Last time the United States faced a security challenge from Canada was during the October Crisis in 1970, when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act and ordered about 10,000 Canadian troops to restore order against Quebec separatists. The United States quietly responded by updating their contingency plans to intervene in Canada by reactivating the 10th Mountain division at Fort Drum, N.Y.
By 2008, this possibility was acknowledged with Canada and the US concluding the Civil Assistance Plan (updated 2012) that allowed both militaries to send troops across the border for emergencies.
Forty-seven years later, national security threats to the US is re-emerged under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the son of Pierre Trudeau.
The 1970 October crisis was domestic instability in Canada caused by radical Quebec separatists (FLQ). Today, the threat to the US from Canada is much more insidious, deeper rooted in Canadian traditions and institutions, and ultimately, far more dangerous than the FLQ. Canadian post-war foreign policy have historically sought a separate, often leading path from the US. Specifically, in terms of China, Canada sought a middle path between Britain and the US culminating in the establishment of diplomatic relations with the PRC in 1970. This in turn led to a blossoming trade and commercial relationship that at one point had the PRC depositing a large share of their foreign exchange reserves in Canadian banks.
This blossoming trade relationship, although relatively small at C$20b exports (2016) and C$64b imports (2016) compared to trade with US and Mexico, have taken center stage as the Liberal regime of Canada, attracted by PRC’s rapid GDP growth, committed to negotiating a free trade agreement post haste.
Canadians exploiting their position as “not USA” for commercial opportunities have a long history, including extensive ties with Cuba. Up until recently, these are not threats to the US. Indeed, the US benefitted from having Canada, for example, as a back channel to the PRC via their Ottawa Embassy before the US established diplomatic relations in 1979.
Canada is much more than the United States a nation of immigrants. About 20% of Canada’s population is foreign born vs. the US at 13% (OECD 2013). But the biggest difference is the United States formal adherence to a “melting pot” policy, where immigrants are expected to learn English and adopt American values and culture over time. Canada, on the other hand, explicitly adopted “multiculturalism” as a policy. The historical origins of this was in the accommodation granted to Quebec after the conquest of 1760 and the ceding of New France to England under the Treaty of Paris. Rather than deport French nationals and then repopulate “New France” or Quebec with British nationals, the French population of Quebec was allowed to keep their language, religion, and many systems of government were retained.
In the aftermath of the October crisis, the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (B&B Commission) recommended that official bilingualism (French and English) be adopted for Canada as a whole, and this in turn, ultimately led to recognition of other linguistic and ethnic groups as immigration increasingly diluted the British and French population. Official multiculturalism’s consequence is that immigrants have lesser and lesser need to naturalize and adopt Canadian culture and norms. Naturalization in the sense of acknowledging a distinct Canadian identity and allegiance to the Crown – taken for granted in the past by most Canadians except for hard core Quebec separatists – became a process stretched out over generations.
Dilution of Canadian values and norms was made worse by successive governments that allowed Ottawa to devolve power to Canadian provinces. As this process happened, it made it more and more difficult for the Canadian Federal Government to support the development of a Canadian identity and allegiance. Many provincial programs like National Health Care or equalization payments that are largely funded by Ottawa appear to Canadians as a provincial, rather than a national benefit.
Key Canadian institutions like the Canadian Armed Forces, small to begin with, are nearly invisible to most Canadians that do not live near (a very few) military bases typically located in semi-rural areas or Ottawa. The Federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police is a miniscule presence in two of the largest provinces (Ontario and Quebec) that have their own Provincial and Municipal Police Forces, and not a presence in major municipalities in other Provinces like Vancouver that have their own police force. These structural factors meant that Canadian identity and allegiance is inherently weak and often a muted voice relative to the loyalties to a person’s ethnic and other ties.
Ghettoization of immigrant communities in Canada in turn accentuate these factors.
For many immigrants, acquiring Canadian citizenship became not much more than jumping through the pro forma hurdle of 5 years residence, passing a citizenship test, and then have the benefits of citizenship (transferable to children with conditions) for life. Canadians who are not legally resident in Canada can even avoid paying taxes on their worldwide income while enjoying the full benefits of citizenship.
Contrast this with the experience of living in America, where the US Federal Government is a dominant presence compared to the States or local government. For example, the US military is a highly visible presence in most communities in the US (not just those near military bases). The defense and national security industry a substantial presence in most towns.
There is an innate awareness of national security concerns by the average American on the street that is notable by its absence in Canada — both with Canadian or foreign born citizens.
