Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Sovereign Canada?

For a nation to be sovereign it has to defend its borders. Canada is a very large country, but it hasn't been protecting its vast northern territory. The US announced that one of our submarines went to the North Pole from Alaska then traveled east to the Atlantic Coast. The most likely route would go through waters Canada considers to be their territory, though the channels are so wide that other nations consider them to be international waters. Covered by the National Post - Map But, more importantly, Canada doesn't know where and when the USS Charlotte went. Canada does not patrol the northern area. You would think that they have some listening posts or something. I suppose they would keep quiet about it. But I see that Canada has cut their military so much that they don't have much. I don't recall where I saw it, but Canada has cut its military spending by 25% and its personnel by 25% as well. And the article quotes the past commander of Canadian armed forces for the north that there are seldom any patrols up there. I know one thing they are doing instead. On our early November trip to the Caribbean we saw a Canadian Navy ship at port in Nassau, Bahamas.
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."
There is a brief mention at PeakTalk. And Red Tory doesn't think there is anything Canada should want to defend. But Canada has defended one tiny island. Hans Island is more than 80 degrees north in the channel between Canda's Ellesmere Island and Greenland. Last July Canada's defense minister traveled there to renew Canada's claim to it in a dispute with Denmark. Denmark protests that the two countries have agreed to disagree over the island - to work it out later. Why they defend one little island while they do nothing to vast stretches baffles me. If you don't protect it you should expect to lose it.