As the Arctic ice melts and the Northwest Passage opens to new activity, the question of sovereignty has returned to the fore. The definition of those waters, as either internal or international, has been a matter of dispute between Canada and the United States for at least 50 years, but in the age of climate change the matter has taken on a new urgency.
Over the past several years, the US Coast Guard has begun recapitalizing its fleet, the US Navy has spoken openly of Freedom of Navigation voyages through Canadian waters, while China – calling itself a “Near Arctic State” – has announced a building plan that would see its icebreaker fleet surpass that of Canada.
This talk will examine some of the evolving political opportunities and risks in the North, how Canada is (and should be) responding, and what the country can do to leverage the growth of foreign activity in the North to bolster its national sovereignty.
About the presenter:
Adam Lajeunesse, PhD, is the Irving Shipbuilding Chair in Canadian Arctic Marine Security Policy and an Assistant Professor at the Mulroney Institute of Government, St. Francis Xavier University. He is the author of Lock, Stock, and Icebergs (2016), a political history of the Northwest Passage, as well as co-author of the 2017 monograph China’s Arctic Ambitions and What They Mean for Canada, and co-editor of Canadian Arctic Operations, 1941-2015: Lessons Learned, Lost, and Relearned (2017). Lajeunesse works on questions of Arctic sovereignty and security policy and has written extensively on Canadian Armed Forces Arctic operations, maritime security, Canadian-American cooperation in the North, and Canadian Arctic history.
Dr. Lajeunesse is a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, the Arctic Institute of North America, and the Centre for the Study of Security and Development and sits on the editorial board of the Canadian Naval Review and the journal Arctic.