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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Russia and Canada: Partners in the North?

A very informative article entitled, "Russia and Canada:Partners in the North?, written by Michael Byers,   who is project leader with ArticNet, a federally funded consortium of scientists from 27 Canadian universities and five federal departments, has been posted to the following website:

In the article Mr. Byers points out that: Canada and Russia are "the two largest countries on the Earth," accounting for "three-quarters of the Artic Ocean's coastline."

Mr.Byers suggests that  "Russia and Canada should bolster their positions (relating to their "claim the channels between their Arctic islands and northern coasts as "internal waters", where foreign vessels require permission to enter), "by recognizing each other's sovereignty claims." Mr. Byers asserts that
"co-operative engagement can bring mutual benefits, while sometimes helping to change the ways in which countries behave. For the same reasons that we trade with China, we should work with Russia – on obvious, pressing matters of common concern."

This blog owner is all for Mr.Byers' ideas. The sooner nations and the peoples within these nations put aside their political,religious,ethnic and other differences and start working together towards common goals ,the better it will be for not only the human race but also all other life forms on the planet as well as the physical environment of this planet! The only way to deal with some of the serious problems we all face as humans on this planet, is as a collective. For some reason we all know this fact, however, there always seems to be great difficulties for certain countries  and certain peoples within  the world to come to agreement with other countries regarding key aspects of our planet.  Cooperating with these countries will lead to further discussion, opening communication channels which are crucial for changing how all of us act as a collective on this planet.  Instead of spending government budgets on submarines, ships and other devices to monitor our North, we could be using these monies to deal with some of the serious social, political and economic problems within our country.

More cooperation is needed among the peoples of this world and our governments, however this does not mean that Canadians and our Governments should allow our sovereignty over our countries territory and our economic and military independence to be compromised.However, this is exactly what has happened in Canada. According to an  article written by Mary Simon, entitled "Sovereignty from the North",,
the writer uses the following quote from Prime Minister Harper:

 “Even Canadians who have never been north of sixty feel it. It’s embedded in our history, our literature, our art, our music, and our Canadian soul. That’s why we react so strongly when other countries show disrespect for our sovereignty over the Arctic.”
Mary Simon states:

"The key word here is “react.” If we look back over the past century, it is clear that Canada has rarely been out in front on the Arctic sovereignty issue. Instead, federal politicians have typically been caught in frenzies of chest thumping in response to the actions of other states. This points to the embarrassing reality that we have been asleep at our posts when it comes to Arctic affairs."

"The crisis caused by Russia planting its flag at the North Pole is somewhat different from past episodes, and it holds important messages for Canada. Russia hasn’t strayed into Canadian territory to plant a flag. They have acted first in a contest of interests to demarcate their claims to continental shelf margins. Indeed, Russia acted some time ago, in 2001, by filing a claim with the United Nations, as permitted by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)."

 "What has Canada been doing since 2001? The federal government has a plan to act by 2013, as required under UNCLOS, but too often it substitutes press releases for action. In recent interviews, the lead scientist for Canada on this file concedes that the country will be in trouble with its claims if ice conditions hamper scientific studies in the Arctic basin over the next five years. Again Canada is playing catch-up while Russia’s objectives are clear."

"As Eric Posner, professor of law at the University of Chicago, recently wrote in theWall Street Journal, “Russia’s expression of power is credible; Canada’s is not. Canada cannot prevent other countries from sending ships up the Northwest Passage, as the US has demonstrated from time to time for just this purpose.”

What I find astounding and did not know about the relationship between Canada and the United States is the following fact:

"Canadian jurisdiction over its Northern territories was redefined, following an April 2002 military agreement between Ottawa and Washington. This agreement allows for the deployment of US troops anywhere in Canada, as well as the stationing of US warships in Canada's territorial waters."

"Following the creation of US Northern Command in April 2002, Washington announced unilaterally that NORTHCOM's territorial jurisdiction (land, sea, air) extended from the Caribbean basin to the Canadian arctic territories. "
"The new command was given responsibility for the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, portions of the Caribbean and the contiguous waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans up to 500 miles off the North American coastline. NorthCom's mandate is to "provide a necessary focus for [continental] aerospace, land and sea defenses, and critical support for [the] nation’s civil authorities in times of national need."
(Canada-US Relations - Defense Partnership – July 2003, Canadian American Strategic Review (CASR), source:


"In December 2002, following the refusal of (former) Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to join US Northern Command (NORTHCOM), an interim bi-national military authority entitled the Binational Planning Group (BPG) was established. 
Canadian membership in NORTHCOM would have implied the integration of Canada's military command structures with those of the US. That option had been temporarily deferred by the Chrétien government, through the creation of the Binational Planning Group (BPG).
The BPG's formal mandate in 2002 was to extend the jurisdiction of the US-Canada North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to cover sea, land and "civil forces", 
"to improve current Canada–United States arrangements to defend against primarily maritime threats to the continent and respond to land-based attacks, should they occur."
"Although never acknowledged in official documents, the BPG was in fact established to prepare for the merger of NORAD and NORTHCOM,  thereby creating de facto conditions for Canada to join US Northern Command."

