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News Release

Canadian Forces Patrol to Confirm Arctic Sovereignty

JTFN/FOIN NR-07.002 - March 22, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - Members of the Canadian Forces will travel close to 8,000 kilometres across some of the most challenging terrain in the world to confirm Canada’s sovereignty in the High Arctic during Operation Nunalivut 07. Meaning “land that is ours,” Op Nunalivut 07 is scheduled to be an Enhanced Sovereignty Operation that will take place from March 24 to April 14, 2007 in the Northern Arctic Archipelago.

The 24-member patrol will include members of the Regular Forces and Canadian Rangers, who are part-time reserve soldiers. A total of three Canadian Ranger Patrols will deploy from Resolute Bay and from that point three separate patrols will be executed.  Two eight-member patrols will deploy to Eureka, a remote weather station on southwest Ellesmere Island.  One team will head to the west coast of Ellesmere and the other heading north through the central part of the island. Both teams will end their patrols at Canadian Forces Station Alert, at the northern tip of Ellesmere Island. Alert is the world’s most northerly permanently settled community and conducts signals intelligence gathering.

A third patrol will go to Alexandra Fiord, a former RCMP post, on eastern Ellesmere Island. Joined by a member of the RCMP, the team will look for evidence of incursions into the area by Inuit from Greenland to hunt Canadian polar bears. The team may include a federal wildlife officer. The team will return to Eureka to be airlifted south.

“We want to test the capabilities of the Canadian Rangers in the Upper Arctic,” said Major Chris Bergeron, Commanding Officer of 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group in Yellowknife. “We’ll examine what they have learned in the past, such things as how to make a landing strip, how to converge at a location on the ice, how to stand up a camp, and how to communicate ground-to-air with the Air Force by radio. This patrol will not only challenge our abilities on the ground but will be a major test of our command and control capabilities,” said Major Bergeron.

More than 50 members of the Canadian Forces will participate in the patrol. There will also be 20 members from Joint Task Force (North) supporting the exercise at base camps in the North and at the Joint Task Force (North) headquarters.  Two twin otter aircraft from Yellowknife’s 440 (Transport) Squadron will support the exercise from start to finish.

In addition to establishing a military presence, the patrols will evaluate the terrain and infrastructure that exist in the High Arctic. They will be checking old wartime airfields, abandoned weather stations and other civilian and military structures. There are more than 400 flights that cross Canada’s Arctic airspace daily, so a forced aircraft landing in the North is a possibility. “We want to be ready if this happens”, said Brig. – Gen. Chris Whitecross, Commander of Joint Task Force (North). “If we want to be sure that we can operate in those areas, we have to get to know the land, the weather conditions and the terrain,” she said. “In addition to projecting Canadian sovereignty, this is what the patrol will accomplish.”



There are limited opportunities for media to participate in a media visit to the patrol. The visit to the patrol is expected to take place Saturday, March 31 in Eureka.

There will be opportunities to conduct interviews before the patrol leaves and, through satellite phone, with members of the patrol, as they are travelling, as well as at the conclusion of the patrol.

Media contacts:

Summer Halliday
Deputy Public Affairs Officer
Joint Task Force (North), Yellowknife
Office: 867-873-0700 ext. 6922
Cell:  867-765-8624

Sergeant Peter Moon
Public Affairs Ranger
South Camp Inn, Resolute Bay (as of March 19): 867-252-3737

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