Pol­icy says U.S. will not de­fend Canada from bal­lis­tic mis­sile at­tack

Truro Daily News - - CANADA - THe caNa­diaN preSS

Lt.-Gen. Pierre St-Amand arrives to ap­pear as a wit­ness at a com­mons na­tional de­fence com­mit­tee in Ot­tawa.

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.

Cana­dian mil­i­tary per­son­nel would in­stead be forced to sit on the side­lines and watch as U.S. of­fi­cials de­cided how to act.

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.”

St-Amand’s com­ments ap­peared to con­firm the worst fears of many peo­ple who be­lieve it is time for Canada to join the U.S. bal­lis­tic mis­sile de­fence shield.

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau seemed to all but close the door on join­ing bal­lis­tic mis­sile de­fence last month when he said Canada’s po­si­tion is “not go­ing to be changed any time soon.”

But that has not stopped var­i­ous de­fence ex­perts, re­tired mil­i­tary per­son­nel and even some Lib­eral MPs from call­ing for Canada to em­brace the mis­sile shield to en­sure the coun­try’s pro­tec­tion.

Ear­lier in the day, of­fi­cials from Global Af­fairs Canada and Na­tional De­fence warned the com­mit­tee that it was likely only a mat­ter of time be­fore North Korea would be able to launch an at­tack on North Amer­ica.

But they also said that based on re­cent con­tacts with Py­ongyang, the North Kore­ans do not see Canada as an en­emy, but rather as a po­ten­tial friend that has the U.S.’s ear.

Those con­tacts in­clude a meet­ing be­tween For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land and her North Korean coun­ter­part in Au­gust.

“There has been no di­rect threat to Canada,” said Stephen Burt, as­sis­tance chief of de­fence in­tel­li­gence at the De­part­ment of Na­tional De­fence. “On the con­trary, in re­cent con­tacts with the North Korean gov­ern­ment ... the indi­ca­tions were that they per­ceived Canada as a peace­ful and in­deed a friendly coun­try.”

Cp pHoto

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.