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 Asia to Europe across northern Russia.
Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, has wrapped up his participation in Operation NANOOK 10, the centrepiece of three major sovereignty operations conducted every year by the Canadian Forces (CF) in Canada's North explaining that "Exercising Canada's Arctic sovereignty is a key element of the Canada First Defence Strategy, and operations such as NANOOK enable the Canadian Forces and our whole-of-government partners to better deal with challenges in the North. Operation NANOOK 10 enhances the Canadian Forces' interoperability with other government departments and agencies and builds our collective capacity to respond, in a timely and effective manner, to safety and security threats or emergencies."
Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon told reporters Canada's claim to be an Arctic power is based on its having historically had people living in the Far North, as well as its more recent economic development, environmental efforts and military patrols.
Between 1953 and 1956, 87 Inuit members of 19 families were plucked from homes and familiar lives around Inukjuak, on the northeast shore of Hudson Bay, and plunked down 2,000 km farther north, in empty places now known as Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord. Behind some official nonsense spouted at the time in praise of hardy self-reliance lurked Ottawa's real motive: demonstrating Arctic sovereignty by populating the terrain.“The Government of Canada recognizes that these communities have contributed to a strong Canadian presence in the High Arctic,” Federal Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan said
These people were forced to move from a land where they lived off game such as caribou, and were dumped unceremoniously in an area without housing and any kind of food supply where there was so little food that some of them died, and where they had to make it through the winters in igloos and muskox-hide tents. The Inuit knew little of the land where they were resettled. They had to adapt to the constant darkness of the winter months and temperatures 20 degrees colder than the community they left. Nor were they aware that they would be separated into two communities once they arrived in the High Arctic
Duncan delivered an official apology. Those words were empty, as all such apologies are. Saying "we're sorry" on behalf of people now dead to people who are no longer around to hear, amounts to no more than sanctimonious and politically-correct cant. Nothing will undo the psychological trauma done to those people and the ripple effect it has had down the years through their descendants
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