Monday, February 23, 2009

My Bucket List

This is a list of things I’d like to do before I kick the bucket. It assumes a regular life span, health and the grace of God. As you can see, I haven’t chosen anything too daring, and definitely nothing to do with heights. This is in no particular order.

( ) See Machu Piccu.
( ) Publish a novel.
( ) Go to Papua New Guinea.
( ) Do a short-term Missions trip.
( ) Go on a Mediterranean cruise.
( ) Travel thru Europe.
( ) See an English Premier League or Bundesliga soccer game live.
(X) Ride in a submarine.
( ) Visit Australia.
( ) Cruise the Nile/ see the pyramids.
( ) Learn to scuba dive.
( ) Go on an African Safari.
( ) Travel to Israel.
(X) Go on a Caribbean cruise.
( ) Live in a house with a sauna.
( ) See the Grand Canyon.
(X) Go to San Diego.
(X) See the Mayan ruins. (within the month!)
( ) Visit every province in Canada.
( ) Learn a third language (Spanish or German).
(X) Tour a warship.
( ) Dance at my grandchildrens’ weddings.
( ) Be able to write full-time.
( ) See Pearl Harbour in Hawaii.
(X) Go to Disneyworld.
( ) Climb Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica.
( ) Re-visit Finland.
( ) See Scandinavia.
(X) See our daughters saved and baptized.
( ) Learn sign language.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oooh, Technology!

Feb. 22, 2009.

Outside my window…a light snowfall. Same old, same old.
I am thinking…that the challenge of making a Bucket List (things you want to do before you kick the bucket), wasn’t so hard. It only took me about ten minutes. I think I know what I want in life. Hopefully, it’s in line with what God wants. It also presupposes a regular life span. Two quotes come to mind: “We are immortal until our work is done,”
and “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
I am thankful…that the weekend has arrived. I had such a busy week at work, our dryer died and needed to be replaced (which my mom insisted on buying), and the bank messed us up on something. We had to go in and sign more papers before I went to work on Thursday, so we could fix it. I feel especially tired and even a little depressed, although I can’t put a finger on a reason for my blues. I know that in spite of those things, I should be thankful. To look at those things from another perspective: my work week ended, our dryer is being replaced at no cost to us, and we were able to fix the problem at the bank. Not only that, but we are going to Mexico in less than two weeks! Life is good, I just forget sometimes.
From the kitchen…ham, perogies, carrots, ice cream.
I am wearing…a navy skirt, a white blouse and a pink jacket.
I am reading…Remembered, by Tamera Alexander; the third in a historical romance series.
I am hoping…that we can figure out a way to convert the video we made into a usable format. We bought the conversion software, but it’s not working so far.
I am hearing…a soccer game. I love our PVR. I can record any game that’s on and watch it when it suits me. I used to spend Saturday mornings in front of the T.V., at the expense of my housework and errands, but now I can get things done and watch the games at a more convenient time. At this point, my kids would tease me, and say, “Oooh, technology!” Well, I am impressed by it!
Around the house…my eldest is back from her missions trip to Scotland, my youngest is doing her homework, my Mom is doing the laundry and hanging the clothes up around the house to dry the old fashioned way, and my husband and I are relaxing. If you’re wondering why my Mom’s doing our laundry, it’s because she insists. It gives her something to do, so she says. In fact, she doesn’t want us in there. It’s her turf. She’s set in her ways. We know better than to get in the way of a stubborn Finnish woman!
One of my favourite things…touring a warship. I’ve been on HMCS Fredericton and HMCS Halifax. On “Freddy”, I got to go below decks and see how the sailors really live. It was cool.
A few plans for the week…Purchase the things I need for the dinner after my daughter’s baptism next week. We’ll have about thirty guests. I also need to purchase last minute items for our trip. Only eleven more sleeps!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Days Off

