Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence
Canada Command

Canada Command

April 02, 2009 15:00 ET

Government of Canada Launches Arctic Operation

YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES--(Marketwire - April 2, 2009) - Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway Peter Gordon MacKay announced today that Canadian Rangers will begin patrols on Ellesmere Island this weekend as part of Operation Nunalivut 2009, the first of three annual sovereignty operations planned this year in the North by the Canadian Forces. Nunalivut, Inuktitut for "land that is ours," focuses on military operations in the High Arctic and will also involve air surveillance patrols and parachute insertions of search and rescue technicians.

"Operation Nunalivut is but one example of how the Government of Canada actively and routinely exercises its sovereignty in the North," said Minister MacKay. "The Canadian Forces play an important role in achieving our goals in the North, which is why the Government of Canada is making sure they have the tools they need to carry out a full range of tasks in the Arctic, including surveillance, sovereignty, and search-and-rescue operations."

"The North represents 40 per cent of Canada's land mass and is Canada Command's single biggest region," said Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden, Commander of Canada Command, the CF's lead organisation for domestic and continental operations. "In keeping with the Canada First Defence Strategy, we are placing greater emphasis on our northern operations, including in the High Arctic. This operation underscores the value of the Canadian Rangers, our eyes and ears in the North, which at the direction of the Government are growing to 5 000 in strength."

"This operation is a golden opportunity to expand our capabilities to operate in Canada's Arctic," said Brigadier-General David Millar, the Commander of Joint Task Force North, the regional military command responsible for Canadian Forces operations north of the 60th parallel, headquartered in Yellowknife, N.W.T. "In addition to air and ground patrols, this operation calls on a range of supporting military capabilities-communications, intelligence, mapping, and satellite imaging."

Including deployment phases, the operation will run from March 30th to April 20th, with patrols by the Canadian Rangers ending in Eureka, Ellesmere Island, on April 17th.

Notably, this year's operation will involve an exchange visit with the Commander of Greenland Command, Danish Rear-Admiral Henrik Kudsk, to discuss military collaboration in the North. During the operation, Canadian Rangers will be testing commercial GPS technology as a means to track Arctic patrols. Air patrols will be conducted by CC-138 Twin Otters from 440 Squadron, which is based in Yellowknife, N.W.T.

Canada Command's six regional commands, including Joint Task Force North, monitor developments across the country on a continuous basis and stand ready to deploy the Canadian Forces when and where they are needed. Defending Canadians at home is the Command's primary mission.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Still imagery will be available throughout the operation from CF Combat Camera at:; video B-roll will be also be available, at

Contact Information

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