Canada’s ‘backyard’: Eyes on Arctic vulnerabilities


In a report released Nov. 15, Auditor General Karen Hogan pointed to deficiencies in Canada’s oversight of its Arctic waters, many of which could expose Canada to security threats, illegal fishing and entry. unauthorized ships and vessels.

The main concern expressed in the report is the number of ships and satellites that would have to retire before they could be replaced, leaving a gap in Canada’s ability to detect threats in Arctic waters.

“I think we should think of Arctic waterways as our inland waters, which are basically like our backyard, would you like someone walking around your backyard?” the vice said Friday. -Retired Admiral Darren Hawco on CTV’s Your Morning.

Hawco says Canada has an obligation to maintain stable sovereignty over Arctic waters not only to support ships there, but also for the environment.

“We’re responsible for environmental stewardship, we’re responsible for search and rescue, so ships that are in the Arctic and are unable to monitor ice and other hazards, we are obligated to Respond to support them, as it is our internal waters where Canadian laws apply.

Hawco says Canada needs to focus more on vulnerabilities between government communications and invest in improving port infrastructure to better serve passing ships.

“Where we’re really vulnerable is that we don’t have good port infrastructure in the North, we don’t have good respiratory monitoring across all departments, and more importantly, the ability to move l information and enabling decision-making through the Maritime Security Operations Center, polar communications and that’s a real challenge,” he said.

In the report, Hogan said three RADARSAT satellites launched in 2019 are scheduled to be decommissioned in 2026. Their successor, which is not yet complete, will likely not launch until 2035.

Hawco says Canada won’t be left completely unprotected during this time, as it says an older satellite will be among four still in operation.

“The reality is that the two-constellation RADARSAT mission, which was launched in 2007, is still flying and still providing imagery through MDA to the Government of Canada, so those satellites will last well beyond that point,” he said. he declared.

In an interview with CTV’s Question Period this week, Joyce Napier, National Defense Minister Anita Anand said the federal government’s $40 billion commitment announced this year will, in part, modernize the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

“We’re on it,” she said. “Arctic sovereignty is absolutely critical as this global environment continues to change, we will continue to improve our protections in our North.”


With files from The Canadian Press and CTV News Parliamentary Bureau Editor, Producer Spencer Van Dyk


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