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Who Owns the North Pole part 83

Canada is moving ahead on building a fleet of Arctic patrol ships to provide a naval presence in the resource-rich north. The CAN $3.5 billion project (US $3.2 billion with Lockheed Martin handling onboard combat systems, will produce five ships.
Royal Canadian Navy commander Vice Adm. Mark Norman has said the Arctic patrol ships will give the service greater reach into the remote region. "The Arctic offshore patrol ships will enable us to become a truly Arctic, rather than just northern, Navy with the capability to operate in the Canadian Arctic archipelago on a sustained and persistent basis," he told delegates to a naval conference in October.
Defense analyst Martin Shadwick said for the Navy, the contract is significant as the ships will be capable of patrolling farther into the Arctic and stay in the region for longer than the service's existing ships. "For the Navy it is a deal changer," said Shadwick, who teaches strategic studies at York University in…

Who Owns the North Pole (part 74)

“Our government is … expanding our economic and scientific opportunities by defining Canada’s last frontier,” said Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq in a Canadian government statement. “This is important to Canadians, especially those in the North, as this is their future and prosperity at stake.”

Russia's growing military presence in the Arctic is a concern and Canada should not get complacent about it, Canada’s  Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.  Russia is busy rebuilding former Soviet-era military bases in its north, and has a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines and icebreakers patrolling its waters. Russian planes have also tested the boundaries of Canadian airspace, Harper said. "I just think we should not be complacent, because we have seen over the period that President Putin has been in power just a gradual growing in aggressiveness of his government toward neighbours and the gradual military assertiveness of that country, and I just think it's something we s…

Who Owns the North Pole - Part 68

Canadian officials confirmed Monday that the nation is preparing to include the North Pole as part of its Arctic Ocean seabed claim in the multi-country push to prove jurisdiction over further territory in the resource-rich area.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Arctic Council chair Leona Aglukkaq officially announced Monday Canada’s claim to the extended continental shelf in the Arctic. It was reported by The Globe and Mail last week that Prime Minister Stephen Harper requested a government board charged with assessing Canada’s claims beyond its territorial waterways, per United Nations rules, to seek a more expansive stake of Arctic area to include the North Pole.

"We have asked our officials and scientists to do additional work and necessary work to ensure that a submission for the full extent of the continental shelf in the Arctic includes Canada's claim to the North Pole," Baird said during a press conference at the House of Commons.

The North Pole …

Who owns the North Pole - part 55

In October of 2012, it was reported that Canada was going to claim ownership of a massive size of undersea territory in the Arctic, larger than the size of the province of Qu├ębec, and roughly equal to 20% of the country’s surface area.

In 2013, Canada will begin chairing a two-year term of the Arctic Council, a grouping of eight nations working together to manage the development of the Arctic as an economically and strategically important global region. With the opening of new and large opportunities for economic exploitation and resource plundering, the states with territory in the Arctic have become increasingly aggressive in their military posturing in the region, “increasingly designed for combat rather than policing,” according to a study by the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions. The report noted: “Although the pursuit of co-operation is the stated priority, most of the Arctic states have begun to rebuild and modernize their military capabilities in the region.”

Canadian …

Who owns the North Pole - part 37

The Canadian military is exploring a way to cut costs and speed up the movement of troops and equipment by building several new northern bases. Along the way it could help to strengthen the country's Arctic sovereignty claims by placing additional boots on the tundra throughout the year. The plan, sketched out in a study that was commissioned by the force's operational support command, is a variation of the one put in place for overseas operations. Barebones transportation hubs — essentially a suitable landing strip and storage facility — at strategic spots. The plan could result in remote bases and a small-but-permanent military presence in far-off communities. Locations could include Alert, Inuvik, Whitehorse, Rankin Inlet, Iqaluit or Nanisivik, according to the technical memorandum prepared by the research wing of the military last year.

The report is premised on the priority that the Conservative government has placed on a more rigorous defence of Canada's territorial s…

who owns the North Pole - Part 26

Canadians have adopted a confrontational stance. A new opinion poll finds that Canadians are generally far less receptive to negotiation and compromises on disputes than their American neighbours. More than 40 per cent of Canadians said the country should pursue a firm line in defending its sections of the North, compared to just 10 per cent of Americans.

The international survey – conducted by EKOS Research for the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation – found that a majority of Canadians see Arctic sovereignty as the country’s top foreign-policy priority; they also believe military resources should be shifted to the North, even if it means taking them away from global conflicts.

