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John Ivison: ‘U.S. policy is not to defend Canada’ in the event of a missile attack, general says

John Ivison: ‘U.S. policy is not to defend Canada’ in the event of a missile attack, general says

Participation in the ballistic missile defence program would be costly, but, amid nuclear threats, it appears we are no longer under the protective umbrella of the U.S.

Lt. Gen. Pierre St-Amand before the Commons National Defence Committee on Sept. 14, 2017: “I’m being told in Colorado Springs that U.S. policy is not to defend Canada. That’s fact I can bring to the table.”THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Politicians approach most subjects with open mouths, but they are rarely at a loss for words.

That’s why the testimony at a House of Commons defence committee, specially convened to consider the thorny problem that is North Korea, was so memorable.

Honourable members were stumped by the testimony of Lt. Gen. Pierre St-Amand, the Canadian who serves as deputy commander of North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) in Colorado Springs.

Conservative MP James Bezan asked St-Amand whether he agreed with the common Canadian perception that the Americans would shoot down an incoming intercontinental ballistic missile heading for a Canadian city, even though Canada is not a participant in the U.S.’s ballistic missile defence program. His response jolted the committee members from their late-summer stupor.

“I’m being told in Colorado Springs that U.S. policy is not to defend Canada. That’s fact I can bring to the table,” he said.

St-Amand conceded that in the “heat of the moment,” American commanders might act contrary to their stated policy, “but that would be entirely a U.S. decision.”

The news was greeted with stunned silence.

In light of Justin Trudeau’s refusal to commit to participation in BMD Canada is, and looks destined to remain, defenceless from ballistic missile attack.

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