Icebreaker sunk

Year Published:  1990
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX3924

The proposed Polar 8 icebreaker, which was presented as a way of asserting Canadian sovereignty over the Arctic, was cut in the federal government's February 1990 budget. The vessel would have been the only Canadian ship capable of operating in winter ice. The United States maintains that Canadian Arctic waters are international waterways, and claims that it has the right to send its warships into these waters without informing Canada. In scrapping the icebreaker, the government seems to be resigning itself to the loss of Canadian sovereignty over the Arctic, as exemplified by External Affairs Minister Joe Clark's statement, when the government first announced plans for the ship, that "sovereignty claims you can't defend gradually disappear."

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