This trilateral treaty, also known by the acronym AUKUS, was announced in September 2021. According to many, its goal is to counterbalance China’s growing military presence in the Indo-Pacific region, where Canada has significant economic interests.
Much attention was paid to this treaty when the United States and the United Kingdom announced their intention to supply nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.
However, Deputy Commander of Joint Operations Canada (CJOC) Admiral Bob Otterlonney told the Canadian press that the treaty goes further.
Underwater nuclear technology has been around for a while now, so sharing it isn’t that important. It is even more dangerous when talking about advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning or quantum machine learning. These areas are changing rapidly.
” We need to be part of these discussions. Why were we not included? Where does the resistance come from? Is this our policy? Shall we invest? These are troubling questions. »
Mystery in Ottawa
The federal government has never explained why Canada has not joined the American University of Kosovo. We don’t even know if he was invited to sign this treaty. Defense Secretary Anita Anand’s office avoided answering that question last week.
Daniel Minden, Ms. Anand’s spokesperson, preferred to speak about Canada’s participation in the Five Eyes – an alliance that brings together the intelligence services of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States – to NATO and NORAD.
We continue to work with our closest allies to keep Canadians safe through the Five Eyes and our bilateral partnershipsMinden wrote in an email.
The Australian High Commission and the US Embassy forwarded questions to officials in their respective capitals. The UK High Commission did not respond.
For some experts, Canada’s absence from this treaty can be explained by the perception that it will not be tough enough on China.
In recent months, Canada has hardened its stance toward Beijing. He shut the door on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to develop the country’s 5G network, imposed new restrictions on foreign ownership in critical minerals and announced a new Indo-Pacific strategy.
Vice Admiral Ochterlony praises this new strategy which includes the deployment of more warships and other military assets in the region as well as greater military cooperation with various countries.
” This strategy and banning Chinese companies from investing in the North are two steps in the right direction for Canada. We acknowledge the challenges we face. »
pressure on Canada
US officials have long warned Canada that it will stay out of sharing sensitive intelligence unless Ottawa takes a stronger stance against China. This has been particularly the case under Donald Trump and Canadian hesitation regarding 5G.
I work with our partners at Five Eyes. I did not notice any change in the exchange of information, – Vice Admiral Ochterlony assures. It’s a good sign.
This senior officer said he was aware of a political dimension to the Canadian absence among AUC. He acknowledges that he may not have to express concern about this.
Maybe it’s not my turn, but you have to face the truth: What is my livelihood? I represent the operational side of the armed forces. Am I worried? Do I want to engage with our closest allies? yes! completely. This is important given the technology transfers involved. Canada should be a part of it.