Committee calls on Canada to co-operate with NATO to respond to Russia in Arctic


OTTAWA — A House of Commons committee is urging the government to work with NATO to determine Russia’s true military intentions in the North in order to protect the country’s Arctic sovereignty.

That’s the top recommendation of a report tabled today by the Commons foreign-affairs committee based on a study it began last June.

Its release comes one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined an ambitious plan to increase Russia’s Arctic presence, including expanding its fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers and building new ports and other infrastructure.

With Arctic sea ice melting, Putin said he plans to dramatically increase Russian cargo-ship traffic in northern shipping lanes.

The report urges Canada to work with its partners in NATO’s governing body, the North Atlantic Council, to better understand Russia’s military intentions in the Arctic and to consider the most appropriate and “measured response.”

But it makes clear this is about “deterring and defending against any threat to the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”