Canada Moves to Further Protect its Sovereignty and Safeguard Arctic Waters from Pollution

    OTTAWA, Jan. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's Transport Minister, John Baird,
today introduced legislation in the House of Commons to enhance Canada's
sovereignty over Arctic waters and protect them from pollution. This coverage
will give Canada greater and more effective control over marine activity in
the Canadian Arctic while enhancing environmental protection in Canada's
North. This marks an important step forward in the federal government's
integrated Northern Strategy.
    "Our government is taking action to promote economic development while
demanding environmental responsibility in Canada's North," said Minister
Baird. "Our government will do all we can to protect Canada's Arctic heritage
and sovereignty. Measures introduced today will help support the safe and
environmentally sound movement of ships in Canada's Arctic waters."
    The amendment will extend the application of the Arctic Waters Pollution
Prevention Act by amending the definition of "arctic waters" from 100 to 200
nautical miles, to help ensure that ships do not pollute Canadian waters.
    "With this new initiative, we are proud to advance our Northern Strategy
while helping to ensure a sustainable and comprehensive approach to Arctic
shipping," added Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, MP for Nunavut, who seconded
the bill.
    The measures complement Arctic initiatives already put in place under the
Health of the Oceans component of the National Water Strategy. Initiatives
include outfitting Arctic surveillance aircraft to track polluters and
co-leading an international Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment to better
anticipate marine shipping uses and activities as well as the impacts of
changing marine traffic.
    Canada is one of only two Arctic states with specific domestic
requirements for shipping operations in Arctic waters that are significantly
stricter than international standards set out by the International Maritime
Organization. The main legislative component of these requirements is under
the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act and its regulations, administered
by Transport Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Chris Day, Press Secretary, Office of Transport
Minister John Baird, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700; Media Relations, Transport
Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Transport Canada is online at
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