The Conservatives consider the Arctic to be Canadian territory. Most of the money pledged to the Arctic will go to boosting military protection and enhancing the coast guard.
The Conservative government proposes to extend Canada's territorial waters in the Arctic to 200 nautical miles, to both assert Canadian sovereignty over shipping and to enforce anti-pollution rules. The main change would be that all ships bound for the Canadian Arctic would have to report to Canadian authorities.
The Harper government also intends to introduce legislation to expand the reach of the Arctic Water Pollution Prevention Act, which currently is limited to 100 nautical miles from Canada's northern coastline
The Conservative website states a four-ponged arctic agenda:
→ Economic development - unleashing the resource-based potential of the North;
→ National sovereignty - protecting our land, airspace and territorial waters;
→ Northern input and control - ending paternalistic federal policies of past governments;
→ Environmental protection - protecting the unique Northern environment.
In addition, the main issue for the Conservatives is Arctic security. To bolster the security, Harper is investing heavily to bulk up Canada's presence:
→ Purchase of a new cost guard icebreaker
→ Expansion of the Canadian Rangers forces that patrols the Arctic
→ Looking into ports of call for industrial movements that will change investment strategies that businesses have in the region
→ Intending to put a military base up in the Northwest Passage Area
→ Pledging to buy new Arctic patrol ships, expand aerial surveillance
All these initiatives are part of the Conservative plan to assert Canada's claim over its northern passageway.
Stephane Dion's plans for the Arctic focus more on improving the living standards of the Inuit. According to him, "We think that a real plan for the North needs to include more than military spending on new military equipment." Dion's promises on behalf of Liberal Government include:
→ Fostering development in Yellowknife and Iqualuit by stationing two planes there.
→ Establishing an ambassador for the Arctic.
→ Creating a center to study how the North can adapt to climate change.
Dion's plans for the military in the Arctic include:
→ More ships stationed in the Arctic.
→ Stationing a handful of search and rescue planes to help stake out sovereignty.
The NDP believe that less money should go to military endeavors. To them, focusing on the needs pf the people who live in the area is more important.
Their plans include, but are not limited to:
→ Investing in docking facilities,
→ Fixing the problem of lack of affordable housing
→ Reimplementing ancelled literacy projects.
The Green Party's main concern is that all the debates regarding the Arctic seem to disregard the livelihoods and culture of the Inuit. The Green Party is concerned that the Inuit are being affected by the melting of the artic.
Their vision for the Arctic includes:
→ Protection of cultures, eco-systems and livelihood, and dignity
The Green Party does support Arctic sovereignty but thinks that Artic security will not be achieved without focusing on culture and livelihood first.
| Bloc Québécois|
The Bloc is also in favor of Artic sovereignty but is concerned that more time and money is being spent on the military instead of on the environmental concerns of the region.
sources: The Toronto Star, the Conservative Party, the Ottawa Sun, the Green Party, the CBC and CTV.