Operation NANOOK is the major the Arctic operation conducted annually by the Canadian Armed Forces in Canada’s North. The Government of Yukon is leading an emergency preparedness exercise in the Whitehorse area from 4-9-August. Other activities will take place in Nunavut.
The exercise includes the deployment of sprinklers in the greenbelt surrounding Whitehorse, a simulated evacuation of a Whitehorse subdivision, setting up and operating a reception centre for evacuees, and a mass casualty bus crash using Canadian Armed Forces personnel as “victims”. There will also be a simulated biohazard exercise and the coordination of a mini clinic designed to handle a surge in emergency medical capacity. There will be more than 500 Canadian Armed Forces personnel stationed in the Whitehorse area for the operation. They will use Porter Creek and F.H. Collins Secondary School, Takhini Arena and the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre as living quarters and operation centres.
The Nunavut activities, involving another 500 Armed Forces members, are to take place later in August include:
Resolution Island -The RCMP and the armed forces will play out a scenario that involves “suspected suspicious activity” on Resolution Island, which lies just past the mouth of Frobisher Bay in Hudson Strait. This exercise will include a transfer at sea between a Royal Canadian Navy vessel and a Coast Guard vessel, as well as a shore landing.
King William Island - Canadian Rangers will conduct “sovereignty patrols” and report on “activities” in the Northwest Passage.
Cornwallis Island - The Canadian Armed Forces, working with hunters, will respond to “suspected poaching activity” that falls within the law enforcement mandate of Environment Canada.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office has not announced if Harper will make his customary summer visit to northern Canada to view Operation Nanook exercises and promote the Conservative government’s northern strategy.
In 2012 over 1250 Canadian Forces personnel “working to expand and refine their skills in cooperation with other federal departments, and other levels of government,” DND stated in a news release. DND noted that last year’s operation was conducted at two new locations: in the Western Arctic in and around Inuvik, and Tsiigehtchic, Northwest Territories; and in the Eastern Arctic in the Hudson Strait, Hudson Bay and its littoral area including Churchill, Manitoba.
Undoubtedly a boost for the Yukon and Nunavut economies to have 1,000 armed forces personnel spending taxpayer money. Good luck and safe journey to all involved.