Melting the Myth

As global warming shrinks Arctic sea ice cover, sovereignty experts are fretting about a less perilous Northwest Passage. Will rising temperatures invite a parade of foreign cargo ships through the sought-after sea route?

IN A SHOWY DISPLAY OF CANADIAN SOVEREIGNTY, defence minister Bill Graham stirred a minor uproar this summer when he took a chopper to a forlorn speck of rock between Ellesmere Island and Greenland. By stepping on Hans Island, Graham revived a decades old spat with the Danes, who say the island is part of Greenland, and accordingly Danish territory. Since the 1970s both counties have periodically sent a delegation to the barren rock to plant flags and flaunt their dominion. “Welcome to the Danish Island,” read a note Denmark’s minister of Greenland affairs left on a visit in 1984, stuck to a bottle of brandy. Continue reading