American citizens have to pay taxes on worldwide income for life. Canadians, on the other hand, who are non-resident in Canada for tax purposes (a priori, more than six months away) are not required to file or pay Canadian taxes on their worldwide income. Thus, the American body politic produces a very different person from Canada. It is much strongly biased toward producing an American identity and loyalty to the US. Up until 1973, Americans had to register for selective service, and many from all walks of life were called up to serve. Conscription for Canadians ended with WWII and since then, there have been no major mobilization of Canadian military, resulting in the armed forces gradually fading away from the mainstream Canadian psyche.
America since WWII, by contrast, the US military is “in your face” almost everywhere.
Canadians, on the other hand, distinguish themselves from Americans by their lack of awareness of Canadian national identity, willful ignorance of the military aspect of international and domestic security concerns, weak loyalty to the Crown, and most of all, rejection of basic obligations like paying Canadian taxes.
What are the consequences of this for the Canadian polity?
Politicians respond to the electorate. When it is easy to qualify to be an elector (by acquiring citizenship), and when citizenship seem like a benefit with few obligations, it forms a toxic brew when combined with ethnic ghettoization and the pull of ethnic loyalties against a Canadian identity. Canada’s first past the post parliamentary system means it is not necessary to win a popular vote to be elected. As voting in Canada is not mandatory at any level, it makes it very easy for a small, cohesive group to elect politicians to win by out mobilizing others.
The ease upon which a minority can take over the Canadian system is replicated at the Federal and Provincial party level, where the intra-party system for nominating candidates for the major political parties of Canada make it easy to facilitate the takeover of local political party organizations (riding associations) by small but well organized groups, particular those on ethnic lines, to install their own candidate because a majority of the electorate will not be willing to take the trouble to purchase a party membership or to attend the meeting to nominate and elect a candidate.
When this structural problem is accentuated by the flow of foreign money and influences, the threat of distorting the Canadian electoral system can follow.
The longstanding relationship between the Canadian establishment and the Chinese communist party was not a major security issue well into the 1990s. The Beijing-China regime was comparatively weak, tending toward being conservative internationally except with respect to “hot button” issues like Taiwan and Fanlonggong. The PRC was admitted as a permanent UNSC member on October 25, 1971 but did not exercise their first veto until January 10, 1997: twenty five years later.
Militarily, the PLA/N of the 1990s was no threat both in terms of their capabilities and posture to the US or allies well into the 1990s. Canadian contacts with top officials of the PRC opened doors, and facilitated mutually profitable commercial ventures. Despite occasional missteps caused by the Canadian establishment being attached to the wrong faction like Bo Xilai “Canada’s closest ally” and his mentor, Zhou Yongkang, by and large, the ties flourished.
Zhou Yongkang controlled both the Ministry of Public Security and the state owned oil companies CNPC and CNOOC. Canada as a major oil producer was a natural fit with Zhou Youngkang’s protégées in the (former) Ministry of Petroleum and played a key role in the acquisition of Canadian oil assets by Chinese state owned CNOCC. After the oil crash, the CCP’s priority in Canada turned to geopolitical goals like detaching Canada from the US and undermining Canadian sovereignty via “free trade” deals.
The involvement of the Canadian establishment and politicians from the major political parties with Beijing China and major CCP figures is a longstanding phenomenon and nothing new.
It was a mutually beneficial relationship where Canadian interests – no different from others like UK, Swiss, US, etc. — played a key role in facilitating powerful Communist officials complicated business dealings and relationships.
But something change around 2008 beginning with the rise of Xi Jinping as Vice President of China.
While the PRC have had longstanding programs to infiltrate their neighborhood like Hongkong, Taiwan, South Korea, etc., and low level programs in every major ethnic Chinese community worldwide, the abrupt shift to extensive subversion campaigns was noticeable beginning sometime around 2008 with the trend accelerating after Xi became President in 2012. Since 2012, it is evident that the PRC have invested substantial resources and mobilized resources either directly or indirectly controlled or influenced by the CCP toward their foreign and military policy goals.
Under President Xi, the CCP subversion campaigns abroad have greatly expanded the longstanding program all Chinese regimes have in “barbarian management”. That is, to influence the “China experts”, officials or persons directly involved in dealing with China. Rather than just dealing with specialists, CCP’s barbarian management strategy include creating extensive business and economic ties with targeted states. In the case of Canada, Australia, and other places with substantial Chinese immigrants, that penetrating the political and business establishment of the host nations, and employing them to do the bidding of the CCP.
