ARCTIC BASELINES: A LITORE USQUE AD LITUS

Authors

  • J BRUCE MCKINNON

Keywords:

International Law

Abstract

This article examines the validity of Canada's claim to exert sovereignty and control over the waters between the Canadian Arctic islands. The claim rests on two propositions. The first is that international law accepts Canada's recent decision to draw straight baselines in the Arctic. These baselines serve as the lines from which Canada's twelve mile territorial sea is measured seaward. Since they follow the perimeter of the Arctic archipelago, the baselines also have the very important effect of enclosing all the waters of the archipelago as internal waters. The second proposition relied upon by Canada is that customary international law gives Canada total control over activity in the internal waters enclosed by the Arctic baselines. The author concludes that Canada's claim is valid under international law, although not for the reason (historic title) publicly espoused by the Canadian government.

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Published

1987-12-01

Issue

Section

Legal Commentary