The United States will not defend Canada if it is targeted in a ballistic missile attack, according to Canadian television network CTV on Thursday.
"We're being told in Colorado Springs that the extant U.S. policy is not to defend Canada," said Lt.-Gen. Pierre St-Amand, deputy commander of Colorado-based North American Air Defense Command (NAADC) and also top Canadian officer at the NAADC.
"That is the policy that's stated to us. So that's the fact that I can bring to the table," St-Amand told the Canada's House of Commons Defence Committee, which is studying the extent to which Canada is ready for an attack by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
St-Amand said Canadian and U.S. military personnel at the NAADC headquarters in Colorado Springs work side-by-side detecting potential airborne threats to North America.
However, he said Canada would have no role in deciding what to do if the DPRK or any other country fired a missile at North America. Canadian military personnel would instead be forced to sit on the sidelines and watch as U.S. officials decided how to act.
St-Amand's comments appeared to confirm the worst fears of many people who believe it is time for Canada to join the U.S. ballistic missile defence shield.
Serious concerns over whether Canada should join the U.S. ballistic missile defence program emerged this summer following a series of intercontinental missile tests by the DPRK, including a recent missile launch from Pyongyang.
The missile flew over Japan before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it travelled about 3,700 km, reaching a maximum height of 770 km.
The current Canadian government in its recent defence policy review chose to uphold a 2005 decision by former prime minister Paul Martin to remain outside of the U.S. missile shield.