Why Does Canada Have So Many Unresolved Maritime Boundary Disputes?

Canadian Yearbook of International Law, published online 11.08.2017, 62 p. DOI: 10.1017/cyl.2017.14

Canada has five unresolved maritime boundaries. This might seem like a high number, given that Canada has only three neighbours: the United States, Denmark (Greenland), and France (St. Pierre and Miquelon). This article explores why Canada has so many unresolved maritime boundaries. It does so through a comparison with Norway, which has settled all of its maritime boundaries, most notably in the Barents Sea with Russia. This comparison illuminates some of the factors that motivate or impede maritime boundary negotiations. It turns out that the status of each maritime boundary can only be explained on the basis of its own unique geographic, historic, political, and legal context. Canada’s unresolved maritime boundaries are the result of circumstances specific to each of them and not of a particular policy approach in Ottawa.

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