We are so obsessed with the lunatic antics of George Bush that we forget to monitor the more boring yet equally dangerous (at least, to us) actions of our own government. Last month, on Valentines Day, the Canadian and US militaries signed an agreement allowing the armed forces from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a domestic civil emergency, even one that does not involve a cross-border crisis.
On the surface, it sounds sensible. When either country is hit by flood, forest fire, hurricane, or earthquake, the other can send in the military to help. The purpose, according to US Air Force General Gene Renuart, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command, is “…to save lives, prevent human suffering, and mitigate damage to property.”
If memory serves, many Canadian emergency response personnel from as far away as Calgary rushed to the aid of Americans during 9/11, and Canada sent substantial assistance during Hurricane Katrina. No military agreement was necessary.
So what’s this about? Is there another agenda? The agreement, referred to as a “civil assistance plan,” is supposedly meant to facilitate the military-to-military support of civil authorities once government authorities have agreed on an appropriate response. The plan formally recognizes the role of each nation to lead the response. But how can that be, given that neither nation’s democratically elected politicians have been given an opportunity to review and approve the plan itself?
It was not submitted to the American Congress for approval, nor did Congress pass any law or treaty specifically authorizing it. And the Canadian government did not even announce the plan, despite the fact that it empowers itself to call in the behemoth of the US military in event of “civil unrest.” This is where I get nervous. Canada has a long and shameful history of attacking its citizens.
So now I wonder what this government thinks we’re going to get so upset about that we might take to the streets. US purchase of the Canadian economy? The diminishment of Canadian sovereignty by NAFTA and the WTO? Our new international reputation as a leading contributor to global warming? The fact that Quebec police actively incited civil unrest?
If Canadians ever wake up and get cranky enough to engage in large-scale civil disobedience, our government can call in not just our troops, but also American troops, to crack your head.
But surely our government wouldn’t sell our oil, our right to preserve water systems, or our political sovereignty. Harper is an open and above board kind of guy.