Soldiers brace for winter conditions in Nunavut sovereignty exercise
National Defence to spend $5.3 million on week-long operation
Canadian soldiers will be heading to the Kivalliq for their next cold weather warfare exercise in Nunavut.
About 350 regular and reserve force members, lead by 4th Canadian Division/Joint Task Force Central, will take part in what’s being called Exercise Trillium Response in and around Rankin Inlet, Chesterfield Inlet and Whale Cove from Feb. 15 to Feb. 21.
A few personnel have already arrived to make preparations for the seven-day exercise.
“They will be honing their skills in winter warfare, cold weather survival and the use of Arctic equipment, including Light Over Snow Vehicles (military snowmobiles),” says a Feb. 3 Department of National Defence news release.
“Exercise Trillium Response 14 will focus on proving the division soldiers’ ability to fight, move and communicate in the harsh conditions of the northern winter.”
Ottawa has budgeted $5.3 million for this exercise, which includes salaries for participating reservists.
“Some items unique to this exercise and included in the budget are the shipping of vehicles and equipment to the exercise area, and local contracting,” DND’s website says.
Specifically, they plan to transport 71 snowmobiles, two snow tractors and several trailers to the Kivalliq.
The department says soldiers will ensure all environmental laws are followed and that they will make, “every reasonable attempt to minimize the impact of our activities on the environment, wildlife and people.”
While members of the public may see soldiers with weapons, those weapons will only be discharged at temporary live ammunition ranges roughly eight km west of Rankin, which will be controlled and closed to the public, a background paper said.
About 25 Rangers from 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group will participate in the exercise by sharing their “skills and knowledge in areas such as survival training and ground movement on the local terrain.”
The DND website says exercises such as this are necessary so that Canadian soldiers will be able to protect Arctic sovereignty, especially given that the Canadian Armed Forces have been focused on desert exercises in Afghanistan for the past 10 years.