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Conservatives promise Nunavut military boost

Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 22/05) - Conservative leader Stephen Harper has promised major military spending that would boost defence presence in Nunavut.

Speaking in Winnipeg today, Harper unveiled a $2 billion plan to build three armed icebreakers, build a military/civilian port near Iqaluit and establish an Arctic training base near Cambridge Bay.

The plan also calls for increasing the number of Rangers by 500.

The icebreakers would be outfitted with weapons, capable of carrying up to 500 troops, and would be stationed near Iqaluit.

The Cambridge Bay training facility would be able to host up to 100 personnel.

Conservative defence critic Gordon O'Connor toured Nunavut in September.

He was lobbied by Iqaluit residents and Conservative supporters for the deep-water port.

"We would be increasing the number of (Ranger) patrols. You should be touching every island and every piece of land in the north on a regular basis," said O'Connor during his visit.

"Under a Conservative government, Canada will know when foreign ships, whether they be Russian, British, Danish, American or anyone else, are in our waters," said Harper.