2400 Canadian Soldiers and the 1 Combat Engineer Regiment based in Edmonton Alberta are on a 72 Hour notice for deployment to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1 CMBG) frequently train with U.S. Army units including up to a 3 year secondment in the U.S. Military for Career Officers. The Canadian Engineer Regiment is often associated with the British and their role in recent conflicts such as Bosnia and Afghanistan has seen them doing less reconstruction work and more urban pacification and counter insurgency operations.
Canada and the U.S. have signed an agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other’s borders during an emergency, but some are questioning why the Harper government has kept silent on the deal.
Neither the Canadian government nor the Canadian Forces announced the new agreement, which was signed Feb. 14 in Texas.
Gen. Gene Renuart, and Canadian Lt.-Gen. Marc Dumais, head of Canada Command, signed the plan, which allows the military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation in a civil emergency.
The new agreement has been greeted with suspicion by the left wing in Canada and the right wing in the U.S.
There is potential for the agreement to militarize civilian responses to emergency incidents. Also underway is a plan for the two nations to put in place a joint plan to protect common infrastructure such as roadways and oil pipelines.
If U.S. forces were to come into Canada they would be under tactical control of the Canadian Forces but still under the command of the U.S. military.
News of the deal, and the allegation it was kept secret in Canada, is already making the rounds on left-wing blogs and Internet sites as an example of the dangers of the growing integration between the two militaries.
On right-wing blogs in the U.S. it is being used as evidence of a plan for a “North American union” where foreign troops, not bound by U.S. laws, could be used by the American federal government to override local authorities.
“Co-operative militaries on Home Soil!” notes one website. “The next time your town has a ‘national emergency,’ don’t be surprised if Canadian soldiers respond.”