Canadian Sovereignty Over the Arctic

by McConnell, William Howard

Abstract (Summary)
The central problem of the thesis is to investigate the international legal validity of the Canadian claim to the Arctic Archipelago. In order to consider the bearing on the problem of the "sector principl" the area investigated comprised the islands, waters and permanent ice lying between the the 60th and 141st meridians of west longitude extended to the North Pole, which meridians are northerly projections of Canada's easternmost and westernmost boundaries.

After a brief review of the facts and law surrounding the transfer of British Arctic possessions to Canada in 1870 and 1800, the international law applicable to archipelagic formations and to the acquisition of title to terrae nullius was examined. There followed, in the perspective of international law and the historical precedents, an examination of the Canadian claims to (a) the islands of the Arctic Archipelago, and (b) the adjacent waters, especially the aftermath of the two voyages of the Manhattan and the Canadian legislation of June, 1970, extending territorial waters to a breadth of twelve miles and creating a large anti-pollution zone.

It was concluded that Canada's claim to the islands was very strong, either under the "prescription" or the "consolidation" doctrines, especially in the absence of serious adverse claims, and in the light of a vigorous Canadian manifestation of animus occupandi for several decades, at least.

Although the validity of the recent Canadian Maritime claims had been questioned by the United States, it was suggested either on the basis of the "consolidation" doctrine or in view of the evolving, norms of the international law of the sea that here also Canada could make out a strong case in support of the legislation of June, 1970.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Williams, Colwyn; Bone, Robert M.; Schmeiser, Douglas A.

School:University of Saskatchewan

School Location:Canada - Saskatchewan

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:arctic archipelago canadian sovereignty regions international land claims north pole


Date of Publication:09/14/2007

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