Engage Canadian Public on Future of NATO

Media Release
For Immediate Release
24 March 2010

(Ottawa) NATO member nations are engaged in a vigorous debate about the future “Strategic Concept” for the alliance but, once again, Canada is sitting on the sidelines. Public debates are occurring in other countries, including the United States, but little has taken place in Canada.

“This is an opportunity for the Government of Canada to engage Canadians in a conversation about our future security needs, and the role of our military on the international stage,” said Steven Staples, President of the Rideau Institute.

The NATO Strategic Concept is an official document that outlines NATO’s purpose and its fundamental security tasks. In 2009, NATO member states initiated a process to create a new Strategic Concept to be presented at its next summit in late 2010.

Since Canada is a member of NATO, the Strategic Concept affects our defence priorities, including spending, equipment purchases, and the potential for joining international armed conflicts.

Today, the Rideau Institute released a discussion paper on the NATO Strategic Concept, suggesting that the alliance should shelve its expansion plans, avoid future “out-of-area” operations such as Afghanistan, and end its reliance upon nuclear weapons as an “essential” part of its security.

“Instead, NATO’s members should restrict the role of the alliance to its original, North Atlantic Treaty-defined mission, the defence of its members’ territory, and, recognizing that Europe and North America face a diminished military threat now or for the foreseeable future, place the organization on “cold standby,” shutting down its operational military headquarters and command arrangements and using the alliance for the time being primarily as a consultation forum,” finds the report.

“Canada and NATO’s New Strategic Concept'” was prepared by defence analysts Steven Staples and Bill Robinson. It is available from www.RideauInstitute.ca

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For further information:
Steven Staples, President, Rideau Institute, o. (613) 565-9449 ext. 24, c. (613)
290-2695, sstaples@rideauinstitute.ca

The Rideau Institute is an independent research, advocacy, and consulting group  based in Ottawa.

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