Tuesday, July 28, 2009

'Repackaging past promises'

Under the strategy, the government said it would expand the Canadian Rangers force by 900 members, a promise first announced two years ago. It also reiterated a promise, first made last month, to create a reserve Armed Forces unit in Yellowknife.

"Repackaging past promises and putting nice pictures around them doesn't address the crying need to have a real presence and effective surveillance in Canada's northern waters," Byers said.

Between the army and the Canadian Rangers, Byers said it's important that the North have the capacity to carry out search-and-rescue operations.

Another Arctic sovereignty expert, Rob Huebert of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary, said the strategy appears to be more of a summary of policies than an announcement of anything new.

Nevertheless, Huebert said it is important for the federal government to write down and declare its strategy, both as a message to other countries and as a way for Canadians to see what has been implemented.

"Hopefully, this document will basically allow us some form of holding the government accountable for the requirement that has to be commenced today," he said.

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