Arctic sovereignty is a key part of Canada’s history and future — 40 per cent of the country’s landmass is in its three northern territories, and the country has 162,000 kilometers km of Arctic coastline. Sovereignty over the area has become a national priority for Canadian governments in the 21st century, thanks to growing international interest in the Arctic due to resource development, climate change, control of the Northwest Passage and access to transportation routes. Said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008: “The geopolitical importance of the Arctic and Canada’s interests in it have never been greater.”1
The Aroostook War was a confrontation between British and Maine authorities in disputed territory known as Madawaska. During the Napoleonic Wars, Britain was in dire need of wood and the region’s pine forests became an important commodity. Claimed by both Maine and New Brunswick, Madawaska became fertile ground for confrontations between the two. The war peaked in 1838‒39 when the governor of Maine, John Fairfield, sent a group, led by Rufus McIntyre, to stop “provincials” from entering territory that Fairfield believed was Maine’s. McIntyre was captured and accused of invading the colony. The conflict ended in 1842 with the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, which divided the territory along the Saint John River.
The Arctic Circle is a parallel or line of latitude at approximately 66°33’ N that marks the border of the Arctic, the northernmost region of Earth. The geographic point at the centre of Arctic Circle is the North Pole. In Canada, communities located close to this cartographic boundary include Old Crow in the Yukon, Fort McPherson in the Northwest Territories, and Repulse Bay and Qikiqtarjuaq in Nunavut. The latitude of the Arctic Circle shifts slightly depending on the tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis.
The political boundaries that are of concern to Canada today are the international boundaries primarily with the US and Greenland and, because they are of more than local importance, the boundaries of the provinces and territories. The evolution of both types involved 2 distinct stages. After political decisions were made on the allocation of territory, such territories were delimited and the boundaries described in state documents. Then, usually some time later, the boundaries were surveyed and marked on the ground (the process of demarcation).1
In December 2001, U.S. Attorney-General John Ashcroft announced plans to deploy military personnel to patrol the Canada-U.S. border. After September 11, Ashcroft criticized Canada's porous border, though there was no evidence that any of the terrorists, all holding legal U.S.