In my last post on this topic, I focused on how Canada can use the Law of the Sea to assert it’s sovereignty over the Artic and the Northwest Passage. This has been talked about ad nauseum, which is why I’m shifting gears, and proposing what might be both both a much simpler, and yet more complex and controversial solution in terms of the impliations for Canada as a whole.
My proposal is this.
It is time, now that the Dominion of Canada is over 100 years old, to consider enshrining more of our land… more of what we consider to be “Canada”… into our constitution.
It is time for the Yukon, North West, and Nunavut Territories to be the 11th, 12th, and 13th province respectively.
Even though every Innu who lives in Resolute, Nunavut is a Canadian citizen by birth.. the very fact that they reside in a territory rather than a province means that their existance as a fixture in Canada is enshrined in no specific document, and the land beneath their feet is controlled in the end, not by legislators in Iqaluit, but in the Prime Ministers Office in Ottawa.
By the same token, the fact that the primary authority over Canada’s northern territories is so far removed from those residents of Resolute or Alert… that their claim on that land is that much weaker.
Of course, in practice and in common Canadian discourse many powers are delegated to the Commissioners and Premiers of the Territories, but the fact remains. Unlike the other 10 provinces that make up southern Canada. The 3 territories have nothing to permanently enshrine them and their lands and seas as a part of Canada.
There is no doubt that as development continues in the North, and as the climate warms, the population will grow with it, so I don’t believe population to be of any special importance.
What is sure is that we “southern” Canadians are starting to really notice our Northern brothers and sisters and as that awareness grows we should ensure that the citizens of Canada living North of 60 have the same opportunities, rights and privileges as those South of 60. That means more representation in the Senate, full protection under the Canadian Charter and a stronger, more independant local government to represent the needs and issues of residents of the Northern provinces.
Dealing again with the sovereignty issues, the provincial boundaries, including maritime boundaries could be “set in stone” between the provinces as Legislation in the Parliament of Canada and in the various Constitutional documents (the Newfoundland Act being a good guide)
Permanent fixtures represent easy ways to ensure sovereignty and a provincial structure in the North would provide both the local and international structure to prove sovereignty over the lands of the North.