A declassified CIA report says Pierre Trudeau's bid to enhance Canadian sovereignty and promote economic development in the Arctic created some "friction" with the United States.
As Stephen Harper wraps up his annual northern tour, the CIA assessment serves as a reminder that he's not the first prime minister to wave a political flag in the North.
The August 1983 report is among several Central Intelligence Agency documents about Canadian affairs released under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act in recent years.
The CIA said Trudeau's Liberal government — and the Progressive Conservatives before him — had effectively tapped into a sense of northern identity, historically a strong ingredient of Canadian nationalism.
The intelligence agency felt Ottawa's interest in asserting itself in the North was primarily due to the region's abundance of petroleum, natural gas and coal.
Portions of the CIA handbook on the Canadian Arctic remain secret.