RCN in arctic

The Arctic and Canada

Canadians often define themselves as northern people, and think of the North as an integral part of the country. That attitude may be summed up, for example, by the famous lines of the song by Gilles Vigneault, “Mon pays, ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver” (“My country is not a country, it’s winter”). Government policy has long held that the waters of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago are historic, internal waters of Canada. But for many years, the Arctic was not a government priority and most Canadians have never been there.

The Arctic became a higher priority under the government of Stephen Harper, and the Canadian Navy has been exercising there regularly now for more than a decade. With melting ice and the first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship handed over to the navy at the end of July, will the navy pay even more attention to the region?

To find out more about sovereignty, rules and regulations in the North, and why the United States is resistant to Canada’s position on the status of northern waters/the Northwest Passage, see the Briefing Note published by the Naval Association of Canada, at https://www.navalassoc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/BN16-Arctic-Sovereignty.pdf


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