Canada has not been involved in the U.S. program. On 24 February 2005, Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew announced Canada would not be joining the United States' missile defense program. At that time a number of Canadian political parties and other organizations made their opposition to missile defence well known.
Many Canadians, ranging from The Canadian Council of Churches to the Canadian Senate, felt that the program would do great damage to international peace and security by creating a new arms race among the great powers. Even more opposed the program because it was supported by President George W. Bush.
Canada's most vocal opponent of missile defence, going back a long way, has been the NDP. The New Democratic Party has publicly rejected Canada's involvement in ballistic missile defence. The Party was strongly critical of the decision by the United States to end the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) and to pursue a missile defence system in a unilateral manner. The Party also raised concerns about the weaponization of space. The NDP has also stated that they would demand a vote in the House of Commons on the matter if the government were to agree to participate in the US BMD.
The Bloc Québécois also rejects Canada’s participation in ballistic missile defence. It advocates non-military solutions to the threat of ballistic missile attack (such as international treaties on the non-proliferation of such weapons). Like the NDP, the Bloc has also raised concerns about the weaponization of space.
This proposed new base, along with the positions of some of Canada’s major political parties, reinforces the need to deal with some important issues. Currently, because of Canada’s refusal to join the U.S. program through NORAD or any other mechanism, we have no way of being even consulted on, let alone having any control over, U.S. use of their anti-missile defences.
Even if there were some way for Canadian authorities to be appraised of U.S. intentions the reaction times involve minutes, sometimes seconds, and there would be little point in contacting Canada to tell them about battles taking place above Canadian territory that were already over.
It stands to reason then that Canada must have a doctrine in place to cover any eventuality. With a P.Q. government in place in Quebec and the NDP almost certain to come to power in British Columbia in the next election it is incumbent on these provinces, in the front lines so to speak, to make their positions clear. While it is not common for Provincial governments to concern themselves with defence and foreign affairs (Quebec accepted, as always) they should urge the Federal government to act in this matter.
Politicians in Canada must be clear, ahead of time, that under no circumstances will they permit the U.S. to use its defences to shoot down nuclear armed missiles aimed at Canada. Should a rogue state, such as North Korea or Iran, launch atomic weapons which threaten Canada we must make it clear that we can not permit the use of American missiles in our defence. I am sure that NDP and PQ party members, not to mention the majority of Canadians who opposed Canadian participation in the U.S. missile defence program, would agree that it would be wrong for these dangerous U.S. weapons to be used in any circumstances.
Now is the time for peace loving Canadians of all political persuasions to come together to urge the Federal Government to state clearly that there are no circumstances imaginable in which we will permit ourselves not to be nuked if it means the use of these destabilizing and dangerous defensive weapons. In fact, given the danger that the U.S. might be tempted try to shoot down incoming missiles over Canada without Canada’s permission, they should urge that Canada immediately fund research and development of anti-anti-missile missiles.
Contact your MP and MPP and demand that they publicly renounce the use of any form Ballistic Missile Defence in the defence of Canada. Only you can make Peace happen.