Canada buys strategic hangar amid rising Arctic security threats from China and Russia

By Elías Thorsson - July 9, 2024
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The Inuvik hangar has attracted significant interest from China and Russia. (NASA)

The Canadian government has purchased a strategically significant aircraft hangar in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, for $8.6 million, according to the Globe and Mail. This acquisition, critical for continental air-defense infrastructure, underscores growing national security concerns over foreign interest, particularly from China and Russia, in the Arctic region. These nations’ activities in the Arctic pose significant risks to Canadian security, with top military officials warning that China aims to become a polar great power by 2030 and Russia is significantly bolstering its military presence in the area.

  • Strategic Acquisition: The $8.6-million purchase of a privately owned hangar adjacent to the NORAD air base in Inuvik strengthens Canada’s air-defense capabilities in the Arctic.
  • National Security Concerns: Increased scrutiny and concern over potential foreign espionage, particularly from China and Russia, have prompted heightened national security measures in Inuvik.
  • Project Sandcastle: Canadian Armed Forces investigators visited Inuvik under Project Sandcastle, probing activities of Russian and Chinese visitors interested in the area’s military and satellite facilities.
  • Foreign Interest: Reports indicate Chinese diplomats, identified as members of the People’s Liberation Army, and Russian activities have raised alarms about espionage and surveillance.
  • Government Response: Canada initially resisted U.S. pressure to purchase the hangar but later acknowledged its strategic importance, especially with rising foreign interest in the Arctic.
  • Arctic Militarization: Canada’s top soldier, General Wayne Eyre, and defence spokesman Alex Tétreault warn of increasing challenges to Arctic sovereignty as China and Russia bolster their military and strategic presence in the region.