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Plus ?a change and all that.
When Prime Minister Stephen Harper begins his annual Arctic tour next month he will be confronted by a simple truth.
Canada is talking but not acting on its ambitions for the hotly contested territory bisecting 66 degrees parallel north.
Boosting our military capabilities and claims to Arctic sovereignty has been a recurring policy theme for Harper on his seven previous summer tours of the north.
As far back as his 2005 election platform, Harper announced plans for an Arctic national sensor system, a military-civilian deepwater port and purchase of three heavily armed icebreakers in his Canada First defence policy.
In 2010, the acquisition of new F-35 fighter jets was even tied to protecting Canadian northern sovereignty.
The reality is too many of these projects have remained just that ? announcements ? and most have been delayed or scaled back like the three new armed icebreakers originally tasked to patrol the region.
Now the federal government is building just one ? the John Diefenbaker ? to be offset by a series of smaller armed Arctic patrol vessels.
Not a single piece of steel has been cut for any vessel and the $3.1-billion project is close to four years behind schedule and racing over budget.
The much-touted Nanisivik, Nunavut deepwater refuelling stop is also in trouble. It was supposed to be ready for full operations in 2016. No contractor has yet been accepted for that challenge, downgraded as it was in 2012 from the originally proposed full-scale naval base.
Meanwhile another country with Arctic borders is moving ahead at full speed.
In less than 12 months the Russian navy will receive the first of two new French designed and built amphibious assault ships.
These 21,000-tonne Vladivostok-class flat tops will be fully winterized for use in Arctic conditions. The hulls will be strengthened to deal with pack ice and the stern well deck door will completely close.
The flight deck will have a deicing system and the ships will be modified to operate for extended periods in remote Arctic conditions.
On top of that obvious preparation for operation in high latitudes, the Russian navy specifically requested that the ship?s air wing capability be boosted to allow them to carry upwards of 30 helicopters (compared to 16 on the original French Mistral-class version) in all configurations from attack to supply to anti-submarine warfare.
That?s not all. Russia has begun building the first of two of the world?s biggest nuclear icebreakers at the Baltic shipbuilding yard in St. Petersburg.
The 170-metre long mega-ships will be capable of breaking through ice up to four-metres thick and will be the biggest ships of their type in the world.
They join Russia?s current fleet of five smaller modern icebreakers cruising the Arctic. They were built between 1985 and 2007.
All this as Canada keeps talking and previously ice-choked pathways ? specifically, the Northern Sea Route above Russia, a North Pole route across the polar ice cap, and to a lesser extent the Northwest Passage through Canada?s Arctic Archipelago ? are destined to be largely or completely navigable by mid-century at the latest.
The Arctic zone is now claimed by at least five countries: Russia, Norway, Denmark, Canada and the United States. All of them have direct access to the Arctic Ocean and all are keen to see what untapped oil and gas reserves lie in the area.
Russia?s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin made it clear two weeks ago his country will do whatever it takes to protect its interests with military force.
?An active development of the Arctic shelf will inevitably lead to a conflict of interests between countries. Addressing these conflicts may go beyond diplomatic means. It is likely that Russian oil and gas production facilities become targets of hidden sabotage by competitor countries,? Rogozin told Pravda.
Rogozin will be comfortable in the fact that Russia will have the ships to back its rhetoric.
Russia is not alone in boosting its maritime force projection capabilities with large amphibious assault ships.
Australia is building two Spanish-designed Canberra class helicopter assault ships.
These 27,000-tonne vessels will be the biggest ships the Royal Australian Navy has ever operated.
They will be capable of carrying up to 1,600 fully equipped combat troops, 110 trucks and vehicles and a dozen Abrams main battle tanks.
The air wing will consist of up to 16 helicopters including Chinook heavy lift machines and Tiger attack helicopters.
The 202-metre long flight deck is hardened and ends in a ski-jump enabling operation of VTOL versions of Australia?s planned purchase of 100 F-35 fighters.
Interestingly, the launch ship HMAS Canberra will be under the command of a Canadian.
Captain Jonathan Sadleir is a former RCN officer with 27 years seagoing experience.
Sadleir received his commission on graduation from the University of Waterloo as a recipient of the Regular Officer Scholarship Scheme in 1988. He then attended training at the Naval Officer College in Victoria, B.C. and transferred to the RAN in 1997.
HMAS Canberra is due to be accepted into service next March with sistership HMAS Adelaide to follow 12 months later.