Harper has made the Arctic a major political platform, taking every opportunity to remind Canadians that his government is determined to defend this country’s sovereignty in the Far North. The poll’s findings would suggest that Canadi…

Who Owns the North Pole - Part 24

The Obama administration, like the Bush one before it, has identified the Arctic as an area of key strategic interest. The U.S. military anticipates the Arctic will become "ice-free" for several summer weeks by 2030, possibly as early as 2013. The U.S. Arctic is melting quickly because of accelerated climate change. The prospect of newly thawed sea lanes and a freshly accessible, resource-rich seabed has nations jockeying for position. And government and military officials are concerned the United States is not moving quickly enough to protect American interests in this vulnerable and fast-changing region. The Arctic is believed to hold nearly a quarter of the world's untapped natural resources and a new passage could shave as much as 40 percent of the time it takes for commercial shippers to travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

"We're not doing OK," said Lt. Cmdr. Nahshon Almandmoss "We definitely don't have the infrastructure avai…

Who owns the North Pole - Human Flag-poles

Socialist Courier continues its North Pole saga by reporting moves highlighting the growing tensions among countries with Arctic borders as global warming makes rich mineral and energy deposits increasingly accessible and opens its ice-covered seas to shipping. Russia, Canada, the U.S., and Denmark all have claims before a U.N. commission to extend their undersea boundaries into ice-blocked areas

"Let me be clear, the number one priority of our northern strategy is the promotion and protection of Canadian sovereignty in the north," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper, calling it "non-negotiable."

Canada claims a large swath of the Arctic including the Northwest Passage, which could become an important shipping link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as climate change melts away the northern ice cap. It claims that the Northwest Passage is a domestic waterway.Russia continues to compete for the North Pole and the Northern Sea Route -- a passage that stretches from…

Who Owns the North Pole -Part 20

Some may wonder why Socialist Courier continues to report on the situation in the Arctic Circle . In fact , it is a good example of how a once pristine undeveloped region has grown in strategic and military importance when raw materials and natural resources become accessible to capitalist nation states. The capitalist rivalries are high-lighted in an unambiguous way .

Fresh tensions between Canada and Russia emerged Wednesday after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told a session of his Security Council that his country must be prepared to defend its claims to Arctic mineral riches. Medvedev predicted climate change will spark further conflicts as ice melts, exposing new areas for exploration."Other polar nations already have taken active steps to expand their scientific research as well as economic and even military presence in the Arctic," he told a session of the presidential Security Council.

"Regrettably, we have seen attempts to limit Russia's access to the exp…

who owns the north pole - part 18

The Northwest Passage should have a more Canadian name to assert Canada's claim over the Arctic waterway, says Yukon Liberal MP Larry Bagnell.Bagnell presented a motion in the House of Commons this week, calling on the government to rename the route the Canadian Northwest Passage or the Canadian Arctic Passage.A name change could make to clear to the rest of the world that the Northwest Passage is part of Canada, Bagnell said.
"We claim it to be part of our internal waters, which gives us a lot more authority and control over it," he told CBC News

The United States and Europe have claimed that the Northwest Passage is an international waterway, while Canada has held its position that it's an internal passage.

Who owns the North Pole - Part 16

Continuing our Arctic Saga

Canada is launching a series of military exercises in the Arctic far-north region of the country.The so-called sovereignty operation is designed to show a visible presence in the resource-rich area, amid competing claims among other nations.Asserting Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic has been a priority for Mr Harper's conservative government.

Operation Nanook will see the Canadian Armed Forces involved in sea, land and airforce operations in the country's eastern Arctic territory.

Once thought a barren region, a number of countries with competing claims have been carefully mapping the area around the North Pole, thought to be rich in minerals and natural resources.
Canada is also concerned by the melting of ice each year through the fabled Northwest Passage, blamed by scientists on global warming. The United States government has said that it does not recognise exclusive Canadian rights to the waterway, that could be a link between the Atlantic an…

Who owns the North Pole - part 15

Much news coverage of the Russians creating military units for a possible Arctic war as reported by Socialist Courier previously but of course they are not the only nations reinforcing their military might . We read of Canadian plans .

The First Battalion, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment is one of four reserve units from across the country designated to form the spine of a new Arctic force to be created over the next five years. Joining the 1RNBR will be the Voltigeurs de Quebec, Ontario's Grey and Simcoe Foresters, and Royal Winnipeg Rifles. To complement the creation of the unit, the military will continue with its plans to expand the Canadian Rangers, a group composed of First Nations and Inuit reservists. By 2012, those numbers are expected to reach 5,000 personnel. Should an incident occur in the Arctic, the soldiers would be available to respond.