Feb.16, 2009

Outside my window...a mild, sunny day. You could almost forget it was still winter.
I am thinking...I can't believe the boldness of some people. Two women and a man came into our church yesterday. They were pretty rough looking, but I didn't want to prejudge them. Our church is in inner city Scarborough and there are alot of people in the neighbourhood on social assistance. I was in the nursery, holding a baby near the half-door, when one of the women came downstairs. She went straight for the coats and started checking the pockets. Then she saw me watching her, and stepped into the bathroom. When everyone came downstairs for the church supper, a few minutes later, I told my husband. A few minutes after that, she and the man were gone, and someone's purse was missing. The other woman said she sort of knew them and gave the woman's address, but we're not sure if she had anything to do with it. The police were called, but more than likely the money was removed, and the purse was tossed. Fortunately, she had only $20 and no credit cards. She was upset, of course, and had to cancel and replace her debit and health cards and replace keys and locks. The church will reimburse her for this. I shudder to think what would have happened if it had been my purse, which has both sets of my reading glasses(why, I don't know), both memory cards that have my stories on them (why both, I don't know), credit cards, I.D. and about 20 rewards cards. This tells me I need to re-think the contents of my purse.
I am thankful for...having my mom in my life. She lives in our basement apartment and we get along well. Two women in one house, though, need two kitchens. We have privacy and see each other when we want to, but she's not a meddler, and we don't feel like we have to eat together every day, or invite her upstairs if we're having guests. My husband likes the situation, as well. Not every man can live with his mother-in-law, which shows how exceptional he is. It's been great to have her with us. Ten years ago, when my husband had cancer, she was living 8 hours away, and that's when she realized she wanted to be closer. Her grand-daughters were growing up and she was only seeing them once or twice a year. Now she has a great relationship with them, and there is obvious mutual affection.
I know one day we may be looking after her, if she is ill or frail, but for now, she looks after us in many ways; driving my daughter to school, cooking supper a few days a week, and doing our laundry. Did I mention before that I had a good life?
From the kitchen...baby back ribs (my favourite), hassleback potatoes, carrots and broccoli, and apple coffee cake. We're having a guest for dinner today; our late Pastor's widow. She has been a good friend to us, and to my mom since she moved to Toronto when she turned 60. When you move at that age, you tend to leave all your friends behind. This lady is still a member at our church, and has been witnessing to my mom.
I am wearing...jeans and a black "mom sweater".
I am reading...Revealed, by Tamera Alexander. It's a Christian historical romance.
I am hoping...we can figure out how to operate our new camcorder before we go to Mexico. If we do, I'll post the video of the tour of our library.
I am hearing...the soundtrack from Sense and Sensibility.
Around the house...My eldest is in Scotland, safe and sound. My youngest just started a blog this week. http://www.leahanneli.blogspot.com/ She's a chip off the old block.
Today would have been my father's seventieth birthday, if he hadn't died at age 28. It's a sad day for my mom. When my husband was talking with her the other day, she revealed that she was angry at God that her husband died young.
One of my favourite things...long weekends. Even though I work hard while I'm at work, it's the kind of work I can leave at work (unlike my husband, who is always on duty). On the weekend, my time is my own, and this is my fourth night off.
A few plans for the week...haircut, doctor's appointment, working three nights. I wanted to get things done today, but almost every place is closed because of the new Family Day holiday.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Adventures in Life

