bad idea for Canada to start doing some oil and mineral exploration in that neck of the woods.

7:53 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

We coudln't have anyone living there anyway - you'd have to call them Poles, and there are already people using that name!!

6:01 PM  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

"... military parades on ice..."


I daresay Bush doesn't mind because his military is spread pretty thin at the moment. And he thinks we're in his back pocket.

6:14 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

WoD - the renegotiated NORAD treaty apparently gives the US the right to barge into our waterways anytime it sees fit. So of course Bush isn't worried about the dog and pony show Harper is putting on.

Phos - Mineral exploration is hot, hot, hot where I live, with helicopters flying in and out of our airport whenever the fog lifts. Poles? - LOL!!

8:40 AM  
Blogger c'est moi said...

You're alive! I seriously had my doubts when your last post came from Montreal. I thought maybe the hospital ate you! Then, a couple of days ago, as I prepared to hit your stomping grounds, I got a weather heads up. Now I see that it was the dog that ate the keyboard. Bad dog, very bad dog! Lucky for him that you didn't take him for a ride out to the dump. Welcome back.

8:07 AM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

I think we should give you guys back North Dakota, just as a goodwill gesture.

5:47 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

c'est moi - welcome to Salluit. I hope the endless ATVs and trail bikes driving around town until about 4:30 AM this morning didn't disturb your sleep too much.

Phos - North Dakota? After seeing the movie Fargo I don't think so.

10:11 PM  

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