10 August 2007
Resolute Bay, NU
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today unveiled three new initiatives to bolster Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic. Delivering on commitments made during a tour of the North last summer and during the last election campaign, Prime Minister Harper announced that a Canadian Forces Arctic Training Centre will be established in Resolute Bay, the Canadian Rangers will be expanded and re-equipped, and a deep water Arctic Docking and Refuelling Facility will be established at Nanisivik
"Canada’s New Government understands that the first principle of Arctic sovereignty is use it or lose it," Prime Minister Harper said. "Today’s announcements tell the world that Canada has a real, growing, long-term presence in the Arctic."
The Training Centre will be a year-round multi-purpose facility supporting Arctic training and operations, accommodating up to 100 personnel. Training equipment and vehicles stationed at the site will also provide an increased capability and faster response time in support of regional military or civilian emergency operations.
The expansion of the Rangers by 900 members will enable more and larger Ranger patrols. The Rangers are the "eyes and ears" of the Canadian Forces in remote regions across northern Canada. They also assist and train Southern-based soldiers, sailors and airmen deployed in the provinces and territories where they are based.
Establishing a deep water port in Nanisivik will extend the operational range of the Navy in the Arctic. Ships will be able to re-supply, refuel, embark equipment and supplies, and transfer personnel there. The location is strategically sited inside the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage and it is equipped with docking infrastructure. The port’s main purpose will be military, but it will also have important civilian applications.
"Taken together, the creation of the Canadian Forces Arctic Training Centre, the expansion and modernization of the Canadian Rangers and the development of Port Nanisivik will significantly strengthen Canada’s sovereignty over the Arctic," said the Prime Minister. "These initiatives will also benefit communities throughout the region by creating jobs and opportunities and enhancing the safety and security of the people who live here."