Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks of his earlier life in Chile and of the demilitarization of the Antarctic region. This was possible because the same degree of international threat was not prevalent.
The Canadian Arctic and the Arctic generally was for 50 years the potential battleground between the Soviet Union and the United
States, Canada and its allies. Therefore, strategically the Arctic has historically occupied a different place in geopolitics.
The goal was for demilitarization in general. In a perfect world we would not need armies, air forces or navies. We would all be peaceful people and get along with each other. However it is somewhat naive to believe that we are even close to that state in the world. In fact, as we are debating, we see potential hostile acts occurring off the coast of China with respect to exercises by that government. That shows the level of threat is everywhere, not just in the Arctic but around the world.
With respect to the Arctic, we have to be prudent. We have to realize that our security has to be protected and we must recognize that means a military presence through warning systems and communication devices in the Arctic until such time as the threat over the Arctic is diminished.
This is not particularly my field, but I am sure the Minister of Foreign Affairs would say that even while we still look forward to maintaining our defence over the Arctic, we can still work with countries such as Russia and others who have an interest in the Arctic to make sure that pollution is controlled and environmental concerns generally are respected.
Moving forward with this agreement does not preclude movement on those fronts.