Feb.13, 2009

Outside my window…a cold, windy day, but at least half of the snow banks have melted this week.
I am thinking…that my youngest daughter will make a great lawyer. This week she received a bill for $31.00 from the public library for a book she returned months ago. She went there and explained the situation. They asked, “How do we know you returned it?” She said that if they checked the shelf, they’d find it there. She wasn’t entirely sure it hadn’t been signed out again, but she knew she had returned it. They checked and it was there. Then they said, “But there are still outstanding late fees.” She asked, “How can there be late fees when it’s been here all along?” They expunged her record. Go girl!
I am thankful for…my oldest daughter’s phone call this week, where she shared her joy over leading a person to Christ. These are the things that really matter in life. I’m glad these are the things that bring her joy.
From the kitchen…pasta, sauce, meatballs, and salad.
I am wearing…jeans and a grey NAVY t-shirt.
I am reading…Just Cause by Susan Page Davis. It’s a Christian suspense novel about a woman wrongly accused of her husband’s murder.
I am hoping…that since the federal budget passed, we’ll have some stability in the government for awhile. But I’m feeling 40 billion dollars poorer.
I am hearing…the evening news. Sad news about the horrific plane crash near Buffalo, New York last night. Being a nervous flyer, myself, I’m trying not to think about the fact that right now my daughter is on a plane to Scotland.
Around the house…my daughter’s missions trip to Scotland starts today. I’m proud of her and hope she has a great experience.
One of my favourite things…writing. I love creating a life for my characters. They become my friends and I tend to fall in love with my leading men, but then, I create them near perfect, so how can I not love them?
A few plans for the week…I’m beginning a four day weekend. I haven’t made any plans yet for “family day” on Monday. My husband has to work anyway. We’re not going out for Valentine’s Day since we ate out the last two Fridays, and we leave for Mexico in 20 more days. Besides, I feel love every day, not just on Valentine’s Day. I even told my husband not to buy my weekly roses this week, since they are overpriced for the holiday. It’s not such a hardship for me to do without. (Don’t I sound noble?)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

50 Random Things About Me

1. I think submarines are the coolest things ever invented (the boats, not the sandwiches).
2. I hate flying.
3. I started a blog in July.
4. I love my job as an oncology nurse even though I work full time nights.
5. I eat an egg every day.
6. I met my husband in a hospital. (No, he wasn’t a patient. He was in housekeeping, and he swept me off my feet).
7. I once stowed away on a ferry between Finland and Sweden.
8. I would love to go to Papua New Guinea one day.
9. My first job was in a convenience store, making $2.15 per hour.
10. I would love to write for a living. I currently have seven stories in the works.
11. I was on the chess club in public school. I know, “Nerd Alert!” Now I hardly remember how to play.
12. I don’t like to play many sports. Like most girls, I only pretended to like sports, to meet guys.
13. I’m a bit of a princess, but my husband helps keep me that way by buying me roses every Friday. Okay, so I was one before I met him, but now I have no reason to change.
14. I could leave winter and never miss it.
15. I would love to learn Spanish, German, scuba diving, sign language, and archery.
16. I am a bookaholic.
17. I can be stubborn (that’s a Finnish trait).
18. I drank coffee every day since I was five (except when I was pregnant). It’s best not to talk to me until I’ve had two cups.
19. My favourite meal is steak and lobster, but my favourite comfort food is ribs and hassleback potatoes.
20. I love to watch soccer, especially English Premier League and German Bundesliga. (Aston Villa and Bayern Munich are my favourite teams).
21. I take a while to learn new things, especially technology.
22. I hate talking on the phone, and I never want to buy a cell phone, because of Number 17, 21 and 22.
23. The first impression people get of me is that I’m aloof or snobbish, but really, I’m just shy and not good with small talk.
24. I was born in Finland and am fluent in Finnish.
25. Growing up, I took lessons in rhythmic gymnastics, jazz dancing, square dancing (really), and badminton. I can't play any musical instruments, though.
26. I'm not a social hugger. Forced hugs make me uncomfortable.
27. I love Jane Austen books and movies, or movies in that time period.
28. I don't care for modern chick flicks.
29. I love war movies, especially submarine movies.
30. I like to read military history, biographies, missionary adventures, submarine technothrillers, systematic theology, inspirational romance and Christian thrillers. Pretty eclectic, eh?
31. When something interests me, I'll obsess about it for a few years, and then I'll move on to something else.
32. I have no tattoos or piercings.
33. I am a Top Reviewer on chapters.ca
34. I like camping, as long as I don't forget anything.
35. I respect the ocean. It both fascinates and scares me.
36. I can crochet, but I can't knit.
37. I've concluded from personal experience that pain from kidney stones is DEFINITELY worse than natural childbirth.
38. I love German Shepherds. I hope to have one again, someday.
39. I plan to semi-retire at age 55. Ten years to go!
40. I watch too much soccer. I know the names of the referees and can tell which players have had a recent haircut.
41. I haven't been back to Finland in 32 years.
42. I am not the least bit handy. I would be lost without my husband.
43. I am a list maker and I like to plan things.
44. I don't handle it well when things don't go according to plan.
45. I don't like to be tickled.
46. My stories are my babies. I love them each for different reasons.
47. I'm proud of my daughters.
48. I went to the same public school and highschool as Ken Danby (a famous Canadian artist who died recently). It didn't confer any artistic ability onto me.
49. I have the most romantic and caring husband. He's too good for the likes of me.
50. I am a born-again Christian (Baptist, Calvinist).

Remembering My Pregnancies

1. WAS YOUR FIRST PREGNANCY PLANNED?
Yes.

2. WERE YOU MARRIED AT THE TIME?
Yes.

3. WHAT WERE YOUR REACTIONS?
Excited.

4. HOW OLD WERE YOU?
26

5. HOW DID YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE PREGNANT?
A pregnancy test at the doctors. The home pregnancy tests were negative.

6. WHO DID YOU TELL FIRST?
My husband, of course. He was at a sportsman's show and kept calling home to see if I'd heard yet. The guy he was with must have thought he was a wuss because he couldn't be away from his wife for a few hours without calling home four times.

7. DUE DATE?
November 21, 1990

8. ACTUAL DATE BABY WAS BORN?
November 26, 1990 after induction.

9. DID YOU HAVE MORNING SICKNESS?
Almost every day for nine months. I carried a plastic bag in my coat pocket so I'd be ready when I was on the subway. I would feel my palms sweat and mouth water, I'd think, "It's time." I'd get off the train, do it, and get on with my day. Only the first of many sacrifices for my kids.

10. WHAT DID YOU CRAVE?
Potatoes and bread. My husband would ask, "How are we having our potatoes, today?" One day I was in the mood for KFC and potato salad. My husband had made chicken and rice for dinner. The baby's wishes prevailed and he went out and bought me my heart's desire.

11. WHO/WHAT IRRITATED YOU THE MOST?
Varicose veins. Thanks for that, Hanna. No, really thanks. I used to have nice legs.

12. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CHILD'S SEX?
Female

13. DID YOU WISH YOU HAD THE OPPOSITE SEX OF WHAT YOU WERE GETTING?
No, although I was expecting I'd have a boy because everyone who saw me was convinced that's what I was carrying.

14. HOW MANY POUNDS DID YOU GAIN THROUGHOUT THE PREGNANCY?
22 pounds.

15. DID YOU HAVE A BABY SHOWER?
Yes, I had 3.

16. WAS IT A SURPRISE OR DID YOU KNOW?
I knew. I always guessed. But I pretended to be surprised.

17. DID YOU HAVE ANY COMPLICATIONS DURING YOUR PREGNANCY?
I developed a blood clot in my leg a week before delivery.

18. WHERE DID YOU GIVE BIRTH?
Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto

19. HOW MANY HOURS WERE YOU IN LABOR?
Nine hours. It was only bad near the end.

20. WHO DROVE YOU TO THE HOSPITAL?
My husband. We had a new car and it had cloth seats. He was so worried my water would break and I'd ruin the seat so he made me sit on a green garbage bag for the last month of my pregnancy. Imagine!

21. WHO WATCHED YOU GIVE BIRTH?
My husband. My obstetrician, who came in even though he wasn't on call, and a nurse. It was change of shift and I wish the nurse I laboured with would have been with me through to the birth, but hey, I know, nurses need to go home after a twelve hour shift. It's not all about me. :/

22. WAS IT NATURAL OR C-SECTION?
Natural.

23. DID YOU TAKE MEDICINE TO EASE THE PAIN?
I had an epidural, no complications. It was wonderful, although I still felt the actual delivery.

24. HOW MUCH DID YOUR CHILD WEIGH?
8 lb 3 oz.

25. WHEN WAS YOUR CHILD ACTUALLY BORN?
8:15 p.m. Monday, November 26, 1990

26. WHAT DID YOU NAME HIM/HER?
Hanna Rebekka

27. HOW OLD IS YOUR FIRST BORN TODAY?
18.

28. WAS YOUR SECOND PREGNANCY PLANNED?
No, but the timing was good.

29. WERE YOU MARRIED AT THE TIME?
Yes.

30. WHAT WERE YOUR REACTIONS?
Thrilled.

31. HOW OLD WERE YOU?
28.

32. HOW DID YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE PREGNANT?
A pregnancy test at the doctors. I knew I was pregnant, even though two home pregnancy tests were negative.

33. WHO DID YOU TELL FIRST?
My husband, of course.

34. DUE DATE?
August 24, 1992.

35. ACTUAL DATE BABY WAS BORN?
August 26, 1992 after induction.

36. DID YOU HAVE MORNING SICKNESS?
Minimal, maybe five times in the whole pregnancy, so I was sure I must be having a boy since this pregnancy was so different from my first.

37. WHAT DID YOU CRAVE?
Chocolate.

38. WHO/WHAT IRRITATED YOU THE MOST?
Having to wear thick, support hose at all times (due to my previous blood clot in my leg) during an especially hot summer.

39. WHAT WAS YOUR SECOND CHILD'S SEX?
Female.

40. DID YOU WISH YOU HAD THE OPPOSITE SEX OF WHAT YOU WERE GETTING?
No, I was glad I had two girls because it saved on clothes since we were poor.

41. HOW MANY POUNDS DID YOU GAIN THROUGHOUT THE PREGNANCY?
20 pounds.

42. DID YOU HAVE A BABY SHOWER?
Yes, I had one after she was born.

43. WAS IT A SURPRISE OR DID YOU KNOW?
This time I was totally surprised, and wish I wasn’t because I didn’t look my best.

44. DID YOU HAVE ANY COMPLICATIONS DURING YOUR PREGNANCY?
I developed a blood clot in the same spot in the same leg at the same point in the pregnancy as last time.

45. WHERE DID YOU GIVE BIRTH?
Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto.

46. HOW MANY HOURS WERE YOU IN LABOR?
Four and a half. Half of the time as my first, exactly.

47. WHO DROVE YOU TO THE HOSPITAL?
No one. I was already there for my appointment with my obstetrician when we decided he’d induce me, so my husband and my mom met me there.

48. WHO WATCHED YOU GIVE BIRTH?
My husband, my mom, the same obstetrician who delivered Hanna, and two nurses.

49. WAS IT NATURAL OR C-SECTION?
Au naturalle. They induced me, planning to give me my epidural once it was progressing, but then the anaesthetists got called away on emergencies, and they told me we had to “consider other options.” I was not impressed. “I want my epidural!” We gave laughing gas a try but it was just a distraction and did nothing for the pain. Anyway, compared to a delivery with an epidural, it was quite an experience. I can relate to millions of women who gave birth in the days before epidurals, but that’s where the nostalgia ends. Give me an epidural anytime.

