Canada’s Transport Minister John Baird announced on Wednesday amendments to the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act that would increase the definition of “arctic waters” from 100 nautical miles to 200 nautical miles. While the amendments would be specific to this pollution prevention legislation, there is an implicit assertion of sovereignty more generally over the increased range, and even within the confines of this legislation enforcement of anti-pollution regulations has the potential to result in international disputes.

Readers not in Canada should note that   the very next day Prime minister Harper prorogued parliament, which will not sit again until January and which will then immediately turn its attention  to the passage of a budget that may cause the minority government to fall.