Arctic Sovereignty? What is at Stake?

Published: 2007    |    By: Donal McRae    |    Volume 64, No. 1


While as a matter of law all states are sovereign and independent, the degree of actual independence might vary whether one is looking at the matter from a political or economic perspective. So, too, one’s appreciation of the “threat” to Arctic sovereignty might vary according to the particular meaning one places on the term sovereignty. What, then, is really at stake in the sovereignty debate? What is it that Canada stands to lose as a matter of law if it does not stand up for its Arctic sovereignty? And what does standing up for Arctic sovereignty mean? To understand the issues it is necessary to go back and trace the history of the Arctic sovereignty debate and then see where things stand today.

About the Author

Donald McRae FRSC, is Hyman Soloway Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa.