By Scott Taylor
A couple of related events last week were added together by the usual cast of fearmongers in yet another attempt to scare the bejeezus out of the Canadian public.
First off it was North Korea’s megalomaniac President Kim Jong-un (aka Dear Leader), who test fired yet another long-range missile harmlessly into the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It flew well over Japan and, as the Chicken Littles were quick to point out, it fell from the sky at a distance that now puts the U.S. base on Guam Island within crazy Kim’s range. Scary stuff.
Then we had a bombshell dropped by none other than Lieutenant-General Pierre St- Amand, the Canadian officer who currently serves as the Deputy Commander of NORAD at Peterson Air Base, Colorado Springs. St-Amand told a parliamentary committee that in the event of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) attack against North America, “The extent of the U.S. policy is not to defend Canada.”
St-Amand’s revelation visibly shocked the parliamentarians in attendance and he hastened to soften the blow by suggesting that any decision regarding the protection of Canadian targets would be made by the Americans “in the heat of the moment.”
The news stories aimed for the maximum shock value, focussing on the fact that Canada is not under the U.S. missile umbrella — at a time when North Korea is disturbing fish in the Pacific as far away as Guam.
To give St-Amand’s comments more gravitas, media reports noted that NORAD, of which the good general is deputy commander, has the responsibility to defend the skies and maritime approaches to North America.
However, in an interview just weeks earlier, St-Amand pointed out the fact that, while NORAD monitors threats, if that threat is from an ICBM then it becomes the responsibility of U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and U.S. Space Command. In other words, not NORAD.
The usual suspects took St-Amand’s comments to heart and immediately renounced the Trudeau Liberals for continuing to reject participation in the U.S. missile defence system.
Despite all the partisan political jabs, the fact remains that while Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin chose to opt out of missile defence in 2005, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives had nine years in power to reverse that decision, but wisely chose not to.
I say wisely because there is no present or foreseeable future scenario wherein a rogue nation would target Canada with such a weapon. If North Korea or Iran should ever actually fire a long-range nuclear warhead at North America, it would only do so in a defiant gesture of suicidal finality.
Their objective would be to hurt the U.S. knowing that the retaliation would be swift and apocalyptic.
Should that rogue rocket’s trajectory be faulty (so far Kim can only hit ocean-sized targets in his own backyard), Canada could indeed end up on the receiving end.
However, it would have to be one heartless S.O.B. in USNORTHCOM that would see a missile meant for the U.S.A. going astray and “in the heat of the moment” decide not to protect Canada because we didn’t help pay for missile defence.
Canada is not the U.S.A. We are not a superpower wielding military might around the globe. We do not profess to be the world’s policeman. Canada does not have anything akin to the CIA which actively engages in destabilizing foreign countries and overthrowing hostile regimes.
In fact, at the same Parliamentary hearing that St-Amand dropped his “we are unprotected” bombshell, Mark Gwozdecky, the Assistant Deputy Minister for International Security at Global Affairs, told everyone to relax about North Korea. “There’s no direct threat to Canada,” said Gwozdecky. “In fact on the contrary, in recent contacts with the North Korea government … the indications were they perceived Canada as a peaceful and indeed a friendly country.”
We are not the target, but we live next to the target. That said, if U.S. President Donald Trump can build a wall to keep the Mexicans out — and make Mexico pay for it — surely we can tell The Donald to build a missile defence system that protects Canada from threats aimed at America. And yes, America can pay for it.