The military is concerned that Canada is not part of the AUKUS pact
The security pact signed between London, Canberra and Washington notably promotes technology exchanges.
The Canadian Armed Forces high command is concerned about not having access to the latest technology because Canada is not part of a security pact signed by its closest allies, the ;Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
This trilateral treaty, also known by the acronym AUKUS, was announced in September 2021. According to many, it aims to counterbalance China's growing military presence in the Indo-Pacific region, where Canada has great economic interests.
Much attention was paid to this treaty when the United States and the United Kingdom announced their intention to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.
However, Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie told The Canadian Press that the treaty goes further than that.
Underwater nuclear technology has been around for a while now, so sharing it isn't that important. It is more serious when talking about advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning or quantum machine learning. These areas are changing rapidly.
“We need to be part of these discussions. Why weren't we included? Where does resistance come from? Is this our policy? Are we going to invest? These are questions that raise concerns. »
— Bob Auchterlonie, Vice-Admiral
The federal government has never explained why Canada was not part of AUKUS. It is not even known if he had been invited to sign this treaty. Defense Minister Anita Anand's office again avoided answering this question last week.
Daniel Minden, a spokesperson for Ms. Anand, preferred to talk about Canada's participation in the Five Eyes – an alliance that brings together the intelligence services of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom. United and United States – to NATO and NORAD.
We continue to work with our closest allies to keep Canadians safe through Five Eyes and our bilateral partnerships,” Mr. Minden wrote in an email.
The Australian High Commission and the United States Embassy forwarded the questions to officials in their respective capitals. The UK High Commission did not respond.
Some experts believe Canada's absence from this treaty could be explained by the perception that he would not be tough enough on China.
In recent months, Canada has hardened its stance toward Beijing. He closed the door to Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei for the development of the country's 5G network, imposed new restrictions on foreign ownership in the field of critical minerals and announced a new Indo-Pacific strategy.
Vice-Admiral Auchterlonie sings the praises of this new strategy which includes the deployment of more warships and other military assets in the region as well as a greater military collaboration with various countries.
“This strategy and the ban on Chinese companies investing in the North are steps in the right direction for Canada. We acknowledge the challenges we face.
—Bob Auchterlonie, Vice-Admiral
U.S. authorities have long warned Canada that it will be kept out of sharing sensitive intelligence unless Ottawa takes a stronger stance against China. This was particularly the case during the reign of Donald Trump and the Canadian dithering over the 5G network.
I work with our Five Eyes partners. I haven't seen any change in intelligence sharing, says Vice-Admiral Auchterlonie. This is a good sign.
This senior officer said he was aware of the existence of a political dimension to the Canadian absence among the ;AUKUS. He acknowledges that he may not have to express his concern about this.
It's probably not my role, but it should be face the truth: what is my livelihood? I represent the operational side of the Armed Forces. So am I concerned? Do I want to be involved with our closest allies? Yes! Absolutely. This is important given the technology transfers involved. Canada must be part of it.