Copyright © Graeme MacKay. Please check for MacKay's posting and publication rules by clicking here.
Friday January 27, 2006
Stephen Harper, elected Monday as prime minister,
warned the United States on Thursday to back off
from its challenge of Canadian sovereignty in Arctic
waters that are fast thawing from global warming.

In the first news conference since his election,
Harper upbraided the U.S. ambassador for
asserting that the icy polar regions, including the
legendary Northwest Passage, are international

Canada claims that its archipelago of some 16,000
islands makes that region Canadian territory.

"The United States defends its sovereignty. The
Canadian government will defend our sovereignty,"
Harper said. "It's the Canadian people we get our
mandate from, not the ambassador of the United

The two countries -- as well as Russia -- have had
conflicting claims in the Arctic for at least three
decades. Harper's Conservative Party has proposed
expanding Canada's military presence, building new
icebreakers and creating an early warning system to
detect other ships, all to enforce its claim of
Harper Tells U.S. to Drop Arctic Claim
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