Other Issues in Russia-Canada Relations
In cooperation with the United States, Canada participates in North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD
), a joint combine military command tasked with defending Canada and the United States' collective air and maritime space.
While NORAD has an expansive mandate to defend North America from a variety of potential threats, its historical origins were centred upon guarding North American airspace from Soviet military aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles coming over the North Pole. Today Canadian and American military aircraft regularly intercept
Russian air incursions into North American airspace. In June 2022, the Canadian government announced a 20-year $38.6 billion dollar modernization program
for NORAD installations and other assets located in Canada. While these investments in NORAD are reported to have been in planning for some time, the June 2022 announcement of the funding aligns conspicuously with Canada's other policy actions towards Russia.
Within a multilateral context, Russia and Canada maintain membership in common international organizations and global fora. Common membership
includes the United Nations (UN), the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the G20. Yet during the current crisis surrounding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, common membership in multilateral institutions has amounted to little. These large multilateral bodies remain an important part of global governance, but they will be unlikely to act as platforms for Russia and Canada to reconstitute their foreign relations within.
Russia and Canada also have common membership in the Artic Council
. However, in protest to Russia's February 2022 special military operation in Ukraine, Canada, along with Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the United States, suspended participation in the Arctic Council. Russia, who currently holds the Arctic Council chair, is currently the council's only
participating member. It is unclear when and if the Arctic Council will be able to resume its regular activities. Due to the Arctic Council's key role in Arctic cooperation and governance, reinvigorating the council is of critical importance to the region.
There has been some discussion in the West about forming alternatives to the Arctic Council, sans Russia. However, it is doubtful
if such a multilateral body without Russia could be effective or legitimate. An Opening in the Arctic?
Despite a fractured and non-functioning Arctic Council, the Arctic region offers Russia and Canada a distinct opportunity to identify common challenges and collaborate on joint solutions. The Arctic Circle is a long way from the conflict in Ukraine and geopolitical tensons in Eastern Europe. When compared to all the other regions Russia and Canada are currently diplomatically engaged, the Arctic offers a most robust geography that Russia and Canada can use to reconstitute their foreign relations within.
The Arctic region is outside of Eastern Europe, and far from the flashpoint that is present day Ukraine, and thus outside of the main zone of geopolitical conflict between the Western powers and Russia. While the Arctic is indeed a zone of substantial geopolitical tension
, and possible kinetic conflict, between NATO and Russia
, the Arctic is also complex and multifaceted. The Arctic presents Russia and Canada a menu of policy areas in which they can interact in a constructive manner.
These Arctic policy areas, which Russia and Canada can use to resume cooperation, are one step removed from the high politics of international security affairs and instead consist of matters of a technical or socio-cultural nature. These types of technical policy issues that have both domestic and international dimensions would not classify themselves as traditional topics of foreign policy, yet they are also impossible to effectively address without international cooperation — they are "intermestic" in nature. 
Most crucially for Canada, the Arctic is also a region in which the country can afford to act in a more independent manner, in divergence from the United States and its other NATO allies. If both Russia and Canada can decouple their adversarial relationship vis-à-vis
Ukraine towards the development of a constructive bilateral approach to the Arctic, a reconstitution of relations could be developed from the Far North.
Russia and Canada face many of the same policy challenges in their respective Arctic regions. They recognize the new opportunities for maritime navigation, coupled with new environmental vulnerabilities, caused by melting arctic sea ice. Canada and Russia also have shared interests in northern economic development, environmental sustainability and combating the effects of climate change in their northern territories. Both countries also strive to maintain search and rescue (SAR) capabilities in some of the most inhospitable and challenging operational environments in the world. 
The two countries also share the same concerns regarding outside challenges to the sovereignty of their respective northern waterways against great powers such as the People's Republic of China and the United States. Building and empowering their northern and communities and preserving their Indigenous populations' unique ways of life are also concerns for both countries. Russia and Canada are also on the same page when it comes to maintaining international law and norms produced by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) process. 
These Arctic issues provide opportunities for Russia and Canada to cooperate. They are all challenging policy problems that poise Russia and Canada not as adversaries but as partners. However, to make an Arctic partnership possible, policy leaders in the two countries must resist the temptation to roll foreign policy issues from Ukraine and Eastern Europe into constructive joint work in the Arctic. Decoupling Arctic cooperation from other foreign policy concerns is of critical importance, as Canada and Russia are destined to be at loggerheads over the conflict in Ukraine and European security issues for the foreseeable future — possibly for decades.  Ryan J. Barilleaux, "The President "Intermestic" Issues, and the Rise of Policy Leadership," Presidential Studies Quarterly, 15(4), Fall 1985.
 Kari Roberts, Understanding Russia's Security Priorities in the Arctic: Why Canada-Russia Cooperation is Still Possible, Canadian Foreign Policy Journal 27(2), 2021, p.221.
 Kari Roberts, "Understanding Russia's Security Priorities in the Arctic: Why Canada-Russia Cooperation is Still Possible," Canadian Foreign Policy Journal 27(2), 2021, p.221.