An Emerging Border Region: ‘Securing’ the Far North

Adam Lajeunesse and P. Whitney Lackenbauer | BIG Research Reports | #31

The environmental conditions of the Canadian Arctic, coupled with poor accessibility and a small and scattered population, has traditionally limited the North’s perceived significance as a border region. The melting of the northern sea ice, however, is enabling new commercial and tourist activity in this region of Canada and that of its Arctic neighbours. Government and other expert assessments predict that this activity will generate increasing safety and security concerns, largely related to immigration, criminal activity, fishing, environmental protection, and maritime accidents. In addition, Canada faces a few long-standing border and jurisdictional disputes that, despite being well-managed, require ongoing maintenance and attention. The Canadian Arctic is a region in flux owing to environmental, economic, transportation, and social changes occurring in complex and unpredictable ways. Managing this emerging borderland will require a nimble and comprehensive response from across the governance and defence spectrum. This will also have to be a response in depth, with monitoring, enforcement, and response capability established across the Arctic since a “defence” of the Arctic borders at the border will be impossible.

Adam Lajeunesse and P. Whitney Lackenbauer

An Emerging Border Region: 'Securing' the Far North