Michael Byers & Stewart Webb, Victoria Times Colonist, 8 May 2013
A $288-million “definition contract” for arctic/offshore patrol ships was signed by the federal government in March. Built in Halifax, a number of these so-called “A/OPS” will be based in Esquimalt where, as a result of cost-saving compromises already made, they will be suitable neither for an Arctic role nor as patrol ships in open seas.
Pricey, plodding Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships ill-fitted to their planned missions.
A/OPS: Destined to be subject of derisive maritime pub songs?
Michael Byers & Stewart Webb, 24 April 2013, TheTyee.ca
Peter MacKay is no stranger to maritime pubs. He could probably recite the words of Stan Rogers' Barrett's Privateers while drunk and standing on his head. But does Canada's defence minister realize that he's fast becoming the 21st-century version of Elcid Barrett, who led a group of blindly ambitious men on a dangerous folly?
Vessels government has ordered aren't fit for Arctic role, think tanks say
CBC News, 11 April 2013
The Harper government's $7.4-billion plan to buy Arctic offshore patrol ships is headed toward a 'titanic blunder,' because the ships are not adequate for working in the region, a couple of independent think tanks say.
A 50-page report denouncing the plan was released today by the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
The report is also critical of the government's plans for a refuelling station at Nanisivik in Nunavut.
In 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the plan to purchase six to eight Arctic offshore patrol ships.
The report says that if the government sticks to its current course, the effects will be a disaster for two reasons.
The North Pole stands to become a viable international shipping route for some vessels in coming decades, as melting ice clears the way for cargo movement through corridors never before considered possible.
Oil company will 'pause' exploration off Alaska's northern coasts over concerns for equipment and employees
Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 27 February 2013
Shell shut down its 2013 drilling season in the Arctic waters off Alaska on Wednesday, after a series of mishaps and mechanical failures. The oil company said in a statement it was putting its operations off the coast of Alaska on pause for 2013, but remained committed to drilling at a later stage.
Arctic research agreement contains 'excessively restrictive' language
CBC News, 15 February 2013
The Canadian government is requiring foreign researchers who collaborate with federal scientists to sign agreements that could potentially muzzle them, a U.S. scientist says.
Andreas Muenchow, a physical oceanographer at the University of Delaware, collaborates with Canadian government scientists on Arctic research. On his blog last week, he posted his concerns about the new language in a research agreement that the Canadian government is asking him to sign.
"I believe this is a disturbing political climate change," Muenchow wrote. "I feel that it threatens my academic freedom and potentially muzzles my ability to publish data and interpretation and talk timely on science issues of potential public interest without government interference."
WASHINGTON -- Canada will begin a two-year stint at the helm of the eight-nation Arctic Council amid a clamour of competing calls for leadership, as the ice recedes and the race heats up to extract resource riches while protecting a fragile and now-exposed environment.
Canada’s radar leader has scored a coveted space deal with Ottawa.
MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. has landed a $706-million contract with the Canadian Space Agency, bolstering the satellite technology developer’s key Radarsat Constellation project, which is being touted as crucial for defending Canada’s Arctic sovereignty.
Canada will use its two years as leader of the circumpolar world to promote development and defend its policies, suggest federal politicians and documents.
But Arctic experts and those involved with the Arctic Council worry that’s the wrong approach at a time when the diplomatic body is dealing with crucial international issues from climate change to a treaty on oil spill prevention.
An agreement on a decades-old maritime boundary dispute with Denmark could be a sign that Canada is serious about its plan to resolve competing claims in the north, researchers suggest.
Negotiators have a tentative plan to address ownership of two small patches of water totalling less than 225 square kilometres in the Lincoln Sea, an area of the Arctic Ocean north of Ellesmere Island and Greenland. There is still, however, no resolution over Hans Island, as well as several boundary disputes with the United States in the Arctic and further south.
“What we’re seeing here is the Harper government signalling a willingness to resolve disputes with other Arctic countries, and that is very significant,” said Michael Byers, a professor at the University of British Columbia who holds a Canada Research Chair in global politics and international law.