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Cablegate: New Bilateral Civil Assistance Sparks Some

VZCZCXRO6779
PP RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHOT #0291 0562252
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 252252Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7401
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/CDR NORAD PETERSON AFB CO PRIORITY

UNCLAS OTTAWA 000291

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR MOPS PTER CA
SUBJECT: NEW BILATERAL CIVIL ASSISTANCE SPARKS SOME
CRITICISM

REF: OTTAWA 136

1. (SBU) Summary: A new U.S. - Canada Civil Assistance Plan
(CAP) is one in a series of post-9/11 bilateral defense and
security measures designed to serve both countries when
natural or manmade disasters occur. Lack of public
information here about this bilateral military accord has
begun to spark some political criticism in Canada, however.
Closer bilateral coordination, synchronization, and
transparency would help to neutralize potential Canadian
political opposition to the CAP and other new defense and
security agreements. End summary.

New Mil/Mil Plan for Civil Emergencies...
-----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) U.S. NORTHCOM and Canada Command commanders General
Gene Renuart and General Marc Dumais on February 15 signed a
new U.S. - Canada Civil Assistance Plan (CAP). The CAP
provides a planning and operational framework for the
military of one country to provide support to the military of
the other country in the performance of civil support
operations, such as in cases of flooding, forest fires,
hurricanes, earthquakes, or in the aftermath of a terrorist
attack. Under the CAP, military forces from one nation would
augment the other nation's military (not civilian) forces in
civil support operations. The CAP does not cover support for
law enforcement operations. Legal considerations related to
the troops fall under the 1953 NATO Status of Force
Agreement. Appropriate civilian authorities, in coordination
with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the Canada's
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
(DFAIT), would determine when to invoke the CAP.

3. (SBU) The CAP, the Basic Defense Document of 2006 and the
May 2008 Joint Declaration on Defense Relations variously
clarify and improve cross-border planning and operational
preparation, to include how and when mutual aid is required
to face natural and man-made disasters in either country.
Efforts to complement these initiatives, such as a Combined
Defense Plan (CDP) and a Combined Mission Interoperability
Plan (CMIP), should further strengthen bilateral defense
cooperation.

...Provokes Some Public Criticism
---------------------------------

4. (SBU) The leftist Council of Canadians (COC) has already
publicly criticized the Canadian government for failing to
release information about this agreement, which could
"militarize" the bilateral relationship. COC spokesman
Stuart Trew has raised the specter of renegade, armed U.S.
troops patrolling Canadian pipelines and roads. He noted
that, in contrast, NORTHCOM's website already offered
information about the CAP. He additionally voiced concerns
about who would control American forces engaging in such
operations in Canada.

5. (SBU) Comment: Those few Canadians who will even notice
the CAP will likely see it as a good thing for both Canada
and the U.S. The allegations by COC nonetheless will no
doubt further feed the fever of conspiracy theorists in
Canada (and the U.S.) about a potential loss of Canadian
sovereignty from NAFTA and the Security and Prosperity
Partnership, among other agreements. An apparent lack of
inter-governmental coordination and/or transparency about the
announcement of the CAP likely heightened domestic suspicions
here and may have driven up the political cost to the
Canadian government. It would be worthwhile for both sides
better to synchronize the public affairs aspects of such
positive initiatives in order to maximize the comfort levels
Qpositive initiatives in order to maximize the comfort levels
related to new efforts at needed cross-border cooperation.

Visit Canada,s Economy and Environment Forum at
http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/can ada

WILKINS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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