One Arctic? Northern Security in Canada and Norway

In Wilfrid Greaves and Whitney Lackenbauer (eds), Breaking Through: Understanding Sovereignty and Security in the Circumpolar Arctic. University of Toronto Press, 2021, pp. 168-184.

This chapter compares and contrasts Norway’s and Canada's approaches to security and national defence in the Arctic. It examines the security policies and interests of two Arctic countries that have been at loggerheads regarding security in the north. It asks: why do Norwegian and Canadian security interests diverge in the Arctic? Furthermore, what does this entail for the Arctic as a ‘security region’ at large? By using the Arctic as a case study, we can examine the relevance of literature on security regions. Can the Arctic be described as such? I argue that the clash of interests between Norway and Canada stems from a fundamental difference in the respective approaches to northern security of these two countries. Ultimately, the growing trend to examine and study the Arctic as one security region does not hold. Instead, it highlights a trend of forcing theoretical presumptions on empirical evidence.