Arctic sovereignty, a Canadian oxymoron
The only reason we don't hear about this sort of thing more often is that most of the time the subs don't bother to advertise their presence up north. Sorta defeats the whole 'silent service' theme they got goin' on.
A U.S. nuclear submarine cruised through the Arctic Ocean last month -- probably passing through Canadian territorial waters -- but the federal government is refusing to say whether it gave permission for the voyage.
However, experts say it is highly unlikely Canada was even notified of the USS Charlotte's northern tour, which included a Nov. 10 stop at the North Pole, because it has no way of tracking what goes on beneath the Arctic ice.
And that could threaten Canada's claim to hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of the North, including the Northwest Passage route across the Arctic, said Michael Byers, who holds the Canada research chair in global politics and international law at the University of British Columbia.
"This is very important -- it's crucial," he said. "Any unauthorized passage could have a serious effect on our claim."
Prof. Byers said potentially lucrative oil and gas resources off the Queen Elizabeth Islands could slip out of Canadian control if foreign navies are operating in the Arctic without our permission. "The fact of the matter is that we've spent nothing on Arctic sovereignty over the past 20 years." (Babbler's bold)
Shame on the Chretienites, many of whom remain part of the Martin thugocracy. Shame on Mulroney's Tories, most of which, mercifully, have been expunged from the Canadian political scene. Shame on Trudeau and his crowd who pushed the Canadian military off the cliff in the first place.
There is no glory for any politician who has touched the defence file in the past two decades. Some have been better than others, but none have done the job.
Oh, and shame on all of us who let them do it. Let's not overlook our own culpability in all this. If we don't care enough to make our government take care of our territory, we deserve the natural consequences of our apathy and complacency.
How bad is the situation? Are those of us concerned over Arctic sovereignty exaggerating the problem? Listen to a man who commanded our troops up north only a few short years ago:
Pierre Leblanc, a retired colonel and former commander of the Canadian Forces' northern command, said foreign submarines have been travelling through the Canadian Arctic for decades, but the federal government usually finds out about it only by accident.
Col. Leblanc said Canada is not even spending the bare minimum on northern sovereignty. While he was military commander in the North, he said even the handful of flights over the vast Arctic territory claimed by Canada were cut sharply.
"The number of planned observation flights in 2000 was zero. In '99, there were two," he said. "And this is for an area the size of Europe."
"We don't have any idea what's going on up there." (Babbler's bold once again)
We're all hat, no cattle when it comes to the Arctic, folks. Accept it. Deal with it.
Or take some responsibility and demand your elected representatives change it.