Fed Govt Has A 1-Dimensional Approach To Developing North

Posted on Thursday, September 27 at 09:04 by N Say
In the party's new Arctic policy, released Wednesday in Ottawa, the NDP says Canada can realize its control over the Northwest Passage using civilian agencies such as the Coast Guard and through diplomatic channels.

"If the Coast Guard is good enough to patrol and enforce Canadian law on the east and west coasts of Canada, the Coast Guard can play this role in the High Arctic as well," Dennis Bevington, MP for the Western Arctic, told The Canadian Press.

NDP Leader Jack Layton toured the Arctic this summer and stopped in communities from Yellowknife to Pangnirtung. His visit came shortly after Prime Minister Stephen Harper's trip, during which he announced the location of a new military deep-water port and winter warfare school.

Harper has also announced the purchase of new Arctic patrol vessels.


"The prime minister said, 'Use it or lose it,"' said Bevington. "I think that's completely wrong. We need to sustain the North or lose it."

Instead of the $7-billion program to build up to eight military patrol vessels, the government would do better to spend the money updating the Coast Guard's icebreaker fleet, he said. The vessels could then be depended upon to monitor and police Arctic waters.

He said Canada should also increase its diplomatic efforts in the United States and work with those who are onside over the Northwest Passage, such as former ambassador Paul Celluci.

"To simply say that the military's the way to do it is wrong-headed."


The government should focus far more energy on infrastructure that would allow northerners to develop a sustainable and self-sufficient economy, the New Democrats say. That includes an all-weather highway up the Mackenzie Valley in the Northwest Territories and small-craft harbours for communities in Nunavut.


[No problem with the permanent military presence up there but there are still other things that can be done. -- NSay] [Proofreader’s note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on September 27, 2007]

Contributed By


Article Rating

 (0 votes) 


You need to be a member and be logged into the site, to comment on stories.

Latest Editorials

more articles »

Your Voice

To post to the site, just sign up for a free membership/user account and then hit submit. Posts in English or French are welcome. You can email any other suggestions or comments on site content to the site editor. (Please note that Vive le Canada does not necessarily endorse the opinions or comments posted on the site.)

canadian bloggers | canadian news