Transport Minister Raitt pours cold water on Arctic shipping prospects

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WASHINGTON - All the talk about shipping through the Arctic will remain mostly that for the foreseeable future — talk.

That's according to Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.

During a trip to Washington, the minister is seriously downplaying expectations that the Northwest Passage might become a viable shipping route anytime soon.

Raitt says there are a list of concerns: insurers might have qualms, there are several logistical challenges, and the threat of oil spills is frightening.

In a question-and-answer session with a business group, she says she can't see the Panama Canal feeling threatened anytime soon.

Successive Canadian governments, especially the current one, have pointed to an impending burst of Arctic activity as a source of national pride.

There have even been differences of opinion with other countries, including the U.S., about who would have sovereignty over the bustling new shipping routes.

Geographic location: Arctic, WASHINGTON, Northwest Passage Panama Canal U.S.

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