Canada Needs A Nuclear Option 

May 1st, 2014 | J. Hodgson 

“Speak softly and carry a big stick.” - Theodore Roosevelt



One of the most disappointing failures of the Harper government has been their inability to modernize the military. When they swirled into office, they had big ambitions. New jet fighters were proposed, but are once again delayed. The Navy is still dealing with delayed simple ships and broken submarines. Soldiers that went to Afghanistan wearing the wrong coloured uniforms came back a decade later without the support they required to adjust to a peaceful society. Harper once proposed buying a small aircraft carrier, but where is it? We were supposed to get new search and rescue planes...where are they? Brian Mulroney was going to replace the Sea King helicopters back in the early 90’s. Harper plans to replace them with new ones in 2018...maybe. In the 2014 Federal budget, Jim Flaherty cut $3.1 billion from the Department of Defense. How a cut like this will make anything better is up for debate, but my guess is that it won’t.


So, who cares? Why do we need a bunch of jets and guns and “toys for boys”? Why do we need to think about military adventures? Why do we need to bother?


"The Arctic is an unalienable part of the Russian Federation that has been under our sovereignty for a few centuries, and it will be so for the time to come." That was Vladimir Putin in 2013.


While Canada brags about Santa being Canadian, Russia is making real, tangible investments in the arctic. Matthew Fisher puts it best in The Sun:


Canada has made many grand announcements about its northern intentions and then dithered. There have been phantom projects to build ports and icebreakers and other ice-strengthened vessels that never get funded because Canada lacks the money or the resolve to back its northern claims.


Putin has taken decisive action to ensure that his country remains pre-eminent in the Far North. Russia is already spending $4.6 billion to increase northern port capacity and open up the Northern Sea Route...Russia is also building three 33,450 ton nuclear-powered icebreakers at more than $1 billion a piece...the first of these leviathans will join the existing fleet of 12 icebreakers in four years...

Although it may be more for show than anything else, Russia began work earlier this year to reopen a Soviet-era military base on the New Siberian Islands and intends to reopen other Soviet-era northern bases, too….Russia has spent more than $100 million on five polar expeditions since 2002. The work has involved 13,000 kilometres of bathymetric studies of the depths of the Arctic and 7,000 kilometres of seismic studies of the sea floor.


So there’s your basic illustration.


Russia = Hardcore, serious, big boy country.

Canada = Limp wristed, Santa loving, joke country.


If you’re a “give peace a chance” leftist, then you probably think the un-defence of our country is a good thing. We can spend the savings on safe-injection sites and recycling programs. If you’re a normal person, then you should be concerned. We know that Russia is getting aggressive. We also know that the United States has "end of empire" levels of debt. These two issues mean Canada needs to get it’s act together and develop a more robust strategy for the 21st century.


We need some ice breakers. We need some research/military bases in the arctic. We need new helicopters. We need new jets, F-35’s or otherwise. We need some new submarines. All of these things cost a lot of money, but we could save money on all of it, if we added one big item to our national wish list.


Nuclear weapons.


There are three reasons Canada should develop nuclear weapons.


#1. We wouldn’t have to depend on the United States for our security.


Ever since the end of World War 2, Canada has come to depend on the United States for protection. It became obvious that it was in their own interests to do so, and as a result Canadians decided to sit back and let Americans take the lead. We saved a lot of money by allowing our national defensive to wither down to almost nothing, but defenselessness isn’t a hallmark of greatness and it’s time to man up.


Canada’s military spending as a percentage of GDP is set to fall to roughly 1% of GDP by 2017. We should bump that up to 2% just so we can say we’re a real country, but even if we didn’t, adding nuclear weapons would still make us self-sufficient for national defense. Nobody would mess with us, regardless of whatever happens to the United States.


#2. It would save us money in the long run.


If you have nuclear weapons, you don’t need a thousand tanks. You don’t need a thousands jets. You don’t need a thousand submarines. With the nuclear deterrent, all other weapons of war become icing on the cake. If Putin wants to make a northern land grab, he’ll have to factor in the possibilities of getting nuked. That holds much more weight than comparing naval vessels and standing armies.


It also saves on the costs of naval vessels and standing armies. A land based ICBM with a nuclear warhead costs roughly $100 million. If Canada built seven or eight of them, we’d have an upfront cost of less than $1 billion. Yearly maintenance fees would be minimal and all we’d have to do is detonate one up north somewhere, just so the world knows we can. After that, we just refuse to talk about it and pretend like we have hundreds at our disposal.


#3. We would gain instant respect and recognition around the world.


Leftists would lose their minds, Greenpeace would be puttering around with their banners, and peaceniks would be marching in the street with their Che t-shirts and smouldering Harper-hate, but everyone around the world would know instinctively that Canada finally has power. The reputation and pride that Canada experienced, post-World War 2, allowed us to have a standing in the world that we no longer have. Acquiring a nuclear arsenal, even a small one, would put us back into a serious position. 


Conclusion: Canada is the second largest country in the world and yet we’ve only got a population of 35 million people. It’s difficult to finance a full fledged military. Therefore, nuclear weapons would provide us with the full scale national defense we need, without breaking the bank account in the process.