Make Canada a Zone for Peace!
Say No to NATO Expansion into Canadian Arctic!
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made a visit to Canada August 24-25 where he toured military installations in Edmonton, Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, and Cold Lake, Alberta. This visit was all about opening a path to militarizing Canada's High North by the U.S. and its aggressive NATO alliance. It underscores not only the aggressive aims of the U.S. against Russia and China, but against Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic as well.
Prime Minister Trudeau accompanied the NATO Secretary General on this trip. Trudeau tried to deflect attention from what is being cooked up saying there has been "no deep shift" in Canadian policy when it comes to NATO involvement in the Arctic. In the next breath, he confirmed what he and his government are actually planning. The "Russian aggression" has made it "timely" to "share with NATO" its efforts to protect the Arctic region, Trudeau said.
It is not everywhere Stoltenberg goes that he gets an op-ed piece in the country's leading monopoly news media. In this case, on August 24, the Globe and Mail published his op-ed to set the tone for the visit. The content was routine NATO warmongering which labels anything other than the interests of the U.S., first and foremost with its imperialist bloc in tow, as a threat to be met with brute force.
Stoltenberg used the opportunity to assert that while the
Arctic "has traditionally been an area of low tensions," that time is
fast coming to an end. He targeted "Russia's ability to disrupt Allied
reinforcements across the North Atlantic" as "a strategic challenge to
the Alliance." He also singled out China's plans for a "Polar Silk
Road" -- a trade route linking China to Europe via the Arctic -- as a
threat "that challenges our values and interests."
Canada has long been worried such activities and presence would undermine its claim of sovereignty in the Far North, for example its claim to the Northwest Passage which is not recognized by the U.S. and several other NATO members that follow the U.S. lead. During a press conference in answer to a question, Trudeau explicitly said that the Northwest Passage is Canadian territory. But his words are not matched by Canada's deeds when it makes arrangements to share responsibility to "protect the Arctic" with NATO and NORAD. This clearly is a shift.
In the 1980s Inuit assert sovereignty over their lands, Ntesinan, and oppose NATO flights over it.
Trudeau was reluctant to come right out and commit to major NATO-led exercises on Canadian soil in the High North. However, Defence Minister Anita Anand said allied participation in domestic Canadian military exercises would be welcomed.
The Canadian Press on August 24 reported that Canadian "experts" agree that "Stoltenberg's visit appears to represent an easing of Ottawa's past reluctance to work with NATO in the Arctic, even if Canada isn't opening the door completely."
The CBC for its part gave prominence to Yves Brodeur, a former Canadian ambassador to NATO, who is openly calling for NATO military forces to train in the Canadian Arctic. "That would be a good thing," Brodeur told Radio-Canada in an interview. "To have NATO troops from NATO nations together with Canada exercising in the High North would be, as far as I'm concerned, a big asset for the organization, for NATO."
The entire visit from start to finish was a NATO PSYOP assault on Canadian sensibilities to pave the way for militarizing the North, for NATO military exercises, and possibly even for stationing NATO forces in Canada's Far North.
This has dire consequences for the Indigenous peoples of the North and for Canadians, as well as the peoples and fragile environment in the polar region and the ability of nations to exercise their sovereignty. It warrants firm opposition by the peace-loving peoples of this country.
This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 9 - September, 2022
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