That weren't no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive

Scientalific evidamence

Panicked into embarrassment over Arctic inaction, I suppose? Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon today announces he has something he calls “scientific evidence” that supports Canada’s claim over the Lomonosov Ridge.

Scientific evidence! Wow. That sounds quite fancy. Real scientists, getting real evidence. Wearing lab coats, adjusting spectacles, nodding at maps… acting all sciency.

I wonder if Cannon could give us a teaser as to what new evidence he’s excited about? Or is he possibly just trying to appear to be doing something, anything constructive in the Arctic the day after Russia and Norway resolve a border dispute?

I remember John McCain during the Presidential debates:

“I’ll get Osama bin Laden, my friends. I’ll get him. I know how to get him. I’ll get him no matter what, and I know how to do it.”

Like Lawrence Cannon, if he had a real clue, you think he’d have shared it.

With the Russia-Norway deal demonstrating what progress looks like, Ottawa needed to ratchet up the tone and appear to be “progressing” on its own Arctic file. As so often, getting this tone right trumps getting the actual scientific evidence. Just ask Munir Sheikh.

Filed under: Canada, Politics, , , ,

2 Responses

  1. briguyhfx says:

    There is a group of NRCan scientists working on defining the Lomonosov Ridge, under international treaty (Third UN Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III)). Canada became a signatory to UNCLOS III in 2003, which gave us 10 years to make a proper submission to the UN on the extents of our continental shelves. The Law of the Sea group has been working on it since 2003, collecting data offshore and in the north. Their work has been presented to outside groups, including northern communities. It is their work that will help define our oceanic boundaries. This link gives a backgrounder on their work: http://gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/org/atlantic/unclos_e.php

    I’m surprised that Cannon is touting this work. I wonder if he’s gone off-script, given this government’s propensity to lie about Russian bombers, instead of talking about international cooperation and sciency stuff. I wonder if he knows that the Law of the Sea group have a whole web page devoted to international collaboration?!? ( http://www.international.gc.ca/continental/collaboration.aspx?lang=eng&menu_id=23&menu=R )

  2. polygonic says:

    Thanks for the comment and the links – very interesting. What’s curious to me is the timing of Cannon’s apparent confidence in findings so far. It does strike me as reactionary and probably premature. As you say, Ottawa typically emphasises the military dimension and buying fancy new hardware, even though this isn’t central to how boundaries will be decided (we hope!)

    I do imagine that Cannon’s statement is quite on message though – realising that the fighter jet talk compares badly against actual border dispute resolution (Norway-Russia), Harper and co. need to appear to be playing the serious game now – if only while it’s topical.

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September 2010

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