Canada, U.S. Agree To Use Each Other's Troops In
By David Pugliese
Canwest News Service
News" -- -- Canada and the U.S. have signed an
agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either
nation to send troops across each other's borders during an
emergency, but some are questioning why the Harper government
has kept silent on the deal.
Neither the Canadian government nor the Canadian Forces
announced the new agreement, which was signed Feb. 14 in Texas.
The U.S. military's Northern Command, however, publicized the
agreement with a statement outlining how its top officer, Gen.
Gene Renuart, and Canadian Lt.-Gen. Marc Dumais, head of Canada
Command, signed the plan, which allows the military from one
nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a
The new agreement has been greeted with suspicion by the left
wing in Canada and the right wing in the U.S.
The left-leaning Council of Canadians, which is campaigning
against what it calls the increasing integration of the U.S. and
Canadian militaries, is raising concerns about the deal.
"It's kind of a trend when it comes to issues of Canada-U.S.
relations and contentious issues like military integration. We
see that this government is reluctant to disclose information to
Canadians that is readily available on American and Mexican
websites," said Stuart Trew, a researcher with the Council of
Trew said there is potential for the agreement to militarize
civilian responses to emergency incidents. He noted that work is
also underway for the two nations to put in place a joint plan
to protect common infrastructure such as roadways and oil
"Are we going to see (U.S.) troops on our soil for minor
potential threats to a pipeline or a road?" he asked.
Trew also noted the U.S. military does not allow its soldiers to
operate under foreign command so there are questions about who
controls American forces if they are requested for service in
Canada. "We don't know the answers because the government
doesn't want to even announce the plan," he said.
But Canada Command spokesman Commander David Scanlon said it
will be up to civilian authorities in both countries on whether
military assistance is requested or even used.
He said the agreement is "benign" and simply sets the stage for
military-to-military co-operation if the governments approve.
"But there's no agreement to allow troops to come in," he said.
"It facilitates planning and co-ordination between the two
militaries. The 'allow' piece is entirely up to the two
If U.S. forces were to come into Canada they would be under
tactical control of the Canadian Forces but still under the
command of the U.S. military, Scanlon added.
News of the deal, and the allegation it was kept secret in
Canada, is already making the rounds on left-wing blogs and
Internet sites as an example of the dangers of the growing
integration between the two militaries.
On right-wing blogs in the U.S. it is being used as evidence of
a plan for a "North American union" where foreign troops, not
bound by U.S. laws, could be used by the American federal
government to override local authorities.
"Co-operative militaries on Home Soil!" notes one website. "The
next time your town has a 'national emergency,' don't be
surprised if Canadian soldiers respond. And remember - Canadian
military aren't bound by posse comitatus."
Posse comitatus is a U.S. law that prohibits the use of federal
troops from conducting law enforcement duties on domestic soil
unless approved by Congress.
Scanlon said there was no intent to keep the agreement secret on
the Canadian side of the border. He noted it will be reported on
in the Canadian Forces newspaper next week and that publication
will be put on the Internet.
Scanlon said the actual agreement hasn't been released to the
public as that requires approval from both nations. That
decision has not yet been taken, he added.
© Ottawa Citizen 2008
Copyright © 2008 CanWest Interactive
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