NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Jens Stoltenberg and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believe that defense of the Arctic is now a priority due to recent geopolitical changes, including Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the impact of climate change.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ended his three-day visit to Canada at the Royal Canadian Air Force base in Cold Lake, Alberta, one of only two with Canadian CF-188 fighter jets.
In the event of an attack in the north of the country, these are the jets from Cold Lake and Bagotville, Quebec, who would respond to the alert. This kind of intervention, long considered a mere possibility, is becoming more and more likely, according to Mr. Stoltenberg.
“The shortest route for a Russian missile or bomber [to reach North America] is through the North Pole or the North Sea. North. So what happens here is important not just for Canada, but also for the whole alliance.
— Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General
The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, for his part, clarified that the geopolitical situation has changed in recent months. Russia is a growing concern for all of us.
That is why the government promises to invest more and more in the defense of Canada's North. Already, an additional $8 billion has been announced over five years, including to modernize the Canadian military's digital infrastructure and capabilities, including $250 million for NATO-related air spending.
We will ensure that members of the Canadian Forces have what it takes to do their job and defend the freedom of Canadians and our partners and allies. We and our allies are united as never before, said the Prime Minister.
Last spring, NATO agreed to the creation of a Center of Excellence for Climate Change and security in Canada. According to Secretary General Stoltenberg, this is another example of Canada's important contribution to the protection of NATO's 30 members.