Canada must continue to exercise its sovereignty in the North (Calgary Herald Editorial – August 12, 2013)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who made the Arctic a priority soon after coming to power in 2006, apparently needs to educate others in the federal government about how important the North is to the country’s well-being.

National Defence advisers have revealed there’s too much infighting going on in the civil service and that departments are failing to embrace the Tories’ so-called Northern Strategy. Their internal report, which was published last year but just now obtained by Postmedia News, is worrisome.

It is essential that Canada demonstrates its sovereignty in the sparsely populated region, which is rich in natural resources and is expected to become increasingly important for shipping in future years.

“The federal government culture can often be described by its hierarchical leanings and stove pipes which limit the exchange of information and often produce a reluctance to co-operate, lest traditional boundaries be violated or perceived authority be ceded unnecessarily,” says the report by the Defence Science Advisory Board.

Given that these very departments exist to serve Canadians’ interests, it’s essential that bureaucrats set aside their petty divisions and work co-operatively for the good of the nation. That shouldn’t be too much to demand.

The Defence Science Advisory Board is mistaken about one thing, however. It has suggested that the Department of National Defence should work with mining companies and other corporate interests to get valuable infrastructure built, such as in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, where ports are scarce.

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