50. DID YOU TAKE MEDICINE TO EASE THE PAIN?
No other medications.

51. HOW MUCH DID YOUR CHILD WEIGH?
7 lb 8 oz.

52. WHEN WAS YOUR CHILD ACTUALLY BORN?
5:00 p.m. Monday,August 26, 1992

53. WHAT DID YOU NAME HIM/HER?
Leah Anneli

54. HOW OLD IS YOUR SECOND BORN TODAY?
16.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ambitions

Feb. 4, 2009

Outside my window...one of the coldest days of the winter. I've had about enough of it, although we'll probably have another six weeks of it. And I didn't need a groundhog to tell me that.
I am thinking...that it's interesting that both our daughters want careers where they help people. Our eldest wants to be a social worker, and our youngest wants to be a lawyer. She came home from school today, excited, because they had a guest speaker from the International Justice Mission. She said, "I think I've found what I want to do with my life." This organization uses legal avenues internationally to rescue people from slavery and the sex trade. She knows she won't make as much money as she would if she practiced law here, but she wants to make a difference in the world. She may take International Studies as her undergrad degree. (She may also change her mind many times as well). I'm very proud of both of them, for many reasons.
I am thankful...that all of the required financial support came in for my daughter's upcoming missions trip to Scotland. Praise God. His people were so generous.
From the kitchen...beef stew and freshly baked bread. Perfect on such a cold day.
I am wearing...jeans and a purple sweater.
I am reading...The Glass Castle, a memoir by Jeannette Walls.
I am hoping...that we don't need to change the date of my youngest daughter's baptism, since I've already invited forty people.
I am hearing...the sounds of my nursing unit on night shift.
Around the house...my husband was home today for Doctor's appointment; long term effects from his chemo. My mom's doing well, no chest pain.
One of my favourite things...keeping in touch with friends on facebook.
A few plans for the week...work two more nights, go on a date with my husband, buy a video camera for our trip. Bring my oldest daughter to a church in Oakville Sunday night, where she will be singing. She's singing at three different worship events this weekend. She didn't inherit her singing voice from me, thankfully.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Battle for Arctic Sovereignty

A recent documentary on CBC’s The Doc Zone, highlighted the issues Canada is facing. Many of these points are from the documentary, and some are my responses to it. My comments are in italics.
The Arctic is under siege. Issues of security, resources of oil and gas reserves, shipping lanes, and global warming are turning the far north into a regional hotspot. We don’t know what’s going on in the Arctic because we don’t have the resources to man it. We are an Arctic country; if we can’t stand up and defend it, what does sovereignty ultimately mean?
“Without national security, all other individual rights become theoretical.” J.L. Granatstein
Canada’s entire military is smaller than the police force of some American cities. Add to that the enormous size of the Arctic and the inhospitable nature of it, and you can see how difficult it is to defend. Sadly, a big factor in the defense of Canada’s north is the apathy or gullibility of the Canadian people. They don’t want to spend money to protect our borders, because they feel we are internationally loved and respected (not true) and that the U.S. would always step up to defend us. Why pay for our own protection when our big brother to the south will rush in to help? This is also a fallacy. Recent anti-American sentiment and protectionist policies may make our “friends” to the south less likely to rush to our aid, when they have their own concerns.

