Santa Claus and his reindeer may turn out to be Canadians!

Well, not right now. However, if Canada gets its wish, they will be. Fox News reports that Canada has made a claim on the North Pole.

Canada plans to make a claim to the North Pole in an effort to assert its sovereignty in the resource-rich Arctic, the country's foreign affairs minister said Monday.

John Baird said the government has asked scientists to work on a future submission to the United Nations claiming that the outer limits of the country's continental shelf include the pole, which so far has been claimed by no one.

Canada last week applied to extend its seabed claims in the Atlantic Ocean, including some preliminary Arctic claims, but it wants more time to prepare a claim that would include the pole.

So, other than Santa's castle, toy-making factory (which has never turned a profit), and reindeer stables, what's so great about the North Pole? It's extremely cold, wildly remote, and has virtually zero night-life. Other than Roald Amundsen, Richard Byrd, and...uh...Yukon Cornelius, there are just not many people hanging around. Reindeer games only last a couple of weeks.

Oh, yeah. Maybe this is why Canada wants the North Pole:

Countries including the U.S. and Russia are increasingly looking to the Arctic as a source of natural resources and shipping lanes. The U.S. Geological Survey says the region contains 30 percent of the world's undiscovered natural gas and 15 percent of oil. If Canada's claim is accepted by the U.N. commission, it would dramatically grow its share.

So, it's all about oil-drilling and mineral hunting, eh? Not according to Michael Byers, arctic expert.

"We're talking about the center of a large, inhospitable ocean that is in total darkness for three months each year, thousands of miles from any port," he said. "The water in the North Pole is 12,000 feet (3,650 meters) deep and will always be covered by sea ice in the winter. It's not a place where anyone is going to be drilling for oil and gas.

"So it's not about economic stakes, it's about domestic politics."

I think, with his explanation, Mr. Byers has just been placed on Santa's Naughty List (to be renamed the Goon List after Canada takes possession).

To learn more than you need to about the politics of the Arctic, click here.

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