Ottawa, Dec 11 (): Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister said his government has filed an application to UN seeking to vastly expand its Atlantic sea boundary and has indicated in the file its intentions to ultimately claim Arctic waters and the North Pole.
A claim was submitted by the Canadian government to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf on Friday, after a decade of measuring the country’s eastern and far North Sea beds and gathering supporting evidence. The government said the material submitted for the Arctic Ocean is only preliminary.
John Baird, Foreign Affairs Minister said the filing chiefly concerns the outer limits of Canada’s continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean. In order to be successful, Canada must show that its continental shelf spreads beneath the North Pole. Baird said federal scientists have been told to do additional work following a 10-year exercise in mapping the continental shelf.
Baird said the international legal appreciation “will be vital to the future development of Canada’s offshore resources.” Canada has made several aerial and ship-borne mapping of the Arctic seabed for years to support their claims and they will be conducting more mapping and research to support this.
The claim of Canada’s Atlantic Ocean stretches from the shores of its easternmost Nova Scotia province, northward along the Grand Banks to the northern tip of Labrador 7,700 kilometres away. The claims cover 1.2 million square kilometres of ocean, a size the region of Alberta and Saskatchewan combined.
The submissions at the U.N. do not lead to a compulsory decision but lay the preliminary work for future country-to-country discussions over competing territorial claims in the Arctic that could take years to resolve. The UN is scheduled to study Canada’s partial submission next July.
Declaring sovereignty over an extensive Arctic archipelago and surrounding waters has been a key plan of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Tories in the past three elections since 2006.