Canadian Government Does Not See A Military Threat in the Arctic, Says Canadian Department of National Defence

Polar Bear on Ice, Looking Back at Camera

Canadian Government Doe  Not See A Military Threat in the Arctic, Says  DND (Department of National Defence) – David Pugliese – Ottawa Citizen (Canada)August 16, 2012

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David Pugliese writes in the Ottawa Citizen about Canadian military planning and its response to Russia’s heightened focus on the Arctic, playing down the notion that Russia is viewed as a threat by the Canadians.

Nevertheless, the Conservative government has started building up Canadian Forces to the north, and has used Russia as one argument for wanting to purchase F-35 stealth fighters, to enhance the intercept abilities of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Russia has created of new military units for the Arctic an dis conducting a survey of the Arctic seabed.

Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, in 2011, announced Russia’s intention to create two new Arctic brigades, totaling 10,000 troops, to secure borders and beef up the Russian coast guard.

The Russians also wish to exploit natural resources.

However, a Canadian military analysis obtained under what sounds like Canada’s version of FOIA states:

“While many observers have commented in the media on Russia’s perceived provocative actions in the Arctic, there has yet to be any serious cause for alarm,” the analysts wrote in a July 2011 briefing for Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Associate Defence Minister Julian Fantino.

A written response by the Canadian military to the a question by the Ottawa Citizen reporter stressed positive relations with Russia and other neighbors:

“The Government of Canada is committed to protecting Canada’s security and exercising its sovereignty in the North, including in Canada’s Arctic internal waters. From a defence perspective, relations with our Northern neighbours (including Russia) remain positive and are marked by cooperation in several areas, such as Search and Rescue.

“Recently, Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff hosted a meeting of Chiefs of Defence and senior military officials from Northern nations (including Russia) in Goose Bay, during which they discussed common  safety and security issues in the region, including emergency response and support to civilian authorities. Arctic nations (including Russia) also participated in a Table Top Exercise hosted by the Canadian Forces in Whitehorse in October 2011 to help implement the Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement signed by the Arctic Council member states in May 2011.”

“Canada and Russia have a long history of working together on a wide range of Arctic issues.”

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