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The opening of the Northwest Passage to shipping is going to have some interesting soverignty implications. All of the routes from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the Northern Hemisphere pass entierly through Canadian waters. Transiting vessels will have to comply with Canadian maritime law, especially in regard to pollution controls that protect the fragile high-arctic ecosystem.

I think that trade via the Northwest Passage will steadily grow and transition from ice breaker-assisted transits to unassisted as the icepack thins.
 
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