Volume #20 - 508.|
RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES
ARCTIC SOVEREIGNTY AND NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT
Memorandum from Secretary, Advisory Committee on Northern Development,|
to Advisory Committee on Northern Development
DOCUMENT ND- 98|
May 28th, 1954|
POLICY GUIDANCE PAPER FOR RELEASE OF INFORMATION ON THE NORTH|
At its last meeting the A.C.N.D. asked the Public Information Sub-Committee to prepare a policy guidance paper for release of northern information. Attached is the paper prepared by the sub-committee.
The first object of public information on the north is to emphasize that the northern regions are as much a part of Canada as any other area in the country.
It is most important that all Canadians should be aware of this fact in order that the measures to stimulate and encourage the development of our northern frontier will be supported and sustained. It is also important that the rest of the world should be aware that the Canadian Arctic is not an "Ultima Thule" but is being effectively occupied, administered and developed by the Canadian Government and people.
This emphasis should underline all public information on the north whether it relates to long-range policy plans or to spot news. It may be developed through reference whenever possible to the Canadian civil administration and activity in the north in order to draw to the attention of the general public, both at home and abroad, that the north, like any other part of Canada, has its own civil government and a developing economy.
There are, of course, wide areas where the civil administration is not represented on the ground, but where there are Canadian activities of a military, scientific, or commercial nature. It is important that the public be aware of these activities and the contribution which they are making to northern and national development. As far as possible, however, they should be put in the same sort of perspective as similar activities elsewhere in Canada; that is, their importance should be given full weight without creating the impression that they are the only form of Canadian interest in the areas involved.
The Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet have made many public statements on the growing importance of the north and the growing attention to be focused on that area. This growing importance should be emphasized. The reason for the increased interest is not, in the Government view, due primarily to defence requirements, but it is the logical extension of the development of Canadian nationhood. Canada has developed in the east, the south, and the west, but the time and the conditions of peace and prosperity have not until now been present to permit us to develop the northern areas of the country.
Canada is interested in northern development in part to exploit for present and future generations its immense natural resources. In part, also, Canada is developing the north merely because it is Canada and because we have a responsibility to ensure that conditions are established to permit residents of the north, Eskimos, Indians, and others, to share in the benefits of and to contribute to Canadian national life. Our shortcomings in the past, particularly in relation to policy for native people, are recognized but there is now a determination to fulfil our responsibilities.
The role of the military in the development of the north should be given full credit, but we should avoid the impression that defence activities are the only, or even the main, interest of the Canadian Government in the far north. To some extent it is in fact necessary to correct the imbalance between military and civil aspects of the north which has sometimes been created by journalists who have travelled in the north only to Service installations and on the Service aircraft. It should be pointed out that in the past the principal defence activity in the north has been in the field of transportation and communications and related facilities. It would be incorrect to convey the impression that there are vast military bases in northern Canada. We should, however, point out that Canadian defence authorities are keenly aware of the problems of defence in the north.
References to defence activities will be governed by military security and enquiries should be referred to the Directorate of Public Relations, Department of National Defence. For the present, public information released on continental defence will be governed by the statement of the Minister of National Defence on April 8, 1954.
Emphasis will be put on the great mineral potential of the north, on its rapid development in the past ten years and on the factors which govern the future rate of industrial growth. Industry in the north will generally be developed by private interests without direct government support. It may be pointed out, however, that the Federal Government has special responsibilities in the north for creating conditions, particularly in transportation, to permit private enterprise to operate. The justification of Federal contributions to northern development when necessary can be made to the Federal contribution to the trans-continental railway system.
In public information on developments in the north reference should be made whenever possible to the role of the Councils of the Yukon and of the Northwest Territories. The Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories are generally on the road to greater self-government, but it must not be indicated that provincial status is an immediate goal. Local autonomy will develop as the territories are able to assume greater responsibility for local development. For the present, however, and for many years to come, the interests of the territories as well as the country as a whole are best served by a division between the federal and local authorities of responsibility for administration and financial contributions. The Yukon Territory is at a somewhat more advanced stage of political development than the Northwest Territories. The role of local government in both areas, however, should be kept before the public.
Canadian-United States Relations and Sovereignty
Canada welcomes co-operation with the United States in northern activities which are of mutual concern to the two countries. We fully acknowledge the useful work which agencies of the United States have done in co-operation with Canada in the Canadian north. Northern development, however, is never a joint responsibility; it is a Canadian responsibility which cannot be allowed to go by default or left to others to carry out.
Reference to U.S. activities in the Canadian north in isolation should be avoided, if they can be coupled with reference to Canadian work. The status of U.S. defence activities should be clearly defined. For instance, if any mention is made of U.S. troops at Frobisher, it should be accompanied by a report in some form that the installation is an R.C.A.F. station in Canadian command and control. Any extensive reference to the five joint Arctic weather stations should be accompanied by some mention of the large network of Canadian stations.
No emphasis should be placed on Canadian claims in the north lest we seem to be on the defensive. Canada owns all the lands shown on official maps of Canada and we recognize no differences in degree of control between any of the northern islands and counties in a southern province. We do recognize, however, that the maintenance of sovereignty in any part of Canada requires continuous, effective administration which there now is and will continue to be.
Questions concerning sovereignty over waters on the continental shelf, straits, and narrow passages between islands should, if at all possible, be avoided, or referred to authorities such as the Legal Division of the Department of External Affairs. 75