Unless our nation rapidly strengthens our military presence in the Canadian arctic, the future of the region will be dictated to us by foreign countries.
China is expanding their Belt & Road initiative, and are now making a play for the arctic.
As reported by Reuters,“China on Friday outlined its ambitions to extend President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative to the Arctic by developing shipping lanes opened up by global warming. Releasing its first official Arctic policy white paper, China said it would encourage enterprises to build infrastructure and conduct commercial trial voyages, paving the way for Arctic shipping routes that would form a “Polar Silk Road”.
The report also notes, “China’s increasing prominence in the region has prompted concerns from Arctic states over its long-term strategic objectives, including possible military deployment.”
Meanwhile, Canada’s icebreaker fleet is so weak that “mechanical problems kept the service from helping a ferry trapped in the St. Lawrence River.”
Now, the government is having to lease icebreakers.
And that doesn’t even begin to address the total under-funding of our military, and our lack of large arctic military bases.
In reality, the arctic is so undefended that for practical purposes, it is part of Canada in name only.
If you can’t assert ownership and defend a piece of land – particularly in an increasingly disputed territory – influence over that territory will be taken by those willing to assert their authority.
In this case, that’s China.
So, our leaders are failing in the most basic of tasks – make sure that the land in our nation is defended and under undisputed Canadian control.
This could cost us big in the years and decades to come.
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