National Security

Canada A Helpless Bystander In ICBM Attacks From North Korea

Art Babych /

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Former Canadian Defense Minster Peter MacKay told the National Post Thursday that he regrets not having signed a missile defense agreement with the U.S. due to the threat of a North Korean missile attack.

The path of a North Korean missile attacking most of the mainland U.S. runs through Canadian airspace but MacKay said that he’s counting on America to take down the missile.

“I think the U.S. is going to take the necessary action to shoot down an imminent threat coming from any direction,” MacKay said.

“They’re going to consult with us — they’ll let us know — but they’re going to do it.”

Canada toyed with signing an anti-ballistic missile defense agreement with the U.S. for 20 years through both Liberal and Conservative governments. One of the reasons it was not signed is that “peace” groups and many in the media routinely misidentified the current state of missile defense with the more ambitious Strategic Defense Initiative of Ronald Reagan and insisted Canada should not participate in a “Star Wars” scheme.

So, it did nothing and in 2014 the Canadian Senate noted that Canada would have absolutely no military role if ICBMs were to cross Canada’s northern frontier on their way to any American city.

“Canada currently has no say on when, where or whether it should be engaged,” the report acknowledged.

MacKay says the timing to sign a deal was better under former president Barack Obama — whom may have been seen as less risky a political figure to most Canadians than is President Donald Trump.

“I suspect that there was a window when Obama was the president … when Canadians would have been far more comfortable and accepting of those discussions,” MacKay told the Post.

If North Korea is able to launch an ICBM against the continental United States, it will travel on a pathway that takes it directly over Canada for most of its journey towards what experts say are five major cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Boston and New York.

The reason: the shortest distance between North Korea and any U.S. city is known as the “great circle track,” a course that travels over the arctic circle and necessarily over Canada.

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