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CTV.ca | Harper confirms investment in Arctic patrol ships

It's cool that Harper actually wants to protect Canadian Sovereignty by patrolling the Arctic, which is becoming much talked about these days because of it's valuable resources, but why buy patrol boats that won't be able to patrol the largest part of the waters you want to patrol. These vesels should be armed icebreakers. And how can he claim the ones he's considering are more versatile when they can't do what icebreakers can. Icebreakers would be more versatile in my opinion.

They might find a few Russians squatters up there if they actually patrolled in the winter... lol.
 

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I was talking to someone from a law school and they suggested that, for Canada's legal argument (not strategic defense), being active in the area is somewhat meaningless and could, possibly, be used as evidence that the waters are internationally navigable channels. It was all quite grey, and it would be great if somebody on this board that had some expertise in the matter could chime in.
 

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I'm not sure I see the point of armed icebreakers unless you're going to engage tresspassers with force. What's likely instead is that we'll always seek a diplomatic solution.

So my vote would be for sophisticated human-free bot planes that can survey far more than a boat in any case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm not sure I see the point of armed icebreakers unless you're going to engage tresspassers with force. What's likely instead is that we'll always seek a diplomatic solution.

So my vote would be for sophisticated human-free bot planes that can survey far more than a boat in any case.
You have to remember these are Navy ships which patrol our waters. So they should have the ability to board other ships that they think may be doing illegal actions in our waters - smuggling, fishing illegally in our waters, illegal migration, pirating,etc... (or as you say engage tresspassers) so they have to look like they can actually defend themselves. If you're approached by an armed vessel, you're likely to be more impressed than if your approached by an unarmed fishing boat. Basically similar to the US Coast Guard and Navy's role in the US.

Yes, where it's a diplomatic situation like Danish claiming our one little Island, we'll probably follow diplomatic solutions, unless they were to forcibly settle there (then it's all out war, just kidding).
 

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why buy patrol boats that won't be able to patrol the largest part of the waters you want to patrol. These vesels should be armed icebreakers. And how can he claim the ones he's considering are more versatile when they can't do what icebreakers can. Icebreakers would be more versatile in my opinion.
Strange, as three military commanders on CTV news last night said these boats were perfect for the job.
 

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So Harper partially welched on a promise. Let's face it he's a politician. If he was honest he would be working for a living.:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Strange, as three military commanders on CTV news last night said these boats were perfect for the job.
The same military that said a gator was fine for carrying supplies between checkpoints in Afganistan and later took them out of service in Afganistan??? Besides, the Canadian military is glad to get any handouts they can from the government with the lack of equipment they have, so they just kiss Harper's ass when he actually gives them a few crumbs, whether they meet their requirements or not.

Meanwhile our 30 year old Coast Guard Icebreaker fleet waits to be replaced??? Sounds like the Sea-King helicopters.
 

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Arctic issues make for good politics

Harper's announcement to add 6 to 8 patrol ships is more about lobby interests than sovereignty

So it's good politics for the Prime Minister to wrap patriotism around another slippery campaign commitment and soaring military spending.

No, Canada isn't buying the three icebreakers Stephen Harper promised. Instead, up to eight smaller, more flexible patrol vessels will join the fleet for seasonal northern duty from a still-to-be-named new deepwater port. The new patrol ships to be built in Canada at a cost of $3.1 billion are expected to enter operation in 2013 or 2014.

What's best about Harper's announcement is that it's not as wonky as the original. What's worst is that it's more closely related to Conservative, shipbuilding and defence lobby interests than owning the great white north.

But don't be fooled: Harper's latest exercise in buying military hardware and votes is as much about half-keeping an election promise and solidifying core support as it is about defending Arctic sovereignty.
http://www.thestar.com/News/article/234195
ouch.....

Leyne column: Oil and gas behind the Arctic interest
Push for northern development puts west-coast tanker ban at risk
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimes...l?id=9ca09948-6da9-46ad-bf6e-87eb207e9e1e&p=2
not really surprising - mostly sad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Interesting point. Are we going to be another country starting a war over oi (in the Arctic).

Kosh said:
Meanwhile our 30 year old Coast Guard Icebreaker fleet waits to be replaced??? Sounds like the Sea-King helicopters.
Further to this, I can just see our old Coast Guard Icebreakers having to come to the rescue of these patrol boats or make the way for these patrol boats. Just you watch. They'll get stuck in the ice or worse yet, one of our Icebreakers will have to lead them... LOL
 

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What took you so long AS? I knew it wasn't going to be a Harper bashing thread until you weighed in.
Jumbo, I also wrote over a year ago that one of the Con promises that I liked was for icebreakers to protect the Canadian ownership in that area.

