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The wealth of its subsoil in critical minerals can attract malicious foreign investments for the economy and for national security.

RCMP in Yukon monitors risk of foreign interference in territory

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The Yukon has deposits of 21 critical minerals. (Archive photo)

Radio-Canada

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In the Yukon, any sign of external threat is monitored by the RCMP because, according to them, this territory is vulnerable to foreign interference.

Superintendent Lindsay Ellis confirmed in an interview that her police force monitors many foreign interests, such as investments in major infrastructure, road and bridge projects as well as the dissemination of information and intellectual property.

We are examining what foreign interests could harm the Canadian economy, the safety of Canadians and national security, she said without confirming whether the RCMP is investigating this. type of threat.

The Yukon shares the largest border with the United States unsupervised land. It’s vast, it’s enormous. Is it a challenge? Yes.

A quote from Lindsay Ellis, Superintendent of the Yukon RCMP

Foreign interference can take many forms: espionage, cyberwar, disinformation and suspicious investments. It can manifest ostensibly on a local scale, such as hackers trying to steal money from the elders of certain First Nations, or discreetly with global ramifications.

Foreign interference also has several motivations, but one that has increasingly stood out recently is the emerging critical minerals economy.

Without specific attention to the North, Canada faces the very real risk that its Arctic zone will be seen as a potential strategic opportunity by other states seeking to take advantage of it, whether its own like-minded allies or other countries that do not share Canada's interests, said the 2022 report from Arctic360, a think tank on Canada's Arctic zone.

According to the International Energy Agency, demand for critical minerals could be six times higher by 2040 compared to 2020. This demand is being felt in the Yukon, where the number of exploration projects to discover of critical mineral deposits has increased.

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In 2022, the territory's subsoil was determined to contain deposits of 25 critical minerals out of 31 such minerals on the federal government's list. The Yukon therefore has strong mining potential, with a global market estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars.

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The list of critical minerals of Canada.

Aurel Braun, professor of international relations and political science at the University of Toronto, says no government body, including the Yukon, is protected against bad foreign investment.

For example, Russia has been trying to establish its domination over the Arctic for a very long time by claiming parts of this very vast territory. China, for its part, is trying to legitimize its position in the affairs of the circumpolar North by calling itself a state close to the Arctic.

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According to Professor Braun, it doesn't matter whether the Canada imposed sanctions against Russia: front companies can circumvent them.

If a company is capable of producing strategic critical minerals, if it is capable of producing energy, it will undoubtedly be monitored, even approached by Russia and by China, he believes.

All companies are vulnerable to corrupted elements.

A quote from Aurel Braun, professor of international relations and political science at the University of Toronto

Late last year, a Chinese company acquired nearly 10% of a mine in Yellowknife, along with all rare earth deposit reserves. Rare earth elements make up a group of 15 elements on the periodic table called the lanthanides, along with scandium and yttrium, specifies the Natural Resources Canada website. The federal government is examining this transaction; however, no wrongdoing was noted.

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The open-pit rare earth mine in the Territories of the Northwest.

Moreover, Bill C-34 (New window), which provides for the amendment of the Investment Canada Act, is before the Senate at this time.

If adopted, this amendment will require the filing of a notice before certain investments are carried out and to authorize the Minister of Industry, after consultation with the Minister of Public Security and Civil Protection, to impose provisional conditions with regard to investments to prevent attacks on national security that could occur during the 'review.

With information from Julien Gignac

By admin

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