Arctic policy for Canada's tomorrow: A review essay

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					REVIEWS


Helga Haftendorn


Arctic policy for
Canada’s tomorrow
A review essay



As a result of climate change, a new region is opening up. The melting of the
polar ice in the Arctic, however slow it may be, unlocks huge reserves of
minerals and hydrocarbons, makes new coastal passages navigable, and
changes northerners’ way of life. At the same time, the risks of intrusion, of
pollution, and of environmental deterioration grow. No wonder that these
developments have spurred a lively debate in every Arctic country, especially
in Canada, which has an extensive frontier on the Arctic Ocean and large
land holdings in the polar region. Diverging interests and competing claims
in the Arctic could potentially lead to regional conflicts.
     Three well-known Canadian experts on the north—Franklyn Griffiths of
the University of Toronto, Rob Huebert from Calgary, and F. Whitney
Lackenbauer from Waterloo—have written a series of well-thought-through
papers on the future of the Arctic.1 They want to start Canadians on their way


Helga Haftendorn is professor emeritus of political science and international relations at the
Free University of Berlin.
1 Franklyn Griffiths, “Towards a Canadian Arctic strategy,” Foreign Policy for Canada’s
Tomorrow no. 1, Canadian International Council, June 2009; Rob Huebert, “Canadian
Arctic sovereignty and security in a transforming circumpolar world,” Foreign policy for
Canada’s Tomorrow no. 3, Canadian International Council, July 2009; F. Whitney
Lackenbauer, “From polar race to polar saga: An integrated strategy for Canada and the
circumpolar world,” Foreign policy for Canada’s Tomorrow no. 4, Canadian
International Council, July 2009.


                                           | International Journal | Autumn 2009 | 1139 |
| Reviews |



to discussing and designing an adequate Arctic strategy. The terminology of
all three contributions, however, is slightly confusing, at least to a foreigner.
The authors use the term “Arctic” alternatively for the Canadian north—the
country’s polar region stretching north of the Arctic Circle (660 30’), the
territory north of the 100 C isotherm in July—and the lands beyond the tree
line.2 In this piece, “Arctic” will connote the larger, circumpolar region, and
“north” the Canadian north. In a similar
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Three well-known Canadian experts on the north - Franklyn Griffiths of the University of Toronto, Rob Huebert from Calgary, and F. Whitney Lackenbauer from Waterloo - have written a series of well-thought- through papers on the future ofthe Arctic.1 They want to start Canadians on their way to discussing and designing an adequate Arctic strategy. The terminology of all three contributions, however, is slightly confusing, at least to a foreigner. The authors use the term "Arctic" alternatively for the Canadian north - the country's polar region stretching north of the Arctic Circle (66 30'), the territory north of the 10 C isotherm in July - and the lands beyond the tree line.2 In this piece, "Arctic" will connote the larger, circumpolar region, and "north" the Canadian north. In a similar mode, the terms are applicable to the Norwegian or the Russian north.According to Griffiths, building an ever-denser web of cooperation among the Arctic states will strengthen circumpolar stewardship. Currently, the Arctic Council is but the nucleus of an Arctic regime. Though all eight Arctic states are members, it lacks resolve and funds, and some members are more interested in circumscribing its mandate than strengthening it. He thus wants to see the council invigorated, with a strengthened ability to coordinate and support regional and sub-regional stewardship projects among the Arctic states as well as between them and non- Arctic countries and institutions. In order to move the council in this direction, he assumes that the polar states will be increasingly aware of Arctic problems as a result of climate change and sharper demands for environmental protection. The council should be invigorated further through the creation of an Arctic fund. It would also profit by enlarging its membership in a system of concentric circles, expanding beyond its current eight Arctic states and permanent (aboriginal) participants to include a third tier of capable states as consultative parties
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