NATO Secretary General visits the Canadian Arctic with Justin Trudeau

NATO Secretary General visits Canadian Arctic with Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg upon their arrival in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited on Thursday in Nunavut alongside North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Nunavut remote northern community to witness the largest Canadian Army training exercise in the Arctic.

MM. Trudeau and Stoltenberg visited a military radar site in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, marking the first visit by a NATO leader to Canada's Arctic. They then observed Operation Nanook, a military operation conducted annually by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

This is the first time Justin Trudeau has attended Operation Nanook, which has taken place every year since 2007 and involves military aircraft, warships as well as hundreds of Armed Forces personnel who train in the austere arctic environment of Canada.

Exercise was a staple of Stephen Harper's traditional visits to the Arctic when he was Prime Minister, a period during which the Conservative government launched numerous initiatives aimed at strengthening Canada's military capabilities in the region.

Mr. Trudeau broke that tradition in 2016 after being elected leader of the country, opting instead to visit China as his government began to shift Ottawa's priorities in the Arctic more towards non-military concerns.

We've seen a lot of investment in societal and environmental security, we might say, said Trent University professor Whitney Lackenbauer, one of Canada's leading security experts in the world. the arctic.

The Liberals' particular emphasis on climate change and Indigenous relations in the Arctic coincided with the belief of many countries that any dispute between various Arctic countries could be resolved through diplomacy and cooperation.

Some Canadian and U.S. military officials had warned against complacency as tensions between China, Russia and the West grew and rapidly rising temperatures made the Arctic more accessible to shipping and resource extraction.

Rapidly accelerating melting in the Arctic means the region is more accessible to allies, but also enemies.

But Russia's attack on Ukraine has finally upended those assumptions and forced the Liberal government to recognize the importance of defending the Arctic, the assistant professor at the University said. ;University of Victoria, Will Greaves.

This truly constructive and positive vision of a non-confrontational and cooperative Arctic is a casualty of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Greaves, who is also coordinator of the North American and Arctic Defense and Security Network.

We will now move forward indefinitely into a new Arctic context which is almost structurally, much more conflictual, and will have a greater possibility or potentiality of armed conflict.

Mr. Trudeau's decision to participate in Operation Nanook with Mr. Stoltenberg is seen as a clear signal that the defense of Canada's North is now a top priority for his country. government.

I think this definitely sends a signal not only to Canadians, but also to our allies, that we take Arctic defense and security seriously,” Lackenbauer said. And that we are ready to shoulder our share of the burden of collective defense in the Arctic and elsewhere.

Other indications of a change in government direction include the long-awaited promise to invest billions of dollars with the United States to modernize the early warning system. of North America.

Some experts have also pointed to the fact that CAF Commander General Wayne Eyre recently hosted counterparts from five other Arctic nations in Saint John, Newfoundland and -Labrador, the first such meeting since a previous grouping including Russia was unofficially suspended in 2014.

Justin Trudeau and Jens Stoltenberg with Canadian soldiers

The question of burden sharing is delicate for Canada, which has always been among the laggards among NATO members when it comes to defense spending, an issue Mr. Stoltenberg will no doubt raise during his visit with Mr. Trudeau.

Concerns persist about the state of the current system, including a series of radar installations dating back to the 1980s in Canada's far north that are too old to properly detect an impending Russian attack.

Despite this, details regarding the government's promise to upgrade the North American Aerospace Defense Command with the United States are scarce. Moreover, there is uncertainty as to when work on the common defensive system will begin in earnest and what the results will be.

There are other needs, pointed out Elinor Sloan, North American defense and security expert at Carleton University, including modern submarines to monitor and protecting Canada's Arctic sea lanes, new maritime surveillance aircraft and icebreakers.

The Liberals have begun to fill many of these gaps, while quietly continuing most of the initiatives launched by Stephen Harper's Conservatives, but Ms Sloan said it will be years before many projects become reality due to of Canada's procurement system.

The expert and others nevertheless expressed confidence that Arctic security will remain a top priority for the government – if only for the reason that it is now a top priority for his closest allies.

Its allies and friends in NATO are increasingly interested in the policies they develop and, in some cases, operate in. #x27;Arctic, Ms. Sloan said. What is Canada doing if it's not up there? So it's not just pressure from opponents, it's also pressure from allies.

While Operation Nanook has often focused on specific scenarios, such as responding to a plane crash or an emergency at sea, military spokesman Captain Jason Rheubottom, let it be known that this year's focus was different.

The mission of this iteration is broader in scope: to project and sustain forces along Canada's Northwest Passage in order to demonstrate the presence and commitment of CAF in the region, and to improve knowledge of all areas of the CAF in the Arctic.

Jens Stoltenberg's last visit to Canada was in 2019, but Mr. Trudeau met him recently at the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June .

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister was in Toronto and Newfoundland and Labrador with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, whose visit aimed to strengthen ties between the two countries when it comes to green energy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Sales of new gas or diesel cars will end in California by 2035
Next post Syria: wounded in strikes attributed to Israel