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Canada’s Arctic is under threat — from climate change and the belligerence of Russia and China, both of which share an interest in the region’s energy resources, rare and highly prized minerals and seafood. Russia’s massive build-up of military bases on its Arctic shoreline and its occasional probing of North American defence systems sit uncomfortably alongside China’s efforts to style itself as a “near Arctic state.”
These are multiple wake-up calls for Canada and its NORAD partner, the United States. A 2021 NORAD–U.S. Northern Command strategy paper was blunt in stating: “The American and Canadian people are safe and secure today but, without intentional efforts to counter our competitors’ fast-paced advances, our competitive advantage will erode.”
Canada’s defence modernization strategy was outlined by Canada’s Minister of National Defence Anita Anand in June 2022 in an announcement of new funding for NORAD infrastructure: $4.9 billion for the first six years, with $38.6 billion allocated over 20 years. The announcement was an outgrowth of Canada’s 2017 vision and plan for defence modernization, Strong, Secure, Engaged.