Your cart is empty.

The Canadian Forces and Arctic Sovereignty

Debating Roles, Interests, and Requirements, 1968-1974


Published by the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies
The role of the Canadian Forces in asserting sovereignty is often tied to the maxim that possession is nine-tenths of the law. Surveillance capability and boots on the ground are often tightly bound to Canada’s credibility in defending its sovereignty. As talk of a polar race intensifies, and new concerns arise over the continental shelf, boundaries, pollution, melting ice, and that tiny piece of rock called Hans Island, a more robust Canadian Forces presence is perceived as essential to Canada’s using or losing its Arctic. But where is the justification to validate this accepted wisdom? How does a military presence play into demonstrating effective occupation? Does a military presence really strengthen Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic?
The Canadian Forces and Arctic Sovereignty: Debating Roles, Interests, and Requirements, 1968–1974, introduces the debate about the Canadian Forces’ role, mission, and contributions to Arctic sovereignty during these pivotal years. Policy analysts grappled with many of the same issues facing decision makers today, and recently declassified documents (published in this volume for the first time) yield insights into what Canadians should reasonably expect from their military as the country develops and implements an Arctic strategy in the twenty-first century.


The introduction provides an excellent overview of the issues, events, and debates that shaped the various policy papers being presented in this book. In the process, it outlines Canadian Forces responses to government direction on Arctic military issues, and highlights divisions between the different departments with respect to how sovereignty should be established. The well-crafted analysis within this section is combined with a smooth writing style that makes for easy reading on diverse issues.... The Canadian Forces and Arctic Sovereignty is a compelling work that provides a nice balance between insight and analysis into the government's decision making process with respect to Arctic sovereignty issues between 1968 and 1974. Lackenbauer and Kikkert have provided Canadians with a well-researched resource that will in all likelihood remain relevant for years.... Much of the material contained within the book is still relevant to researchers, analysts, and policy makers today, simply because the debate over government priorities in the Arctic appears to have changed very little over the years.

- Major Tony Balasevicius, Canadian Military Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1, Winter 2011, 2012 January