MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.
“Conservative Government Supports Canada’s North with Investment and Military Strength”
Canada’s sovereignty must be backed by more than words. And throughout this week, our Conservative Government has been demonstrating tangible action in our strategy to strengthen our northern economy and safeguard our territory.
It’s not just a matter of defending our borders or Arctic waters with a military presence. Canada must assert, both domestically and to the rest of the world, that our northern region is an integral part of our nation’s economic prosperity.
When he launched the new Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency this week Prime Minister Stephen Harper emphasized that empowering Northern workers and businesses to take advantage of resources and to seize opportunities is the best way to ensure a stronger future for our North.
The Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency will be headquartered in Iqaluit, with district offices in Whitehorse and Yellowknife. It will be similar to other regional development agencies, such as Western Economic Diversification (WD), including co-ordination and delivery of federal economic development activities and policy, research and advocacy. This new Agency is a tangible step in unleashing the North’s true potential.
To further demonstrate this point, Prime Minister Harper also announced construction of a new small craft harbour in Pangnirtung, Nunavut. Not only will Pangnirtung’s harbour create local jobs NOW, as a key outpost on Canada’s Arctic shoreline, the project will ensure fisheries employment for years to come and provide a base for federal scientific research and resources management.
A strong military presence remains the key priority in protecting Canadian sovereignty and that is why the Prime Minister helped showcase Operation NANOOK 09, a major whole-of-government exercise designed to build Canada’s capability to assert our northern sovereignty and respond to emergencies throughout the Arctic.
Operation NANOOK is taking place from August 6 to 28th. Throughout the mission the Canadian Forces will demonstrate a visible presence with land, sea and air forces operating in the Baffin Island region. The operation includes an anti-submarine warfare exercise with Victoria-class submarines. Land Forces, including the Canadian Rangers and the Arctic Reserve Company Group, will deploy forward with the Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard. The Air Force will be flying the CP-140 Aurora, the CH-124 Sea King, the CC-138 Twin Otter, the CF-18 Hornet and CC-130 Hercules aircraft.
Operation NANOOK is an important training opportunity for CF personnel and demonstrates to the international community that Canada has both the operational capacity and the resolve required to assert our Arctic sovereignty.
Canada’s foreign policy and relations will also continue to stress to the international community our determination to secure our northern territory. Our legal position on where our borders, airspace and waters are located will be backed with science and legislation.
We’re investing in the comprehensive mapping of our seabed to support Canada’s submission to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, which is due by the end of 2013. And earlier this year, our Conservative Government introduced legislation, Bill C-3, to give Canada more control over marine activity in the Canadian Arctic and to help ensure that ships do not pollute our waters.
For more information on Canada’s Northern Strategy, go to: www.northernstrategy.gc.ca.