NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 7, 2005

The Canadian government's rejection of the U.S. missile-defense system demonstrates once again how the country free rides off of America's military prowess, writes the Wall Street Journal.

  • Currently, Canada spends little on national defense because it knows that the United States will always be there to rescue it in case of an emergency.
  • In 2003, Canada spent 1.2 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defense, the lowest in NATO after Luxembourg and Iceland (which has no military); by contrast, the United States spent 3.5 percent of its GDP in 2003.

The defense shield does not require any radar station or territory located in Canada. The United States merely offered to allow Canada to participate in the decision process of its own national defense, such as what to do if a North Korean missile targeting Seattle goes off course and heads instead for Vancouver. Now, America will decide.

The Wall Street Journal says that Canada stands alone among America's close allies in its outright rejection of missile defense:

  • Britain, Australia, and Japan have already signed onto the defense shield.
  • Allies in both Old and New Europe have expressed interest, and there's even discussions of including Russia.

Source: Editorial, "Canadian Free Riders," Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2005.

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