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A Canadian flag is pictured on Frobisher Bay in Iqaluit, Nunavut February 23, 2012.

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Canada flexes a little Arctic muscle

Amid criticism that it is not spending enough on defense, Canada has bought a hangar in the Arctic for CA$8.6 million – an installation that sits next to a NORAD air base.

Russia and China both reportedly expressed interest in the property, which the Canadian Armed Forces had previously leased. The United States pressed Canada to buy up the hangar for more than a year – and Ottawa finally decided they were on to something.

In 2023, Canada’s intelligence agency, CSIS, warned that China was looking to purchase properties near sensitive locations, spurring espionage concerns. In recent months, Canada has adopted a new defense policy that invests in northern security, as it looks to shore up its Arctic capacities in light of threats from China and Russia, something the US has been pushing for.

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Graphic Truth: Russia's icebreaker fleet dwarfs US & Canada

When you think of an island nation, what comes to mind? Maybe the vast archipelagoes of Indonesia and the Philippines? Or Japan, which discovered over 6,000 more islands in its territory this year thanks to advancements in satellite cartography?

Probably not Canada, right? Well, the fact is with over 52,000 islands, Canada has more than three times as many as any of the above countries. What’s more, three of the 10 largest islands on earth are found in Canada’s arctic archipelago, which results in Canada having – by far – the longest national coastline in the world.

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Russian ship in the arctic

Reuters

Alarm raised over Russian Arctic oil shipments

Russia has begun using tankers designed for southern waters to ship oil to China through icy Arctic waters off its northern shores, which has worrying environmental and security implications, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Russia moved about a dozen tankers through the passage in the last two months and is beginning to use tankers without so-called ice classification — stronger hulls designed for shipping in icy waters. Because of Western sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine, Moscow is increasing oil exports to China, and the northern route is shorter than the trip through the Suez Canal.

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Paige Fusco

The Graphic Truth: Militarizing the Arctic

In the coming decades, Arctic sea ice is expected to melt so much that the region will become traversable much of the year. While environmentally devastating, this will also mean more shipping access, resource extraction, and risk of conflict in the region.

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