"On April 28, 2006, an agreement negotiated behind closed doors was signed between the US and Canada."

"The renewed NORAD agreement was signed in Ottawa by the US ambassador and the Canadian Minister of Defense Gordon O'Connor, without prior debate in the Canadian Parliament. The House of Commons was allowed to rubberstamp a fait accompli, an agreement which had already been signed by the two governments."
"'A continental approach  to defense and security could facilitate binational maritime domain awareness and a combined response to potential threats, "which transcends Canadian and U.S. borders, domains, defense and security departments and agencies,' the report says." (Homeland Defense Watch, May 8, 2006)
"While NORAD still exists in name, its organizational structure coincides with that of NORTHCOM. Following the April 28, 2006 agreement, in practical terms, NORAD has been merged into USNORTHCOM. 
NORTHCOM Commander Gen. Gene Renuart, USAF happens to be Commander of NORAD, Maj. Gen. Paul J. Sullivan who is NORTHCOM Chief of Staff, is Chief of Staff of NORAD."
"With a exception of a token Canadian General, who occupies the position of  Deputy Commander of NORAD, the leadership of NORAD coincides with that of NORTHCOM. (See photo gallery below)."

"These two military authorities are identical in structure, they occupy the same facilities at the Peterson Air Force base in Colorado.   
There was no official announcement of the renewed NORAD agreement, which hands over control of Canada's territorial waters to the US, nor was there media coverage of this far-reaching decision."
The Deployment of US Troops on Canadian Soil
"At the outset of US Northern Command in April 2002, Canada accepted the right of the US to deploy US troops on Canadian soil."
"U.S. troops could be deployed to Canada and Canadian troops could cross the border into the United States if the continent was attacked by terrorists who do not respect borders, according to an agreement announced by U.S. and Canadian officials." (Edmunton Sun, 11 September 2002)
"With the creation of the BPG in December 2002, a bi-national  "Civil Assistance Plan" was established. The latter described the precise "conditions for deploying U.S. troops in Canada, or vice versa, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack or natural disaster." (quoted in Inside the Army, 5 September 2005).
Canadian Sovereignty 
"In August 2006, the US State Department confirmed that a new NORAD Agreement had entered into force, while emphasizing that "the maritime domain awareness component was of 'indefinite duration,' albeit subject to periodic review." (US Federal News, 1 August 2006). In March 2007, the US Senate Armed Services Committee confirmed that the NORAD Agreement had been formally renewed, to include a maritime warning system. In Canada, in contrast, there has been a deafening silence."

"In Canada, the renewed NORAD agreement went virtually unnoticed. There was no official pronouncement by the Canadian government of Stephen Harper. There was no analysis or commentary of its significance and implications for Canadian territorial sovereignty. The agreement was barely reported by the Canadian media."

"Operating under a "North American" emblem (i.e. a North American Command), the US military would have jurisdiction over Canadian territory from coast to coast; extending from the St Laurence Valley to the Queen Elizabeth archipelago in the Canadian Arctic. The agreement would allow for the establishment of "North American" military bases on Canadian territory. From an economic standpoint, it would also integrate the Canadian North, with its vast resources in energy and raw materials, with Alaska."

"Canada is contiguous to "the center of the empire". Territorial control over Canada is part of the US geopolitical and military agenda. It is worth recalling in this regard, that throughout history, the "conquering nation" has expanded on its immediate borders, acquiring control over contiguous territories."

"Military integration is intimately related to the ongoing process of integration in the spheres of trade, finance and investment. Needless to say, a large part of the Canadian economy is already in the hands of US corporate interests."

 source:"Canadian Sovereignty in Jeopardy:the Milarization of North America, written by Michael Chossudovsky: 
Mr Chossudovsky is  a member of The Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), an independent research organization and media group of writers, scholars, journalists and activists.  

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.