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.