• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Defending Canadian Arctic Sovereignty



I was watching the news and on the ticker at the bottom it said that there will be the largest ever CF arctice exercise this summer. Anyone have more info about it?
Ask and ye shall receive ...
(plus Peter Worthington‘s riposte ...)

Forces to ‘flex muscles‘ in north
Largest exercise ever ‘sends a message ... that we are here‘

Chris Wattie, National Post
March 27, 2004

Canada is sending one of its largest warships, a squadron of helicopters and 200 ground troops to the high Arctic this summer in an exercise designed to show the flag -- and a little military muscle -- in the North.

And while the military says the three-week-long exercise, code-named Narwhal, has nothing to do with Denmark‘s claim to a tiny island in the far North, it will be the largest Canadian Forces exercise ever in the Arctic.

"This is a first," Colonel Norris Pettis, commander of the Canadian Forces northern area, said yesterday.

"This is the first time we‘ll have a joint naval, air and land force operating this far north. And it‘s sending a message that this land is important to us ... that we can put troops, and aircraft and ships, on the ground to respond to whatever we might be called upon to deal with.

"It‘s putting a military presence up here ... flexing our muscles."

The patrol frigate HMCS Montreal is to sail sometime in August to the Arctic, where it will be joined by five CH-146 Griffon helicopters and two companies of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, the largest combined force that has ever operated in the North.

Col. Pettis said such a "robust" military presence in the desolate tundra of Baffin Island will not go unnoticed.

"It sends a message, first of all to the people of the North, secondly to all Canadians and certainly to whatever other countries out there may be watching that we are here and that this place is important to us," he said in a telephone interview from his headquarters in Yellowknife. "This is an attempt to demonstrate that we are here and we are paying attention to what happens in the North."

Meanwhile, Canadian diplomats are considering an offer from the Danish ambassador to negotiate the future of Hans Island, a three-kilometre-long stretch of rock and ice in the Nares Strait between Ellesmere Island and Greenland.

Svend Roed Nielsen, the Danish government‘s top representative in Canada, told the National Post this week that he is willing to start "negotiating" with Canada.

However, he added that his government is not backing down from its claim that the barren and uninhabited island is in Danish territory.

Reynald Doiron, a Foreign Affairs spokesman, said Ottawa is considering a response to the ambassador‘s offer, but added that Canada is not backing down either. "Our position is that the island is ours; their position is that the island is theirs," he said.

"As far as Canada-Danish relations are concerned we have tried to keep this low-key [but] we have agreed to disagree."

Hans Island does not even appear on most maps, but it has become a focus of challenges to Canada‘s sovereignty over the Arctic archipelago, where islands and waterways long claimed as Canadian are facing challenges from foreign governments.

Danish warships showed up off its coast in the summer of 2002. A group of sailors disembarked and reportedly hoisted the Danish flag, actions which Canada considered a violation of its sovereignty.

Dr. Richard Gimblett, a former Canadian navy officer who is now a research fellow with Dalhousie University‘s Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, said the upcoming exercise will send a significant message in the North.

"If you‘re laying claim to a piece of land you have to use it -- you have to show that you can go there, stay there and control it," he said. "The Canadian Forces is a good way to help establish that."

However, Dr. Gimblett said that the Canadian navy is limited in what it can do in the North since its front-line warships -- patrol frigates like HMCS Montreal and its Iroquois-class destroyers -- cannot venture into even loosely packed ice in Arctic waters.

"It would be nice if we had ships that could go up there year-round, but we don‘t," he said.

And with global warming making the northwest passage through Canada‘s Arctic navigable for longer stretches every year, he said we will need a naval capability in the North very soon.

"Within 10 or 15 years the passage could be open year-round," he said. "It has the potential to become a super-highway for shipping between Europe and east Asia."

Exercise Narwhal will cost an estimated $5-million and the logistics of transporting and supporting so many soldiers, sailors and airmen to such an isolated area will be formidable, Col. Pettis said.

"It‘s going to be a challenge just getting them here," he said. "It‘s just a few hundred kilometres from Iqaluit, but there aren‘t any roads. So it‘s an achievement just getting them where they‘re supposed to be going."

The exercise will be the "cap stone" in a series of military moves in the North designed to bolster Canada‘s claim over the vast stretches of the uninhabited Arctic, Col. Pettis said.

Canada has launched a five-year plan to increase its military presence throughout its uninhabited Arctic territory, including satellite surveillance and far-reaching patrols of soldiers riding snowmobiles.

A patrol of Canadian Rangers is to leave next week on a long-distance trek to Alert.


