Does Harper really care about the Arctic?

Leaked cables reveal PM touted Arctic issues for political gain

New cables released by WikiLeaks reveal the U.S. government perceived Stephen Harper’s position on Arctic sovereignty only as a politically expedient way to win votes during the 2006 and 2008 elections, the CBC reports. While the PM often used strong rhetoric about the need to defend the region and rolled out a series of pledges, including the purchase of armed icebreakers and ocean sensors to beef up surveillance, the cables reveal that he did little to implement them. “The persistent high profile which this government has accorded ‘Northern Issues’ and the Arctic is, however, unprecedented and reflects the PM’s views that the North has never been more important to our country’ — although one could perhaps paraphrase to state ‘the North has never been more important to our Party,” wrote U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson in a January 2010 diplomatic cable. Jacobsen also said that during an extended meeting he had with Harper in January 2010, the PM did not mention the Arctic once. Since coming to power in 2006, Harper has consistently touted Arctic sovereignty as a top priority for the Conservative government, and has visited the region on several occasions.

CBC News

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