Canada's foreign minister blasted a Russian plan to drop paratroopers on the North Pole later this week, calling it a propaganda stunt.Here's Cannon today:
"It's another stunt like the flag planting some years ago. It doesn't affect Canada's sovereignty," Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Tuesday, referring to the planting of a flag on the North Pole seabed by a Russian submarine in 2007.
Not too much hypocrisy there...
Remember this visit to the Arctic by Harper last summer, heavy on the military?
Imagine Putin trolling around the Arctic on the deck of a Russian sub. So what is the basis for us being upset then about the Russians engaging in a paratrooper exercise on the North Pole? Haven't we been equally provocative in emphasizing our military presence up there, albeit on our own soil? It's all been silly militaristic posturing with the Russians and the Harper government bears responsibility for irresponsibly fostering it. What did they expect to happen?
Cannon seems to be wising up now, criticizing the Russians as he visits along with all the scientific activity Canadians are engaged in, like mapping and research. Those aspects of the north haven't been front and center in the Harper Arctic strategy to the extent they should be. Diplomatic bodies like the Arctic Council, that they've given short shrift to could have, if emphasized from the start, helped to avoid the needless military flexing in the Arctic. Realistically, we can't play with the Russians on that field anyway. As Jeremy Kinsman said at Can150 (or something to this effect, kicking myself now for not liveblogging more), the Arctic belongs to the world. The nations like ours that border it should be engaging in its stewardship on a multilateral and diplomatic basis.