On Monday, in one of his last acts as U.S. president, George W. Bush released a 10-page Arctic policy spelling out American priorities. Bush said his country’s presence in the North should grow. He repeated American claims that the Northwest Passage is an international waterway and emphasized the need for his country to have access to the region’s untapped energy resources.
Last November, the European Union released its own discussion paper in which it said that rules for shipping, fishing and drilling in the North should be established by international agencies, not just the states with Arctic coastlines.
But on Tuesday Cannon said Canada’s claims to the Arctic continue to be widely recognized internationally…
The Conservatives have promised civilian projects such as a state-of-the-art icebreaker and a commercial harbour in the Nunavut community of Pangnirtung. Those developments – as well as the military spending – have yet to materialize.
Cannon said Canada’s plans and positions are clear enough to its partners without having to produce a policy paper. “I don’t think it’s a question of releasing documents,” said Cannon. “The prime minister has stated clearly our intentions in the Arctic. We want to be able to make the Arctic our masterpiece in foreign policy.”
But that’s good enough for some people. Namely, Northwest Territories Premier Floyd Roland.
… Roland still wants a concrete plan. “I would hope they’re ready to release something soon. There are resources at stake there and we know that internationally they’re looking to divide up the Arctic seabed and we need to have our policy or program in place.”
A plan? And a concrete one at that? Clearly, Mr. Roland—not to mention President Bush and much of the European continent—underappreciates the power of our Prime Minister’s voice and has much to learn about the paperless business of modern governance as freshly reimagined by our current administration.