Monday, January 26, 2009

Remember the Northwest Passage?

Bet you think I am going to don that minstrel hat again.

Remember all the hoopla about Arctic Sovereignty, the True North Strong and Free and all that stuff? Well maybe we had best file 13 that. Seems there is rumor circulating;

" The tender call for the 12 mid-shore Arctic patrol ships Mr. Harper promised has been canceled, and a promised icebreaker will not be brought into service until 2017."

I picked up this ditty over at Big City Libs blog but I can't find any mention of it in the MSM.

Maybe they will build 12 Igloos and send some undesirable Mounties instead.


  1. If that wasn't bad enough you should read the link to the Hill Times.

    "Despite the fact George W. Bush has vacated the West Wing, he has left behind an assertive new national Arctic policy.

    In the latest episode of a diplomatic dance that moves at a glacial pace, the outgoing Mr. Bush issued a legacy directive which, among other things, directs U.S. forces to operate in Canada's northern archipelago.

    America's new Arctic policy was articulated in a National Security Presidential Directive signed on Jan. 9 by then-president Bush. It supersedes Presidential Decision Directive 94, which was signed off in 1994 by then-president Bill Clinton but never released to the public.

    The 10-page Bush directive states: "The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region." Among these interests are missile defence and early warning, the deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime security operations, and ensuring freedom of navigation.

    Also, for the first time in a publicly-released American policy document, this directive states in black and white America's view that the Northwest Passage is free to ships of all flags."

    To me this is way worse then Harper's broken promise of ships that won't be built until 2017. So much for our Canadian Arctic Sovereignty.

  2. What can we do beat them up?

    I always thought Dion had the right way of thinking about the passage.

    Charge user fees.

  3. There are three factors that determine defence policy:

    1. the threat
    2. defence requirements resulting from this threat, and
    3. the affordability of these requirements.

    Harper now shares the experience of his predecessors: given economic hard times and the absence of an overriding threat, affordability becomes the key determinant. The military can manipulate the threat all it wants to (as in the Cold War, or War on Terror), but the government has to make hard decisions on what the country can afford.

    As a result, the military "Cargo-cult" worship of the Harper Government mercifully will end. Then, perhaps we can get around to considering actual threats and actual requirements. If American designs on "our" Arctic are "the" threat, the Government and the CF will have to get together and decide on how we can and should deal with it.

    The Government will have to decide how it can make "our" Arctic ours. The obvious answer is to increase our footprint and activity north of 70. This will involve civilian departments as well as DND. Showtime for Cabinet: decide on the Arctic threat, how it relates to other threats, how it can be met, how much money is available to meet it, how to split this among the departments involved, then tell them to get on with it.

    A shooting war against the USA, or even potshots against the US Navy, probably is off the table, so diplomacy will have to continue using all means short of war. Whether it's Arctic patrol vessels, Coast Guard icebreakers, drones or Canadian Ranger igloos will have to be decided. Thanks to the economic crunch, the decision will have to be made on the grounds of necessity, not what our Navy, Army or Air Force would like, feel entitled to this time around, or can sell Cabinet.

    Look at the bright side: it's not a bad thing to make such decisions on rational grounds, rather than wishes, rivalries or regional economic needs.