Canada's recent purchases include 65 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and eight Arctic/offshore patrol ships for what a Canadian Navy backgrounder calls Canada's "Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs)." Not "Polar Bear Playgrounds (PBPs)." Not "Awesomely Big Hockey Rinks (ABHRs)." This is about national wealth -- which means being less reliant in the future on having to deal with regimes that don't share similar values. As the backgrounder states: "This government recognizes that an increased Canadian Forces (CF) presence in the Arctic is essential to achieving our goals in this region, which is critical to our national interest and sense of identity."
The notion of Canada being at the forefront of any conflict with Russia into which America is ultimately drawn isn't a new one. The entire Cold War era started in Canada. On Sept. 5, 1945, a Soviet Embassy employee in Ottawa, Igor Gouzenko, handed over more than 100 documents to Canadian national police detailing Soviet spying on Canadian and American interests.
These days, the Western public seems to have trouble taking any potential Russian threat seriously, probably because we're so far into the era of visible and overt Islamic terrorism that we're convinced that's all there is. The Cold War didn't end just because Soviet tanks aren't being shown on American TV screens every night. Russia built Iran's nuclear reactor. Russia enjoys an exclusive bilateral trade deal with China. Russia is managing to buy back influence in all of its former satellite states through investments made by Kremlin-backed oligarchs, and further stretching that influence into the West via similar business-investment activity.
Only a few days ago, Russia's ambassador to Canada was complaining in the Canadian media that Harper vilified Russia in an attempt to boost support and gain a majority government -- which he did earlier this year. Harper wasn't Bear-baiting -- he'd be about 25 years too late for that to actually work on Canadians as a political tactic. It was just a rare case of a politician being genuine.