A beaver that roared
Arctic flap just a Grit smoke screen
By Peter Worthington -- For the Toronto Sun
Mon, March 29, 2004

In the movie Wag the Dog, public attention in the U.S. is diverted by a fake war, with graphics, to enable a lecherous, scandal-ridden president to be re-elected.

A lot of people linked the movie with the Bill Clinton regime, which generated foreign crises to deflect attention from Monica Lewinsky.

Something mindful of that seems underway at the National Post, which has been churning controversy about Canadian troops undertaking a five-year campaign to march soldiers to uninhabited regions of our Arctic to establish sovereignty.

The central issue is the far northern island of Hans, an ice-bound speck of rock, 3 km long and 1 km wide, situated between Ellesmere Island and Greenland, and claimed by both Canada and Denmark.

Canada has discovered that Danish ships have visited the island, left footprints in the snow and -- horrors -- planted a Danish flag!

By making this a headline story, the Post diverts attention from various Liberal shenanigans and scandals that threaten the continued divine reign of the party, which the National Post endorses.

With overtones of the 1959 Peter Sellers movie, The Mouse That Roared, where a puny, bankrupt country (Grand Fenwick) declared war on the U.S. in order to lose and be rebuilt like Germany after World War II, the dispute over Hans Island has comic qualities.

In short -- who cares?

Hans Island is so insignificant that it doesn‘t appear on some maps. It‘s at the top of Greenland, where there is nothing.

Twenty soldiers, supported by Canadian Rangers (mostly Inuit) plan to snowmobile to Hans from Alert, Canada‘s most northerly weather station.

Hans is some 700 km north of the most northerly Inuit settlement, and 3,000 km north of the nearest Canadian city (Edmonton).

Why bother, one might ask.

Well, it‘s a question of pride and sovereignty.

Remember in the 1970s the shock of learning that Soviet submarines were snooping under our Arctic ice, with the Americans doing the same?

The government wanted to get nuclear subs -- not with nuclear weapons, but nuclear engines, so we could track Soviet subs and inform the CBC if they disturbed our walruses, or something.

The trouble with this dispute with Denmark (which owns Greenland), is that the Danes have better ice-coping ships than we do.

They often visit Hans Island -- in itself suspicious, because only seals go there.

The National Post‘s initial story was followed by one saying the Danish ambassador was not backing down.

This was followed by a headline story: "Forces to ‘flex muscles‘ in the north -- largest exercise ever ‘sends a message ... we are here.‘ "

This "largest exercise ever" consists of one frigate, 200 soldiers and some helicopters. (Judging by how the Liberals have gutted the military, I suppose this is a large force.)

The Post warns that although Canadians outnumber Danes (32 million to 5.4 million) Denmark‘s navy is better equipped than ours. If the dispute gets ugly, "Canada would take a Danish pasting," warns the Post.

Denmark has four icebreakers to Canada‘s none, and five functioning submarines. Canada has four British reject subs that leak when under water.

None of our ships can get past the ice, and our subs daren‘t go under it. Which puts the whole sovereignty load on the Rangers and 20 regulars.

Since this is a symbolic issue of sovereignty, the suggestion of Vancouver‘s David Williams has merit. In a letter to the Post he suggested: "Since Canada wants to reclaim the Arctic and boast our nation‘s visibility ... this represents an opportunity for Adrienne Clarkson (with or without her value-added husband) to take up residency on Hans Island."

What a splendid idea!

If not Queen Adrienne, how about Alfonso Gagliano, who used to be our ambassador to Denmark before Paul Martin and his past caught up with him?
Bugger the expense,let‘s just send the Militia on a 2yr Op. and occupy the rock,at least every one will come back Cold Weather qualified and we will have gained more land.
I am currently signed up for this ex. Get me out of the cube farm and all the hostess twinky wrappers that they say is the centre of DND.

Seriously will keep my eyes and ears open but if I tell you anything I may have to _ill you. :) I am such a joker. Now - lets followup by all the things that _ill would lead to.
Wow, i hope this escalates into a full scale war so that i would have my piece when i join up, lol.
But seriously, how can we take this. If someone stole my pen or something, i would defend it. If we let the Danes take that no-where Island, its gonna tell everyone that we are weak.
Its true, this isnt about a small speck of land in the ice, its about RESPECT. The Danes better show some respect, And we better tell them that. Or else they‘d start planting flags on Newfoundland!!!
Oh God.... we‘re starting a war with Denmark????

this is really just too funny... yes, on one level i can see the issue behind the danes taking the island... but on the other hand.. its a giant rock covered in ice.. unless they know something we dont, it seems as if its pretty useless...

