The Northwest Passage is a sea route that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. In the past, the Northwest Passage has been practically impassable because it was covered by thick, year-round sea ice. However, satellite and other monitoring confirm that the Northwest Passage will become accessible to navigation, and that would represent a potentially attractive and valuable commercial shipping route.

Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic embraces land, sea and ice. Canada claims the Northwest Passage as Canadian Internal Waters, and thus fall under Canadian jurisdiction and control. And that means Canada has the right to set the rules over who gets to go through. A key concern is to avoid letting unsafe vessels navigate through the Northwest Passage and risk a devastating oil spill in the fragile Arctic ecosystem. As a first step, the Canadian government has approved legislation designed to protect the North from environmental damage and has created the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act, a truly significant response to the potential crisis. Another important dimension of the assertion of Canadian sovereignty includes stewardship, an issue that has been raised by Canada’s northern Inuit and Aboriginal peoples. Specifically, use and occupancy by Canada’s northern inhabitants is significant in terms of the validity of Canada’s sovereign claims.

Canada has no need of the Arctic Council because Canada would have to lose its sovereignty to an organization that is mainly a bureaucratic body totally useless for protecting Canada's sovereignty and the north polar region. Only Canada can and should do the work. With help from Russia and the United States, Canada can be and should be the overseer and custodian of the north polar region.