U.S. pol­icy is to not de­fend Canada in case of mis­sile at­tack

Penticton Herald - - CANADA -

OT­TAWA (CP) — Cur­rent U.S. pol­icy di­rects the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary not to de­fend Canada if it is tar­geted in a bal­lis­tic mis­sile at­tack, says the top Cana­dian of­fi­cer at the North Amer­i­can Aero­space De­fence Com­mand.

“We’re be­ing told in Colorado Springs that the ex­tant U.S. pol­icy is not to de­fend Canada,” said Lt.-Gen. Pierre St-Amand, deputy com­man­der of Colorado-based Norad.

“That is the pol­icy that’s stated to us. So that’s the fact that I can bring to the ta­ble.”

St-Amand de­liv­ered that rev­e­la­tion Thurs­day dur­ing an ap­pear­ance be­fore the House of Com­mons de­fence com­mit­tee, which is study­ing the ex­tent to which Canada is ready for an at­tack by North Korea.

The study comes after sev­eral provoca­tive nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests by North Korea, which have stoked fears Canada could end up in the mid­dle of a con­fronta­tion be­tween the U.S. and the so-called her­mit king­dom.

Those tests have also res­ur­rected ques­tions over whether Canada should join the U.S. bal­lis­tic mis­sile de­fence shield, which it fa­mously opted out of in 2005 fol­low­ing a di­vi­sive na­tional de­bate.

St-Amand said Cana­dian and U.S. mil­i­tary per­son­nel at Norad head­quar­ters in Colorado Springs, Colo., work side-by-side de­tect­ing po­ten­tial air­borne threats to North America.

But Canada would have no role in de­cid­ing what to do if North Korea or any other coun­try fired a mis­sile at North America, he said.

The gen­eral did ac­knowl­edge that U.S. of­fi­cials could ul­ti­mately de­cide to in­ter­vene if a mis­sile was head­ing to­ward Canada, but that the de­ci­sion would likely be made in “the heat of the mo­ment.”

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