Canada, Relations with


Canada, Relations with
   The Soviet Union established diplomatic relations with Canada in 1942 in the context of a joint military campaign against Nazi Germany. Historical ties between the countries were built on similar geography and sharing of agricultural knowledge related to their common taiga and steppe/prairie biomes.
   During President Boris Yeltsin’s second presidential administration, commercial and diplomatic ties between Ottawa and Moscow were substantially expanded. Both countries are members of the Group of Eight (G8) and numerous other international governmental organizations. Bilateral trade was tepid during the 1990s, but a number of new joint ventures (particularly in the mining industry) and an expansion of commercial exchange followed the election of Vladimir Putin. In 2003, the two countries signed bilateral agreements on combating terrorism, organized crime, illegal immigration, and narcotics trafficking.
   Diplomatic relations were challenged in 2001 when a Russian diplomat struck and killed a woman in Ottawa while driving under the influence of alcohol. The expulsion of a reputed spy, a Russian citizen operating under the fake name of Paul William Hampel, further dampened relations in 2006.
   While Russia and Canada do not share a contiguous border, both countries are increasingly finding themselves in a competitive position in the Arctic Ocean as global warming opens the Northwest Passage. The potential for petroleum exploration in the Arctic in the coming decades, as well as lucrative benefits from Arctic shipping, has resulted increasingly in provocative actions by both sides. In 2001, Russia made a new claim to 740,000 square kilometers of the Arctic seabed. In 2007, a Russian submarine planted an underwater flag at the North Pole, and Russia began strategic bomber flights over the region.
   In response, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled plans for new naval patrols, 1,000 new Arctic Rangers, and a deepwater port to combat Russian expansion within the Arctic Circle. Under his principle of “use it or lose it,” Harper announced in 2008 that Canada will expand its territorial waters by 500,000 square kilometers. While Denmark (via Greenland), Norway, and the United States all claim status as Arctic nations, Canada’s and Russia’s long Arctic coastlines make these countries the likeliest competitors for development of the Arctic shelf.
   See also Foreign relations.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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