Everyone knows that Canada and Russia have been dealing with each other on a lot of issues in the past years. However, both Putin and Harper are racing each other to get the Arctic oil and natural resources.

In a SOFREP article I wrote late last year, I clearly demonstrated the lack of Canadian military infrastructure in our own backyard. Although the Conservative Government has made the Arctic one of Canada’s main priority, our current military can’t and will not be able to protect its sovereignty without the help of the American military through NORAD.

CBC reported that the Canadian F-18s intercepted Russian Tu-95s on at least two different occasions in the month of June alone. We’ve been experiencing these Russian incursions since the start of the Cold War, but with the current Arctic situation, the Canadian government should enforce our airspace and boost our presence in the North.
That being said, National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson told the Parliament about the Russian incursions on June 19th.

“Mr. Speaker, I cannot comment specifically on operational matters, but I can confirm to the House that, yes, we continue to see Russian military activity in the Arctic. The Canadian Armed Forces remain ready and able to respond. In fact, the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18s were dispatched in recent days in response to Russian aircraft movements.
NORAD has intercepted in excess of 50 Russian military aircraft over the last five years. This clearly demonstrates both our capacity to respond and the need for ongoing vigilance. We will continue to work with our allies to defend Canadian sovereignty.”

Canada has only 77 CF-18s fit for service, while Russia has more than 1,319 fighter/strike aircrafts and 181 bomber aircrafts. What evens the score is the huge number of aircraft in the US Air Force inventory. In fact, the USAF had 5,638 aircraft in service as of September 2012.

The real stake here is the 90 billion barrels of oil, and almost 1,700 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, sitting untapped in the Arctic. Canada has been claiming a huge chunk of the Arctic due to their Inuit citizens, who have lived up North for generations. These Inuit citizens have also been using the sea routes for fishing and travel. However, even with these claims, the Russians will not let the Arctic go easily.

Canada must be able to defend the North, and it starts by controlling the airspace and developing a ground presence.

Canada has been struggling with his fighter aircraft renewal program. The purchase of the F-35 Lightning have been slowed down due to numerous problems with the prototypes. It is also important to note that Canada needs great interceptors, due to the numerous Russian incursions, and the F-35 isn’t really a good aircraft for these interception missions. There were also communications problems while the F-35 were flying up North in the first stage of testing.