The Arctic, North America, and the World: A Political Perspective

  • William C. Graham
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series (STANTS)


The Arctic’s growing salience in international relations, its significance for policymakers, and its impact on the North American regional agenda are broad and complex topics. From a Canadian perspective, they touch on the place that the Arctic occupies in the domestic Canadian political landscape as well as upon its international dimensions, starting with Canada-US relations and broadening to those with our Arctic neighbors and other interested states. This in turn gives rise to a complex interplay among bilateral and multilateral relationships governed by a diversity of international instruments dealing with shipping, conservation, pollutants, territorial claims, and much more. My purpose here is, by necessity, much narrower: I wish to confine myself to those matters with which I became familiar during the years I served as a member of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons. During my time as chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (1995–2002), and later as Minister of Foreign Affairs (2002–04) and Minister of National Defence (2004–06), I had the great fortune to travel extensively in the region and engage with Arctic issues. In this chapter, I would like to draw upon those experiences in order to sketch out some of the major issues related to Arctic governance on a national and international level.


Foreign Policy Foreign Affair Foreign Minister Arctic Water Arctic Council 
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  1. 2.
    L. Axworthy (d) Navigating a New World: Canada’s Global Future (Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf), p. 336; Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (2000) The Northern Dimension of Canada’s Foreign Policy (Ottawa: Government of Canada), p. 9.Google Scholar

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© The Hon. William C. Graham 2016

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  • William C. Graham

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