Prime Minister Stephen Harper helps pull up a diver in Allen Bay Wednesday August 25, 2010 in Resolute, Nunavut.Rangers, Coast Guard and Canadian Forces participated in a mock oil spill during Operation Nanook.
Credits: ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY
"We're spending a great deal of time and effort and putting resources into protecting our sovereignty in the North," said MacKay on Wednesday.
Included in Canada's $33-billion shipbuilding program is a fleet of new Arctic patrol ships.
That's still far smaller than the Russian program announced earlier this month that will include 16 new nuclear submarines.
MacKay insists Canada is no slouch in the Arctic.
"We're very cognizant of the importance and the role of the Canadian Forces in protecting Canadian sovereignty," he said. "That's against any real or perceived threats."
He said Canada maintains yearly military operations in the region, like Operation Nanook, while "putting down firm and permanent footprints" through a deep-water refuelling station in Nanisivik, Nunavut.
The refuelling station won't be as grand as first planned.
In a bid to save money, the facility will only hold one year's supply of fuel instead of two, will no longer require year-round electricity and will continue to house personnel in trailers instead of permanent buildings.
The Conservatives have made a point of reinforcing Canadian Arctic sovereignty.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper begins his annual tour of the Far North on Monday.