Russia, Denmark contest North Pole with Canada

After years of delay and political arm-twisting, Canada has made a claim to a vast portion of the Arctic seabed that includes the North Pole.

The claim sets up the federal government for talks with Russian and Denmark, which had already filed their own claims.

Canada’s document was filed last week with a United Nations body that is to determine the scientific validity of each country’s version of where the lines on the map should be.

A decision is to be made after negotiations between the three countries.

Canada’s submission is late — the previous federal government nixed plans for a claim in 2013 that didn’t include the North Pole.

Russia has been beefing up both its civilian and military capabilities in its north for a decade.

Old Cold-War-era air bases have been rejuvenated. Foreign policy observers have counted four new Arctic brigade combat teams, 14 new operational airfields, 16 deepwater ports and 40 icebreakers with an additional 11 in development.

Canada has little to compare.

A road has been completed to the Arctic coast at Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories and work for a port at Iqaluit in Nunavut is underway. The first Arctic patrol vessel has been launched, satellite surveillance has been enhanced and a naval refuelling station built on Baffin Island.

But most northern infrastructure desires remain unfilled.

— With previous files from The Canadian Press

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