Canadian prime minister restakes claims to the Arctic


Ottawa/New York : Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has restaked his country’s claims to the resource-rich Arctic region by going on an “Arctic sovereignty tour”.

Support TwoCircles

Harper started the three-day tour with the announcement of an expansion of a nature reserve in Canada’s far north, one of the remotest regions on the planet.

The announcement means that the Nahanni National Park in the North-West Territories would cover 28,000 sq. km in the future.

“Today’s announcement will ensure that more of this precious land, and the unique wildlife populations it sustains, will be protected for future generations,” Harper said in the town of Fort Simpson.

Harper’s move follows Russian claims to the Arctic last week when a research submersible planted a Russian flag on the floor of the Arctic Ocean.

Russia has announced plans for a second polar expedition before the end of the year.

Canadians have always considered themselves the “rightful guardians of the north”, as expressed by the then foreign minister Joe Clark in 1985.

To underpin Canada’s sovereignty in the North Pole, Harper has announced the construction of the first Arctic port on the north side of Baffin Island.

The port would be exposed to tidal differentials of 5 metres, but would be free of ice from July to the end of September, the Toronto Star reported.

Canada is currently holding military exercises on the south of the island with some 600 troops and policemen.