Our defence minister, Peter MacKay, must be an aficionado of Cold War-era movies and Tom Clancy novels, because he still seems keen on playing a game of "whose is bigger?" with the Soviet Union, er, with the Russians:
Federal Defence Minister Peter MacKay has issued a decidedly cool response to the Russian military's planned paratroop drop at the North Pole next spring, suggesting Canadian fighter jets would scramble to "meet" any Russian aircraft "approaching" Canada's airspace. "We're going to protect our sovereign territory," MacKay said Friday in Halifax, a day after a Russian embassy representative tried to play down the parachute mission as a "solely symbolic" event aimed at celebrating the 60th anniversary of a Cold War achievement by two Soviet scientists.
I wonder if Peter is aware of the major Arctic military exercise his own department is planning, some details of which began to be revealed last week:
...but media will “likely” have to leave before the meeting ends to transfer to HMCS Toronto to take part in Operation Nanook, an Arctic sovereignty mission...
A reporter asks for more information on Operation Nanook, and is told that there will be a full briefing by Defence at some point before the trip takes place; Peter MacKay will be there, as will some media who are covering the operation in its entirety — again, betting not ITQ — which means there may be some limits for photo ops – one pool, not two.
I'm sure Peter would love if the Russian defence minister held a presser to insist they'll defend their sovereign territory, and maybe channel Kruschev with a little "we will crush you" rhetoric. Then Peter can invite him to Geneva for talks, and then they can invite Superman to throw all their missiles into the sun.
But it's possible though the Russian defence minister has better things to do than shamelessly pander to a domestic audience with empty saber rattling and statements of the obvious, particularly given neither countries' "sovereign territory" is likely to be impacted by either exercise.
Of course, Peter MacKay is no stranger to the Wag the Dog technique.
Good to know Peter will be on the front-line in person for Operation Nanook, hopefully with a C-7 in hand, defending our sovereigty from those dastardly Russians. I want him on that wall. I need him on that wall.