Canada yesterday vowed to defend the North Pole and Santa Claus, insisting the mythical figure was a citizen, after Russia ordered its military to increase its presence in the Arctic.
Parliamentary secretary to Canada's prime minister, Paul Calandra, cited the country's claim of the North Pole to counter the contentions of an opposition party in parliament.
He said Canada was defending the north further by making a claim on the North Pole.
He said the opposition, Liberals did not think that the North Pole or Santa Claus were in Canada, but his party did and would make sure that they were protected to the best of his party's ability.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said everyone knew that Santa Claus was Canadian.
He added, Santa's postal code was H0H 0H0, referring to a mailing address assigned to Santa by Canada Post.
Each year the postal service handles tens of thousands of children's letters from around the world addressed to Santa Claus, North Pole, H0H 0H0, Canada.
The New Democratic Party, the main opposition, insisted though that Santa Claus was a citizen of the world.
The heated exchange followed Canada signalling its intentions to claim the North Pole and surrounding Arctic waters even as it announced Monday the filing of a UN application that sought to vastly expand its Atlantic sea boundary.
President Vladimir Putin responded by calling on Russia's military to increase its focus on the Arctic and complete plans by the end of the year to upgrade military bases in the region known to be rich in resources over which world powers jostled for control.
Speaking to defence minister Sergei Shoigu, Putin lauded the military's work in the Arctic.
The US, Denmark and Norway are also seeking to exercise greater control of what they consider their fair share of massive untapped oil and natural gas reserves.
"I request that you pay special attention to the deployment of infrastructure and military units in the Arctic," Reuters quoted Putin as saying at a defence ministry board meeting.
"By the end of the year it is planned - and I expect it will be done ... the renewal of the Tiksi airfield and completion of construction work on the Severomorsk-1 airfield," in comments that were televised.
Russia had already completed work on the renovation of an airfield on the Novosibirsk Islands, according to Putin, which was abandoned in 1993.