Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hans Island question

Can somebody please tell me why Canada doesn't just give Hans Island to the Danish?

I understand that there are resource claims at stake here, but this isn't like the French and St. Pierre & Miquelon. There, you've got a distant country that maintains a presence simply to guarantee fishery rights, among other things. Hans Island is different: it's a short hop from Greenland, Danish territory that nobody disputes.

So here's the question: Even if we gave Hans Island over to the Danish with no questions asked and no conditions guaranteed, how would it materially change anything whatsoever in the Arctic, as far as Denmark was concerned? There seems to be some idea that Canada will lose bargaining rights over the Northwest Passage, but I think Hans Island is hardly the issue we need to worry about, considering that the Americans have repeatedly said they won't ask for our permission no matter what we do.

Is this just an autonomous tic by the Canadian government -- "MUST CLAIM SNOWY LANDS FOR OTTAWA... URRR"? Really, what's the logic here? If anyone has a detailed explanation, I'd love to hear it.

9 comments:

ferrethouse said...

Wow. If someone looks at you wrong when you are out in public you probably run away and hide. That is assuming that you even go out in public. Grow a spine.

Hans is ours. They got the largest Island in the world which geography should belong to us so the least we can do is hold onto a small one.

john said...

WTF? Is that supposed to be a serious statement? Canada needs to keep a 1-mile island in the middle of nowhere so you feel like your penis is large enough?

Flocons said...

I think we should change strategies. We should storm St. Pierre & Miquelon at night and reclaim it from France! Perhaps a sea invasion in the middle of the night... Club about 6,500 inhabitants over the head, and then the islands would be ours!

john said...

What's worth going to St.P&M for? I mean, I think I could probably swim the 15 miles or so from there to Newfoundland (I definitely could have ten years ago...) but I'd need to be given a good reason for it.

Flocons said...

St. P&M is a threat to national security. The French could be housing nuclear weapons on our very doorstep!

Closet Liberal said...

Principle of give an inch, they'll take a mile?

Fear that if Hans Island claim is granted it'll encourage other neighboring countries (USA, Russia, etc.) to expand their claims.

Reverse it, if Hans Island is so insignificant, why do the Danes want it? Given that they're population base is so far away. If its so insignificant why do both sides care?

Closet Liberal said...

Its smack in the Northwest passage.

According to this, anyway.

john said...

It still doesn't answer the fundamental question, though: Hans is in dispute because the the boundary between Greenland and Canada runs right through it (or close enough.) So giving them Hans would shift their already-acknowledged border a mile west, if that.

So I repeat: what would giving them Hans change, on the ground? I suspect it's nothing.

The Dane of Hans Ø said...

Anyway, splitting the island half/half would result in a rather cool land-border conection between Denmark and Canada

obviously involving that you buy your half from us ;)