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History Polar Regions

Arctic Front

Defending Canada in the Far North

by (author) Ken S. Coates, P. Whitney Lackenbauer, William R. Morrion & Greg Poelzer

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2008
Polar Regions, Canada, Security (National & International)
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2008
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2010
    List Price

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A hard-hitting, timely, and provocative book about the history and future of the Canadian Arctic. With passion and sharp words, Arctic Front confronts Canada’s longstanding neglect of the Far North and outline what needs to be done to protect our national interest.

Through a lively and engaging history of the region, Arctic Front reveals how Canadians and their governments have:

  • ignored this region for generations
  • expanded Canadian sovereignty over the past hundred years by reacting to other countries’ challenges
  • become the least effective of all Circumpolar nations in responding to the needs of the Arctic
  • neglected our obligations to the North, including a failure to capitalize on the human and economic resources of this vast land or to establish a presence that would make any foreign claims to offshore resources inconceivable.

As global warming continues to melt the ice in the Northwest Passage and the competition for northern resources heats up, Canada, the authors warn, will be forced to defend this area from a position of grave weakness. Our leaders need to take action today, blending defence and development, to complete Canadian nation building in this fragile region.

An energetic and engaging collaboration by four of Canada’s leading Northern specialists, Arctic Front is a clarion call to all Canadians about our endangered Arctic region, challenging the country to step away from the symbols and myth making of the past and toward the urgent political, environmental and economic realities of the 21st century.

About the authors

Ken S. Coates was raised in Whitehorse and has a long-standing interest in northern themes. Titles include Canada’s Colonies, The Sinking of the Princess Sophia, The Modern North, North to Alaska (on the building of the Alaska Highway) and many academic books. He has worked on north-centred television documentaries and served as a consultant to northern governments and organizations. He is currently Professor of History and Dean of Arts, University of Waterloo.

Ken S. Coates' profile page


P. Whitney Lackenbauer is associate professor and chair of the Department of History at St. Jerome's University in the University of Waterloo, and a faculty associate with the LCMSDS.

Peter Kikkert recently completed his M.A. at the University of Waterloo and is a Ph.D. student in history at the University of Western Ontario.


P. Whitney Lackenbauer's profile page

William Robert Morrison is a Canadian historian of the Canadian North. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Morrison received a Bachelor of Arts degree from McMaster University in 1963 and a Master of Arts from the same university the following year.

William R. Morrion's profile page

Greg Poelzer is a leading expert on Circumpolar affairs and the politics of the modern North. He has many years of experience in Russia and Scandinavia and has a long-standing interest in Arctic affairs in Canada. He is also founding Dean of Undergraduate Affairs for the University of the Arctic. He is an Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Saskatchewan.

Greg Poelzer's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Arctic Front is a sobering synopsis of Canada’s claims to the Far North. It will likely become a hallmark reference text…. [F]or casual readers and serious fact-finders alike...

Winnipeg Free Press

A call to arms for a new era in Canadian culture and politics toward the North. Call it the Arctic Awakening. ... Instead of making Arctic policy frightening or unbearably dull, Arctic Front reveals the subject as one of the most interesting foreign policy questions of the 21st century.

Yukon News

Unquestionably, this book deals with a subject of major public importance and interest. This is a substantial and accessible book that should be widely read by everyone interested in an insightful introduction to this subject.

Jury citation, The Donner Prize

Arctic Front tells the disturbing story of Canada’s absent-mindedness in Arctic policy-making over the decades. This history should fuel a heated national debate as the Arctic ice shrinks and new challenges to our sovereignty appear from all directions.

Tony Penikett, former NDP Leader and Premier of the Yukon

Other titles by Ken S. Coates

Other titles by P. Whitney Lackenbauer

North America's Arctic Borders

A World of Change

edited by Heather Nicol & Andrew Chater
contributions by Karen G. Everett, P. Whitney Lackenbauer & Justin Barnes

Breaking Through

Understanding Sovereignty and Security in the Circumpolar Arctic

edited by Wilfrid Greaves & P. Whitney Lackenbauer

Reconsidering Confederation

Canada’s Founding Debates, 1864-1999

edited by Daniel Heidt
contributions by J.R. Miller, Marcel Martel, Colin Coates, Martin Pâquet, Maxime Gohier, Phillip Buckner, Robert Wardhaugh, Barry Ferguson, Patricia Roy, P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Ken S. Coates, Bill Waiser, Raymond B. Blake & Andre Legare

Roots of Entanglement

Essays in the History of Native-Newcomer Relations

by (author) Myra Rutherdale, Kerry Abel & P. Whitney Lackenbauer

China's Arctic Ambitions and What They Mean for Canada

by (author) P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Adam Lajeunesse, Frederic Lasserre & James Manicom

Ice Blink

Navigating Northern Environmental History

edited by Stephen Bocking & Brad Martin
contributions by Tina Adcock, Emelie Cameron, Hans M. Carlson, Marionne Cronin, Matthew Farish, Arn Keeling, P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Tina Loo, Paul Nadasdy, Jonathan Peyton, Liza Piper, John Sandlos & Andrew Stuhl

A Historical and Legal Study of Sovereignty in the Canadian North

Terrestrial Sovereignty, 1870-1939

by (author) Gordon W. Smith
edited by P. Whitney Lackenbauer
foreword by Tom and Nell Smith

Blockades or Breakthroughs?

Aboriginal Peoples Confront the Canadian State

edited by Yale D. Belanger & P. Whitney Lackenbauer

The Dundurn Arctic Culture and Sovereignty Library

Pike's Portage/Death Wins in the Arctic/Arctic Naturalist/Arctic Obsession/Arctic Twilight/Arctic Front/Canoeing North Into the Unknown/Arctic Revolution/In the Shadow of the Pole/Voices From the Odeyak

by (author) Michael Posluns, Bruce W. Hodgins, S.L. Osborne, Kerry Karram, Ken S. Coates, P. Whitney Lackenbauer, William R. Morrion, Greg Poelzer, Anthony Dalton, Alexis S. Troubetzkoy, John David Hamilton & Claudia Coutu Radmore
edited by Morten Asfeldt & Bob Henderson
foreword by Pete Seeger

The Canadian Rangers

A Living History

by (author) P. Whitney Lackenbauer

Other titles by William R. Morrion

Other titles by Greg Poelzer