Sunday, March 2, 2008

Recent Letter - US Troops in Canada

This was published in the Telegraph Journal on 26 February. The line "Fundy Royal NDP candidate" was added by the paper.

What constitutes an emergency?

A Feb. 22 report in the Ottawa Citizen outlines an important change in Canadian sovereignty; on Feb. 14 the Canada and the United States "signed an agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other's borders during an emergency."

On the face of it, this does not seem too alarming and could be seen as a formalization of relations between good neighbours. But, what exactly constitutes an emergency?

Stuart Trew, a researcher with the Council of Canadians asks in the original article, "Are we going to see (U.S.) troops on our soil for minor potential threats to a pipeline or a road?"

I wonder if this means American soldiers could be called into Canada if a labour dispute interrupted critical energy exports? Speculation aside, two issues are more immediately worrying. First, because the U.S. military refuses to let its soldiers come under foreign command, there is a question as to who will control these U.S. forces.

Second it seems that under Mr. Harper's regime such answers will be difficult to come by, for while the United States military posted information about the agreement almost immediately, neither the Canadian government nor the Canadian military have made an announcement.

I'm not sure what definitions of transparency and accountability Mr. Harper uses, but they certainly differ from mine.


Fundy Royal NDP candidate

Clifton Royal

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