|Abstract: ||A popular narrative suggests that climate change-induced year-over-year net sea ice melt will incentivize global shipping traffic to redirect itself en masse through the Northwest Passage. As Canada and foreign states do not agree on whether the Northwest Passage constitutes a legallydefined international strait, the extent to which this theory is true will have consequences for Canada’s national interest. This paper analyzes and compares the existing body of climatological and shipping profitability projections in order to assess the likelihood that conflict will increase as a result of this disagreement. It then analyzes these projections in relation to Canada’s current
policy regime, the interests of major foreign states, and the potential economic effects that increased shipping would have on Canadian Inuit populations. In light of these considerations, it offers policy recommendations tailored to the economic and political circumstances of the Canadian Arctic: that the Government of Canada should recognize the limitations of its current policy regime, advocate for a stricter understanding of international maritime law, increase its Arctic military presence, strengthen environmental regulations, promote Arctic cruise tourism, seek greater cooperation with both the United States and Russia, and adopt a more defensive
stance against the Chinese government’s attempts to expand its influence in the region.
Keywords: Northwest Passage, Arctic shipping, Arctic sovereignty, Arctic policy|