Where are we? (6)

A recent paper by a bevy of RAND Corporation researchers led by Dr Abbie Tingstad, who is a senior physical scientist and associate director of the Engineering and Applied Sciences Department at the RAND Corporation begins by saying “International interest in polar regions continues to grow, bringing with it increasing concerns about competition, safety, economic opportunity, and the environment.”  And I have seen article about new American, Chinese and Russian initiatives, including new polar icebreakers …

… all I’ve seen from Canada is that the fist of the new Harry DeWolf class of lightly armed (almost unarmed) Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships, which can operate in the Arctic Ocean in the very short summer …

Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship | Fleet & Units | Royal Canadian Navy

… is undergoing sea trials prior to be accepted for service and joining the fleet.

In the Arctic,” The RAND Corporation authors note, “the United States maintains sovereignty in maritime areas under U.S. jurisdiction, manages resources in these waters, maintains waterway access to icebound ports and communities, and ensures the safety and security of vessels operating near ice.” That’s exactly what Canada is supposed to so, too, but it has only two heavy icebreakers, the CCGS Louis St Laurent which entered service in 1970 ~ that’s over 50 years ago! ~ and the CCGS Terry Fox which entered service 37 years ago. There is a new icebreaker in the works; the CCGS John Diefenbaker was ordered a dozen years ago (in 2008) and was assigned to SeaSpan Marine in Vancouver as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Programme but her status is now in doubt. This is what the Diefenbaker is supposed to look like, if she ever gets built:

Canadian interest in the Arctic only seems to come to the fore when Conservatives are in power. In my lifetime only John G Diefenbaker, Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper have made the Arctic a priority …

… Prime Minister Diefenbaker enunciated an Arctic vision, Prime Minister Mulroney wanted to buy nuclear submarines to assert our sovereignty in the Arctic and was excoriated by the media for it, and only Prime Minister Harper actually put serious money into building something, even though much of it was scaled back.

And Justin Trudeau? As far as I can see he’s only made a couple of short trips to the North. It, like the military and issues like sovereignty, does not seem to interest him very much. There are not a whole lot of votes to be had there. The Arctic makes up a HUGE part of Canada’s territory and Canada’s sovereignty over the Arctic Ocean is disputed by, inter alia, the United States.

Canada needs a new government that will take its sovereignty seriously and will, equally, do its duty as an Arctic nation.

Published 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.

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