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On sovereignty patrol in the frozen Arctic
Description: Rangers' military mission raises questions about Canada's commitment to the North
Date: 01 April 2007
Author: Katherine Harding
Source: Globe and Mail
EUREKA, NUNAVUT -- Allen Pogotak is unfazed about his latest military mission: scouting a trek along one of Canada's last -- and probably least forgiving -- unbeaten paths.

"We will make it. We have to for Canada," the 43-year-old Inuit man said as he inspected his army-issued snowmobile outside of Eureka's weather station, which is located less than 1,200 kilometres south of the North Pole on the western coast of Ellesmere Island.

"I'm proud to be part of this," the Holman, NWT, resident added as -48 C winds whipped around him. The father of three has been a Canadian Ranger since 1994. The rangers are a group of about 1,600 part-time reservists -- most of them Inuit -- who help the Canadian Forces keep watch on the Arctic, an increasingly significant economic and political region, according to the federal government.

Yesterday morning Mr. Pogotak and a small team of soldiers and other Canadian Rangers left Eureka, where they had been resting over the weekend, to travel the entire northwestern coast of Ellesmere Island to Alert, a military base and the country's most northern settlement. There is no record of anyone else ever making the treacherous journey, and the men will plant Canadian flags and cairns as they navigate the frozen tundra.


Click here to read the full article featuring Michael Byers.
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