Canada participates in Arctic conference

An aerial photograph over Nunavut, taken en route to Canadian Forces Station Alert from a CC-177 Globemaster aircraft on June 10, 2016 during Operation NEVUS. Photo: PO2 Belinda Groves, Task Force Imagery Technician YK-2016-036-004

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Canadian Defence representatives met with their counterparts from seven other polar nations October 4-6 in Yellowknife to discuss the future of scientific research and naval operations in the Arctic.

Canada, along with Denmark, Finland, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and United States, attended the International Cooperative Engagement Program for Polar Research (ICE-PPR) that took place at Joint Task Force North (JTFN) headquarters.

The main purpose of these meetings is to get countries with an interest in cold-water operations around the table to identify priorities and align their defence to ensure the greatest impact on participating nations’ security.

Conference objectives were two-fold: to negotiate a formal agreement amongst participating nations, and to identify specific activities to be contributed by each nation.

“The enthusiasm and energy shown by all participants to work together to tackle tough polar S&T problems was absolutely incredible,” said Dale Reding, Director General Science and Technology Air and Navy for Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC). “Bringing together like-minded polar nations, under the ICE-PPR banner, has already led to an explosion of innovative ideas on how to better enable naval operations in polar environments.”

Examples of Canada’s scope of experience operating in the North include DRDC’s power and energy projects; the variety of expeditionary operations and exercises that JTFN has conducted throughout the North, many of which include an international component; CFS Alert, a key signals intelligence facility located on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island, which is used to support Canadian military operations; and the search and rescue missions conducted year-round. This long-standing history of operating in the North enables Canada to contribute significantly to ICE-PPR.

“There are new horizons to be explored in polar operations, and opportunities to be embraced through maritime partnerships and with interested science and technology authorities in Canada and abroad,” said Rear-Admiral John Newton, Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic.

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