Col. Greg MacCallum, commander of 37 Brigade Group , said the strategic significance of forming the new units is to exercise sover…

Who Owns the North Pole - Part 12

Committed to keeping our readers updated on the competition for the Arctic and North Pole regions that has become viable for economic exploitation due to global warming , Socialist Courier reads that a growing array of military leaders, Arctic experts and lawmakers say the United States is losing its ability to patrol Arctic waters . The Pentagon’s Pacific Command, Northern Command and Transportation Command strongly recommended in a letter that the Joint Chief of Staff endorse a push by the Coast Guard to increase the country’s ability to gain access to and control its Arctic waters. The letter from the three military commands to the Joint Chiefs last spring said reliable icebreakers were essential to controlling northern waters and to maintaining American research stations in Antarctica. But the Arctic was clearly the commands’ biggest concern, with the letter citing “climate change and increasing economic activity” as reasons for upgrading the icebreaker fleet.

Adm. Thad W. Allen, t…

Who owns the North Pole - Part 9

Reported by the BBC , in another sign of potential friction in the warming Arctic, Canada has warned that it will step up patrols of the North West Passage . Canada maintains the waterway that connects the Atlantic with the Pacific lies within its territorial waters and that it can bar transit there. The retreating ice, coupled with rising costs of petroleum, has set off maneuvering among nations bordering the Arctic as each attempts to extend claims to the continental shelf where oil might be found.

The Canadian Coast Guard is preparing to send one its research vessels, the Amundsen, through the North West Passage with about 40 scientists on board. Equipped with a remotely operated robot submarine and a sonar system, the ship will undertake a detailed survey of the sea-bed - essential if the waterway is to become more open to commercial shipping. Bush is pushing the Senate to ratify a long-spurned high seas treaty that has gained new relevance with the melting of the polar ice cap and…

Who owns the North Pole , Part 7

Not to be left out for this scramble for control of the Arctic regions , Danish researchers plan to set sail for the North Pole on Sunday to collect geological data, on a mission similar to the recent Russian one .

The month-long Danish expedition will study the Lomonosov Ridge. Russia believes the underwater feature is linked to its territory. Denmark , however , will investigate the ridge to see if it is geologically connected to Greenland which is a Danish territory.
The team plans to collect bathymetric, gravity and seismic data to map the seabed under the ice, according to a Danish science and technology ministry statement on the expedition.

"The preliminary investigations done so far are very promising," Denmark's minister of science, technology and innovation said "There are things suggesting that Denmark could be given the North Pole."

We will be collecting data for a possible (sovereignty) demand," expedition leader Marcussen said.

In Ottawa, the Danis…

Who Owns the North Pole , part 6

Further to our earlier post pointing out the Russian expansion into the Arctic Circle , we now offer an update on the Canadian competition .

Canada raised the stakes in the battle to claim ownership of the Arctic by sending Stephen Harper, prime minister, on a three-day trek to the region, just days after the Russians planted a flag on the seabed at the North Pole.

“Our government has an aggressive Arctic agenda,” Dimitri Soudas, Mr Harper’s spokesman, said on Wednesday.

“The Russians sent a submarine to drop a small flag at the bottom of the ocean. We’re sending our prime minister to reassert Canadian sovereignty,” said a senior government official, according to Canadian press.

The Northwest Passage, which is the main focus of the dispute, has become a sought-after territory thanks to global warming, which has begun to melt the ice in these waters, exposing a potentially vast haul of natural resources. Studies have estimated that the Arctic has as much as 25 per cent of the world’s undis…

Who Owns the North Pole Part 4

Socialist Courier is keenly following the story of which nation state will ultimately own or control the North Pole and have reported here , here and here about it . Time magazine has now shown an interest in the new developments that are following climate change and global warming in the Arctic Circle region .

Late last month, Moscow signaled its intentions to annex the entire North Pole, an area twice the size of France with Belgium and Switzerland thrown in — except all of it under water. The ice-frozen North Pole is currently a no man's land supervised by a U.N. Commission. The five Polar countries — Russia, the U.S., Canada, Norway and Denmark — each control only a 200-mile economic zone along their coasts. And none of these economic zones reach the North Pole. Under the current U.N. Maritime convention, one country's zone can be extended only if it can prove that the continental shelf into which it wishes to expand is a natural extension of its own territory, by showing t…

Who owns the North Pole part 3

We warned here and here that due to the global warming and the increased accessibility of the Arctic Ocean and thus to the natural resources in the region that a new rivalry for sovereignty has begun in the Arctic .

Canada has announced plans for six naval patrol vessels and deep-water port in the north to assert its claim to territorial waters in the Arctic , all at a cost of $3bn (£1.5bn) .

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the time has come to re-assert Canada's claim to the north to remind other countries - including the US - of Canada's claim to the waters off its northern coast.

The claim could also have serious economic implications. Natural resources including oil, gas and diamonds are thought to lurk - perhaps in abundance - under the Arctic ice. And then there is the North-West Passage - the northern shipping route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that European explorers sought for centuries. With a warming climate, the route may just become viable and lucr…