Canadian defence minister visits disputed Arctic island

July 25th, 2005  

Topic: Canadian defence minister visits disputed Arctic island

Sat Jul 23, 7:12 PM ET

OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada's defence minister quietly visited a small, disputed island in the Arctic this week, hoping to harden the country's claim on the far North, officials told AFP.

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Defence Minister Bill Graham stopped on Hans Island Wednesday while on a whirlwind tour of Canada's Arctic military posts to survey the barren patch of land that sits on the boundary between Canada's Ellesmere Island and Denmark's Greenland.

"His act of going there was consistent with the fact that Canada has always regarded the island as part of Canada," his spokesperson Renee Filiatraut said.

"The minister is very committed to the North. Our defence policy articulated that our forces would be more active up there," she said.

The snow-covered site is uninhabitable, but the onset of global warming is expected to bring ship traffic to the region soon and open it up to mining, fishing or drilling for oil and gas.

The dispute over the island, which is less than 100 metres wide, dates back to 1973 when the border was drawn between Canada and Greenland, which is part of Denmark.

Danes and Canadians have visited it often since to lay claim to it.

In 2003, the crew of a frigate landed on the island and erected a Danish flag. Four years ago, Canadian geologists flew to the island and Canadian energy companies have surveyed the surroundings, according to reports.

Mid-July, Canadian forces erected a plaque, the Canadian flag and an Inuit stone marker called an inukshuk on the island.

The Danish ambassador in Ottawa was informed Friday of the visit. The ambassador could not be reached for a comment
July 25th, 2005  
Italian Guy
Another war on sight
July 27th, 2005  
Lets do it... But could we settle it down south somewhere???