By Peggy Hope-Simpson
The Law of the Sea (LOS) Convention was adopted in 1982. It has been signed by 159 States, including Canada, and ratified by 47, most of which are developing countries. The race is on to get the remaining 13 ratifications which would protect it from unravelling and give it full international legal force. Why, when the benefits are so great, has Canada not yet ratified it?
Canada was given great credit as one of the major players in the development of this agreement. Unfortunately, since 1984 Canada has been moving away from internationalism towards closer identification with the interests of its partners in the G7, the group of seven leading industrialized democracies. Priorities in Canada are set with an ear tuned in to Washington's preferred option. We can be sure that the United States wants to bypass the U.N. and open the LOS to change which could invalidate the Convention.
Elizabeth Mann-Borgese of the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies and the Oceans Institute of Canada, believes strongly that in their own interests Canada and the Nordic countries should ratify the LOS. before the enormously important U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) to take place in Brazil in June, 1992. She says that the Convention "is the only existing binding international law on global pollution. And it is the only legal instrument integrating environment and development. What is needed now is public and political support, to persuade the Canadian Government to initiate without delay the process of ratification and implementation."
Write to the Hon. Barbara McDougall, M.P., House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6.
Peggy Hope Simpson is a peace activist living in Wolfville, N.S.