Speaking at a news conference, the PM-elect touched on a few things that will affect me and my fellow Canadians, in spite of a slim-minority government. One of the more nagging points faced by all politicians is one about Actic sovereignty and who lays claim to these waters.
Correct me if I'm wrong: Canada has traditionally maintained a 12-mile territorial claim around it's coast, and a 200-mile economic interest zone on top of that. The Northwest Passage weaves through our Arctic islands, and as these waters become more available, more ships and other interested parties will try to exploit it.
Ambassador Wilkins claims that these waters are neutral, but if that were to be true, then to whom do these islands belong, eh?
Wouldn't that fact compromise our sovereignty and our security? Being in neutral waters would bring the potential for abuse and mayhem, not to mention potential ecological complications, right?
Here's what Steve-O said about the issue:
(in French): If I can comment yesterday on some comments from the U.S. ambassador about our plans for the sovereignty of our Arctic. I am clear, our party was clear during electoral campaign. The United States defends its sovereignty. It's the intention of our government to defend our sovereignty. We have plans for National Defence. We have a mandate from the Canadian people and I hope, the House of Commons, and it's our intention to follow that mandate. We're getting our mandate from the Canadian population and not from the ambassador of the United States.Well... it's a good start.
(in English): And I will say the same thing in English which, as I say, I noticed yesterday in the papers comments by the Ambassador the United States on Arctic sovereignty. As you know, I was very clear about this in the election campaign. The United States defends its sovereignty. The Canadian government will defend our sovereignty. I've been very clear in the campaign that we have significant plans for National Defence and for defence of our sovereignty including Arctic sovereignty. We believe we have a mandate for those from the Canadian people and we hope to have it as well from the House of Commons but it is the Canadian people we get our mandate from, not the Ambassador of the United States. (emphasis mine) Thank you.
Maybe a nice little toll system can solve the problem - ships that pay up and follow the rules can transit these waters - a bit like the St. Lawrence Seaway, but a little more expensive - and we can pay off the debt and fund for better medicare and daycare.
But for now, we own these waters.
Got a problem? See you in court.
|AGWN/Steve Janke, KerPlonka|