Canadian National Security Begins Preparations for the Threat of American Instability


Conservative commentator George Will once said that Canada is internationally known for its “exceptional” common sense. So it should be no surprise that at the same time many of us are nervously looking around at each other, sensing an increasingly hostile and volatile country, Canada is beginning to plan ahead to protect itself… from us, or – more accurately, the threats that arise out of our situation.

A brief summary from CBC News:

“The United States is and will remain our closest ally, but it could also become a source of threat and instability,” says a newly published report written by a task force of former national security advisers, former Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) directors, ex-deputy ministers, former ambassadors and academics. Members of the group have advised both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former prime minister Stephen Harper.

And,  of course, the Canadians didn’t feel any need to “both sides” this despite the fact that Canada itself has a relatively small far-right movement itself, pointing fingers directly at Trump, Fox News, and the lack of faith in democratic institutions. Indeed, cooperation between Canada’s small but increasingly hostile far-Right and the more established, mature, and powerful American movement is one of the very top concerns. If the far-Right (which is increasingly just “the Right”) begins organizing violent campaigns in the U.S., the Canadian report believes there will be spillover to Canada.

The Canadian security experts pointed at the trucker convoy as a tangible example of a foreign threat, though non-traditional in that it didn’t spring from government action:

“This may not have represented foreign interference in the conventional sense, since it was not the result of actions of a foreign government. But it did represent, arguably, a greater threat to Canadian democracy than the actions of any state other than the United States,” the report says.

“It will be a significant challenge for our national security and intelligence agencies to monitor this threat, since it emanates from the same country that is by far our greatest source of intelligence.”

Their report also notes that it is damned hard to coordinate with the U.S. government when the United States’ polarization is so strong that the American security official on the other end of the line may be sympathetic to the Right’s campaign. Additionally, given that the two countries share a lot of infrastructure (electric grids, water systems, etc.) there are worries that a purely American attack will necessarily spill over, impacting Canada.

Notably absent from the report?

What to do if the border becomes flooded with Americans seeking refuge start crossing the border, legally or illegally.

How can we know it’s a concern if it’s not in the report? Because many of us with dual citizenship already have our plans set for the first time we run into a giant intersection taken over by vigilante neighborhood “security patrols,” we’re taking our loved ones and rushing back to a relatively sane and sustainable democracy. And plenty of Americans will remember a vacation or business done in Canada and the different social environment. If we’ve thought about it, they’ve thought about it. But, they’re damn sure not going to lay out any hint as to what they’re planning or even acknowledge they’re planning for a potential crisis to an international public that may be the very people they’ll need to sort out, people returning home versus people wanting to join forces.

They are, after all, internationally renowned for common sense.



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