NATO chief’s first visit to Canadian Arctic signals thaw in Ottawa, experts say

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the NATO Summit in Madrid on June 29, 2022. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Prime minister, NATO secretary general to tour military radar site in Nunavut

Canada’s longstanding resistance to NATO involvement in the Arctic appears to be thawing as temperatures rise and Russian and Chinese activity in the region intensifies.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is hosting a visit by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg this week. The two are scheduled to tour a military radar site in Nunavut on Thursday before they head to an air force base in Alberta on Friday.

The tour represents the first visit by a NATO secretary general to Canada’s Arctic and comes as the military alliance has started to put more emphasis on protecting its northern flank.

Ottawa has long opposed greater NATO involvement in the Arctic due to what experts describe as a desire to protect Canadian sovereignty and avoid provoking Russia.

But a senior government official speaking on background says Stoltenberg’s visit reflects a recognition of the effect climate change is having when it comes to activity and security in the region.

Some experts say a softening of Canada’s hesitance to work with NATO in the Far North is long overdue, though exactly what form any deeper co-operation should take is being hotly debated.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Prime Minister, NATO secretary general to spotlight Arctic defence on Nunavut visit, CBC News

Finland: Norwegian military vehicles take new transit corridor via Finnish Lapland, The Independent Barents Observer

NorwayDefence minister says Norway must get stronger in the North, The Independent Barents Observer

Finland: Defence ministers of Norway, Finland, Sweden to talk security at Thursday meeting, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: Assertive Moscow outlines push into central Arctic Ocean, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: U.S. Army poised to revamp Alaska forces to prep for Arctic fight, The Associated Press

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.
Netiquette »

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *