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Canada's Eastern Arctic Patrol 1922–68

  • C.S. Mackinnon (a1)

Concerned to assert sovereignty over northern territories, Canada in 1922 began an annual patrol to the eastern Arctic to establish and maintain police posts. The experienced Captain Bernier and the Arctic made four trips; then from 1926 to 1931 the government chartered Beothic, a larger sealing ship. The patrol was led by a civil servant and transported doctors, scientists, court officials and representatives of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. As part of depression economies in the 1930s, space was rented on the Hudson's Bay Company's Nascopie under Capt Smellie and many more Inuit were visited, but fur trading interests took precedence. Major McKeand, the patrol leader, had many roles and useful research continued, but Nascopie sank in July 1947. With postwar concern for a heightened government presence in the Arctic, and after some interim arrangements, the patrol was resumed in 1950 in CD. Howe. The new expedition was especially designed for an expanded medical team eager to test all Inuit for tuberculosis, as a result of which many were evacuated to southern hospitals. In 1959 Northern Affairs turned over command of the slow-moving patrol to the senior doctor, and in 1968 National Health and Welfare belatedly decided that the movement of Inuit into settlements with nursing stations and airstrips made the C. D. Howe service redundant, so the patrol was discontinued.

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Polar Record
  • ISSN: 0032-2474
  • EISSN: 1475-3057
  • URL: /core/journals/polar-record
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