Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper threw $7 billion into the climate change expense sheet yesterday, promising to build at least six new light icebreakers to patrol Canada’s Arctic waters.
Melting ice in the Canadian Arctic is presenting the promise of a usable Northwest Passage and an increased likelihood of affordable resource extraction. Against that backdrop, the U.S. – and now even Denmark – are beginning to challenge Canadian sovereignty in the region, arguing that the passage, once open, would be international waters.
On the question of Canadian sovereignty, Harper said the country must “use it or lose it,” and that six to eight light, and lightly armed, icebreakers would be sufficient to the task.
Presumably, the Prime Minister is betting that the climate change melt will come even quicker than expected, because in commissioning this new fleet, Harper is breaking a campaign promise to build three icebreakers large enough to patrol the neighborhood in colder weather. This is perhaps part of a larger Conservative Party plan that includes unfettered development of the Canadian oil sands – Canada’s single largest contribution to the global climate change catastrophe.
It’s good to see the Tories finally beginning to take the climate change file seriously. It’s just alarming to see them treating it like it’s a good thing.