I also cautioned that we should not be opening up to commercial interest on a large scale.

Sadly, Harper fails Canada once again.
 

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As far as the Northwest Passage goes, the primary concern of the Americans is that that their military vessels can have access to it and that trade can flow smoothly as well. Another big concern for the US is the possiblity of terrorist or rogue groups using the passage as a means to enter North America and here is where we might be able to negotiate something with them to bring them onside.

If the Northwest Passage is an international waterway then international law applies and rogue groups using it would fall under less restrictive laws then they would if the domestic laws of a country were in force.

The only country that could possibly claim the Passage as a territorial waterway, thus bringing domestic law into force, is Canada. If the passage is ours then our criminal, anti-terror and immigration laws would be what would be applied to people using the Passage and these are far more robust than international law.

It would be in the best interest of the US to have Canadian law in the Passage rather than international law.

When Paul Cellucci was the US Ambassador to Canada, he encouraged the State Department to review their stance on the Passage and take into account what I have posted above.

What we need to do is sit down with the Americans and work out an arrangement that would allow for their military to have free and unrestricted access to the Passage and allow for reputable commericial shipping to use the passage as well. In exchange, the Passage would be considered Canadian territorial waters, which is what we want, and we would enforce Canadian criminal, anti-terror, environmental and immigration law to groups using the Passage, this provides the more robust legal framework that the Americans would like.

While these boats do not address the issue of territorial boundaries in the far north, they give Canada the ability to patrol the Northwest Passage during times when it would be used the most and give us credibility with the Americans when we claim we can police the Passage and enforce our laws there.
 

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Big Oil's New Northwest Passage - True North

CTV.ca | Harper confirms investment in Arctic patrol ships

It's cool that Harper actually wants to protect Canadian Sovereignty by patrolling the Arctic, which is becoming much talked about these days because of it's valuable resources, but why buy patrol boats that won't be able to patrol the largest part of the waters you want to patrol. These vesels should be armed icebreakers. And how can he claim the ones he's considering are more versatile when they can't do what icebreakers can. Icebreakers would be more versatile in my opinion.

They might find a few Russians squatters up there if they actually patrolled in the winter... lol.
It's not that its cool, Canada's Sovereignty is at stake!

This is actually a very serious issue and it wouldn't be a bad idea to let your local Representatives know!

July 10, 2007
Last week Shell announced it would send a fleet of ships into the Beaufort Sea to launch an oil drilling program. It is speculated that beneath the Beaufort Sea lie 8 billion barrels of oil and 30 trillion cubic feet of gas. The drilling is to take place 30 miles off the Alaskan coast, where despite protests from local communities the US Minerals Management Service OK'd the project. If Shell hits oil in commercially recoverable amounts, other companies are expected to follow. They include Repsol of Spain, Norsk Hydro of Norway and Conoco-Phillips of the US.

Malcolm Brinded, Shell's chief executive of exploration and production, last week told the Times OnLine (London), "There has been drilling there, there has been exploration there, but this is a return to make a new charge at it. Some people say that 25 per cent of the world's undiscovered hydrocarbons sit in the Arctic. I think that may be optimistic but if it's half right then it's worth exploring. It has the right ingredients to be a good energy play and the world needs some new energy plays."

Oil companies long have eyed the Arctic as an untapped source of oil and gas, but costly drilling and impossible physical and jurisdictional hurdles in transporting oil and gas down through Canada to the continental US.

The rapid melting of Arctic ice has introduced an entirely new factor into this play. To the north and East of the Beaufort Sea, the fabled Northwest Passage hits the North Pacific. At the eastern most end, it meets the North Atlantic, passing between Greenland and Iceland. For centuries this passage has been frozen over for all but a short time during the summer.

Now there is renewed speculation the passage will be open and navigable within a decade for big tankers and container ships. This ought to bring a boom in shipping because the passage cuts by one-third the distance from Europe to Asia. Commercial fishing boats will be able to get at vast schools of fish hitherto unreachable because of the ice. The world's stock of fish has long been predicted to decline due to over harvesting.

At the same time, it will open yet another wild frontier in the far, far north, with nations fighting each other over fishing boundaries along with environmentalists trying to save the poles from marine pollution, and pirates darting in and out of a maze of islands. Both Russia and Canada consider their northern sea routes as national territory, but the U.S. views them as international waterways.

But while the US desires the Northwest Passage to be an international ocean highway, in reality, the US Navy already is figuring out how to control the region lest terrorists use it to launch an attack Research points out that policing the area will be difficult because there are no good communications satellites in orbit that cover the North Pole.

The Canadians, who usually get down for Washington, this time are determined not to be ordered around by Bush or anybody else in Washington.

