Just in time for Christmas comes the news that Canada might be trying to stage a hostile takeover of Santa's workshop. Yes, our Northern neighbors are trying to claim the North Pole.
The country announced today that, pending another scientific study (it's already done several over the years), it hopes to submit a claim to the United Nations to extend its maritime borders to include the North Pole -- and all the riches it contains.
Canada already has the rights to any resources within 200 nautical miles of its land borders. To go beyond, it has to prove its continental shelf extends past that. Currently, though Canada, Russia, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and America have claims above the Arctic Circle, no one has actually gone there and tried to claim the North Pole.
(Okay, Russia did put a flag on the bottom of the ocean underneath the North Pole in 2007, but no one took that seriously, including Canada. Its foreign minister Peter MacKay said at the time: "This isn't the fifteenth century. You can't go around the world and just plant flags and say 'We're claiming this territory.'")
The 18-million-square-mile region, though largely unexplored, is thought to contain around one-third of the world's oil reserves — all of them thus far untapped. 'It's a dangerous and difficult region to drill, but the idea of profits seem to exceed those risks for governments,' Huebert says of the Arctic, an area characterized by moving ice floes, frigid temperatures, and extreme weather events. 'We're not seeing anyone pull away.'
And because Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn't want to look bad to his constituents by just letting Russia have it:
'(Harper) does not want to be the prime minister seen publicly as having surrendered the North Pole, even if the scientific facts don't support a Canadian claim,' Byers said. 'What he's essentially doing here is holding this place, standing up for Canadian sovereignty, while in private he knows full well that position is untenable.'
We won't know for years yet who, if anyone, will get the North Pole, CTV said. Canada hasn't put a date on when it expects to finish its studies and submit its final claim for the North Pole, and it'll be years before the UN decides anything after it does. So there is still time for Santa to relocate. Perhaps the South Pole?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.