Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Empty Promises

It's gratifying to see the Canadian media notice that Harper's boasts and promises for the last five years about what all that he'll do for Canada's North are just that. From today's Globe and Mail on Stephen's annual northern photo-op: Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed Tuesday that Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, will host a new High Arctic Research Station.

The announcement represents incremental progress in a project that has already been studied for three years, and that still has five years of design work ahead before construction actually begins.

More importantly the purchase three armed naval ice-breakers are no longer on Stephen Harper's to do list, having been replaced with six to eight ice-breaking patrol ships, which will not be nearly as effective at breaking ice for commercial vessels, helping to re-supply northern communities, assist in search and rescue efforts, and support in scientific research. Not to mention helping to establish a genuine and indisputable year-round presence -- the smaller patrol ships can only break through a metre or so of ice and so have been dubbed "slush-breakers."

Make no mistake about it there are a myriad of issues (PDF) to be settled in the Arctic and Canada is now effectively in competition for the North, its riches and control over the Northwest Passage. Empty rhetoric and Stephen's promiseswill not sway the tough-minded Russians or our allies the Americans.

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