and i really have my doubt that this is testing the water for a full scale invasion of canada.. their military probabbly wouldnt be able to take out ours.. though i dont know the figures i have a feeling we have more troops, Reg and Reserve, then they do. and besides.. they wouldnt have enough people in their whole country to occupy a land mass as big as canada.

sounds to me like Mr Martin is trying to sweep the sponsorship scandal under the rug....
If they claimed this island would that give them any extended fishing rights?
Originally posted by Bruce Monkhouse:
[qb] If they claimed this island would that give them any extended fishing rights? [/qb]
Never thought of that, I think it would since all countries get a 20km restricted zone (people must ask permission to enter by sea or air) and they would get a 360 km Offshore economic zone which would give them the right to fish that area, so that would give them quiet an advantage. It‘s bad enough with spain stealing our fish we don‘t need the danish guys doing it too. On a different note didn‘t we liberate denmark single handly in ww2 (and then have the brits take credit for it) ? Of course the sad thing is, thanks to the liberals we‘d probally lose a war with Denmark, unless our citizens would all go south and buy m16s from walmarts in the US and come fight (I know I would). I think we should fight (diplomaticly) for this island since we keep getting challeneged in the north by other countries claiming rights to it. (like the americans who went trhough the North West Passage without permission in 1986, *******s...). Even if there is nothing really up ther in the form of money there‘s alot more in national pride and sovergity)
NDHQ is probably now trying to finalize the mission statement. This is important because it will dictate what the soldiers will take with them. In this case, I suspect they will need tape recorders hooked up to loud speaker systems, a supply of flag poles and Canadian flags. Then, every morning it would be possible to have a flag raising ceremony, cum music. Heaven forbid we should take rifles (but if we do, do we take ball or blank?)
Originally posted by corporal-cam:
[qb]Even if there is nothing really up ther in the form of money there‘s alot more in national pride and sovergity) [/qb]
When was the last time you‘ve seen national pride and a concern for soverignty on our streets? :mad: The general public would rather let them have the rock instead of causing a fuss.
Originally posted by wongskc:
Originally posted by corporal-cam:
[qb]Even if there is nothing really up ther in the form of money there‘s alot more in national pride and sovergity) [/qb]
When was the last time you‘ve seen national pride and a concern for soverignty on our streets? :mad: The general public would rather let them have the rock instead of causing a fuss. [/qb]
I dunno, we kids are more patriotic than we get credit for. If I had copyrighted "Canada kicks ***" or a similar t shirt phrase I woudl be one rich 15 year old. And since in 3 years we‘ll be the voters maybe we‘ll have a little more patriotic suport, but then again we aren‘t the ones paying taxes for it are we?
Originally posted by Bruce Monkhouse:
[qb] If they claimed this island would that give them any extended fishing rights? [/qb]
Hey Bruce having sailed on Danish Ship‘s and still remember some of their weakness‘,I‘ll just pay them off with some AAlborg Aquavit and some dried fish and few choice words and save us all bundle. ;)
And the jokes just write themselves...

Alfonso Gagliano- sponsorship mastermind, and bumbling ambassador to Denmark- two scapegoats in one!

It‘s not about fishing rights, it‘s about the oil, man! It‘s all a big conspiracy. The Danish Oil & Gas Company (DONG) (I didn‘t make up that name- honest ;) ) has discovered the world‘s largest reserves from their secret base in Greenland, and despite being thousands of kilometers from the nearest pipeline, will bring that oil to market. The subsequent economic collapse of the North American oil production business will bring governments to their knees! :blotto:

And for the complete wingnut conspiracy theorists- Health Canada is behind the whole thing. Realizing that Candians are too obese, they‘ve begun making up stories to reduce danish sales. Unfortunately, the consumption of other pastries has increased to compensate...

"The National Post has highlighted the dispute between Canada and Denmark over the tiny, desolate, ice-bound island as one of four international boundary disputes prompting concerns over the nation‘s ability to maintain sovereignty of its vast northern region."

Anyone know what the other 3 land claims are and by whom ?
ErorZ, our other disputes are with the Americans at the Dixon Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Machias Seal Island and North Rock
IIRC there is a dispute with the Russians regarding the Arctic shelf as well.
Ok, i‘m taking up a group of mercenaries to represent Canada up to Hans Island, who‘s whth me?
If u cant go because of work, or wife and kids, u can send donations in the form of warm clothing, rations, ammo, your coworkers, and your wife and kids instead, lol :D

PS. send lots of flags. Canadian preferred, ;)
It will more-than-likely end like the mid-80s fish-war with Spain: we‘ll let them have it because we can‘t do anything about it...