340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Will wonders never cease?

Well, spank my ass and call me Shirley: Stephen "the Right is in" Harper and I agree on something:

The newly elected Tory government has promised to significantly boost military spending and plans to build three troop-carrying military ice-breakers, and install a remote sensing network in the high Arctic in order to detect foreign ships and submarines travelling through the region.

The $5.3-billion Arctic sovereignty plan also includes stepped-up aerial surveillance, building a deep-water port in Iqaluit, and installing a permanent military training centre at the Northwest Passage.

The complete Toronto Star article may be found here, though it covers a lot of ground and isn't limited to a discussion of the Arctic-sovereignty issue.

While I doubt the Tories will engage in the necessary consultations with aboriginal communities or pay enough attention to the environmental impact of their ambitious plans for flag-planting in the North, I am happy to see that they're finally going to do something. Forget Hans Island; seriously, who gives a shit if the Danes want to piss on a hydrant up there? I understand the symbolic value of the Danish move, but there are American icebreakers routinely trespassing in our waters. Hello, priorities?

Given the growing scarcity of potable water and the ever-more-plausible scenario of viable shipping lanes opening in the Arctic circle, it's imperative that the Canadian government assert its claims in the region. Hopefully, the Conservatives will be pressured by the opposition parties to include local aboriginal communities in its plans. The project would benefit immensely from their involvement, not only in terms of native experience and expertise, but also from a moral and ethical perspective: sidelining the First Nations would destroy the project's credibility entirely.


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