The North West Passage (NWP) is the route from Europe to Asia. Many explorers died searching for it so they wouldn’t have to go around Cape Horn. It was finally discovered by Norwegian, Amundsen in 1906. Imagine, if those early explorers only had access to satellite images, they could have taken a shot in the summer and another in the winter, and they’d see the best way to transit through it, and even that such a thing really did exist. But, technology hadn’t come that far yet.
The Arctic is warming two times faster than the rest of the planet. There have now been two consecutive summers, with ice free waters, due to melting polar ice caps. The NWP could become a new superhighway for cargo and cruise ships. The trip through the NWP is 7,000 km shorter than the current shipping route through the Panama Canal, thus saving two weeks of travel between the Atlantic and the Pacific. For decades, this dispute didn’t mean much as long as it was locked in ice. That has changed.
Canada claims them as internal waters, long inhabited by the Inuit. Americans and Europeans insist the NWP is an international strait because it joins two oceans. One wonders what tune the U.S. would sing if there was, theoretically, a waterway that started in the east near New York or Washington, which then meandered through the country, close to major cities, and exited to the Pacific near Los Angeles. Yeah, that’s what I thought. There’s no way they would allow anyone and their brother with a ship or submarine to transit through “their country” unannounced; probably, not even if they were announced. The security issues are immense. Missiles could be fired from there, troops can land, and environmental disasters could occur and impact their country. Aah, now they see our point. Not that a theoretical scenario will change things. They’re bigger than us, and they do what they want to do.
Canada realizes it can do little to enforce who comes and goes. Canada launched a satellite, but it won’t be fully integrated into our military until 2011. All the intelligence in space won’t matter if you don’t have enough people on the ground to act on it. If they deem a ship “suspicious”, there is limited capacity to do anything about it.
Right now, it’s not even compulsory for ships passing through the NWP to register with Canada. We rely on ships to voluntarily check in at one of our two manned tracking stations the coast guard has in the entire Arctic. We’ve had a few incidents. One was a German cruise ship that appeared out of the fog one morning. Innocent enough, sure, but what about foreign submarines spying, or cargo ships carrying dangerous cargo that could run aground? An environmental disaster in the North would be there for decades, if not centuries.
The melting Arctic ice also now makes it easier to get at the resources previously trapped under the ice. It is estimated that the Arctic has 30% of all undiscovered Natural Gas in the world, and approximately 15-30% of all undiscovered oil in the world. That intensifies the race to explore and map the Far North and stake out new claims in Arctic riches.
The Arctic Ocean is bordered by five countries: Canada, U.S., Russia, Denmark and Norway. Russia has been the most passionate about conquering the far north. They planted a flag on the ocean floor of the North Pole in 2007. Russia badly needs the resources in the North Pole for economic reasons. In the Western Arctic, Canada is up against the U.S. In the Beaufort Sea, between Yukon and Alaska, drawing boundaries can have huge consequences, because oil and gas companies are already eager to come in.
If you stake a claim, you also have to be able to protect that territory. After years of neglect, does Canada’s military have the clout to do that? Saying, “The North belongs to Canada”, is not the same as being able to protect it. If a patrol spotted something suspicious, like a foreign sub, they would call out an Aurora, but none of our eighteen Auroras is stationed in the North. They would take 8-12 hours to get there from B.C. or Nova Scotia, by which time the sub would be long gone. The Auroras are more than 30 years old; most of the fleet stranded for repairs.
The sovereignty control is even worse on the water. Not a single warship (yes, Canada has warships), in Canada’s Navy is equipped to withstand the Arctic ice in winter.
Prime Minister Harper had planned to make Arctic Sovereignty a priority, promising three new ice-worthy vessels. That promise was broken. I had hoped that this Prime Minister would have been able to do something to bolster our military, but his Minority Government status has tied his hands.
Our submarine situation is not much better. We have four, 15 year old diesel subs, purchased second-hand from Britain. Diesel subs do not go under ice, because they have to surface to recharge their batteries. In the 1980’s, it was proposed that Canada purchase nuclear submarines, but the outcry against it was too great. This is unbelievable. Typical Canadian philosophy to leave our military ill-equipped and then complain when we can’t defend ourselves. Three of our four subs were docked for extensive and expensive repairs in 2008. By contrast, the Russians have more than thirty nuclear subs capable of months’ long journeys under the polar ice. They vow to build more. They also have seven nuclear powered ice breakers. We’re the only navy that doesn’t have the capability to monitor its’ own oceans. Our ability to know what’s going on in our own backyard is essentially zero.
We know less about the Arctic than we do about the dark side of the moon.
So in whose hands does the monitoring and security of Canada’s north depend? With approximately 4,000 volunteer reservists, mostly Inuit, called Canadian Rangers. They are the eyes and ears of the North, devoted to protecting the land. There are fewer than 500 people, north of 60 to patrol an area the size of Europe.
If these facts don’t scare the average Canadian, one would hope that our politicians would be responsible and pro-active in protecting our land and resources from countries that are all too eager to exploit them while we look the other way. One hopes our enemies aren’t aware of these facts, but again, that’s just Canadian wishful thinking.