Prominent Liberal politicians and operatives played a major role in organizations like the Canada China Business Council, whose past President Peter Harder, a career federal civil servant and deputy foreign minister, played a key role in the Trudeau victory and headed the Trudeau transition team. Harder was rewarded with an appointment to the Canadian Senate. The PRC’s deep linkages into the Canadian political establishment and Ottawa bureaucracy have consequences. At the elite level, the Canadian establishment have turned a blind eye to the massive expansion of CCP-PRC activities in Canada even when it severely erodes Canadian sovereignty.
The effectiveness of PRC-CCP’s campaign in Canada is evident in the Liberal regime’s foreign and defense policy unveiled in June 2017.
The Foreign Policy Speech by that regime loyalist Chrysta Freeland states:
“… the rapid emergence of the global South and Asia—most prominently, China—and the need to integrate these countries into the world’s economic and political system in a way that is additive, that preserves the best of the old order that preceded their rise..” (Freeland, June 7, 2017)
In other words, the Canadian Liberal regime’s goal is to integrate the People’s Republic of China with instruments like a free trade agreement that turn a blind eye to their military and economic threat to the US and allies including Canada.
China is viewed by the Trudeau regime as similar or a lesser threat than India.
That may have been appropriate prior to the PRC’s aggressive military buildup and “sea grab” moves in the 21st century, but certainly not now.
This benign attitude toward PRC-CCP is reflected in the Defense Policy review.
The Canadian Defense Policy Review (DPR) unveiled on June, 2017 mentioned China twice, once in connection with the PRC’s sea grab, “Activities in the South China Sea highlight the need for all states in the region to peacefully manage and resolve disputes in accordance with international law, and avoid coercion and other actions that could escalate tension.”
But Sajjan expressed no concern for the PRC’s militarization of the artificial islands they created or the fact that UNCLOS – a treaty PRC signed and ratified – was willfully violated by the PRC.
Curiously, the DPR called for Canadian Forces to “develop stronger relationships with other countries in the region, particularly China.”
It is not clear what the purpose of such “stronger” relationships will be when Canada do not regard the PRC as a great power rival and Canada’s defense posture essentially ignore threats from the PRC and DPRK.
At least one observer questioned why the Liberal regime called for “Canadian Armed Forces personnel acquaint themselves “on a first-name basis” with the generals of the People’s Liberation Army”. (Glavin, NP, June 21, 2017)
When Canadian Forces have virtually no presence near China, encouragement of such contacts by the Liberal regime begs the question of what safeguards are in place and how they are administered given the PRC subversion activities against Canada.
Or whether it is appeasement of CCP-PRC?
Grave concerns about the PRC-CCP’s activities in Canada are raised by the method and means they have deployed to secure a “free trade” deal with the Liberal regime faced with public opinion polls that oppose a free trade deal with PRC. The Public Policy Forum (PPF) that is funded by Canadian corporate interests, including many that have substantial business in PRC, is leading a multi-year, lavishly funded effort to steer Canadian public opinion in favor of a free trade deal with the PRC.
Coincidentally, the PRC’s Ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye, expressed similar concerns about Canadian journalists “preoccupied with human rights” and Canadian politicians “bow before media”.
What do PRC want in the “free trade” deal?
The PRC’s geopolitical goals is to decouple Canada from the political and economic alliance with the US, and to secure Canada’s acquiescence to the PRC’s seizure of the South China Sea in violation of UNCLOS — a goal they have achieved. PRC is seeking from Canada recognition of PRC as a market economy, access for PRC services and industries including markets for communications and other security related sectors, freeing up the process of securing export licenses from Canada for sensitive technologies, elimination of restrictions on PRC state enterprise ownership of Canadian assets and a ban on national security exceptions by Canada on their activities and freedom to import Chinese nationals into Canada.
If the Trudeau regime were to concede on any of the major demands by the PRC for a free trade deal with Canada, it will immediately call into question why the US should grant Canada preferential access to the US market under NAFTA, Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, and the Auto Pact.
No trade agreement Canada has in place with the US, including the WTO, will survive a Canada-PRC “free trade” as demanded by PRC.
Canadians are at a fork in the road. The Liberal regime is leading Canada to become a de facto neutral, non-aligned state that is a Trojan horse for the CCP-PRC into the US.
If left unchecked, that will ultimately lead to Canada disengaging from longstanding security relationships with Europe, NATO, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
The alternative is to reassert Canadian sovereignty, and keep asserting it.
Will Canadians wake up before it is too late?