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Conservatives would boost military in Arctic

Jack Danylchuk
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 23/05) - Conservative leader Stephen Harper's plan Thursday to boost Canada's military presence and sovereignty in the Arctic won immediate support from an expert.

"These proposals are a bare minimum of what must be done soon," said David Bercuson, director of a the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

"We have virtually no winter capability now, as exercises demonstrate. We're flirting with a dire political future in the North if we don't do something like this."

The plan is part of the Conservative's proposal to boost military spending by more than $5 billion. It includes:

  • Three armed icebreakers and 500 military forces personnel to be stationed in Iqaluit.
  • A new deep water dock at Iqaluit.
  • A military training centre at Cambridge Bay.
  • Search and rescue aircraft to be stationed in Yellowknife.
  • Recruit up to 500 more Canadian Rangers.
  • Establish a sensor system to detect submarines in Arctic waters.
  • Increased surveillance by aircraft based in CFB Comox and CFB Goose Bay.
  • An Arctic emergency response battalion, stationed at CFB Trenton.