March 25, 2011
The defence and security of Canada's North
By Nancy Pearson-Mackie
In the last five years the issue of Arctic Security has developed as one of the most important questions in the international system. As it becomes more accessible, one of the most important roles that the Canadian forces will be playing in the Arctic is safeguarding and securing the increasing and complicated activities that are expected to occur in this region.
Dr. Rob Huebert, Associate Director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, explains; “The Arctic is in a state of massive transformation. The Arctic is changing physically, economically and culturally in ways that we are only now starting to understand. Perhaps even more confounding are new geopolitical processes that are altering the very notions of international cooperation and competition in the region.”
Many analysts contend that that the region is now on its way to developing as a peaceful and cooperative area that should be seen as a model for the rest of the international system. This view is challenged by others who see other trends that suggest that the Arctic states are actually beginning to develop military capabilities that suggest a less cooperative future.
On March 25 and 26, the University of Calgary’s Centre for Military and Strategic Studies is hosting a symposium, with participants from the Canadian Forces, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Canadian Coast Guard and industry.
Huebert adds “While not the lead agency, the role of the Canadian Forces will increasingly be front and centre to Canada’s responses to this transformation. This conference will initiate a discussion on how best to understand how Canada can best protect and promote its arctic interests.”