340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pragmatism isn't a dirty word.

The National Post is carrying an article on the government's plan to patrol the Canadian Arctic more regularly, asserting its jurisdiction in the area and implicitly reminding other nations of their obligations under international law:

Canada's military is embarking on its largest affirmation of Arctic sovereignty, with five armed patrols snowmobiling 4,500 kilometres to converge in the High Arctic -- where the soldiers are inviting the Governor-General to meet them.

Scheduled to begin next month, the sovereignty mission over the Arctic islands and sea ice of the Northwest Passage is codenamed Operation Nunalivut, which means "land that is ours" in Inuktitut, the Inuit language.

The five patrols will pass through or near some of the Arctic areas that have been under increasing international dispute.


"It will be challenging, but it is feasible," said Major Chris Bergeron, commander of the 1CRPG.

"The patrols will meet each other in the middle of nowhere on the ice so we can prove to the entire world that we can deploy Rangers anywhere and they can meet and can react to any major air disaster or any operation they request of us," said Maj. Bergeron.

Along with the sovereignty mission and the exercise of linking small, autonomous patrols into larger groups, the operation will also document the existing infrastructure of the north -- old wartime airfields, abandoned weather stations and civilian and military exploration outposts.

I first mentioned my (astounding!) support for the Conservatives' plan two weeks ago and if anything, I'm even more enthusiastic now. While a small group of snowmobilers doesn't sound like much, it's a damn sight better than the nothing we're doing now. More importantly, my hopes regarding the involvement of local aboriginal peoples seems to have been answered, at least for now:

Each patrol will consist of about 10 members, two regular force soldiers and eight Canadian Rangers, a largely aboriginal reserve unit based in the north.

While I trust Harper and his cronies about as far as I can drop-kick them, I do think this is an important issue and I'm glad that someone's finally addressing it in a more-or-less concrete way.


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