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In the present world of social media, instantaneous communication, and the 24 hour news cycle, the words of the University of Toronto’s Prof. Harold Innis’ former student, Marshall McClellan, spring to mind: “the medium is the message”. In the past decade, during the reign of the Harper government, we had a lot of photo ops and tough talk about Canada being a warrior on the world stage. It often seemed more effort was spent promoting the government than on the actual mission.

The sinking last month of the Newfoundland Fishing Vessel Atlantic Charger, a new state-of-the-art dragger at the entrance of Hudson Strait in Canada’s Arctic waters, raises questions about Canada’s Arctic search and rescue capability. Brad Watkins, the vessel owner and member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, told reporters the crew had asked him “where was the damn chopper”.