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It is costly to operate in the vast and inhospitable Arctic. But the Canadian military is exploring a way to cut costs and speed up the movement of troops and equipment by building several new northern bases.
The plan could result in remote bases and a small-but-permanent military presence in far-off communities.
Locations could include Alert, Inuvik, Whitehorse, Rankin Inlet, Iqaluit or Nanisivik, according to the technical memorandum prepared by the research wing of the military last year.
The report is premised on the priority that the Conservative government has placed on a more rigorous defence of Canada's territorial sovereignty in the North, where countries including Russia, Denmark and the United States are currently staking their claims to land and underwater territory.
“To maintain its sovereignty over its northern region, Canada will need to develop enforcement and surveillance capabilities for the Arctic,” the report says.
To that end, it envisions scenarios that could call for a military response in the North: disease outbreak in an Arctic community; a major air disaster; water contamination from an oil spill, and the cleanup of contaminated space debris, such as a satellite falling from orbit.
“To quickly and effectively respond to these scenarios, the CF would need to improve its personnel and equipment readiness for deployment in the North.”