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National Security and Defence Committee Tables Report on Ballistic Missile Defence

Ottawa, June 16, 2014 – Canada should join the U.S. ballistic missile defence (BMD) program, says the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence in its report titled “Canada and Ballistic Missile Defence: Responding to the evolving threat” tabled today in the Senate.

To preserve Canada’s sovereignty, security and national interests, the committee is unanimous in recommending that the Government of Canada enter into an agreement with the United States to participate as a partner in ballistic missile defence.

Quotes:

“Ballistic missile defence is in Canada’s national interest. I am pleased to have been able to work with Senator Dallaire to table this unanimous report in which senators put aside partisanship and worked towards addressing serious threats to Canada, North America and our NORAD alliance.

We hope that the government will not delay implementing our recommendation.  As we indicate in the report, the threat environment has changed significantly since 2004. 

We need to ensure Canada is fully protected from a ballistic missile attack, which it is not today.


It is critically important that Canada be a partner going forward because technological changes are taking place and threats are evolving. We have to be at the table to ensure Canada’s interests are fully considered as the BMD program evolves in the face of significant threats.”

Senator Daniel Lang, Chair

“The committee believes that it is only right that Canada make a tangible contribution to US BMD. It has heard testimony that suggests such a contribution can take on many different forms. However, until Canada sits down and talks to the United States about BMD participation, there is no way to know what contribution will be sought. Regardless of the contribution it might choose to make, Canada should ensure that its participation will serve this country’s interests irrespective of the outcome of efforts towards fielding a workable BMD system.”

Senator Roméo A. Dallaire, Deputy Chair

Quick facts:

  • In December 2013, the Committee undertook to study the status of Canada’s international security and defence relations, including but not limited to, relations with the United States, NATO, and NORAD.
  • The committee sought to better understand BMD, the reasons for the decision in 2005 not to join BMD, the current threat environment and a path forward which will protect Canada’s sovereignty and security, while strengthening our NORAD partnership.he events of 9/11 stripped away any remaining belief that geography continued to provide North America with a bulwark against foreign threats.
  • The Committee learned from the Deputy Commander of NORAD, Lt. General Parent that Canada cannot simply assume that all of its territory will be protected by default under the existing U.S. BMD system.
  • Of concern to the committee is the fact that Canada’s military would be asked to “leave the room” in these scenarios.
  • Threats by rogue states: The committee does not accept the notion that Iran and North Korea armed with nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles will always behave rationally or within the scope of international laws and norms.
  • Neither Canada nor its allies have any basis of confidence that Iran and North Korea’s nuclear-capable missiles are, or will be, well secured against accidental or unauthorized launch.  Canada has endorsed within NATO the protection of Europe from ballistic missile attack by rogue states.
  • Canada has been sharing early warning information in relation to BMD with the US.
  • Participation will be a logical step, and more pressing today, given the evolution of the threats to North America.

Links:

To read the committee’s report or to learn more about the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, please visit its website athttp://senate-senat.ca/secd-e.asp.

Follow the Senate of Canada on Twitter @SenateCA and use the committee hashtag #SECD for updates on its activities.


For more information, please contact:

Media Relations 
Francine Pressault 
613-299-5359 
francine.pressault@sen.parl.gc.ca

Committee Clerk
Josée Thérien
613-998-0424 or 1-800-267-7362
secd@sen.parl.gc.ca

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