Thursday, September 21, 2006

Arctic Sovereignty Breached!

To all you guys that scoffed at the Canadian government wanting to buy icebreakers to patrol the north ... who's laughing now [CBC, Romanian takes long road to Toronto, via Grise Fiord]?

A 32-year-old Romanian man who arrived in the High Arctic community of Grise Fiord from Greenland by motorboat Monday has been arrested under the Immigration Act.

The man travelled up the west coast of Greenland, from Qaanaq to Sisimiut, and then crossed the icy waters of Davis Strait to Grise Fiord, said Nunavut RCMP Cpl. Randy Slawson.


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Anonymous said...

Is this sarcasm? If not I hardly see what some Romanian guy in a speedboat has to do with Canada's sovereignty.

Jim (Progressive Right) said...

If we had those three icebreakers, there'd be no Romanian guys in speedboats.

It was a poor attempt at humour, yes.

Anonymous said...

Note to RCMP: The Immigration Act was repealed in 2002.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

(I'm going to take a light-hearted post much too seriously here, so forgive me).

The arctic ice-breakers are silly, I agree, but not in and of themselves, but because there are much higher priorities we could spend that money on.

However, they're also not about this kind of "breach" of sovereignty. They're actually about patrolling the waters for unauthorized SHIPPING vessels polluting our waters everyday if the NorthWest passage should become a viable shipping option (with Global Warming, a more and more likely possibility). And also, though I'd be surprised (perhaps pleasantly so) to see us actually do this, to keep the military vessels of foreign navies out of our water (again, I don't think we're going to fire a shot over the bow of a U.S. nuclear sub, but I'm not entirely opposed to having the ability to do so, if there weren't a thousand more pressing equipment priorities for the military).

Now, an argument can be made that if the shipping lanes open up, we could just as easily use regular destroyers, frigates, etc... to patrol those arctic waters. But one does need ice-breakers, so in a future with a lot more traffic in the arctic, I do think there actually could be some logic to armed icebreakers, as opposed to new unarmed icebreakers, AND a re-deployment of parts of the traditional fleet to patrol an arctic shipping lane (or, better, to PREVENT an arctic shipping lane from developing).

Anyway, as I said, I agree that armed icebreakers are probably not nearly the best use of our money, but I do think they SOUND a whole lot sillier than they actually are. We need new ice-breakers. We very well could require an increased (armed) naval presence in arctic waters in the future if international traffic across (or international ATTEMPTS to cross) the NorthWest Passage become much more common place due to Global Warming. Combining the two needs in one with "armed icebreakers" sounds kinda silly today, but might not sound so crazy ten years from now. And I figure it probably takes around that long to get something like an armed icebreaker purchased and built.

In short, I think the armed ice-breakers are not a priority, and therefore bad policy. I don't think the concept itself is flawed though. They're not nearly as silly as they sound at first blush.

Jim (Progressive Right) said...


I think we all agree that if we don't support armed icebreakers, we are in fact appeasing the Romanian speedboat invaders.

[I took a serious comment, and made it light-hearted :) ).

Jim (Progressive Right) said...

That said, LKO, I do agree with your assessment.

I'm neither pro nor against the icebreaker solution. I do think the Northwest Passage belongs to Canada and we need to have some presence there to ensure it doesn't become international waters.

If icebreakers are the best solution, then I'm for it.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...