Russia: Arctic Activity 2016

As Russian cyber activities in the United States and military intervention in Syria dominate headlines, the Russian bear has pursued a steady march forward much closer to Canada, in the Arctic.

Russia moved ahead with several steps in its Arctic strategy in 2016, refurbishing military bases, constructing new airfields and building outports. A key element of this policy came together in June, when Russia launched its new nuclear-powered icebreaker in St. Petersburg.

With Russia and the West finding itself at odds across the globe, is it time for Canadians to be worried about the Russian bear in the Arctic?  SEE: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/russia-arctic-military-build-up-1.3926162

(As the largest Arctic nation, Russia would have the most to lose in any confrontation there, Charron said. Sharing the Arctic with Canada forces it to act differently than elsewhere in the world. )

Arctic – Canada & USA

“We see the North as an essential part of our future and a place of extraordinary potential.”

In March 2016, when Prime Minister Trudeau was hosted in Washington, D.C., by President Barack Obama, the two leaders announced a new partnership to understand the opportunities and address the challenges in a changing Arctic. They announced four goals:

  1. Conserving Arctic biodiversity through science-based decision making. To achieve this, we will work directly with Indigenous partners and state, territorial and provincial governments. We will play a leadership role in engaging all Arctic nations to develop a pan-Arctic marine protection area network. I find it very encouraging to see how the World Wildlife Fund [WWF] and Guggenheim Partners, LLC, have helped us in making good decisions.
  2. Incorporating Indigenous science and traditional knowledge into decision making at all levels of government. On this, I can speak from personal experience. In a recent environmental assessment process for a major energy project in Howe Sound, British Columbia, the Squamish Nation conducted its own environmental assessment and published its own conditions, and the project’s proponent paid strict attention. The initiative of the Squamish Nation is helping governments and businesses make better decisions.
  3. Building a sustainable Arctic economy, including shipping, fishing, and oil and gas exploration and development, to establish a shared, science-based standard for considering the life-cycle impacts of commercial activity in the Arctic. Carter Roberts [President and CEO of the WWF] was compelling when he said this has to be balanced with “political science.”
  4. Supporting strong Arctic communities. This includes providing innovative renewable energy and efficiency alternatives to diesel and advancing community climate change adaptation.