Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

March 22, 2007 17:26 ET

DND: Canada's New Government Praises Canadian Forces Arctic Sovereignty Patrol

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 22, 2007) - The efforts of a Canadian Forces sovereignty patrol traveling in the Arctic received high praise today from Canada's New Government.

The 24-member patrol includes members of the Regular Forces and Canadian Rangers, who are part-time reserve soldiers -- as well as a representative of the RCMP. The patrol will travel close to 8,000 kilometres, across some of the most challenging terrain in the world, to confirm Canada's sovereignty in the High Arctic as part of Operation Nunalivut 2007. Nunalivut translates as "land that is ours." The operation starts on March 24th and will carry on to April 14, 2007 in the Northern Arctic Archipelago.

"Canada's New Government is committed to defending Canada's Arctic and its jurisdiction over northern islands, waterways and resources," said the Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence. "All participants in the patrol are helping to ensure that Canada remains the true north, strong and free. We wish you a successful patrol mission," Minister O'Connor said.

"Patrol missions like the one we are highlighting today are making an important contribution to ensuring we are able to defend our north," said the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety Canada. "I congratulate all the Canadian Forces members taking part in Operation Nunalivut. I also want to congratulate Sgt Laurent Kringayark, who is the first member of the RCMP to be involved in a patrol of this kind. Your vigilance, dedication and sense of duty are helping keep Canada safe," Minister Day continued.

In addition to establishing a military presence, the patrols are helping to evaluate the terrain and infrastructure that exist in the High Arctic. They are also checking old wartime airfields, abandoned weather stations and other civilian and military structures.

"In addition to projecting Canadian sovereignty, the patrol helps us enhance our capacity to operate effectively in the north by getting to know the land, the weather conditions and the terrain," Minister O'Connor said. "While other government departments and agencies remain responsible for dealing with most security issues in the North, the Canadian Forces have a significant role to play in supporting them, asserting our sovereignty, and providing assistance to our citizens," Minister O'Connor added.

"Ensuring that there are more resources for these northern patrols is in keeping with this government's Canada First Defence Strategy. The Strategy's goal is to strengthen Canada's independent capacity to defend our national sovereignty and security - including in the Arctic," Minister O'Connor concluded.

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