Mr Pompeo be careful what you wish for in the Canadian Arctic

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Burchells Law Boardroom, 18th Floor

1801 Hollis Street

Halifax, NS B3J 3N4

Canada

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US Secretary of State Pompeo's description of Canada's exercise of sovereignty in our Arctic as 'illegitimate' touched a nerve in Canada. Wendell Sanford, former Director of Oceans and Environmental Law at Global Affairs is an expert in the field. He will demonstrate that Canada's exercise of Arctic sovereignty is clear and perfectly legitimate, and show that the US or others who might challenge us in this regard could create major complications for themselves if the issue were to be referred to the International Court of Justice.

Bring a sandwich and join Wendell Sanford for what promises to be a fascinating and informative session on a matter of importance to all Canadians.

Presentation Synopsis

The American assertion that Canada’s exercise of sovereignty with respect to the Northwest Passage (NWP) is “illegitimate” is a standard statement of the American position that the NWP is an international strait. In Canada’s view the NWP is a historic internal waterway within Canada over which Canada is sovereign. Canada inherited the Canadian Arctic from Britain in 1880 by right of succession. The first transit of the NWP by Norwegian Roald Amundsen did not result in any claim by Norway. Canada began to exercise its sovereignty in the 1920s by establishing RCMP detachments, conducting exploration led by JE Bernier and conducting aerial mapping of the entire archipelago. Vessel transits since 1903 have averaged less than 2 per year. Canada established the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act (AWPPA) in response to the MANHATTAN transit in 1970 and established closed baselines in 1986 in response to POLAR SEA transit. The US must be very cautious with respect to provoking Canada in the social media world with an impending election. Were Canada forced to respond by taking the matter to the International Court of Justice all bets would be off with respect to the outcome which could well have an impact on the status of straits in a number of world hotspots including the Strait of Hormuz.

Speaker Bio

Wendell Sanford was born, raised and educated in Halifax. He holds a BA in political science and a BEd both from Saint Mary’s and an LLB focused on international law of the sea from Dalhousie Law School. In addition he holds a MA in Public Policy from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. During his 35 year diplomatic career in the Canadian Foreign Service he served for 10 years in the department’s legal bureau on various law of the sea issues including serving as the Director of the Ocean and Environmental Law Division. Outside Canada he served for 10 years at diplomatic missions in the United States (Boston and Los Angeles). Mr Sanford also had a 21 year career as a naval reserve officer including a two year assignment as Staff officer Naval Control of Shipping at Maritime Command Headquarters in Halifax.


Seating is limited.

Date and Time

Location

Burchells Law Boardroom, 18th Floor

1801 Hollis Street

Halifax, NS B3J 3N4

Canada

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