Towards a World Without War: Next Steps in Canadian Defence Policy

Report of the Veterans Against Nuclear Arms

By George Ignatieff (reviewer) | 1987-04-01 12:00:00

In the quest for peace it is easier to advocate leaving NORAD and NATO than to propose that Canada remain in the alliance, work to change current NORAD and NATO policies from within, and strive to reconcile the interests of East and West. This report goes the latter way.

Peacetime commitment to an alliance may seem inconsistent with the quest for peace, until you consider the alternatives: trying to provide for Canada's security by a policy of neutrality. Neutrality would require guarantees by Canada to both superpowers that our territory, land and sea, would not be used for aggression against the other. The other alternative is of drifting into dependence on a "fortress America," as Canada risks doing by a series of secret bilateral commitments under NORAD.

A "fortress America" policy is the most dangerous to Canada's sovereignty and survival. Under nuclear alert, which can be declared by NORAD, the organizational checks and balances which are supposed to guard against accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons are removed and the command and control system built into the integrated NORAD becomes a trigger rather than a safety catch in regard to nuclear weapons. Under NATO, Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty clearly provides, "The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any Parties is threatened."

That is why I would add to the report that NORAD be clearly placed under the political restraints of NATO. This is what the report may have in mind when it includes in its recommendations "support for the non-military provisions of NATO," as well as "support for the United Nations," through peacekeeping.

This report is an invaluable contribution to the discussion of the forthcoming Defence "White Paper" expected this spring, from individuals who have had experience in the service of the defence of Canada.

Peace Magazine Apr-May 1987

Peace Magazine Apr-May 1987, page 9. Some rights reserved.

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