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The Canadian Forces and Arctic Sovereignty

Debating Roles, Interests, and Requirements, 1968-1974

by (author) P. Whitney Lackenbauer & Peter Kikkert

Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2010
Canada, Strategy, Post-Confederation (1867-)
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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.

About the authors


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

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.

Peter Kikkert's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"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."

Canadian Military Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1, Winter 2011

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 Peter Kikkert