Stephen Harper, the new Canadian prime minister wants to deploy ice breakers to patrol and defend the country's arctic waters. David Wilkins, the American ambassador, made the Canadians mad when he said with the usual American arrogance, "There is no reason to create a problem that doesn't exist.''

To which Harper replied, "The United States defends its sovereignty and the Canadian government will defend our sovereignty. It is the Canadian people we get our mandate from, not the ambassador of the United States.''

In a Vancouver speech discussing the Northwest Passage, Michael Byers, an expert in international law at the University of British Columbia, warned of future dangers for Canada:

"Canadians should be alarmed. An international shipping route along Canada's third coast could facilitate the entry of drugs, guns, illegal immigrants and perhaps even terrorists into this country, as well as providing an alternative route for illicit shipments of weapons of mass destruction or missile components by rogue states. And any shipping involves the risk of accidents, particularly in remote and icy waters. An oil spill would cause catastrophic damage to fragile Arctic ecosystems; a cruise ship in distress would require an expensive and possibly dangerous rescue mission. Any new fishery will be highly susceptible to over-exploitation, particularly because of the difficult-to-police location, rapid declines in fish stocks elsewhere and the consequent, excess fishing capacity that now exists worldwide.''​

Canada is not in a good position to defend its interest in the Northwest Passage. It's ships are not built to get through the ice most of the year and have to be deployed out of the area in winter. Its aircraft are old, and it has no trained troops in the Arctic. Harper has said he will beef up the country's military presence with new icebreakers, a deepwater port, underwater sensors, and an Arctic trained airborne battalion.

Article By JAMES RIDGEWAY

================

Michael Byers's insight comes by way of his just-published book, "Intent for a Nation": A Relentlessly Optimistic Manifesto for Canada's Role in the World.
 

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When Paul Cellucci was the US Ambassador to Canada, he encouraged the State Department to review their stance on the Passage and take into account what I have posted above.
This thread is just over a month old but Cellucci was interviewed by CTV's Question Period today and restated his position:

The former U.S. ambassador to Canada says that before leaving his position in 2005, he told his officials in the State Department that Washington should re-examine its territorial claims to the main Arctic waterway.
"I think in the age of terror, it's in our security interest for the Northwest Passage to be part of Canada," Cellucci told co-host Jane Taber.

"That would enable the Canadian Navy to intercept vessels in the Northwest Passage, and make sure they're not trying to bring weapons of mass destruction into North America."
Hopefully, it is helpful that he has restated this just one day before Harper and Bush are due to have a security meeting in Quebec.
 

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I'm not sure I see the point of armed icebreakers unless you're going to engage tresspassers with force. What's likely instead is that we'll always seek a diplomatic solution.

So my vote would be for sophisticated human-free bot planes that can survey far more than a boat in any case.
I agree that we'll almost always seek diplomatic solutions, although I do have to wonder what's the point about claiming sovereignty if you completely lack the tools to back up your claims with force? Those parties who are not fazed by the polite entreaties of diplomacy will run roughshod over such efforts (the possibility of bad publicity regardless) and go right ahead with their original intentions. Robot planes may give us a quick heads-up that our territorial waters are being breached but unless we have a navy that can quickly and effectively react to a variety of threats from interloper nations eager to test our resolve, we're sitting ducks.

The Arctic waters are definitely heating up, in more ways than one.
 

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perhaps canada could claim to need military aid to prevent terrorists from using the NW passage to attack Canada and our valuable oil and natural gas reserves which the U.S. seems to deem important for now

i wonder how many billions in aid we could get for protecting interests vital to the U.S.?

imagine never having to dish out our own money again for military hardware...
 

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Interesting scenario... although I think it more likely that the Americans would attempt to strong-arm us into agreeing into some kind of continental security pact, in which case we'd be footing a big security bill of our own, and as usual they'd augment our measures with some of their own personnel and equipment.

This kind of "fortress America" vision is not all that new and it does pop up every now and then. I should think Harper and co. would find at least some of it very attractive. Kind of makes me squirm personally but hey - we're the mouse and they're the elephant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I don't think terrorism is the worry of the various governments (except maybe part of the US's worry). I think the main worry is the resources up there. Heck, we've got diamond mines in the North West Territories. There could be more diamond deposits further north. And of course there are the oil and gas resources and probably other minerals.

However's idea of non-manned monitoring (bot planes, radar stations, under-water listening stations) is a good idea, but you'd probably want some human patrolling ever so often. Good relations with the citizens up there is a good idea as well as showing we can be in the area, if need be. I'm sure a reasonable frequency for each (non-human/human patrolling) could be established.
 
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