Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday September 16, 2017
U.S. not obliged to defend Canada in event of North Korean missile attack, MPs told
The highest-ranking Canadian officer at Norad has demolished a long-held political assumption by telling a parliamentary committee that the U.S. is under no obligation to defend Canada in the event of a ballistic missile attack.
Lt.-Gen. Pierre St-Amand laid out on Thursday — in stark terms — where the military lines of each nation begin and end in the event the North Korean crisis erupts into a shooting war.
“The extent of the U.S. policy is not to defend Canada,” said St-Amand, who is the deputy commander of the North American Aerospace Defence Command, which is responsible for defending the skies and maritime approaches to North America. “That’s the fact I can bring to the table.”
The debate over whether Canada should join the U.S. ballistic missile defence program re-emerged this summer following a series of successful intercontinental missile tests by North Korea, including another missile launch from that country’s capital Pyongyang on Friday.
The missile flew over Japan before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it travelled about 3,700 kilometres, reaching a maximum height of 770 kilometres.
The Liberal government in its recent defence policy review chose to uphold a 2005 decision by former prime minister Paul Martin to remain outside of the U.S. missile shield.
The often-cited political narrative has been that the U.S. would shoot down a missile if it was headed toward Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal.
St-Amand made clear that is not guaranteed and it would be a decision made “in the heat of the moment” by U.S. political and military leaders. (Source: CBC News)