Canada Wants Their Name in Arctic Northwest Passage

OTTAWA, Oct. 8 (UPI) — Nearly everyone in Canada’s Parliament shows support for renaming the Arctic Northwest Passage to include the country’s name as part of a sovereignty dispute.

The measure was proposed by a Conservative member of Parliament as the country’s claims to the waters are being challenged by the United States and some European Union countries, the Canwest News Service reported.

Melting ice is making the passage more available to shipping, although Canada insists the passage is sovereign territory and subject to its regulation.

However, University of British Columbia global politics and international law Professor Michael Byers told the news agency simply changing the passage’s name didn’t hold much weight in law and would show Canada’s uncertainty if the matter went to an international tribunal.

“If the United States was litigating with Canada over the Northwest Passage, I’d expect them to point to any evidence that the Canadian government wasn’t completely convinced by its own position,” Byers said. “As a result, the motion could have the opposite effect from what its proponents intend.”

The legislative name-change bill is working its way through Parliament with near-unanimous support, the report said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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