The Arctic, again

The Sputnik news agency, which is a Russian, state controlled internet and broadcast news agency that has been accused, by NATO, “of being part of a “Kremlin propaganda machine” distributing biased articles and “misinformation” to influence political opinion around the world,” has published an article about renewed Russian submarine operations in the Arctic.

Russian combat submarines have returned to the Arctic region, where they will increase their presence in the near future, Rear Admiral Viktor Kochemazov, the head of the combat training department of the Russian Navy, told the Russian newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda,” the article says, and Rear Admiral Kochemazov also said that “the next few years will see Russian battle submarines increasing their presence in the Arctic region … [and] … Developing the Arctic Ocean basin is one of the main tasks set by the Russian Commander-in-Chief, a task that Kochemazov said will be resolved by stationing Russian submarines there on a permanent basis.

86032_138526Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s instincts were right, back in 2006, when he said, according to CBC News,  that ““The economics and the strategic value of northern resource development are growing more attractive and critical to our nation,” … [because, he added] … “And trust me, it’s not only Canadians who are noticing. It’s no exaggeration to say that the need to assert our sovereignty and take action to protect our territorial integrity in the Arctic has never been more urgent.”

nov18_13frnt1He was right in 2006 but events, especially the 2008 market crash and the Great Recession, upset his ambitious plans and we ended up with just a few Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships ~ which should, properly, be part of the RCMP fleet because they are not, really, “first rate” warships ~ and, maybe, eventually, a refuelling site at Nanisivik where a full blown military, active naval and air base is required, in my opinion. (The image is one of our current, small, almost unarmed Kingston class coastal patrol ships at the jetty at Nanisivik. They are about all we have for Arctic patrol in 2017.)

“In the future, we plan to further increase our presence in the Arctic region [as] a matter of national state security,”” Rear Admiral Kochemazov stated in the article. He also added that “after a long pause, the advanced Russian nuclear powered submarines have returned to the Arctic Ocean, including the Borey- and Yasen-class multipurpose ballistic missile submarines.

So Canada’s Arctic sovereignty is still being challenged by the USA and, again, by Russia and, potentially, also by China.

And what is the government of the day, today, doing?

Nothing …

p3gasThis Trudeau – Liberal government is all about the Laurentian Elites in Montreal and Toronto and, almost as and afterthought, in Vancouver, too. The Laurentian Elites have their own Canada and it doesn’t really involve people to live in harsh, remote areas and drill for oil or mine for minerals or chop trees for timber. The Laurentian Elites love to talk about the North but they don’t want to go there and they don’t want to be involved in exploiting its resources.

The resources in in the Arctic may be beyond imagination. They may give Canada an economic boom unlike anything we have ever seen before … if we can control and manage how those resources are gathered or mined or pumped or “harvested” and exported … and that is something that some countries would rather do themselves after having ignored or disproved, by force, our claims to sovereignty.

If we have sensor fields ~ satellites, radars, underwater sensors ~ to provide information and “steerage” and Canadian aircraft (interceptors) and Canadian warships in the region and Canadian troops, too, then our sovereignty will be accepted ~ gracelessly, perhaps, but accepted all the same. If we do not then it will be ignored.

It must be possible to both:

  • Protect the Arctic environment; and
  • Exploit its vast resource wealth …

… under full, 100% Canadian sovereignty. and the Arctic have been together since John Diefenbaker’s famous “northern Vision” speech in 1958. “As far as the Arctic is concerned, how many of you here knew the pioneers in Western Canada?” he asked. “I saw the early days here. Here in Winnipeg in 1909, when the vast movement was taking place into the Western plains, they had imagination,” he went on. “There is a new imagination now. The Arctic. We intend to carry out the legislative programme of Arctic research, to develop Arctic routes, to develop those vast hidden resources the last few years have revealed. Plans to improve the St. Lawrence and the Hudson Bay route. Plans to increase self-government in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. We can see one or two provinces there.” Not all of Prime Minister Diefenbaker’s visions have come to pass … yet, but that is, in some large measure, because successive Liberal governments chose to ignore the Arctic (and our sovereignty) and focus on a few big cities  and the desires of Quebec instead …

We need to look North, again. We need towns and icebreakers; airfields and satellites; armed constabulary ships and patrol aircraft; radars and ground troops on patrol; and we need Canadian officials licensing new mines and oilfields and inspecting to ensure that environmental regulations are followed and that First Nations get a fair share of the jobs and benefits. We can “contain” both the Russians and the Americans, while still being good NORAD partners, and any others who might want to contest our sovereignty … we can if we are willing to spend what is needed and if we have good, solid, mature, visionary leadership.

By Ted Campbell

Old, retired Canadian soldier, Conservative ~ socially moderate, but a fiscal hawk. A husband, father and grandfather. Published material is posted under the "Fair Dealing" provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act for the purposes of research, private study and education.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s