Vanguard Magazine

Feb/Mar 2013

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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Page 35 of 47

A Arctic Lee Carson is the president of NORSTRAT Consulting Inc. and a senior associate at Hill+Knowlton Strategies. The perilous route to Nanisivik W hen Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced back in August of 2007 that National Defence would build a deepwater port at Nanisivik, the site of an abandoned mine near to the Eastern entry of the Canadian Northwest Passage, the news was greeted with much anticipation. Standing in Resolute Bay on a warmish summer's day, the Prime Minister famously said, "Canada's New Government understands that the first principle of Arctic sovereignty is use it or lose it. Today's announcements tell the world that Canada has a real, growing, long-term presence in the Arctic." Since then, however, little news has been heard of the Nanisivik project, prompting some to wonder whether the lack of visible progress is indicative of a reduced commitment by the federal government to a northern port and to its northern strategy in general. The real story is not quite that simple. Right from the beginning there were questions and concerns regarding to the project. Northern residents, the legal land owners of most of Nunavut, in particular, took exception to the "use it or lose it" rhetoric. They quite reasonably pointed out that sovereignty begins at home, and the largely Inuit communities of the North that lack so many of the basic infrastructure elements we take for granted in the South, have had a visible presence for centuries. Sovereignty is not something those of us in the South can impose on the Inuit. There were also many other questions. What environmental impact Nanisivik Photo: The Office of the Prime Minister Stephen Harpe 36 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2013

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