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Canada to claim vast tracts of Arctic, Atlantic seabeds

October 5, 2012

Canada has been preparing to expand its territorial claims in the Arctic and Atlantic for 20 years.  Now, after extensive seabed mapping, it is preparing to make a formal claim to territory that will expand the geographic size of the nation by 20% – adding territory equal to the size of the province of Quebec.   The regions claimed contain immense (though still not fully unaccounted) troves of oil, gas and other minerals.

The justification for Canada’s claim lies in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), which has provisions for the expansion of territory beyond the previous standard of 200 nautical miles from shore.  Canada, unlike the US, has signed and ratified UNCLOS.   Given Republican resistance to the treaty (foolish, in my opinion), the US will be unable to make similar claims off its own Arctic and Atlantic coasts, but we should still support our neighbor, largest trading partner, and single most important ally in their own claims.

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