At What Cost Sovereignty? Canada‑US Military Interoperability During the War on Terrorism

Is Canadian sovereignty at risk from Canada-US military interoperability? Can Canada enjoy an independent foreign policy?

This book answers these questions.


Dr Eric Lehre
July 2013
Table of contents and first chapter
ISBN: 978-1-896440-72-9
$35.00 CDN (plus S&H)

Does military interoperability with the United States affect Canadian sovereignty? The literature on this subject is highly polarized, arguing either that such interoperability significantly reduces Canadian sovereignty or that it is necessary to maintain it. Successive Canadian governments have supported the military view that high levels of interoperability with the United States are needed for operations to proceed safely and effectively and that this poses no cost to Canadian sovereignty. The critics of interoperability strongly disagree and argue that increased interoperability with the United States will diminish Canada’s foreign policy independence, its ability to refuse US military adventures and its domestic sovereignty. Recent books and articles on this subject are marked by shifting definitions and unclear methodologies. These shortcomings have led to a reliance on conjecture, the critics predicting damaging future implications as a result of Canada’s interoperability policies, and supporters promising outright gains.

This book attempts to correct these shortcomings. It examines Canada’s interoperability history, defines the terms, develops clear hypotheses and then tests them against the key events that have defined Canada's participation in the ‘war on terror’. The book examines six case studies that include, among others, Canada’s response to 9/11, Canadian detainee policy, and Canadian decisions to participate (or not) in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In examining these case studies, the book relies on much more than the popular literature.  Over 20 senior officials were interviewed and 18 agreed to go on record and be named. In addition hundreds of previously classified government documents were accessed and over 40 key ones are cited. US government cables made available via Wikileaks were used to corroborate or disprove recent claims. In addition the author was able to access previously untapped material from the Department of National Defence’s ongoing official history project.

Not surprisingly, this book will contribute significantly to a much-needed review of the popular narrative. Some of the more recent accounts dealing with Canada’s role in Iraq and Afghanistan have relied on the presence of single convenient factor or the actions of a specific group as they sought to explain Canada’s final policy decisions. After reviewing these claims, Dr. Lerhe argues that far more complex decision chains were actually in play.

What are the conclusions? Is Canadian sovereignty at risk from the military interoperability policy? Can Canada enjoy an independent foreign policy? This comprehensive and meticulous study will answer these questions.

Please contact the centre to purchase a copy.