Canada on sidelines as U.S., Britain, Australia move ahead on new security deal


Experts are warning that Canada’s omission from a military pact involving three of its closest allies is symptomatic of a larger problem in how this country is perceived by its friends.

U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to join the prime ministers of Britain and Australia at a news conference on Monday to announce the next steps of their AUKUS agreement.

That will include formalizing American and British plans to help Australia develop a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines in response to growing concerns about China’s actions in the Pacific.

The Trudeau government has refused to say whether Canada was invited to join AUKUS and downplayed its importance even as parts of Canada’s military and foreign establishment have called for its inclusion.

Canadian Forces College professor Paul Mitchell believes Canada’s exclusion reflects the perceptions of its closest allies that it remains uncertain about its aims in the Indo-Pacific region.

Defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute says it is also a sign that Canada’s friends are growing tired of its refusal to take national defence and security seriously.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 13, 2023.


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