Prime Minister Stephen Harper will visit Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and northern Manitoba this week for his seventh northern tour.
The annual tour has become a key part of Harper government's foreign policy — Harper uses it to assert Canadian presence in the area.
Buoyed by the region's potential natural resource riches, Russia, the United States, and the EU are all in disagreement with Canada on Arctic boundaries, and particularly about control of the Northwest Passage — a water route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
While the Harper government doesn't foresee a military threat in the Arctic, they have made it clear that 'Arctic sovereignty' would be a focus of their government.
"Canada has a choice when it comes to defending our sovereignty in the Arctic; either we use it or we lose it," Harper said in 2007 according to CTV News. "And make no mistake this government intends to use it. Because Canada's Arctic is central to our identity as a northern nation. It is part of our history and it represents the tremendous potential of our future."
But by most accounts, Harper's policy to "use it" has so far been what the kids these days call an epic fail.
According to an article by The Canadian Press, the north has become a land of broken promises for the Harper government.
In 2010, for example, Harper championed a major new satellite project, the Radarstat Constellation Mission. The production phase was due to begin this month, but the status of the project is unclear.
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In 2007, on one of his first trips to the North, Harper announced the construction of a deep-water naval port in Nanisivik.
Construction was supposed to begin in 2010. That's now been pushed back to next year, if not longer.
And according to a recent article in the Globe and Mail, Canada's Coast Guard icebreakers are growing old, with plans for Arctic/Offshore Patrol Vessels having just been delayed for another three years.
While Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Defence Minister Peter MacKay continue to insist Canada is no slouch in the Arctic, other countries' Arctic strategies seem to be bigger, stronger and faster.
A QMI Agency report from last summer noted that Canada's neighbours have been very active in the region.
The U.S. has increased submarine activity in the Far North, Sweden has mused about increasing its submarine capability, and Norway is looking to counter Russian air and sea power in the area.
Earlier this month, the Russians announced plans for a $137-billion Russian naval rebuilding program that will give it 16 nuclear submarines and a much stronger Arctic presence.
While annual 'tours' to the North are great, if Harper doesn't put taxpayer money where his mouth is, his plans for 'Arctic sovereignty' could quickly melt away.