Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Canadians stand on guard for the Arctic

Hard as ice: eight-country poll suggests Canadians least willing to compromise on Arctic
The Canadian Press: The poll queried 9,000 people in the United States, Russia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland and both northern and southern Canada... It found that Canadians from coast to coast to coast were remarkably united on the Arctic. Just over half of both northerners and southerners said that the region should be the most important element of Canada's foreign policy... Similar percentages agreed the country's military presence in the region should be beefed up, even if it means doing less elsewhere in the world...

Canadians were also remarkably united in what kind of development the country should be pursuing in the North. The importance of high-quality public services, environmental protection and search-and-rescue capacity were supported by more than 80 per cent of respondents...

About three-quarters of them insisted the Northwest Passage is in Canadian waters, a position that has almost no international support. Norway, with 23 per cent of its respondents agreeing, came closest.

The Northwest Passage

More than 40 per cent of Canadians agreed with the statement, "My country should pursue a firm line in defending its sections of the Arctic.' That was more than any other country. Fully half of northern and southern Canadians said Canada should pursue 'full sovereignty rights' in what it claims for the Beaufort Sea. Only 10 per cent of Americans felt that strongly...

The strong stand Canadians seem to have taken on the Arctic may simply be because they're better informed about it than citizens in other countries, particularly those in the US.
Image sources here and here.