ERNIE REGEHR is senior fellow with The Simons Foundation of Vancouver and co-founder of Project Ploughshares.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Armed Forces declared it was ready to mobilize up to 24,000 troops to “assist with humanitarian support, wellness checks, natural disaster responses and other tasks as required.”
By mid-April, Canadian Rangers were assisting pandemic response efforts in Northern Quebec communities and CAF medical teams were deploying to alleviate staffing shortages in long-term care centres.
Manitoba floods, Toronto snowstorms, eastern ice storms, western forest fires, Northern Ontario drinking water emergencies—all these have involved military mobilizations in support of civilian authorities. The 1991 renewal of the Canada-U.S. Norad agreement a...