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