Asserting our Arctic Sovereignty
A sovereign country must have the ability to defend all of its territory. Our North, and all the wealth it contains, is a critical part of Canadaâ€™s future.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently visited the site of Operation NANOOK 12, an annual operation in the North aimed at exercising Canadian sovereignty.
This yearâ€™s Operation NANOOK was the largest Northern sovereignty exercise ever held. And as per past Operations, it also included an emergency response simulation component. The emergency response scenario tested the response of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Coast guard and other government personnel.
I shared the sentiments of Prime Minister Harper when he said that as a Canadian he was unabashedly proud of the skill and precision with which the Operation was carried out.
Since the first NANOOK exercise in 2007, more than 5000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces have taken part in these joint exercises in the North. From Inuvik to the Davis Strait, from Ellesmere Island to Churchill, every one of the operations has been based on a real-life scenario. And they have shown the world our deep resolve to exercise Canadaâ€™s sovereignty in our Arctic.
When it comes to the North, our Government has consistently backed up our words with action:Â through expansion of the Canadian Rangers across the region; the construction of the Canadian Forces Arctic Training Centre at Resolute Bay; the enhancement of our military airlift capacity and, over the next five years, the completion of the Nanisivik naval facility; the arrival of the first Arctic offshore patrol ships; the assembling of the Diefenbaker-classÂ icebreaker and the newest RADARSTAT Constellation Mission satellites.
With the experience gained through our time in Afghanistan and operations like NANOOK, ours is one of the few militaries that can be proficient from 50 degrees below zero to 50 degrees above zero.
We have much to be proud of and Manitoba is well positioned to be a major player in the future of the north.
The recently announced Churchill Port Utilization Program will provide up to $25 million over five years to the Port of Churchill. This funding will help the Port pursue long-term commercial opportunities and explore options for the development of the community.
Canada has been a consistent champion of the Arctic as a zone of responsible development, environmental protection and international peace. We remain determined to assert our national interest and to protect our sovereignty in the North.