Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

April 13, 2012 14:30 ET

Minister MacKay Announces Sovereignty Operation in the High Arctic

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 13, 2012) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, is pleased to announce Operation Nunalivut 2012, a major sovereignty and security operation that takes place in Canada's High Arctic until May 1, 2012, in and around Resolute Bay, Nunavut. During Operation Nunalivut 2012, which is Inuktitut for "land that is ours," the Canadian Forces will face some of the most challenging terrain and weather conditions Canada has to offer.

"Operation Nunalivut serves as an excellent example of our Government's commitment to a secure and sovereign North and our commitment to ensuring the Canadian Forces are well-trained to take on the challenges that may confront them," said Minister MacKay. "The Canadian Forces play a key role in achieving our goals in the North, and our Government is making sure they have the tools they need to carry out a full range of tasks in the Arctic."

Operation Nunalivut 2012 is one of the major operations conducted every year by the Canadian Forces in Canada's North. The aim of the operation is to demonstrate expeditionary capabilities in response to a simulated whole of government safety-driven mission.

Two different scenarios will be conducted during the operation: one in the vicinity of Beechy Island enabling Search and Rescue (SAR) training combined with a dive operation; and a northern ground patrol scenario that will allow Canadian Rangers to both exercise sovereignty and practice area search techniques.

"The success of these Northern activities is achieved in great part through the cooperation of other government departments and agencies," said Lieutenant-General Walter Semianiw, the Commander of Canada Command. "We also look to develop and maintain strong relationships with the local authorities and the indigenous populations, and there is an ongoing reliance on the Canadian Rangers."

"In the changing environment of the Arctic," said Brigadier-General Guy Hamel, Commander, Joint Task Force (North), "we need to be prepared to respond to calls for assistance, whether it is ground SAR or other emergencies on the land or at sea. Operation Nunalivut 2012 provides the perfect opportunity to test the capabilities that will allow us to deploy rapidly and effectively in response to tomorrow's safety and security challenges."

This year's operation will also feature a Combined Dive Team that will conduct Arctic diving operations in support of Defence Research and Development Canada's Northern Watch Project, and a remotely operated vehicle survey of Her Majesty's Ship Breadalbane, a Franklin rescue ship that sank in 1853 and is the world's most northern known shipwreck. As well, 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron from Greenwood, Nova Scotia, and 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron from Comox, British Columbia, will deploy a CC-130 Hercules, a CH-149 Cormorant, and a CC-115 Buffalo for approximately five days to conduct High Arctic SAR training.

To mark the end of the operation, a closing ceremony and parade will be conducted at the Task Force Nunalivut Headquarters in Resolute Bay.

Notes to editor / news director:

As of April 16, new still imagery will be available from Canadian Forces Combat Camera at: www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca. Video B-roll will be available, at www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca/common/combatcamera/news. Imagery of past Op Nunalivut missions can also be found on these sites.

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