Canada to lay claim to North Pole amid Arctic resources rush

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada intends to lay claim to the North Pole as part of a bid to assert control over a large part of the resource-rich Arctic, Foreign Minister John Baird said yesterday.

Baird said Canada had filed a preliminary submission to a special United Nations commission collecting competing claims and would be submitting more data later.

The move could raise tensions with Denmark and Russia, both of which also look set to lay claim to the North Pole on the grounds it lies on a continental shelf they control.

“We have asked our officials and scientists to do additional and necessary work to ensure that a submission for the full extent of the continental shelf in the Arctic includes Canada’s claim to the North Pole,” Baird told reporters.

Canada, Russia, Denmark, Norway and the United States are all keen to control as much as they can of a region the US Geological Survey says contains 30 per cent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 15 per cent of oil.

A Russian submarine planted a flag on the North Pole sea bed in 2007.

“Obtaining international recognition for the outer limits of our continental shelf … will be vital to the future development of Canada’s offshore resources,” said Baird.

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