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Page added on June 28, 2009

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Canada is

Downplaying Russia’s recent “jockeying” for position in the emerging polar oil rush, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon has declared Canada an “Arctic superpower” that will be guided by science, international law and “world-leading Canadian technology” in securing its claim to resource riches in the North.

Mr. Cannon, who made a global media splash earlier this year by saying Canada “will not be bullied” by Russia over contentious undersea territory near the North Pole, told Canwest News Service in an exclusive interview on federal Arctic strategy that the Conservative government is “quite confident” about obtaining — under the terms of a UN treaty — vast new stretches of polar seabed beyond the country’s 370-km offshore economic zone.

Melting sea ice is promising to unlock Arctic shipping routes just as world demand for new sources of oil and gas is poised to spike. Despite concerns about the effects of climate change in the fragile Arctic environment, northern nations are all taking stock of the potential polar energy bonanza.

“The area which seems to be potentially of some contestation between ourselves [and] the Russians is the Lomonsov Ridge,” said Mr. Cannon, referring to a disputed underwater mountain range that runs past the North Pole between Siberia and Canada’s Ellesmere Island.

Resolving such tensions peacefully is a vital precursor, he said, to Canada taking full advantage of the economic opportunities that await beyond the Arctic Circle.

National Post



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