Trudeau calls for freedom of Hans Island

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Canadian island to be freed from Danish control

By Greg Waldock, Staff Writer


Early in the morning of March 1, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau declared a militarized liberation movement to free Hans Island, which has been illegally ruled with an iron fist by the Danish government since a few months ago. The island, a single square kilometer rock between Greenland and Ellesmere Island, has been the source of conflict between the two countries since the 1970s. The announcement came after a Canadian naval captain in the area spotted Danish salted liquorish scattered on the ground the night before, and declared it an affront to Canadian sovereignty.

There is a long history of Canadian-Danish conflict in that area. Hostilities over the territory began when a team of Canadian and Danish cartographers mapped the region in 1973 for a border treaty. The island was claimed by both nations, then immediately forgotten during the actual drawing of the border. It wasn’t until 1984, more than a decade later, that an anonymous Canadian hero was spotted wearing a hat that declared Hans Island to be a part of the then-Northwest Territories. A few weeks later, a Canadian oil company snuck onto the island and began drilling before being chased away by annoyed Danes. The Danish government retaliated with what Trudeau now calls the “first war crime in the bitter Hans Island conflict:” On June 7, 1984, the minister for Greenland himself, Tom Høyem the Terrible, personally planted a Danish flag on the island and left behind a taunting bottle of inferior Scandinavian brandy.

The Canadian response was swift and aggressive. The Royal Canadian Navy immediately sent in a crack squad of four sailors who drank the brandy, captured the Danish flag, and replaced it with a Canadian one, as well as a bottle of their finest Canadian Club. The first injury of the conflict was to Lieutenant Dave Mackenzie, who drank most of the brandy and tipped his canoe twice before reaching shore. He was awarded the highest military honours and a litre of cold water. The flag-planting and alcohol-drinking would go back and forth for the next two decades, only ceasing in 2005, when another border was drawn up and all involved politicians forgot about Hans Island again. The Danish Navy quietly planted a flag and the small barren island has been under their tyrannical rule ever since.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proclaimed that he “will be the first prime minister to finally reclaim the island for the Canadian people, and put an end to this conflict.” He also stated that the Glorious Liberation will involve as many soldiers as the island can hold, which is about 12.

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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