Monday, December 19, 2005

Canada Not Upholding Sovereignty

Some defense experts are concerned about Canada's lack of control of its northern territory, including critical sea lanes.

[A defense expert] warned that if Canada cannot keep watch on its vast northern territory, we could lose control over the Northwest Passage, a 5,000-kilometre sea route through the Canadian Arctic that climatologists say could be open to commercial vessels within the next 10 years as a result of global warming and the retreating northern ice pack.

"Our enforcement capability is embarrassing," [the expert] said. "[And] that sends a message to other countries that we aren't really serious about our sovereignty or about enforcing our laws in our own territory."

Canada's willingness to spend money on its military and national defense hasn't been particularly impressive over the past few decades, but has grown seriously alarming in recent years - down to 1.1% of GDP in 2001. The Canadians apparently are following the French "soft power" route.

The difficulty there for Americans is that Canada, unlike France, actually has some role to play in our continental defense arrangements. They are rapidly becoming a "soft underbelly" for the United States.

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