The Tories have been making noise for five years now about how they're going to defend the Canada's Arctic sovereignty and establish a genuine and indisputable presence there but have so far done very little beyond those promises. To quote Stephen Harper, "You don't defend national sovereignty with flags, cheap election rhetoric, and advertising campaigns. You need forces on the ground, ships in the sea, and proper surveillance." Indeed.
And not to worry, they have lots of stuff on the drawing boards to fuel their tough rhetoric. The Conservatives announced plans in 2008, instead of the promised three new armed naval heavy icebreakers, a new, $720-million polar-class icebreaker named after former Conservative Prime Minister John Diefenbaker (after scrapping plans for three armed naval ice-breakers which were an election but neither the pledged icebreaker nor the promised six smaller, Arctic patrol vessels that critics call "slush-breakers." In fact little that has been promised has gotten beyond the announcement phase.
Has Harper actually accomplished anything in Canada's North since he was first elected -- a little but nothing to match his government's rhetoric for the past five years. For a solid in depth look into many of the issues in play you can go read this report by Rob Huebert the Associate Director Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, entitled Northern Interests And Canadian Foreign Policy (PDF). Or you can go watch this CBC documentary entitled Battle For The Arctic which also does a pretty good job of explaining all the issues that should concern Canadians.