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The Arctic Waters and the Northwest Passage: A Final Revisit

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Climate change has reduced the extent and thickness of sea ice in the Arctic, making international shipping in the Northwest Passage a virtual certainty in the foreseeable future. Such future shipping raises the question of whether the Passage is or might become an international strait, with the consequent right of transit passage. This article examines the two possible legal bases for Canada's claim that the waters of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago are internal waters: a historic title and straight baselines. It also addresses the issue of the possible internationalization of the Passage, if Canada does not take preventive measures. Some such measures are recommended in the last part of the article.
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Keywords: Canada; Northwest Passage; arctic waters

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Professor Emeritus Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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