Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sovereignty Squad

Operation Nanook is coming up, which is like Christmas in August for reporters here in Nunavut. The Armed forces come in and put on a show for everyone and get in some very unique training. Reporters get to tag along and send the story everywhere else.

That is key, what is a sovereignty exercise if there is no one there to take pictures? It is a tree falling in the forest, and does nothing to reinforce Canadian claims to the Arctic.

Luckily the good folks at Joint Task Force North know that, and few things I have done with them have been fantastic. They are JTFN, and we, the media are the Sovereignty Squad, bolstering their claims with independant 3rd party journalism.

Plus, it is fun. I've been to the Eureka Weather Station, and I never would have been there if it wasn't for the Forces. This time out, I am on board ships for three days and then I'm spending two days on the land with the Rangers.

All that said, I always laugh when I get the waiver to sign for the Forces. It is the most uniquely northern document I have ever been asked to sign (except for the Legion membership application, where you have to state you aren't a communist).

Here is the funny part:

"I understand that military activities in northern regions of Canada involve unique additional inherent risks including but not limited to:

-- geographic and temporal disorientation (how very Star Trek, temporal disorientation)
-- falling onto and through ice and packed snow
-- wind-chill freezing of exposed flesh (Welcome to Iqaluit)
-- hypothermia
-- frostbite
-- trench foot (Stay out of trenches)
-- immersion foot
-- dehydration
-- hypothermia
-- cold diuresis (I don't even know what this one means)
-- sun burn
-- snow blindness
-- constipation
-- and wild animal attacks"

Now that is a waiver... and you have to release the Queen from any responsability. Your Majesty, whatever happens will likely be my own fault, so I do release you.