OTTAWA — Canada’s military has quietly struggled to equip army reserve units meant to operate in the Arctic with snowmobiles.
But a defence department spokeswoman confirms a recent influx of new machines will be the last for nearly a decade.
The Arctic response units will also be asked to make do with older, heavy 1980s all-terrain vehicles, which until a few years ago were headed to the scrap heap.
A spending freeze is in effect despite the Conservative government’s long-trumpeted military build-up and plans to exercise troops more often in the region.
The transport concerns are on top of reports last year that showed that until recently the army did not have enough cold weather gear, notably parkas.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper starts his annual pilgrimage to the North today, which will include a visit with Canadian Rangers, aboriginal reservists who patrol the region on behalf of the military.
Whereas previous photo-op friendly trips have seen thundering defence displays, references to the military in a statement released Friday announcing Harper’s trip.
Instead economic development took centre stage.