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Towards a Canadian Arctic International Strategy. John J. Noble. Reflections on Past. First Met Franklyn Griffiths when he was Joe Clark’s Arctic Advisor in DFAIT in mid 1980’s.

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reflections on past
Reflections on Past
  • First Met Franklyn Griffiths when he was Joe Clark’s Arctic Advisor in DFAIT in mid 1980’s.
  • Response to 1985 “Polar Sea” transit: 1)proclamation of straight baselines; 2)willingness to have IJC rule on Canada’s actions if challenged (change from AWPPA);

3) Commitment to build Polar 8 icebreaker (world’s largest flagpole), subsequently victim of budget cuts along with nuclear subs.

4)Willingness to work with U.S. to resolve issue.

1988 arctic cooperation agreement
1988 Arctic Cooperation Agreement
  • Resulted from tenacity of Mulroney and unscripted comment from Reagan in 1986: “let’s put sovereignty aside, we won’t do anything up there without your permission”.
  • Took two years to work through US system, especially U.S. Navy.
  • Agreement laid basis for Canada-US co-operation in Arctic waters without prejudice to respective legal positions.
1987 agreement to conserve porcupine caribou herd
1987 Agreement to Conserve Porcupine Caribou Herd
  • Aboriginal representatives from CYI (now CYFNs), NWT Métis and Inuit were on Canadian delegation, fully involved in preparation of Canadian position, the negotiations, and they were given ultimate decision as to whether the negotiated text was acceptable or not.
  • Similar procedures regarding development of Canada’s position on drilling in ANWR.
importance of buy in
Importance of Buy-In
  • Gwich’in and other CYFN leaders and successive Canadian governments have fought against drilling in ANWR.
  • Key was to find allies in US Congress and U.S. lobby groups.
  • One of key challenges for successful Northern Strategy in Canada is to get buy in from Southern Canadians on basis of mutual benefits stressed by Ed Shultz.
  • Climate change is not just a northern issue.
  • Harper Government has abdicated its “made in Canada” climate change policy to follow US lead.
griffith s paper
Griffith’s Paper
  • Extremely ambitious paper and dares to go into areas which are not directly related to the Arctic.
  • 3 objectives: elevation (to PM level), engagement with U.S. and then Russia; and invigoration of regional governance (Arctic Council).
  • 31 pages with 27 recommendations.
  • Many ideas need to be explored in great detail.
pmo pco inac dfait
  • Political leadership is key but PMO is not place to assign development and delivery of Arctic policy.
  • Martin Government created several new units in PCO with operational responsibilities (Canada-U.S Secretariat, etc) which were dismantled and sent back to their home departments by Harper Government.
  • Creation of Secretary of State for the Arctic yes, but no remit to deal with security issues like missile defence, weaponization of space or ASAT.
getting russians on board
Getting Russians on Board
  • Agreement on Basic Principles of Arctic International Relations sounds like relic from Cold War.
  • U.S. will not want to engage its global security interests in Arctic forum and will want to deal with Russians bilaterally (and vice versa) without Canada.
  • Why mix CSCE with Arctic?
enlarging the arctic council
Enlarging the Arctic Council
  • What is in it for Canada?
  • Why would observer members pay into fund to benefit citizens of OECD countries (except Russia)?
  • Right to stress what appears to be new interest by Foreign Minister Cannon in Arctic Council. Two Territorial Premiers and a Deputy Premier went with him to most recent meeting in Tromso, Norway.
canadian international centre for the arctic region in oslo
Canadian International Centre for the Arctic Region in Oslo
  • “Through our robust Arctic foreign policy we are affirming our leadership, stewardship and ownership in the region.”
  • “This further demonstrates that the Government of Canada is committed and serious about taking a leadership role on Arctic issues. The Centre will enhance Canada’s ability to promote Canadian interests, influence key partners and better understand emerging issues.” (DFAIT Press release April 29, 2009)
the arctic vacuum in canada s foreign policy
The Arctic Vacuum in Canada’s Foreign Policy
  • Conference co-chair Tony Penikett and Terry Fenge in April 2009 Policy Options:

“the northern foreign policy vacuum suggests that Canada is neither fully prepared or well equipped to influence and shape international debate on the future of the region”.

“Focus political attention on region through a ministry of state for circumpolar affairs within DFAIT.”

part of the solution
Part of the Solution
  • To bring Arctic issues to the heart of foreign policy formation requires political interest and leadership in Ottawa;
  • Clear, ambitious and defined policy objectives; vibrant, knowledgeable and independent advisory institutions; relationships between federal agencies that enable “whole of government” approaches to policy debate and implementation.
  • Important to include northern Canadians in the northern Canadian foreign policy.
do we need a new arctic treaty
Do We Need a New Arctic Treaty?
  • UNCLOS provides treaty framework for dealing with oceans, including “Arctic exemption”, seabed extension etc. Arctic 5 pledge to respect it.
  • IMO is appropriate organization to deal with Arctic shipping regulations and standards (Bancroft’s presentation).
  • Copenhagen and follow-on to Kyoto is appropriate forum for climate change.
  • Other issues best resolved bilaterally.