Northern Exposure

Posted on Sunday, January 08 at 11:47 by Anonymous
The need for regulation is considerable. The Northwest Passage offers a shipping route between Asia and the East Coast of North America that is 7,000 kilometres shorter than the route through the Panama Canal. International shipping companies are eyeing the fuel, time and canal-passage fees that could be saved; some are already building ice-strengthened vessels. Yet 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. An international shipping route along Canada's third coast could also facilitate the entry of drugs, guns, illegal immigrants and perhaps even terrorists, as well as providing an alternative route for illicit shipments of weapons of mass destruction or missile components. Ideally, these challenges would be addressed by applying the full range of Canada's own environmental, immigration, customs and criminal laws. Sovereignty over the Northwest Passage is about much more than nationalism; it's about protecting people and the environment from serious potential harm. [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on January 9, 2006]

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